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Viscous Verses #138

By Marc Vincenz

Edited by Raquel Balboni and Ben Mazer

September 14, 2021

2 min read

Of Cargo

In autumn the wine is pressed; many

Toes give the fermentation a shine.

The ladies in their half-pinned buns,

The men harping on about their losses—

A paradise of tired eyes garrisoned

In the quarters in the form of exaltation;

But their faces are blank stone, etched

In some strange cratered version of the moon.

In winter, rewards are reaped for their

Foresight, visions of wild animals,

Lynxes and foxes, the rutting of the stag,

Even the extinct worlds of the mastodon,

Or the fire-eating wildebirds—the world

Replaced by a few bundles of twigs

Against the wall where the fire passed through.

But, in the evening, a ship at anchor awaits

This precious cargo of mythical tales.

Here the strange bins labeled seasonally

Know no hands or feet will linger,

The vexation of creation is neither

Closed in one landscape, nor at peace

In the rolling hills—everything is proportion,

Stepping ashore on an economy of passions;

These days are passed beyond expectations.

They who cast their fortune from afar,

Willed into the mechanics of the future.

A known thing, a dwelling from once before.

And know again that each season, wild

And fertile or stoic and bare, as it may be,

Recalls a memory—of flies upon flies,

Of a smattering of pollen and dust, of egg-

Laying insects in every form—and even when

Lucretius was blabbering, Amenicus was wandering,

Then Octavia in her flowing robes, Agrippina

Close to the edge, her hairpins and hair

Overflowing in daisies.

Marc Vincenz

Marc Vincenz has published sixteen books of poetry, including more recently, Here Comes the Nightdust (Salmon Poetry, 2019).

He lives on a farm in Cheshire, MA, overlooking Herman Melville's Greylock Mountain.

Viscous Verses is edited by Raquel Balboni and Ben Mazer (

*Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #138 August 2021


Check out all the art and columns of August's Boston Compass at


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