Mark DeCarteret

less a shell than a case
of being scaled down

that’s either me worming
more & more into the tree

or the lost kitty sign
I’ve stapled to it

here one cannot swallow
most of these laws

tell one letter
from the next

I’m working the room again
this ongoing crime scene

a bird sounds like a ref’s whistle
under a sun that looks like it’s on fire

this is my first memory of this
this is my first memory of that

I only publish online so it’s easier
for my friends not to read me

a bird looks like it’s been stuffed
in a forest that looks air conditioner-cooled



early on I was claimed by the talentless as their saint
because I’d taken beauty to be a sort of airy task, lacking

I’d have you listen to a recording of a doorbell
while mail-ordering stills of the lit-from-behind

below the catwalk, from an overhead cam, you’d see
what looked like a web tacked to the make-believe lawn

I was really more of a latent daycare giver
with a bias towards easy-baked miracles, scare-tactics

what wasn’t dun-hued was sun-damaged
as I made yet another game out of madness




Mark DeCarteret’s poetry has appeared next to Charles Bukowski in a lo-fi foldout, Pope John Paul II in a hi-test collection of Catholic poetry, Billy Collins in an Italian fashion coffee table book, and Mary Oliver in a 3785-page pirated anthology.