Sunday, November 9, 2014

Marc Vincenz


Unequivocally yours, Molly—in her last note, she signs off.
It rings in-finite. Toxicity level 4:  What we fear but never conceive.

War you tolerate as an acquaintance turned, matter rings in your ears,
crumbled stuff. The virus claims the head, devours the soul,

mal de los rastrojos, breakbone fever, Ebola, hanta, Lassa, mutating variola.
Things are left standing. In the end we know all their God-fearing names

like very bad men from the Gestapo, the Stasi. Molly pins them on a fridge,
beneath magnetized pineapples and smiley faces, beneath Max’s crayoned skyline,

to-do lists, tax return form curling at the corners, takeout menu
from Wang’s Golden Wok. They secrete through taps, drizzle dams, slipstream

like hurricanes we baptize them Alma and Boris, Katrina and Yolanda
to make them more innocuous for Max. Within a week,

the surgical masks on every street corner, blue and white, then
Gucci pink and Hermes polka-dot, splutters contained behind high fashion.

And the water we drink is Antarctic ice, eons old—once swilled by dinosaurs,
an inside joke. Carrier rats bear the brunt, followed by ticks, fleas, lice,

the effervescent tsetse, and we don’t swat and shoobut never the monkeys,
our harmless swing-in-the-trees ancestors separated by a single strand of amino acid

who’ve learn to uphold themselves and eat bananas. I say it was the dogs,
the Labradors, Alsatians, those ratty Chihuahuas, cuddled, coddled and Tickle Tickle.

Still, none of it explains away the quakes, the freak storms and tsunamis,
none of it justifies the plummeting price of gold, the vanishing of the beggars

and the birds, the vacant beehives, none of it. In my mind Molly still nags
about that damn tax return. Isn’t it strange how you prioritize?

previously published in The Green Door


Weighing the Broken Heart

Blessed the wind. Cantankerous, asthmatic priest
in swollen robes & feathered headgear—
once oceanblue & redgold—now charcoaled

darkening to soot. Waterfed & corn-bred, sun-
worshipping, sun-cursed, a ruinous disseminating
soul, gilded & guilt-ridden, heavy-handed &

lightly-touched—exhales in exhausted prayer
through empty lanes & alleys, prods rooftops,
rattles broken panes, half-open doors, hinges

groaning upon buckling frames, fingers
familiar faces of dying trees, thumbs anemic
birds’ nests, rubs eggs to awaken life within,

kicks empty bottles & tins into blank squares,
crumpled things under porticos & steps, blows
ancient news into coppery osprey, kites, puffed up

eagles with giant wings, tears leatherbound
psalms from the palms of pews & aisles,
whispers names of long-forgotten gods, leftover

vowels as if in pidgin, as if in a burning
foreign tongue &, as he gathers himself
from his four corners, draws upon the strings,

he recalls what it was like to breathe
life into sun-filled stuff, how oxygen was
a litany & how every rain was an Amen,

he remembers cragged prayers, fragments
in leaves scattering within his own tree, roots
sinking to search for belief, limbs stretching out

over a flock—the tremulous keys of a Portuguese
accordion wheezing a simple song into his lungs,
the exhumation of a thousand jagged sins.

& now, on his last legs, he must remind himself
once & again, he is neither woman nor is he man,
he is nothing, nothing at all. Blessed the wind.

previously published in The Canary


On a Day Like This

Let me open
your mouth
with mine,

let me tell tale
of the drowned
whose hearts

stopped on a day
like this                a day
too early

for fruiting trees
You know    with each
of your touches

my flesh burns
with curious meaning.
So tell me

is it really breath
that glues
us together

and laughter
that makes the day
shorter than

it truly is?
            Or is there something
                        else you’re just not

telling me about?


© Marc Vincenz


1 comment:

  1. Marc Vincenz forwarded also a short bio:

    Marc Vincenz has published eight collections of poetry. His latest are This Wasted Land and its Chymical Illuminations (Lavender Ink, 2015) and Becoming the Sound of Bees (Ampersand Books, 2015). Marc is the publisher and executive editor of MadHat Press and MadHat Annual (formerly Mad Hatters' Review). He is also Coeditor-in-Chief of Fulcrum: An Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics and International Editor of Plume. He lives in Cambridge, MA.