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   Jacket 34 — October 2007        link Jacket 34 Contents page        link Jacket Homepage

Vincent Katz

Three poems:

Barge (Section VII)
German Television
Quadro Tonto

This piece is about 2 printed pages long.
It is copyright © Vincent Katz and Jacket magazine 2007.

Barge (Section VII)

There is no other way
You must walk across the bridge and take a right

It is Friday night
And there is shouting in the normally quiet streets

But you do not know whether it is hooligans
Or kids from good families letting off steam

You know only ice and the birds in trees
And the house that plans for you across the lake

When you feel your balls roiling you know
It is time to get up from your chair

And pick up a pencil or simply go for a walk
Knowing the walk may take you in that direction

Do you have the requisite strength for that knowledge?
You may feel you don’t but as your feet lead you

You realize you are passing over time
Leaden steps freeze you to your path

German Television

                              for Rosanna


We still make a stink,
We just learn to hide it better.
Leaves begin to gather.
It’s not that I want to stay here forever
But that I like being in a particular place.
Pins, for instance, are terrific,
But we don’t need to keep them.
Let’s see if I can figure out
His name from the maps downstairs.
I don’t go after anyone, but
I have a stick I can use to defend myself.
This sensitive closing device moves me to tears.
I knew those people knew what time it was.


Being challenged is love, not being allowed
To do the complacent thing.
A flirtation occurs below
Your possibility, we in hats take trains
Downtown to see paintings.
I must be able to describe to you
Precisely the boats and waves
On the lake. An egg sits, boiled,
In its cup. Extravagant tulips
From when Vivien was still here.
Hard money on a winter ledge.
I will not make the decision, but rather
Let it make me, as music in waves,
Circling birds, boats waiting in their wet
Quadrant, clouds introducing summer.

Quadro Tonto

I’d like to be a better person
I know that in their eyes I’m fine
that everything has been left in order
but in my own I fail at intervals
I’m not enough there for people
I evanesce or my own desire’s paramount

but I also know it is within my power
to be a better person
I need only to look into their eyes
instead of longingly down the streetlights
of the tree-lined boulevard

Vincent Katz photo Vivien Bittencourt, Vienna

Vincent Katz photo Vivien Bittencourt, Vienna

Vincent Katz is a poet, editor and translator. He is the author of Rapid Departures (with art by Mario Cafiero) and Judge (with art by Wayne Gonzales. Katz translated the complete extant poems of Sextus Propertius, for which he received the National Translation Award. He is the publisher of Vanitas magazine and Libellum books.

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