Marc Vincenz

Three Poems


Swathes of time steeped in eternity’s teapot.
Desolate wonder of infinite space—your face
in my hands, growing old, your fingers along

the bend of my spine, your nose, your fabulous
freckled nose. The river wandering, the sea an island,
the land a sea. The interdependency of chance

events—a language called stillness, a child
called language. Grandfather’s war scars.
Mother’s tuberculosis—coughing at the edge

of the bed, a jack knife, stray sock, a cup
of ice cold tea. Lemon rind. And she, paper,
the ancient carbon backbone crumpled.

You say: but don’t souls return to the mountain
walk leaf-littered paths through the forest of the living?
The dead, of course, shuffle paved roads,

forever highways, strafe deserts, molten rock.
But how do you warm the departed?
With broken bread and communion, my love.

With the blood of wilderness—& wind.
Or not,
or not.


That foul breath of the city
waters the eye,

                        but the nose,
self-assured, carries on—

embracing whatever
comes its way:

fungal spores lofted over
mountain ranges

in puffed up storm clouds,

            jagged desert-dust,
bits of life dredged up.

the megaphone urges you to waltz
            to pass the long-short-long time

in a park,
            where old fools battle
                        crickets and compare
                        bird feathers,

where dogs rut and shit,
            where artists seek the ears

of trees and pansies

            and crumbling brick—
                                    but through a riptide

of taxis and buses burns carbon dioxide

you hear voices
in hard labor,

            and behind closed rooms,

you hear something
                        like knowledge,

                                    clearing its throat.


And silver the tears,
the Moon’s harrowed lament—
she who had once loved
immeasurably. “Money,”
Uncle Fortunato said,
“is portable power—
why else do we In God Trust?
The word credit, comes from ‘crede,’—
to believe. I know from experience, to be happy
with money is to be fanatically blind.”

People asked me over there
on the other side
of the world, What’s your interest?
Are you creditworthy?
Have you had your neck
dragged down
with bulging silver purses,
been prodded
with a loanshark’s knife?
And, did I know those sweet
medieval Florentines paid for everything
in oranges so artists could inspire grandness.

Whispering, they suggested
I maintain a second book,
a ledger where transnational
mysteries might be captured. “In the end,”
they said, “the damned
become divinities.” “And who,” they said,
“doesn’t think they were smarter than
the ones that came before?”

And: “Isn’t every empire
built on borrowed money;” or,
“where the hell do you find,
that transcendental subprime?

                  “The euthanasia
of the bondholder is the drug of the
government, surely.”

So I asked them, was this the new world
we wore as daisies woven in our hair
when we were Summer’s children,
that land beyond the dreams of avarice?

“You’ve hit the mother lode,” they said—
“it all follows a steep bell-curve.

“Surely you know you dwell
in the dustbin of new prosperity?”

MARC VINCENZ is Swiss-British, was born in Hong Kong, and currently divides his time between Zurich, Reykjavik and New York. He is author of collections including The Propaganda Factory, or Speaking of Trees (2011); Gods of a Ransacked Century and Beautiful Rush (Unlikely Books, 2014), and of a meta-novel, Behind the Wall at the Sugar Works (Spuyten Duyvil, 2014). A new English-German bi-lingual collection, Additional Breathing Exercises, is forthcoming from Wolfbach Verlag, Zurich (2014). Marc is Executive Editor of Mad Hatters’ Review and MadHat Press, and Coeditor-in-Chief at Fulcrum: an annual of poetry and aesthetics.