Marc Vincenz

Cabinet of curiosities; Far Planet: Marc Vincenz

Cabinet of Curiosities

Tidy creatures, suspicious of chaos,
expecting the immutable
order of Earth. As it is in heaven …

Meticulous gods, librarians
of knowledge, keepers of fine-
tuned natural laws, each thing

filed in compartments, classified,
labeled, dividing space into place
and edible time into minutes,

seconds—which furnish contents
a coherence and definition,
a meaning for everything.

What of a cosmogony that holds
up the heavens, the phoenix feather
and the nodules of a dragon,

the tail of the lynx or the shell
of the scarab—that organized realm
of predetermined sequences,

a museum where all can be seen
with thyn own eyes. The setting
required for any narrative, the scene

of the crime. What a Wunderkammer
on stage for the performance of fear
and desire, an archive of passion

and vision! An enlightened structure
of intention. But what when
the audience has departed?

And what of the endless streams
of water that run through rock carrying
with them the memory of time,

the topography of spirit, under
the borrowed names of ancient sages
who devoured the text in order

to apprehend it? That the continuum
of ingrained immortality in the ashes
which are the soil of existence …

A syllogism on which we rely
weary in our loaded information,
weary in our self-inflicted exile.

Far Planet

A sky tilted toward the world
blooming in phosphorescence,

but where to begin
once moving.

To shuffle toward
those odd angles

where the membranes
of space bend & curve

& the snow
that once was,

is imagined
in a room

with the ashes
& the silence by the fire.

How young
we seem

in that old weight
of inexorable hours.

Marc Vincenz has published fourteen books of poetry, including more recently, Becoming the Sound of Bees, Leaning into the Infinite, The Syndicate of Water & Light, and Here Comes the Nightdust. Vincenz' novella set in ancient China, Three Taos of Tao, is forthcoming from Spuyten Duyvil Press. Vincenz is also a prolific translator and has translated from German, Romanian and French. He has published ten books of translations, most recently Unexpected Development by award-winning Swiss poet and novelist Klaus Merz (White Pine, 2018) which was a finalist for the 2016 Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation. His poems have been published in many journals, including The Nation, Ploughshares, The Los Angeles Review, World Literature Today, Raritan and Plume. His work has received fellowships and grants from the Swiss Arts Council, the Literary Colloquium Berlin, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry. Vincenz is editor and publisher of MadHat Press, and publisher of New American Writing.