Mark DuCharme
I went a street or two too
Far with upturned

In the café, if you mention
The other scenery
& All the starry wind

You will not fill your eyes
With smoke
Or the care that summer cures

Whether a crowbar or grandfather
Clock, any tip of paperwork
In quiet motels I have sung

Before winds forced us to whisper
To whomever was at hand
Just like no one’s truck

When it wasn’t elemental
Yes, they store their looks right here
With even the cold moon dying
Mark DuCharme
Preemptive Despair

This isn’t where you wished to be at home

    Amid glances filtered by noonday shadows

The train had an appointment.

            You weren’t through. We left them there

    In grace by rivers’ harbors

                The shellacking grew visceral,

       By turns breezy & hieratic.—

                                                This, too, is an original

Of some sort of joyless architecture—

            Like Monk dancing above the bass line

                        As if it were part of your idiom

    In the vigilance of preemptive despair

Becoming whom you almost knew

            Or held, in threadbare nightshirts

    The world goes off

                                    Its implied edge

                        Pieces of wind with song underneath

                The moon is on the table

            The invitation not replied to

    Sand sifts through memory

                Like crushed fingers       amethyst wrists

Cross mirrors out                   look petulant

            As tulips, fingers                               rifling through snow

    Think of shadows            as your pillow

                   Empty murmurs                cut away

Mark DuCharme
Homage to a Disguise


Just when you were nearer

The old city, I have a joke to tell

While the unwilling scoff & jitter

At their own feral

Reflections. The truth

Is what decides

Just as “Hymn to Ancient Dialogue”

Is not a good title

Before nightfall, when the wicked


In, & you’re going, in a hurry, one fine

Morning, if you need

To be reminded

Of your fate— & so then stammer


Beside the cabinet, with a lonely jar or

Pencil case,

A lever, or something else very serious—

Where, in the wind, we want

To go

& Write long letters, becoming sails, or sailors

Until our lonely hearts are flung

Open by savage beasts, who skip

Climate impacts like jilted warriors

Or white-collar criminals, loitering in

A malfeasance you’d never sung

Defenestrated, in the rush of febrile

Thought leaders

Who lie there useless

In the dark.


We were busy getting carried off to Amsterdam.

We had means to stub our fists with excellent cream.

We woke beholden to modern eyesores.

We made glass from the sweat of our notebook-stained protrusions

& Followed winter to a dim hovel

Doused with letters etched in brine.

I opened the contretemps apartment billows.

June was glad to be there.

I digested. I wrestled penciled-in vagabonds.

Only the brassy thrill of soundbytes saved me.

Later, I became festooned with ombudsmen’s sour laughter

& Went running through the park, never to become a sailor after all.