Mark DeCarteret

My Muse Refuses to Help With the Rent

As luck would have it, the skill
of likening one thing to another,
the skull lingering over some sea scene –
gull-noshing and lore-shine, gray
indistinguishable from grey –
does not guarantee us a lion’s share,
regardless of how meaningfully it is eyed.
I would love, like you, to cash in on each
sentiment, have it all, called up at will.
But I go into town knowing one language
and leave it known only by longing.
The lobster traps and starfish parts,
toy ships and party hats, farther out than
first guessed at when segueing to sunset or flea.
I gave it all my attention, now what?
The writer tires of ideational risk –
this diet of two words at war, the inevitable draw
and still my mother will toss me away
with the earlier tries at a brother or sister
or that ghost which grows stronger
the longer I worry about its well-being.
I’m having another moment to myself.
To team up with those amateur
selves I had slept aside, relied on, to help
hack up that golden key lodged in my throat.

About the Author

Mark DeCarteret’s recent publications appear in The American Poetry Review, Fence, Gargoyle, Guesthouse, Hole in the Head Review, Nine Mile Magazine, and Plume Literary Journal.