Vincent Zompa







The wisdom –the smoke

licking out of the dark belly,


and seas whose markers slump –

It rejects and employs, suffering through

the turbid upturned graveyard.


Heaven sent apples. 

We burned an old car in that part of town.

Luxury is more ornery I suppose.


Danny left through a gate in my hand,

falling love with a stranger’s cat.

I suppose getting rich is out, we said.


That man in the lightning might pull his face off

with a razor and slink back into white.


But that’s fool’s gold, the swift regal schist,

burrowing like an upturned candle

returning its name.  Can I now die


so I can have a new moniker?  Place weapons

of place in my hands.  In fields, a grass blade,


in sofas, a cat on the remote control.

These are the hands, these are the people.


We agreed nighttime was out, and fornication.

A giant seabird perched on the world, a crimson throat.


That little ditty about the swimming vessel of our youth

was acceptable, as were table settings and lawn globes.


We would wear each other’s clothes, but no others.

Ripening them with our juices and axioms.


He whose chorus would be his horse.

What would the neighbors say anyway


to our tousled hair.  And maybe a frigate bird

ate my brainstem, who knows.






Careful what you say.

I keep my words moving,


ground between tooth and reframed question.

How many words at your access today—


Are they like two lighthouses

Calling to each other across the bay,


Purling elongated to make sailboats tinkle

As they pass unseen?


And what malodorous danger

sets its sights on you,


Hooting and hollering on two jetskis?


I dig a hole in the beach

Until I reach inner water.  Into it


I say Rules are meant to be broken,


And then bury that place like I’d bury

My favorite recipe.


I might forget its location

in the zillion grain star chart,


and that would be better;

I couldn’t bring you back there.







The cormorant dipped sea.   Wind into shoal of sky.

Sand barks along the sea’s perimeter,

stabbing the old giant goofball, thieving from edges.


I paint my own face on my fist.

It is a poem.  I feed it sand,

hold it up and shake its head


at all the powerboats gassing up the gulf.

It coughs.  It says a man should not write—

he should rove with animals in his eyes,


rarely speak of them or take them in hand

and say Dang, can you see this?  This is it. 

See the yellow under those wings?  A speculum.


I can’t explain. I make charts of storks,

where they land, how many,

which propels further charts on consumption


of vegetation in such above said storkic areas.

I will leave through the wildest grasses

in your line of sight,


come back bearded and tell you of a kinder place.

You will bring your people there.  They will

build on it.  We will hate its guts.






                    My word, Conch.

                        If it were up to you

                    would we take risks?


                           You spiral white

                  under thousands of years of blue weather

                         and gold forecasts.  Conch,

                     insistent and quiet,  I still love you.


                       You are who you are,

                  too old to be solvable by crowds.


                     How many cars drive

                  down your beach at night?  How many slow


                 when they hit the waves but keep going.

                     Have we a record of such erasure?



                       We keep track of other things:


                           this is Conch, from Mexico.

                                 The record of what’s missing

                           in the presence of what’s here.


                       Coral is blasted out of the swimmers way

                                  where sea and sky meet

                         and waves are their stitches.

                                                By rusting cannons,


                      the bartender smokes and waits

                               for a morning of French

                        and Italian women, their fuschia sarongs,


                        cempasuchitl flowers singing from

                                  behind their ears.


                            Even so, it is still right

                   behind things,  way out in the code


                    where an array of doubles

                        waits for word from you Conch,


                    to take over

                              each mote’s wobble

                       through the straits of becoming,


                     each molecule’s dark flit

                                          and bright stumble.


                     O this.  This is just.

                            Just this is. My word.



Vincent Zompa lives in Queens, New York.  He is the author of the chapbooks Jacket of The Straits (New Michigan Press 2007), The Recife Plectrum (Dusie 2010), and Moonraker (Dusie 2012).