Mark DeCarteret and Pat Keck


The Dummy’s Logbook


I

I have known of a silence

of which no one has spoken--

a solitude carved from the guts

of a tree and upstaged by

my bowed shadow, being

folded into less of myself.

I am dusk squared, forever

talked out my casket on a dare--

my own tongue cobbled out

of a wood block, only granted

its own language when tugged by

a string, opts again to be spot-lit,

and I’m awarded a century to yawn

and draw in the smoke of my creation

till I’m finally fit, called upon, to tell you

just how lacking my nights have been



Dummy's Logbook Act 1


II


If it’s October, it’s the Catskills—

that Lowest of Bar with its backdrop

of lake lit by a cabbage-colored glow

and its seats worriedly teased into clouds,

its salesmen, unpacking everything

out their case besides hit singles, sun,

and its comics making do with that wisecrack

about billiard balls and woodpeckers,

your own mouthpiece thrown so far

south, it’s now I who play host, who

lap ghosts back to life as if strangely cast--

this second act less reassuring than the first

soft sold as if it was golden voiced,

willed up from the dregs of a glass

or hard-boiled like eggs filling a void--

post-has-beens long past-having-any-of-it.


Dummy's Logbook Act II


III


Even cued by a dunce-card,

given pause by the audience,

imagine one’s body no longer game--

resigned to its own plush interior,

kindling so cross with itself, it’s become

this sensation less radiance than singe.

Who watches your back, fills you in

on the ash on your forehead, the dash

where your own dreams were meant to be,

reaching after a word like a hand at your throat?

Worse, I feel stitches where my sex should be,

where my limbs had flopped for a spell--

listening for proof that I am self-ruled,

seamlessly taking measure of my feats--

rather than volunteering to be fool-pimped,

this simple knot well below solving.


Dummy's Logbook Act III


IV


And if it’s April, it’s Vegas--

the tinkling prophesies of the slots,

the high kick of the dancers reminding

me of my own makeshift entrance.

You’ve craft-timed more memories,

thrown me one final punchline to straight-

man what I’d hoped was a heartbeat.

This was not how I drew it up.

My eyes ex-ed out, my lips spelled

by one O after another O(!)

how my ears fear that this opening

will be the last of what passes for the trope

in which I will be die-tossed, side-noted

like that chump who finds himself

in a hole, seemingly at peace, but still if

not inclined to return at least speak ill of it


Dummy's Logbook Act IV

 

Pat Keck graduated from The Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in sculpture in

1978. Since then, she has been carving and assembling painted wooden figures in her

family home. She was a founding member of the World Sculpture Racing Society and

winner of the World's First Sculpture Race, Cambridge MA. In 2003, she had a mid-

career retrospective “Puppets, Ghosts and Zombies” at the DeCordova Museum in

Lincoln MA (where Mark DeCarteret was first wowed by her work). She has collaborated

with the theater company Molasses Tank Productions in “Acts of Futility,” a staging of six

one act plays by Samuel Beckett that drew on imagery from her work and more

recently with film maker Peter Antony on the short film, “Night and Day.” She is

represented by the Pucker Gallery in Boston MA.


And Mark DeCarteret graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in Creative Writing in

1990. Since then, he has been published in a what’s what of literary reviews, including

AGNI, Boston Review, Caliban, Fence, Plume Poetry Journal, and the anthologies

American Poetry: The Next Generation (Carnegie Mellon Press), Thus Spake the Corpse:

An Exquisite Corpse Reader 1988-1998 (Black Sparrow Press) and Under the Legislature

of Stars: 62 New Hampshire Poets (Oyster River Press), which he also co-edited. Mark

is a co-founder of the City Hall Workshop. And was selected as Poet Laureate of

Portsmouth NH in 2009, dreaming up a Postcard Project that inspired 67 poets and 132

artists to team up. His collaboration with Pat Keck continued afterwards with “The

Dummy’s Logbook.”