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     Mao's Mole
     by Marc Vincenz

Marc Vincenz is Swiss-British, was born in Hong Kong, and currently divides his time between Zurich, Reykjavik and New York. His work has appeared in many journals, including Washington Square Review, Fourteen Hills, The Potomac, The Canary, Saint Petersburg Review, The Bitter Oleander, and Guernica. Recent collections include: The Propaganda Factory, or Speaking of Trees(2011); Gods of a Ransacked Century (Unlikely Books, 2013) and forthcoming, Beautiful Rush (Unlikely Books, 2014) and a meta-novel,Behind the Wall at the Sugar Works (Spuyten Duyvil, 2014). A new English-German bi-lingual collection, Additional Breathing Exercisesis forthcoming from Wolfbach Verlag, Zurich (2014). Marc is Executive Editor of Mad Hatters' Review and MadHat Press and Coeditor-in-Chief at Fulcrum: an annual of poetry and aesthetics.

Mao's Mole
by Marc Vincenz

"China throws long shadows.Somewhere between Mao's revelation of the use of the vast Chinese masses, and between Colonel Sanders and Steve Jobs' revelation of the same masses and their use, nothing happened. The masses died, mostly, quickly in battle or slowly by toxins, and the wisdom of monks in the caves stayed the same. The masses and the monks in their caves play an ancient game in Marc Vincenz verses, a complex game of poetry Go, born of the poet's encounter with real people who are at the same time a mass. China's paradoxes breathe in his poems."   

Andrei Codrescu, author of So Recently Rent a World: New and Selected Poems

Available in Hardcover and Paperback


ISBN  978-0-9892018-4-1
232 pages
5.5"x8.5" hardcover

To purchase this book in hardcover click HERE.


ISBN  978-0-9892018-1-0
232 pages
5.5"x8.5" perfect bound, paper

To purchase this book in paperback click HERE.


Monkey Brains

We ate monkey brains in secrecy
just to see what they tasted like,
as if they might remind us of you;
and although the ancient custom
was to strap the chosen primate
in a made-for-measure cabinet
with only the shaved cranium exposed,
crush the skull-bone with a golden hammer,
while she screamed and whimpered,
begging for the beginning of time;
an experience, I’ve been told, like no other,
we preferred them fried in garlic and onions
separated from the body,
dipped them in rice wine vinegar.
You got sick after that, struggled
for ten days and nights,
dampening the sheets with your toxins.
I knew you’d live.
You wanted to die.
I remember the morning your fever broke
was the morning the H5N1 virus
flamed across the country,
everyone was wearing a blue mask
and we no longer feared the secret police.

Atomkraft 1967

Zhong Guo means the middle country;
the middle way, the path to liberation.

Coal thieves on scooters
dig from the middle of the earth,
separate the temporal from the permanent,
burn fires that melt iron ore
and draw curtains over the skies.

The old man wished for the atom bomb,
but Stalin wouldn’t give it to him.

In 1967, he got it.
He dredged fish from lifeless rivers,
fed souls with limp clothes
and hungry eyes.

As we were told, in our Village Cooperatives
and People’s Communes,
real miracles could happen.

In 1970, he launched satellites
straight into heaven,
to give us an eye
on the world.

I’ve been told you can’t split the atom
any way but down the middle.


"Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent,” says Mao. Marc Vincenz uses the Chairman as a guide in this Dantesque tour of China. Woman beside us sighs, one in front mumbles a curse, one has a snake and a crab in a cage, the other a clear plastic bag with three fish lost in space. A book that registers bewilderment and grit, a book that does not turn away. Probably the most realistic portrait of China I've ever read!" 

Terese Svoboda, poet, novelist, memoirist and translator

"Mao’s Mole is a must read if you want to know China, its past, present, and future. Marc has managed to enter the most guarded palace through a wormhole, and come out with abundant gifts. Beautiful, powerful, and entertaining all at once." 

Wang Ping, poet, novelist, translator and teacher    

"To the ages old engagement between East and West, from Marco Polo's Travels to David Bowie's "(My Little) China Girl," Vincenz's book contributes a chapter. In his newest, Marc Vincenz continues his quest (as I suspect every mature poet does) to reconstruct the human universe one volume at a time. His previous (Gods of a Ransacked Century) seemed to this reader an attempt to harmonize the music of the spheres, to reconcile the registers of scientific and poetic language, and the present chapter extends the range into the historical, as both imagined and experienced. The ghost of Chairman Mao, that most post-modern and freaky of revolutionaries, the titular spirit who haunts this book, serves proof that, in his/its dialectical contradictions, the political is always the personal.... Attentiveness to the music is everywhere audible, and visible here; the best compliment I can pay. This Mole's record is eminently readable."

Alex Cigale
, translator, editor and poet