Before Vaudeville was the Next Big Thing

By MARC VINCENZ

 

So—in they slot and plop in their perfectly

burnished 180-calorie-sandwiched-glory:

a delectable mélange well-clothed in filigrees

 

of dietary fibers, sodium, zero trans fat

and generously acidic to keep the heebie-jeebies

at bay—(some, they say, reach as far as Antarctica

 

in thermally-insulated triple-ply, deeply wrought

plastics and other recently uncovered carbon

derivatives—where winds are measured

 

for incremental fluctuations, where solar flares

are forecast and forewarned, where they read

the beginning and end of stars and the backlash

 

of East Asian tsunamis)—they glare bright-eyed

in their ginger and chocolate grins, in buttered oatmeal

and butterflied wings—as if finally the Sun reveals

 

himself in all his shiny glory from behind heady clouds

or that two week Luna de Miel with its long walks

along the Seine—here, among the boardwalks,

 

the tulipped promenades, within the boisterous

kite-flying parks that line the fairways, leaves of cypress,

ash, oak and acorn burst in the floppy green of carbon-

 

dioxide, in the piñata emerald of carbon-monoxide,

just as Mr. Daniel Ng (a/k/a, Ying Lee) glitters starlike

springing in his morning stride to his own jefe

 

at García & Sons, where at midsun he will finally

underwrite Doctor Rujapani’s overdue income tax statement,

as starlings, sparrows and blue jays assemble in pecking order

 

on their own aspen on Pine St. behind the old Empire Theater—

a place once proud to feature Chang the Magnificent Miracle Man

or the Tap Dancing Rubberband Twins, way back when—

 

on a Sunday Matinee at 4:00 pm when all cigars smoked …

 

As the giggles of the voluptuous Can-Can girls

in their petticoats and fishnets echo backstage,

Orpheus returns from the underworld with angel cake.

 

[Purchase Issue 13 here]

Marc Vincenz was born in Hong Kong, is Swiss-British and has published eight collections of poetry; his latest are This Wasted Land: and Its Chymical Illuminations and Becoming the Sound of Bees. A book-length poem, Sibylline, is forthcoming with Ampersand Books.

Before Vaudeville was the Next Big Thing

Related Posts

October 2021 Poetry Feature: Sasha Stiles

SASHA STILES
Are you ready for the future? / If you are, today is your day. And when tomorrow hits you like a ton of bricks, you’ll appreciate today even more. Because in reality, tomorrow is a line you walk towards, and now is a line you never see. But you just didn’t see it yet. Reflect.

Image of the book cover of The Morning Line, featuring a man wearing a hat.

September 2021 Poetry Feature: David Lehman’s The Morning Line

DAVID LEHMAN
You can pick horses on the basis of their names / and gloat when Justify wins racing’s Triple Crown / or when, in 1975, crowd favorite Ruffian, “queen / of the century,” goes undefeated until she breaks down / in a match race with Derby winner Foolish Pleasure.