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Mark DeCarteret Poetry

last ever ballad

by Mark DeCarteret

walking aside the sea
I felt little but everything
I’d felt when you’d left

walking aside the sea
I smelled the lemon on
your skin less itself

walking aside the sea
I saw what-was-us under
glass as if singled out

walking aside the sea
I heard my dearest again
the wind in her dress

walking aside the sea
I tasted our last kiss
all that the salt spared

a break

you took
what silence
was left us
& had to make
way too much
out of it
saying I was
so full of it
so full of shit
having wolfed
down every
thing in sight
then let me
know all the flaws
you saw in me
& how my writing
was awful what
we maybe needed
the most was to
slow things
down give
each other

made up

I’ve been going almost
makeup-less for the po-cam —
only my eyes, lantern-red
from too close of a reading,
are underlined like a pro
with a run of lies, denial-cut,
& the lids, smeared with
this duskiest of grays
cussing all the light will not
let slip about darkness,
the cheeks high-lit skillfully
with conceit upon conceit,
& the lips, stuck on each
other — selling literally nothing
to impractically no one
when not giving any air
to their dramatized sighs —
the map of where I’ve come,
all who camped in its spaces,
fit with another map, artifice

I’ll drown if I stop writing

you defused the photobomb
& my followers suffered for it

as if I saw that the light
was slightly more light

I looked to be in front of some sea
on the day I turned my back on 53

yesterday there was another attack
this time on a railroad track

here I am skiing
don’t ask me where

I can’t imagine this
does us any good

I’m at a point where I’m too young
too old to worry what anyone thinks

you stuck out your tongue for a snowflake
then texted your ex something about hunger

I should know better
I know better


Mark DeCarteret’s seventh book lesser case was published last year by Nixes Mate Books.