Mark DeCarteret

The Year I Went Without Cable

I was so blissed out I saw the world only in syllables. In the sweetest of stable-talk, bleats. Words led me down to the delta. To tea-time. Dealt me in on their meddling, blessed me. I sunk cheerfully into the pages of my book while dappled ponies saved my place. I was Christ-haunted. Ineffectually taunted by poet-types, tropes. I was like a sick soldier at His side. Or a detail of an Italian lake. On a vase for gods’ sake! I lost it. Occasionally. Shied away from washcloths. And paid for my diapers in cash. I taught irony all it thought it knew. And would wink without rest. Ecstatically. I sought out the toughest course on which to steer. Every instance of beauty—whether lark song or carnival pitch, the crass reach of some bar, I could see on myself. My need was near-record, endearing. I couldn’t touch anything. Without it shouting out—“I am mirroring the mirror—or some semblance of me I’ve stiff-armed out the rime!” Without me being outmatched by doubt, bought out. Or brought back to the shed yet again. Only to be kept up all night. By more of Bly’s lies. The liability that’s inferred with righting oneself.

Once, Mark DeCarteret was poet laureate of Portsmouth, NH. Twice, Mark Decarteret was finalist for New Hampshire poet laureate.