by Marc Vincenz

When All is Said and Done

A sudden hidden meaning,
Droplets to the east wind
Liberated as pieces with hidden meaning.

Heave-ho, Li Po,
A foreign wind has stirred the horsemen,
Liberated as pieces of a stormcloud:

Reading too much.
But I keep at it; at night, the wind
Fights its own hidden meaning.

All those prophecies
Drunk on stars, the floodlights of the fjord,
And water rushing in its intensity.

Surge of strife, dry seasons,
A galaxy of the infinite, a seasoned 
Fright slips through the branches.

A droplet—don’t think too much—
Gather the firewood and the water.
Lie there, wet and gleaming black. Don’t look back

At Home Over the Road

Oxygenated verse. Pop its cork.
See not what you see in the darkness;
See yourself holding the candle—honestly.

The mergers and acquisitions sit
In their crates, all of them shoulder to shoulder;
How does the breeze make it through the thicket?

Along the hung wares of the spider,
Who would dare to see it as we imagine?
Would you wash inside, sir?

Not cast for her, but their heir,
Those cold excursions in the eye of the moon,
Where moths have settled in their vestigial doom.

For a Long Time Ago

The bullfinch flies out
From under the apple tree, singing in short bursts
As her partner steals buds.

The monkey says, “The old tiger slinks
Through the grass holding a star in her mouth.”
Shall he dare the leap into the forest.

The watering hole at dusk is bone dry.
Who shoulders all these grains of sand?
“Shoot for the mountain,” my mother always said.

Never quite acquired, that regal majesty.
“While you’re at it,” my grandfather said,
“Will you hand me the hammer?”

This side of me, miles and miles of it,
A future with confidence, then suddenly
A wave of sorrow curls up at my feet.

Winter morning I throw crusts for the birds;
The forest is still silent beneath the stars,
A lion tiptoes into a land made of meat.

Dead wasps on the windowsills, someone haunts
This house besmitten, someone else
Plays the cello. He’s a man just like you.

Birth of a Nation

Keep your head, or so was said when there were
Guillotines. On the other hand, they said,
Find the confidence in your words.

This side of the war is peaceful.
All the world’s diamonds, miles of them,
Repeat, one eye glaring into dreams.

The ground is saying, don’t stop!
Keep on walking until the leaves change color.
Now black and blue, they burn into earth.

Baking Bread

Cooking something up after midnight.
Stirring up a potent brew. Omens. For whom
The bell tolls, and so and so forth.

To grasp the mouse in all of its shrieking fury,
To shudder at the screech of a bat, to wait
For that raccoon or bear to make its entrance.

“You are late,” they say.

The bear winds up his organ
And invites you to dance.

Marc Vincenz is a poet, fiction writer, translator, editor, artist and musician. He has published 20 collections of poetry, including more recently, The Little Book of Earthly Delights, A Brief Conversation with Consciousness, There Might Be a Moon or a Dog, and forthcoming in 2023, The Pearl Diver of Irunami (White Pine Press). His work has been published in The Nation, Ploughshares, Raritan, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, 3:AM Magazine and World Literature Today. He is publisher and editor of MadHat Press and publisher of New American Writing.

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