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About this poet

Marcus Wicker is the author of Silencer (Mariner Books, 2017) and Maybe the Saddest Thing (Harper Perennial, 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.

Prayer on Aladdin's Lamp

Grant me shelter & bread.
Grant me porch ledge, mantel.
Scented candles, bed. Grant me
four walls, a 5-foot fridge & a hall.
& maybe four more walls. Yes.
Four more walls. & a desk. & 
a decent laptop, plus pleather
rolling chair. So that I might sit
&  write you a poem, Lord.
A psalm praising all you’ve given:
Air I sing with. Cricket’s falsetto.
Buzzing bees & nectar—
how chrysanthemum feels
on the tongue
is what you are to me.
You see what I am doing here.
You see, I am being so sincere,
Sire. Which is sad. Still, grant me
a few free hours each day. Grant me
a Moleskine pad & a ballpoint pen
with some mass. Grant me your gift
of this voice. Pages & pages 
of this voice, in a good book
from a loving press. & grant me 
a great love, too. Grant a way
to provide for my love. Like,
a tenure-track job
at a small college in the Midwest.
The kind with poems
& papers to read. With hoodies
running in & out of my office.
Deadline, paychecks, & 
an OK 401(k). Grant me
everything, Lord. Not today.
But before 28. Be Bulldozer.
Genie. Let every prayer avalanche
me into dust, blank matter. Debris.
Make me worthy. O Lord, make me me.
 

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 (Mariner Books, 2017). He teaches at the University of Memphis.

by this poet

poem
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:
poem
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
poem

I was a real cute kid. Ask anybody. My father
likes to tell a story about a modeling scout

who spotted us out midday shopping
at the Briarwood Mall. Imagine five-year-old me,

all sailor stripes & junior afro, doing a full pull-up
on the magazine kiosk: Got any Keats? No doubt

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