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About this poet

Marcus Wicker is the author of Silencer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017) and Maybe the Saddest Thing (HarperPerennial, 2012), which won the National Poetry Series and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Fine Arts Work Center, and the Poetry Foundation. Wicker is the poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review, and he teaches at the University of Memphis.

Ars Poetica

Too late—the path to righteousness gone cold
& everywhere a forked tongue, split road
                                                                dividing line—
toward, away, toward—the divine, unraveling like anise, black
licorice in the night. Psych—Nothing that dramatic. Nothing quite
so unpalatable, destitute, but I did leave the church. I kept
praise, its utterances. I kept guilt, do unto others, & not much else
except You. Please don’t worry too much about me. I left
                                                                                               a window
cracked wide, view enough to see myself back, in case of fire. I’ve left
frequencies     staticky, radios blinking MAYDAY MAYDAY
from a gashed motherland, kept them flickering my veins like angry 
lightbulb filaments, left errant, purposely. I try so hard to be good
at mercy. Though, sometimes, a wound is the salve, & besides
harder to forgive the self when I don’t always recognize my flaws
as ill intentioned or otherwise. I’d try You in Taoism, yoga. I’ve tried
expensive whiskey, tried running suicides. I’ve tried this one
                                                                                               blue stone
skipped across a transom, tried the joyous nectar residing between
several varieties of thighs. I’d try anything to sound a shot heart,
my bottomless racket. I’d do anything to live quietly
in You, Father, Maker, Mother, Muse, I try so hard I try. I really do.

From Silencer (Mariner Books, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Marcus Wicker. Used with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

From Silencer (Mariner Books, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Marcus Wicker. Used with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Marcus Wicker

Marcus Wicker

Marcus Wicker is the author of Silencer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017). He teaches at the University of Memphis.

by this poet

So what if it is?
Clear days, I understand it,
molecules scatter azure
light from an in-his-feelings-
sun,  that’s why
the sky is blue. We know
too much, or want to.
Not the Bible, but the i-
Phone tells us so
But God, I love the cul-de-sac
at seven a.m., I can’t help it!
This wind-streaming-between-
grass-blades point of view!
But this punctuated lawn
I stand upon! The family 
of shrubs, flat-topped & shaped
into a question mark:

Always the sun first
then the doe sunning, the stag
running toward the doe, wherein

this ramshackle causality
a taste for flesh buds
at birth—when mouth clasps

to breast—quieting
the gut’s ache, not hunger
for touch. If you don’t believe

touch is a famine
fed by