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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
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
 
poem
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
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: