Two poems by Mark DeCarteret

A Near-Acceptance of Speech

A door long left open just barely enough to try tempting the night from its corner where more stars were swept aside, mummified, and you peered at where the years had had their fill of me with something like disregard, negligence. Forever I’ve known only a homeowner’s woe-fulness—these serviceable tragedies hawked by those ancient condiments then brushed off by what had been left you like these leaves in the gutter. I let everything get to me till I vanished for good—this close to the mirror one must whisper to be seen, must take in the room from one’s memory of looking out windows.  That same wasp that had stung me as a child as I slid across the cool vinyl seat of a restaurant booth still returns in my dreams always tending to its razed nest–anything that you speak, it advises me, can be used on your scaffold so even while asleep I would not let one whimper slip out past my lips holding in that one breath until it emptied of sighs. For how unlikely the psalmist would draw near to hear any of my sins, would have his mouth opened, stenciling those most holy of zeroes. Try any god and they’ll tell you, I’ve gone well past perfection with every whim of my personal crusade caught on camera–those haloes I huffed on the glass, the lashes I’d unleashed so ill-disposed, tippy-toed, I could make out the sun in most anything but now I’m that shut-in with his long-holstered bones and fatigues, my whereabouts wired down through an almost identical sky.  In the more and more disfigured light I court only what comes in a carton when once it was the tilt of the silverware, the start of a lock. Sit long enough with any belief and it wishes you gone, dismissing your body’s saddest of claims.



There are no satellites, no unthinkable blues,
no squints of the eye, just this fasting
and that coldest of brands, only your letter

speaking minus desire, its mandatory sighing.
Tomorrow, I’ll have less to go on than yesterday
when, no longer figuring, our shadows will speak well of us.

So pull me so close that I’m misrepresented, my resolve
eclipsed by your nipples, your lips zeroing in.  But don’t let me voice
what only proximity could provide for this voice

but rather that tongue be retired.  End–
sun when our sleep hasn’t come
sun of linoleum patterns

sun of enforced walks
sun of gold splits
sun of the imported epoch

sun of downed pyramids.
Light years away these other heavens
are springing up.  But now I have little

but regret for their staging, my hands
either getting all prayerful or
applauding me out from the shadows.

More poetry at Used Furniture.


  1. LOVE these poems, Mark!! Exceptional, powerful!!

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