Marc Vincenz


They say I have a face like a bicycle
& I wonder if from the front or the side

I guess it's a compliment since they ride them
along the canal & when the sun settles & the crane flies

Sometimes I watch the men soldiering home
like they've been to a wedding they've never had

trailing ribbons of paper from the burn of the machine
and on the women from workshop number nine

plastic confetti sprinkled in their hair
like tiny little confessions floating behind

One of our small perks is the after-shift dinners
boiled rice, and bok choy and dry fish heads

which my HR lady tells me is far better
than what they normally get

but little am I to know, I'm merely transposed:
a colon sent from the board to point the way ahead

In nine solid months and forty-five thousand fish heads
we've reached all targets; we've out performed

      Kim Yung Boiled Meat Sticks
      Emperor Wu's Golden Fish Cakes

Yes, indeed it's a miracle. The trick, of course
is in the distribution & getting them to appreciate

that only milk from free-range Western cows
could settle the stomach of the Chinese working man

could enrich the Ch'i so early in the morning
could steady the hands on the lathe

&, above all, making it available on bicycle carts
outside every single factory in every single province

      Cream of Feng Shui
      Awaken the Tiger Within

      A yogurt for the enlightened
      Free Range, healthy and keeps you slim

& I wonder, as my term comes to an end, as I sit here
listening to each section manager praising my achievements

and the flowers and the toasts at the banquet table
what they will think of the next face

whether they will see him
as a traffic light or a conveyor belt

or a chair
or even a cart

Marc Vincenz was born in Hong Kong to Swiss-British parents during the height of the Cultural Revolution. He currently lives in Iceland where he works as a freelance journalist, poet, translator and literary critic. He is Poetry and Non-Fiction Editor for the international webzine Mad Hatters' Review, Managing Editor of MadHat Press, and is a member of the editorial board of Open Letters Monthly. Recent poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in Spillway Review, Full of Crow, Nth Position, FRiGG, MiPOesias, elimae and Inertia. A chapbook, Upholding Half the Sky, was published by GOSS183: Casa Menendez (2010), USA. A new e-chap, The Propaganda Factory, is forthcoming from Argotist ebooks later this year.

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