Three Poems by Vincent Zompa

New York Live Arts presents

Marjani Forte
Nov 15-19

Stuart Strange

Table (Obiya tafaa) of Father Government Spirit (Da Lanti Winti) at the home of his host in Sophia, Suriname, 2013. Courtesy Stuart Strange.

Inside My Wife’s First Husband


This one had a blunt outward put foot and,

peeking out of its hide, a rubber-gloved hand.

A flimsy sexual rim worked a vexing on its collar.

It’s upper groin a sound asleep toy

where rock music clopped.

It let out an oil and a puff.

Its meat was disciplined and delayed on the brink;

its meat floated clearly.

The art of cooking was mastered in its heat sacs.

Ripped colognes sent gingery whiffs up to the smell hoops.

It drank whatever it was moving through,

the translations, the watered necks.

At the end some showy pecking

and a spray through the sound caverns.


Da Mangwa and the House of Government Spirit

Behind the glass dunes,
I hear every scribble, pushed up and agnostic
in a glistening crust.

Where is the government when we need her?
My microscopes please, Véro:
The nimbus has a terminal spring.

Surreptitious dumplings are bulging behind feathers.
I am standing between
two gowns that whistle in the dark.

Above are the stars, their waves pouring in.
There have been no filters in the words, I thought,
but I had deceived me.

Trace my hand. Isn’t it mortal too?
My eyelashes keep falling on the page.

I can’t believe I have to keep looking for it
in old bars where an aneurysm waits.
Our sheets draped across the orange trees, our civil war.

Blubbering inside, her specters
have no knees to kneel on. I’m sending
kisses in bubbles over Surinam, but

I try not to say this. Anything with two holes
in it looks like a ghost. More than a handwriting
possesses a hunter. Wood fowl garbles off,

curling. Molecule, tentacle, spray can,
I have one hundred spiders that control me,
but they only govern the me in me.


Seventh of June

I am putting together the puzzle you sent me.
On the back it says Meidoornstraat 55,

but I know it was siphoned through a lens
in the 5th century AD by Tyronia of Masticon,
the meat eater, the oil collector,
woman with a dappled soul soaked and glowing.

The woman who ripped a map of France, a woman
who saluted and dove from salt cliffs at dawn
to find breakfast among the sponges.

I know your light will leak to me
when I solve this puzzle
while the bedbugs and airplanes and radios
suds up the Long Island Expressway.

I know the sun that pulls the dogwood’s naked howl,
its limbs crossed around the secret it protects,

the sun that makes me throw kissing sounds
to clouds passing and kissing sounds to passing
juncos and kissing sounds to little street cats
that stop in recognition of their two-legged brother.

And I know this sun also misses things:
drum-toothed mastodons and four-legged
milky birds we have no name for.

We rename all the animals and plants.
We piece them together when love begins.

And from so far away you write that I am
your psychic diamond, your powdery moped,
your rusty hat. I chew things
and wait for such puzzles.

Vincent Zompa’s first full-length collection Heard Animal will be published by Dusie Press this winter. He is the author of several chapbooks and lives in New York City.

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