“The Inner Eye Tattooed,” a poem by Marc Vincenz

Marc Vincenz

The Inner Eye Tattooed


Looking in
like a snail,

my nose crawls
against glass.

How the view
alters up close

and the breath
a mountainous fog

against matter’s
impermeable will.

Isn’t this the color
of pure silence—

that rainbowed tint
when night swallows reflections? 


In the nothingness
of the primordial,

words written before
words are known

and the constellations,
planetoid hope,

stars flush against
the skin of a peeled eye—

a stalking with inner-
meaning rewritten

in paper, on wood,
carved in stone,

rewritten for a cavern
of gnawed bone,

fragments scattered
in a semblance of home. 


To breathe in
that dust, to test

the synapses with
potential meaning:

a gun barrel, a gin bottle,
a diode, vermouth, a grenade—

and at a ray’s knifepoint
within night this moronic

light cutting deep
into the gilded dome.

Civilizations compounded
in the chicken gut of divinations.

And that round pill
of morning purpled

in the royal cloak
of an inevitable twilight:

that mad aerial dance
of sparrows beyond

our crinkled
silver lining. 


You know there’s fishbone
caught in your throat

and that grope, the hair-
ruffle of aunts and uncles.

And behind, flickering,
a predator stalking,

the TV-eyes of the dark—
words holding out,

words clinging on,
gathering in formulations

congregating in clarified
intentions of rice

and straw and wildflowers—
the storm’s plague above,

balling grey and black and
something pterodactyl-winged

like a fire dragon.
And how within the click

and crackle of strip lighting, you
creature-sensation, you bloom

upon the aphid’s abdomen.
Are there words enough?

Is there blood enough
to bleed

while crouching
at the on/off button? 


O the words for this.
Those pulsing veins of lust,

the seven severed heads
of that mythological canine,

fishes swimming through a murk
of clogged arteries, your innocent eyes

and the stressed follicles
of your feline fur, the marvels

beyond time straight
into the face

of a dimmed
articulate world. 


I know, I know,
you want clarity,

an illuminated mind,
not those fleeting visions

of a future not yet born.
You want it all inked,

a universe out-worldly
branded in the foundry,

the blast furnace
of structure in the making

and that tremolo of voices
slowly breaking.

Marc Vincenz is Swiss-British, was born in Hong Kong. His recent collections include: The Propaganda Factory, or Speaking of Trees (2011); Gods of a Ransacked Century (Unlikely Books, 2013); Mao’s Mole (Neopoiesis Press, 2013), Beautiful Rush (Unlikely Books, 2014) and a meta-novel, Behind the Wall at the Sugar Works (Spuyten Duyvil, 2013). A new English-German bi-lingual collection, Additional Breathing Exercises, was released by Wolfbach Verlag, Zurich (2014) and a book-length poem, This Wasted Land, annotated by Tom Bradley, by Lavender Ink, 2014. Marc is Executive Editor of Mad Hatters’ Review and MadHat Press, Contributing Editor for Open Letters Monthly and Co-Editor-in-Chief at Fulcrum: an anthology of poetry and aesthetics.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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