Marc Vincenz: 7 poems

  Marc Vincenz

  7 poems

  JPR 07

Seven Poems:
[»»] In the Alchemy of a Garden
[»»] Dropping a Bomb on the Louvre
[»»] A Cypher
[»»] As Cold & Passionate as the Dawn
[»»] A Burning Question
[»»] A Final Gathering
[»»] A Curse

In the Alchemy of a Garden
…in Wildness is the preservation of the World.

 — Thoreau

Teleological figurines
of a pagan god.

Windbristled, follicled,
fuzzied & furred.

Fantastic fansters
of the brightest illusion,
a luminous love —

O Gold,
heart of an omniscient sun —

a naked moment
of blinded Archimedean recognition

& the well-well-
-well of symmetry again —

the meteorology of this simple soil.

& what of her edible symbolism:
a metaphor for all-that-glitters
cross-pollinating with our own?


In their nefarious dramatis personae,
Odysseus & his crew
bungle on to find Circe,

but the eye is not always sovereign or seen.

This flower garden
is taking on the colors
of human dreams &

the burning desire of every orphan.

Dropping a Bomb on the Louvre
Here in the forest by the creek,
like the skull of a small mammal
polished by insects and rain,
enveloped in loaded silence, a gun.

Are the screams across the water,
simply the neighbors quarreling?
Is anybody watching?

As long as hope retains
that trace of ocean green, it sweeps
away all the other voices.

A cipher taken on blind faith, perhaps.

As between two lovers, like a dollar bill
that holds no reality beyond its face, the currency
offers great reward to a vibrant imagination.

When did the god of faith become the god
of hard cash? All those schemes, extracting
sunshine from the purgatory of earth.

Literal or allegorical, mystical or demagogical,
but pierced through with a million sorrows.

A desire for things that are of this world
in avaricious hands, bursting forth to weigh
and clutch and display their greatest worth.

A Cypher
…for these roses [are] weighted with passion
perfectly and correctly allow themselves
to be decomposed into roses and passion

 — Roland Barthes

How could they have been defined, when
reaching for a reflection, the mind

was rudely battered by a thrust of ineffable vision?
Where did the book vanish & carry off all the detail?

or, is this the same story even though
it looks quite different on the page.

All that speech made visible, all the sound
contrition of the heart, a confession of deadly sins

& a strange capacity to imagine in order to feel.
Ah, here it lies eroded by slight of tongue, rogue

thoughts as knots on a string, the dead conversing
in bullet points across myopic centuries.

How else could they make a rose bloom again
from its very ashes. Every page may be an oracle

in amorous entanglement — & yet, the first lines
were not songs of love, but checklists of things,

of grain & livestock, of tiles now turned to dust.
Perhaps we should follow the tracks of their creatures

across the pastures to reach the end, or perhaps,
just perhaps, we prefer to be passionately lost


As Cold & Passionate as the Dawn
Here, the will is nothing
more than fading

whispers, a lens
within the lightning

gaze of time,
a misconception —

or that crackling
illusion of fancy footwork

in silent woes.

Let me therefore
exhibit a better standing

among this community
of hardy old poets.

A Burning Question
So this is how it begins:
with candlelight and hope,

furrowed foreheads, a nervous tick,
tongue pushing back teeth

and the clock turning backward.


She’s moving as if she had seen
the pyramids being built,

the slow rise of China’s Great Wall,
man being shot straight

into the astonished face of a moon.


What is bone? Wren asks,
clasping her grandfather’s pocket watch,

waving her finger as if it had a clue.
Hess strains, wipes his eyes

and soon tables turn. Hold hands,
he says, and they do, gripping each other

for dear life as they tread by magic
not back, not ahead,  but straight through

the great wall of time. Are we not all, he asks,
without exception, descendants

of the same unoriginal crime.

A Final Gathering
Filling up stolen time
with bids &

deceptions, with
an evening sky

flowing into
the house —

it is lovely
to see

above the city
in the flight

of the snow geese,
valor surpasses

honorable exile —
still, the party continues

& the streetnoise
winds down,

beneath the sniffles
& the coughs &

that faint voice enduring
murky suspicions.

I might be thinking
we are divided

like thieves, when
a trembling pre-

monition that things
are void

of substance, suddenly
washes over me.

A Curse
we are not of that breed.

We read far too much.
God is hectic.

Mechanisms today
select their own candidates.

Don’t be afraid.

The greatest sinners
instinctively distrust

the boards as they walk
toward their imagination.

A fine, delicate touch
is all that is required.

US-Swiss poet Marc Vincenz

Born in Hong Kong, Marc Vincenz is British-Swiss and is the author of ten books of poetry; his latest are Becoming the Sound of Bees (Ampersand Books, 2015), Sibylline (Ampersand Books, 2016) and The Syndicate of Water & Light (Station Hill, 2018). He is the translator of many German- French- and Romanian-language poets, including Herman Hesse Prize winner, Klaus Merz; Prix Goncourt winner, Jacques Chessex; and Ion Monoran. His most recent book of translations is Lifelong Bird Migration by Jürg Amann (Spuyten Duyvil, 2017). His translation of Klaus Merz’s Unexpected Development is forthcoming from White Pine Press in 2018. His novella, Three Taos of T’ao, or How to Catch a White Elephant is to be released by Spuyten Duyvil in 2017. His recent publications, include The Nation, Ploughshares, The Common, Raritan, Notre Dame Review and World Literature Today. He is Coeditor of Plume, publisher of MadHat Press and Plume Editions, and lives and writes in Western Massachusetts.



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