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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, September 20, 2018.
About this Poem 

“Sometimes I like to wonder at the amount of everyday conversations that happen because of general friendliness versus basic human need. Like the genuine need to interact with people while simultaneously being present with whatever the brain’s working out in the background.”
—Marcus Wicker

On Small Talk

& anyway, what good is the metronomic
one-note canon two house sparrows cant
aloft, between, the pine privacy fence,
if not to simulate estrangement?
 
Watching them watching me, I think,
First impressions are so medieval. O, to be
the provincial drawbridge damming
a ramshackle interior, or the alligator-
green moat babbling sparsely beneath it—
 
all the unknowable utterances one cheeps
forth to be peripherally endeared. A chorus
which, at the moment, I take to mean
 
Friend, you look well from this distance,
from my vantage, perched over here.

Copyright © 2018 by Marcus Wicker. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 20, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Marcus Wicker. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 20, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

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

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

2
poem
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
poem
June 18, 2015
 
So I’m at this party, right. Low lights, champagne, Michael
Bublé & a gang of loafers I’m forever dancing around
 
in unduly charged conversations, your favorite
accompanist—Bill Evans behind Miles, ever present