Poem for Camille Martin & Beginning with a Line by Her


Mark DuCharme





There I tender prayers to images

& Consult with starving birds

Whose brittle voices cannot reach the sea


Were I on a raft— or if

Some other sense of wonder overcame

The similar, botched stars


Like a prayer, relentless in the vivid world

In which we no longer believe

If you hang your head down far enough


The blood will enter your speech

& You’ll hunker for a millisecond

In breath of song— in song as canticle


Until the Sea Hag tells you, “that’s enough, now, dearie;

Stop dreaming.” & So you enter then

The grim crucible of life’s demands


Which, though far away

Can yet be heard, despite the menacing

Cries of true believers


Or of a citizen-alien encountered

In false listening

While the native/ naïve tongue is menaced


On standby, by passersby

Who fear but cherish your mouth

Whether you’re an aged fatalist or a redundant newcomer


Like that photo of young Niedecker

With a bit of youthful optimism

That hadn’t yet been crushed


Still lingering about the eyes.

But neither of us are newcomers

& Fate is always guessing


Going further out to sea

In hopes that mere flotation can save us

All from dull encounters


If you promise now to whisper

I still won’t fall away

Although I may option a perfect story


In the feint history of what isn’t seen

But felt, when we were never

On the jittered blue


Who knew, but seldom ruptured

Diamonds as subplots

To render all anew









Mark DuCharme’s sixth full-length book of poetry is Here, Which Is Also a Place, new from Unlikely Books.  Also new is his chapbook Scorpion Letters from Ethel.  Other recent publications include his work of poet’s theater, We, the Monstrous: Script for an Unrealizable Film, published by The Operating System.  His poetry has appeared widely in such venues as BlazeVOX, Blazing Stadium, Caliban Online, Colorado Review, E·ratio, First Intensity, Indefinite Space, New American Writing, Noon, Otoliths, Shiny, Talisman, Unlikely Stories, Word/ for Word, and Poetics for the More-Than-Human World: An Anthology of Poetry and Commentary.  A recipient of the Neodata Endowment in Literature and the Gertrude Stein Award in Innovative American Poetry, he lives in Boulder, Colorado, USA. 



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