Mark DuCharme


from Here, Which is Also a Place

"America's wandering away from me
in a dream of pine trees and clouds"

                                   — Frank O'Hara

Sunlight on pine
Hymn chimes in windy
Opulence, sun strewn,
Blossoms' scent thick in air


A terrain is its own mind
It is a song pointed willfully
It is something you must "cover"— but how?
Carrying the dirt of earth on your soles


But the day
Until it's night


What memories rattle
In the map you have made
Map you have put yourself into?

Does one wander in a map?
It is often difficult to refold, or find
A location such as 'G-4' in relation

To the ledge on which you are now standing
In afternoon's slight heat
With a broad map in the wind now rattling


All over
Is desire

A gossamer

Of animal life

Over sea &

Where we stand
Idle mammals


In this place of trespass
Where we stood
As if meadow were a garment
A concordance of the senses
Jammed into location

At the ridge, where you clamber
To eke out a habitat
Where we settle, naturally—
A place where we can touch & hear
The racket of birds' wings

In the rhythm of empathic glances
Tearing up the future
To root in dry earth
In this place where we are trespassers
& With all the windows shaking


Here, or clods of them
Draining the atmosphere
Of its mirth—
Draining our departure
Of its knowingness—
Draining earth
Of yellow surprise.

When you are surprised,
Enter the garden,
Put your weight on
A daffodil.

Daffodils cannot weep,
We presume, & so we think
Them merry—

Laugher of color & form—
Little knowing
What they feel,

Until shadow-flowers
Weep at the sun.


If you study exhaustion, it will laugh at you,
Clog your sentences with unneeded
& Grimace at your stammer. If you invite
Exhaustion to your gala dinner,
It will yank devices from the belts
Of the confused. If you incite
Exhaustion, it will descend on you,
Making you lisp & quiver. You can't quote
Exhaustion, for its speech is intolerable,
Even to itself. Exhaustion hovers
At the perimeters of meetings, reciting
Memos to the confused.
Exhaustion can't live here
Or anywhere but on your back
& Neck, driving its weight into
Your muscles' depth,
& Overhanging your brow
Magisterially, as if one of Baudelaire's
Own "crushing chimeras"
Of whose burden, the bearers— dim
Men lurching— seem
Preternaturally unaware.


Being here, or given
To the mirth of not standing
In the way of whatever
Else is at hand

If we intend anything
It is to smirk
A little longer
'Til clouds get grayer

In the effortlessness of place inscribing
Dusk unto discovery
Dirt into the seed devising
Its own birth from whatever

Else is at hand