Marc Vincenz: 5 poems

  Marc Vincenz

  5 poems

  Middle Class Marriage,
  Circling the Polestar an Empty Mind
      Mirrors the World —,
  Uncle Fernando Learns to Turn the Hurdy-Gurdy,
  And All the Bells Were Ringing
When the gods fell
silent, the sun

and moon no
longer drew

prayers, but
blindly coursed

a spaceless sky.
How long

will their span
of breath be

the world

in the long arc
of time?

  Middle Class Marriage
Your own brambled nature
crammed with unsuspecting life.
A raw spirit in a snarl of weeds.

In your dream of daisies, the squalor
of ideals that loom in the dark,
where the vanquished and the lost

may be found lively as morning.
Last shake of the head.
Something like disbelief.

Better to go down laughing, than that
slow      sinking      smile
standing      small      ground.

These numberless things for which
to be grateful, roped together
by words in a thicket of senses.

The spiraling, screaming birds
on the razor edge between despair
and delight. And those secrets

devouring the stomach lining
as the oil-lamp of the mind
gutters out. Like Hindu gods, we cavort

in one hundred tongues. Still,
we sit at the table counting plums 
And on Sunday afternoons

by the stream, walking the clouds
with their overgrown hands
and overblown feet;

later, those threads of light —
web-like and a slow mesh of wonder
crosshatches the night.

    Circling the Polestar an Empty Mind
      Mirrors the World —,

                    for Li Po

Such killing laughter
echoes through

our streets, but who
would want to die

in such tantrically
charged lands? —

Is wild abandon
calling us into

a habitual

Do your thoughts
loop in

and out of
emptiness too?

We tangle together
so well, but how

can we rid

of all these damned

when the sky is
so immeasurably full?

I know, you say: let the mountain
become less

a fuzzy rendering
of ancient calligraphy

but a drunken poet
hunched over

luminous words.

  Uncle Fernando Learns to Turn the Hurdy-Gurdy

Again, venturing forth, the mariner becomes peacefully landlocked

In ancient China,
to snatch the moon
from the sky
was to live.

                        The forces
that produce the oak lie potent
within the acorn —

months and years tighten and
push each other away
to make room for that dull silence
of forgotten desires.

Don’t you want to set out
on a journey and never look back?

In a moment of solitude on Monte Alban, 1984

Do you see
your way through
these melting
mountain peaks?

Keep your ears cocked
to the wind,

for when tomorrow
finally arrives,
it never seems
like tomorrow.

                                Finally, at the top,
looking across quilts of snow
a spirit blindly fumbles,
chasing her own tail, until —

she sees me, brakes
into dance, whirls,
then chases herself away.

  And All the Bells Were Ringing

            To live in a soulless society is worse than to live in church.
                     — Marie-Louise von Franz

You remain heart-struck
within a city that sleeps
with its mouth gaping wide.

You want to return
to the rapture of your past
and that immovable source of light.

Have you searched for water
within the glacier?
In Zurich behind the old post office?

Have you truly betrayed your demons?
You told me your unconscious meant
for you to make a faux pas.

Have you given up
your commodity fetishism
and those gorgeous nothings?

I know you once lived
on the moon
when you faced your universe within —

but you do remember
before your blood was warm,
it was cold as frogs and toads?

To be tabula rasa, to be dreams
flowing into those
wide-eyed waterworks.

But what, you ask, is the source
of a dream that teaches you
to follow your own inner star.

To understand, stand
on your head and descend
to find the mystical waters.

Yet, as if infected by gods,
your primordial laugh
sweeps us off our feet.

The many who are one are the one who is many
and nobody can say where man ends
and woman begins.

We must supply the world with spaghetti, you said.
A modicum of fanciful structure
in a carbohydrate that grows on trees.

Something about a number
that would take an eternity to calculate.
O those patterns of behavior

singed into the synapses,
and that instinct that rubs out the mind,
that simplistic structure

underlying the most ancient of forms.
And those tales of a hero,
the models for growing deeply old.

Right now, the only thing that’s playing
is your background muscle
clenched like a fist.

You know the odds
are insufferably low
against our meeting at a time like this.

Poet Marc Vincenz
Poet Marc Vincenz

Marc Vincenz is Swiss-British, was born in Hong Kong, and has published eight collections of poetry. His latest is Becoming the Sound of Bees (Ampersand Books, 2015). He is the translator of many German-language poets and has published ten collections of translations. His translation of Klaus Merz collection, Unexpected Development is forthcoming from White Pine Press. His own work has been translated into many languages. He is International Editor of Plume Poetry Journal and Executive Editor of MadHat Press and lives in Massachusetts, USA. Recent and forthcoming publications include The Nation, Raritan, Ploughshares, The Common, diode, and World Literature Today.


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