"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?


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.



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

pedagogues even

when eternity

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 a poet, fiction writer, translator, editor, musician and artist. He has published over thirty books of poetry, fiction and translation. His work has been published in The Nation, Ploughshares, Raritan, Colorado Review, World Literature Today, Notre Dame Review and The Los Angeles Review of Books. He is publisher and editor of MadHat Press and publisher of New American Writing. His newest books are A Brief Conversation with Consciousness (Unlikely Books, 2021), There Might Be a Moon or a Dog (Gazebo, Australia, 2022), 39 Wonders and Other Management Issues (Spuyten Duyvil, 2022) and The Pearl Diver of Irunmani (White Pine Press, forthcoming 2023).


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