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lesser case · Mark DeCarteret
lesser case · Mark Decarteret


Mark DeCarteret’s imagination is a cosmos. For years, I have delighted in exploring the enormity of it. Here, he reveals its deeper axioms, and shows us how to comprehend its immensity through the measured, concentrated, stillness of wisdom. This is a master poet at the height of his creative power.

William Varner, author of Leaving Erebus 

Read excerpts
the kingfisher


to Charles Olson

once the blue flame
had caught in my throat –
a hundred years of having cross-
walked through the thorn & the turbine
indoctrinated w/every wind’s whim
dribbled out on my bib
in a luxurious rust:
not one death but many
the sun the same failure
that some golden age once had tested for
while out in the courtyard
w/their knees bruised & bent
so exquisitely backwards
a sentence they eventually survive
w/eyedroppers of mettle & irony
I hunt among stones
where the shadows have long been
trying to enter their side of our story



to Bill Knott

lately I’m good for maybe
five or six lines
then ellipses:
these tiniest of stones
reminding me
how the poet in front of
the white page
always makes for
the most obvious of targets

that unspeakable hour


to Gary Widger

noon & the clouds collide 

noon & some sun but not
eyed or even owed its own line 

noon went on & on & on, no?

noon there’s more hell
in the telling of it

noon I won’t abide in your chill anymore

noon I’m no longer emboldened
by my own sighs or anyone else’s 

noon because your light’s such a hard sell

noon & gone is the frost
that interpreted the world

noon it wasn’t the cold that I lied

noon where I’ve confided
the last of my farewells

noon how my bones have always tried me

noon & I’ve shut my eyes
on all that I held dear

noon where even death sleeps off time


it’s the animal’s way of saying
you’re welcome or lookee right here
at these worms made of sticks
& these deer made of sticks too

unlike when their words came in bunches
dropped like babies on the new snow
or were arranged in the sky like some
cherub w/the chubbiest of cheeks

now this one here’s lit from within
while those others are bowed
their hair blown by some engine
or are each of their heads now a hat?

& next come the boats again
bringing w/them that new day
when our throats will be blest w/more vowels
& we’ll sic the best of our gods on them again

About the Author

Mark DeCarteret has appeared next to Charles Bukowski in a lo-fi fold out, Pope John Paul II in a high-test collection of Catholic poetry, Billy Collins in an Italian fashion coffee table book, and Mary Oliver in a 3785 page pirated lit-trap. – Nixes Mate published his book, For Lack of a Calling in 2018. 



Copyright © 2021 Mark DeCarteret

Cover design by d’Entremont

ISBN 978-1-949279-30-6

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal.

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