can run can cover


one is over


& one is Morse


       or Moses


noises are crimes


& recess a river


a river is a cure


or an inner cur


nervous in a mirror


I memorize a crime


I wire verses


& a waiver


visions come

       or viruses—universes


       in wires, ours


a mine & in a vision


I see a mirror in a corner


a sea a river can run over


a savior is wine in a reservoir


more—a moon rises over


       a man or an arrow


       a curse or a nervous iris


some wear


Keeping Star Man



Can you see him carrying on, the scrap he was forty years ago—not pixelated then but progressively scanned—and his star-struck manner when they played his chord: X on the floor, soft-shoe, disco with a chaser? Morbid way to say he’s loopy. Cross a hologram with a man’s voice in a tin can: selections from operas sure to follow. He’s someone raised on telephones; he’s never asked if this thing’s on.


He’s a three-color separation, and you know he’s blue when he’s moving on. Funny way to say he’s dead and dangling at the end of a line. But he gives it off like he always did in the final scene: collar up, red and coming on strong. Dear, the stars aren’t far enough to go for you. Ground control says play it again. When it’s good they don’t even know it’s rerun. When he’s in reverse they call it fireworks; when states go up in smoke they scramble for comment.


Always said she would outlive me. Always follow one cocktail with another. Son, sometimes I drink enough to forget you’re there. And once, off the coast of Cuba ---------------. We don’t call it censorship but preservation. Scrub hard; they’ll never know his nose got rosey. OK way to say I’m sorry. Picture the 4th of July: Brooklyn, La Jolla, Boise—in Salt Lake City they stop in the seventh and turn to the sky.


We’ve come so far—I can’t even see the shore from here. And when the sun rises, spinning a haze off the morning waves, I look for the birds they say are a sign of fresh water. Cheering, etc.—which he can’t hear. Remember the time he rose from the grave, shovel in his hand? We call it a midnight feature: a good way to say we’re as gray and lonely as him. So he comes out of the snow, a young star cow-licked and darkly seen.



Daniel Carter is the author of two chapbooks, Here Both Sweeter (Kent State University Press) and This Apparatus (Furniture Press). Recent poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Crazyhorse, The AWL, The Offending Adam and elsewhere. He's online at