Issue 14 • 2011



from The Unfinished


by Mark DuCharme





The Unfinished



Whenever I read            a writer

             Refer to ‘the reader’


I immediately think

        Of myself

                            As someone else



In the strain of words which build

                                                  Against examples


The cities were placeholders for transitional desires


Which break down biodegrade

                        In the geometries of love’s lost need



You ‘invent’ whispering though I can’t talk


Can’t grow maddened at the unsunny

Barrage with things uplifted



Like the social explosive         outside of soldiers


Or everything else you would still fall down on



In the strain of worlds which

Build against explosions



“We’re both poets, so we

Have the same






The Unfinished



What, in utter

Desecration lays

        A leaf, or general


            Dominion of

Encases strange

    “Lip service” trumpets


        enclosing for the general

Features of

                wind, is all

Or neither smother

                        proportions    lay

        each unto        Other

Each to whom

                        I had forgotten, were


                                forgotten whirr

Of (dis)closure

                            cleft & rattle

        penmanship & guardingly, guardingly rail

My summer (ample) gardens


                    Box of each






The Unfinished





The muted particulars are also free

To swim in intermediate attention

To the left of the enlarged texts which also swarm

Or swam as if rapidly to overtake hunting

A ‘marquee experience’ a curve beside lakes

Toward which to place what feels

Exclusive now that winter’s going forward

Going into something driven free

To feel to free to flee to feel

This up & feel this uses up the night

This useless ghost-image becoming experience

Being done with ghosts & those who see them

Or those who have seen winter ride away

& Her cloak trailing leaving

Behind a kind of private outcome

For robust Spring to decide





That the tongue is abler than the mind

‘Speak for yourself’ is like a diamond

Though cloudy, & the sun engages

World’s weight, or the weight of winter

The weight of winter now is seizing up

                                     the first

The earliest moments of spring

                                                 We ascend

& Engines gorge on smoke & billowing

Earth.  We can’t see the horizon in this light


Not twilight, but darkly

                                      resonant resistant

The mind resists poetry, but does the tongue

Or mind, in its deeper recesses


             Lavish it?        Ravish it?


Let’s see if it finishes  language        the poem
             this earth

Forever in a state of disappearing


                         Intransitive, disappeared—





It might be smoke, but I don’t know

& Yet it isn’t.  To want them, lavishly


             As any reflection

Of a tongue or noon

                         Is trapped, in gathering night—


My page isn’t wide

Enough, for my lines (I write large)

                         (I write to enlarge)


To feel better that it’s burning

                                                  Is to see

The specific weight of the line, or noon, or night

                         Their resistances spinning

Outside or inside

              A residue, a context—

                                        Is like saying


           “Oh, he wrote that    because

He wanted to    write

                         Something called ‘The Unfinished’”


                                                     & Hold it, bodily—





The Unfinished



To hear it alternately where it does not run

Where it leaves, but does not disappear

Into light like winter

Into night, like sleep, jettisoned

By dreams of common things.  To


Construct for us a city—

A pure location that we’ve filled the air with.

No mind is pure

Which cannot contain

Perversity— & yet,


There are traces of such things

As drive us mad, even

In the most intimate gesture.

What drives to sense

The poem fallen


At the margins of the night.

Night which glows

In earthly silence—

Until no one speaks,

Even the dead.





Mark DuCharme’s print books of poetry include The Sensory Cabinet (BlazeVox, 2007), Infinity Subsections (Meeting Eyes Bindery, 2004), Cosmopolitan Tremble (Pavement Saw, 2002) and Answer, due in 2011 from BlazeVox.  The Found Titles Project was published electronically in 2009 by Ahadada.  The latest of his many chapbooks is The Crowd Poems (Potato Clock Editions, 2007).  Other parts of his ongoing project The Unfinished have appeared in Colorado Review, Eleven Eleven, New American Writing, Or, Otoliths, Pinstripe Fedora, Poets for Living Waters, Raft and Word for/Word.  He lives, works in and teaches near Boulder, Colorado.