Featured Poet: Mark DeCarteret. Stratham
Mark DeCarteret's work has appeared in the anthologies American Poetry: The Next Generation (Carnegie Mellon Press), Brevity & Echo: Short Short Stories by Emerson College Alums (Rose Metal Press), New Pony: Collaborations & Responses (Horse Less Press), Places of Passage: Contemporary Catholic Poetry (Story Line Press)Thus Spake the Corpse: An Exquisite Corpse Reader (Black Sparrow Press) and Under the Legislature of Stars—62 New Hampshire Poets (Oyster River Press) which he also co-edited. This past April he was selected as the seventh Poet Laureate of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Heaven ain’t just for formalists. So let those with the perfect rhymes (and grammar) toss the first stone. I tried my first sonnet in a Bill Knott class twenty or so years ago. Chose a saint as my subject. Why, you ask? Because they were unfit and troubled, not the least bit fun-loving. And they were total nuts, nuisances. But they also brought much-needed tension to the House of the Lord. They talked nonsense to strangers. They bled outside the box. And they also invited the boundless and infinite into everything that they did. No matter how tight the restrictions; how insane, the restraints. They knew only one thing. To the tin-eared came those rarest of notes. And to the sin-filled, the most lovely of tones. And they took it to go.
I had only touched the Christ
where there had been an absence
of Christ, my finger exiting out the back of His wrist
like some cable-rigged ghost in a séance--
what was left of me assuming a fist
(even the digit that should have had more sense)
as if thinking who it was He’d last kissed
where the cedar and blood was to mock His own scent.
I am both wind and the descendent of wind--
for what feels the heart’s loss any more than the tongue?
When you see Him give word of me, twin
for it seems I have ended up like I had begun.
Curse those who remember so little of their sin—
mine defines me, its presence reminding me that I have none.
First appeared in Ars Interpres (Sweden)