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Five Poems

Take the depth of spring in air 
A depth-charge of life that is also death
To be in the right place
To take their picture

Others sit near the river, bounce
Or stand and walk over to the railing
The sun set, soccer players still playing
As it gets colder and darker

From this high vantage point
Buildings appear elegant and natural
Normal in the darkening, dark seed pods
Hang, the piazza illuminated by electricity   



The decibels lifted, frost abate, listless
Waking, and the continuous flutter whisks
Sideways, a whole lavish sense of living,
How to portray oneself and colleagues, performers
Blinking toward the audience, slinking back offstage
To cold rooms warmed only by a gentleman’s cane.

Frigid personality suffered deadlock most fitful,
As youth determined, once again, the finish line.
Gabrielle was thrown, once, and after that never
Sits for stills, the idea of daffodils not far off,
Egypt is like a suburb of Augusta.

What are you saying? You have gone stark, raving, clinical,
Abetted by a ravaged retail fringe, young
Hipster hottie clique clientele, bandit moron
Moose deflector, a saturnine blemish thwarted.


This Makes Sense

Not only stars and mountains
I too have existence
I see the white butterfly
The pigeons and the plane

I can no longer be afraid of existence
But must go deeper into it
Nothing here makes sense to me
What would make sense is nature

This makes sense: even these stumps
These roots and grasses, fences,
Even this concrete pathway
I love those green weeds crowding the sky



I would be looking toward the sky
But also in a way toward the sea
To see a 2-D battleship shuttle by
And all the plants on verandas and lives

Flags flutter in the breeze
The sky is mottled cotton
Traffic pours down its vein
The breeze on the veranda is luxo

On the hill, or down on the sidewalk,
Mosaics, or garbage piles, and flies
The same mountains burst forth
The same trees cover them, and clouds



If I were to think
What truth would work
I’d say the one on
Which the most have won

That would be dribbled
Down mouths, through streams,
Infinite clogs of seeming
Sentiment interfered with again

For the last, I will
Make that choice, come down
Where leaven evens out
The field for one all

Vincent Katz is the author of the books of poems Swimming Home (Nightboat Books) and Southness (Lunar Chandelier Press), among others. His book of translations, The Complete Elegies of Sextus Propertius (Princeton University Press), won the National Translation Award, given by the American Literary Translators Association. Raphael Rubinstein has characterized Katz as “A 21st-century flâneur whose wanderings range from the sidewalks and subways of New York City to the crowded beaches of Rio de Janeiro.”