Four Poems by Marc Vincenz

Marc Vincenz

Marc Vincenz

Marc Vincenz is Swiss-British, was born in Hong Kong, and divides his time between Zurich, Reykjavik and New York. His work has appeared in many journals, including Washington Square Review, Fourteen Hills, The Bitter Oleander, and Guernica. Recent collections include: The Propaganda Factory, or Speaking of Trees (2011); Gods of a Ransacked Century (2013), Mao's Mole (Neopoiesis, 2013)  and Behind the Wall at the Sugar Works (Spuyten Duyvil, 2013). 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.

She, at Heart, a Blue Whale,


not only in our blood, but in theirs—

ocean trenches fathoms deep, where no hand
has swept—

ancient bone music,
skin songs
and marrowed incantations.

Radiation, of course,
is a speck in the eye.

And what is the particle’s
smallest participle?

Isn’t it one within another,
blood and skin and cartilage and bone?

More then than water lessons, then?
Perhaps something to do with the birthing of suns?


awaken, dear monster and take us in,

for on that day over a thousand dolls arrived, porcelain-
perfect-blue-eyed dolls yet cracked and chipped
and stressed like any icon under pressure;

1000 serpents followed, figures weighing in
success and ambition, shedding outer layers in ribbons;
and we men, we men, belly up in the sand, staring

dreamlessly at a blue sky but then seeing fortuitous signals
like fruiting trees and swallows arrowing in pairs—
but it still all ended in the dolls’ eyes.

Isn’t that where you read the soul?


and not a single elegiac tone,

but the centrifugal force was a man on a lake
swallowing demons. He smoked a pipe stuffed with cinnamon
and Indian tobacco. We, in need of air, lived on breathing.

And the sky, in its shimmering gold was taunting us to fly
and those bicycles wheeled to their end—which again
was a numbered thing—enumerated and tired.

“We had long forgotten the last revolution
and the bees, their legs pollen-less,
were scrounging dregs of sugared paper wrappers
making honeycomb in glowing red and green and neon blue.”

He spoke of an emperor’s trundling wheel, and then said:

“And thus, the world expands again—
O those lungs breathing in the primitive force of future
are hallowed in the word of a distant past.”

Isn’t there another word for belonging?


And now climb into the view:

the window shimmers,
yet outside
nothing is bright.

I’m swollen from a night
of excess

and time has slowed down
to a thump

in the root
of my neck.

Is this the world I’ve come to know
on the back of my hand?

Cassandra’s Levelheaded Company

                        —for E.D.

Knowing the stars
gave her a sense
of reality.

Knowing less
than what she knew
others had, gave her
a sense of place.

She needed means
to believe
and to doubt.

And through a riddle
when in doubt,
when standing alone

at rebellion,
even careless
wisdom had to go.

To be one
of the lingering
‘wicked’ ones,

to be sealed
in an icy fate.

What is it really
to be honest?

I choose
what governs
the syntax
within this level-headed

Rembrandt’s Last Fruit

                         —for K.

Course you’d like to ask God how long
it took him to build an apple, and
if the first was red or green, if it fit
in the heart of the palm between
the lifeline and the mind
and if there were snapshots
of that first crunch—perhaps he’d say
each was a masterpiece, each perfect
and spectacularly flawed and every single seed
conveniently inserted with children’s fingers.

Course you’d like to know what the devil said:
something about the seed being more than a metaphor—
we all know it’s easier to build
an empire with many little fingers.
God may be the eye of geometry,
but isn’t it still boggling how apples
have spread across the globe, lending
power and meaning to what is yet to come?
Surely the soul of a woman
is the sum of all her walks,
so I ask you, what can enlighten a life
any more than a pair of sturdy shoes?

Stanzas in Love with Themselves

in this image—

once visceral,
now just a word—

a matin-ringing
of church bells

and those Catholics
to and fro

in supplicant-heavy hands,
the throbbing, a yearning

for non-damnation,
for damned epiphany;

and that ephemeral
glazed-over glance

as lover to lover,
nose upon broken nose,

but staring staring
into vast distances

and smoking out
the origin of stars.

Beyond. Facing
a Wailing Wall

a love-pure mechitza,
a trembling match-making,

core within core

the hand, a heart pulsing
precariously, feeding

that deep dark,
that dark-deep,

universal seething.