"Where a Dark Bird Flourishes," "The Pretense of a Conclusion," and "Half Truths"

Where a Dark Bird Flourishes

Do we vanish as something heavy into deep waters?
—Dante

 

Tell us though
of unquestioning apartheid,
of segregation,
of that being-according-to-what-you-are-not
           and of how-you-may-be-defined,
of that herding together of bodies to make a collective,
of creating order out of chaos
           (with its virtues of Pandora and
           the fanciful miniatures of Eden),
or, of—fancy that—a singular rib tickling us into fallibility.

What is the cusp of the discussion, then?
Is it to press ahead into new life, as Socrates said,
to leave aside ambition with the memory of previous labors?
Or, is it to take the predator’s stare
and turn it back upon ourselves?

 


 

The Pretense of a Conclusion

To strive, to seek, to find
and [never] to yield.

—Tennyson

 

Argument Z.

 

M i r r o r s of what
we don’t yet see,

a desire to
know, like being

present at
your own birth, and then—

the primordial muscle
lodged in your throat

that tells you
to be in time, or to be

in space, or—better,
to be

in both
at the same time.

 

Argument Y.

 

Hallucinations pro-
​jecting into

a future, yet
somehow sensing

the prickle
of an inherent paradox,

the je-ne-sais-quoi
of a liquid state—

questions conjured up
in a nest of foul spirits.

 

Argument X.

 

Did we believe
what we were told?

or, did we assume
there was a sub-

versive subplot
of pastiches, of

colorful catalogues
and fancy parodies,

where the place
of everything

was actually
in its antipodes?

 

Argument W.

 

Is that why we
scorned those

wandering
pedagogues even

when eternity
surrounded

every single
quivering note?

 


 

Half Truths

Read between the lines
with your nefarious mind.

Grammar isn’t
what it’s cracked up to be.

Look deep, stare, gawk.

Don’t hold your breath,
there’s something underlying all this.

Stop. Underscore.

A road half-traveled less
than more. Use it to reach

a pivotal performance.
Get your paycheck. The fallacy

of believing, therefore,
to be better, to be generous-

minded, right here
where all experience

performs, fishing for the
real American dream.

Oh, you so misunderstand.

Marc Vincenz

Marc Vincenz is British-Swiss and the author of nine poetry books. His book-length long poem, Sibylline, has just been released by Ampersand Books.

Vincenz is also the translator of many Romanian and German-language poets, including Herman Hesse Prize winner Klaus Merz, Werner Lutz, Erika Burkart, Alexander Xaver Gwerder, Ion Monoran, Robert Walser and Jürg Amman. His most recently released translation is Secret Letter by Erica Burkart (Cervena Barva Press, 2016).

He has received many grants from the Swiss Arts Council and a fellowship from the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin. His own work has been translated into German, Russian, Romanian, French, Icelandic, Georgian and Chinese.

 

 

Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 - 21:20