Poetry 365

February 28, 2013

Poet Marcus Wicker

This month for Poetry 365 we’re featuring Marcus Wicker’s stellar new book Maybe the Saddest Thing.  Winner of the 2011 National Poetry Series Prize as selected by D.A. Powell, Wicker’s outstanding debut mixes meditations on memory, family, race, and desire with complicated love letters to African-American icons such as Pam Grier, Flavor Flav, and Dave Chappelle.  Fearless, vibrant, and hip, these 38, excitingly varied poems have been favorably compared to the work of Terrance Hayes who praised the collection for “showing us what it is to be in vigilant conversation with the world and with the self.”  So check out this wonderful new book, sample a poem below, and make sure to stop back next month for Poetry 365.

Love Letter to Dave Chappelle

Dear Dave,
Discovery’s turned on. I am watching
sheets of ghastly, squirming, horny termites
gnawing inside a wall and missing you.
Today marks my twelfth stab at this.
maybesaddestEach time I begin to say something real
I collapse. Shortcomings. You understand.
This is not the one about the black comedian.
Or his fear of the toddler
pushing Kush on an ave. in the a.m.
This is not about the moment after
that joke. When the audience
slump, just a smidgen, in their seats.
When they question your position
on the ghetto’s flowchart
or reconsider a weed dealer’s
average age. And when they laugh–
well, this does not concern that.
This isn’t a poem
about some cowboy cracking up
over a blackface skit. How his cackle
sounded like a bigot’s brain
lodged inside a beating heart, thinking
out loud. This is not about that sound
imploding the logic for your craft.
Not about you leaving me hoarse
and lonely on Wednesday nights.
I repeat. This is not a love thing.
Not even a little.

Russell J. (Readers’ Services)

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