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Endurance & 5 more poems by Marc Vincenz


The expiration of the empire, the incumbent flags of endurance. His lordship writes to you out of concern for your personal welfare. A case in point is said to be in the context of art; a failure for an immured goddess. Or perhaps the words are but mere pinpoints on a feeble tenant.
“The hills are no forgery, your lordship—now and then, a little nonsensical abides—this favor we bestow.”
“Yes,” she says, in her affluence, “shall we put them to the stake?”
We un-laid mysteries once, time and sex, were tied up in the sandbar of Hades, or upon the bejeweled rocks tyger-bright with their clattering of brass bells, or again, in the merest of things: among the flowers, amid the quivering reeds, along the embankment, in exact observation of the tide.
“Am I a commuter amongst the bees?” she thinks solemnly. In both this and that other Arcadia, lying under the dew, just one more grand rounds for both the bottle and the few. And under there, where infinitives romp and roam, where there is no feeling of “therefore,” where the heart’s surprise gathers in folds and is pulled into the water where our good old goddess burns in her welfare. Less difficult and less important than that demure dance through time; but in both windows we are getting close, and in each of our veins, the ascent is more than the mountain.

Here in which we have found the unconditional, that slow-steady grassy wit, unseasonal, unintentional, unwavering.
Come about, come along, sweet whisper, some summer evening when we are too old to remember, this odd thing wrapped in a newspaper; no telephone or telefax, no telemetry or topography—all these people and their possessions, the science by the lake—how might we deflect ourselves in crystal or cut glass?
The failure is not in what carries the sky away, bird, beast or lump, but in the choirs of water that run into the hills in their strange commotions.


I’d like to say, “As if Hewn from a rock.”
Or perhaps, “Salted
By the sea.” But when You hear the dying Woman who gathered Her kin, and her heart Swaying with the trees— And she says, “Men
Are still learning to breathe,” I dare myself not to bleed, And, thus, in my little tin can I produce a single newly Laid thrush egg—quivering On the folds of a forged Footprint—a small thing With no recourse to reason, Speckled, now out of season; A shrine, a precious heart Coming into knowledge. And, for a short while,
We shall rest here And observe
Her gentle Momentum.

A Terror of All Good Things

Why my hair turned white.
Why the prisoners fed the spiders.
Why the ways of dying are complicated.
Why emotions arrive within sleep,
Or the days that are borrowed are sealed
In wax, or that second life in its superior Ripeness confounds in its own sugar.
How nothing matches the old kisses.
How at least you feel the terrible years of age. Why the human compromise.
Why the bees affirm the time.
Why the voices speak out in their own smoke. Why you may divine with twigs or crystal or seashell. Why the mask of truth repeats itself.
Of truth? Why only truth?
Why at quarter-past one we swelled up,
Or why in his dwelling the aged chair of politics Rose up—dusty or smiling, but Gossiping, gossiping.

From a Hotel Window

[Something floral here] …
Draw apart in two, in the bright blood of the bright word, Sister Rachel of the coronary arteries, you are the light! Each barb of wire, each eyeless, formless figure moves you toward life.
A homeland has no second thoughts,
[Something about a simmering instruction here] … We renounced the light until it fell over us, all florescence. Do you recognize the man in the poster?

Congressional Hearings

As such, the dictum states,
and in this I mean, obviates
a scant piece of evidence to prove, without the shadow of a doubt, that—(and there’s evidence
we all sink or swim
with our nether regions, sir)—
the earth endures. It’s a mainstay of life on this planet, madam.
Alright, so let us tally high
and ho, the dictum states:
“Where is all this newfound evidence?” It’s all hidden up your sleeve, sir.
I make no attempt to try and possess it. We serve the common folk after all, sir.
Ten-score, I wish I could say, but it’s only been four.
I wish I were alive, madam, don’t get me wrong.
Being dead has its advantages. There’s evidence to prove it.
Self, of course, is revealed through self-less-ness, sir.

Subliminal Message

The left hand turns the key, unattached, artfully. The other sits in the pocket rubbing coins. Behind, the universe is streaming in, unpacked in all that matter. The mice are playing in the larder, searching for wholegrain flour, the cat is sniffing something like a breeze. Multiple moons cast their wary glances, autumn fields are ripe in berries. The bear ambles along as is his lot on a Thursday night. Each instant is a reality for him, each past, nothing more than a dream; mostly it’s the shrill sound of the gray tree frog that stirs him—oh, but nothing can keep him from the garbage, the discarded nappies, a scratching of leftover Andouille, and all the plastics in their glossy underbellies. Once the corn has been reaped, then the sun, then when the fields are bare and unbearable lightness rises from those leftover, it’s as if a frozen shadow sweeps across the earth, and all that is left is sleep.

–Marc Vincenz


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