Interrupting Aubade Ending in Epiphany
Could I call this poem an aubade if I wrapped it
in fragrant tissue paper? If I locked this morning
in the mind's safe deposit box and polished it
66 times per day, until a sky's description noted
the number of feathers on a sparrow's left wing
and the crab grass jutting from his uppity beak?
I once wrote a poem about a fruit fly orgy
in a grape's belly. It's crescendoed combustion
was supposed to represent the speaker's feelings
for a wife named Joy. That poem never really
worked out. This poem is aware of its mistakes
and doesn't care. This poem wants to be a poem
so bad, it'll show you a young smitten pair
poised in an S on a downy bed. The man inhales
the woman's sweet hair and whole fields
of honeysuckle and jasmine bloom inside him.
He inhabits a breath like an anodyne and I think
I could call this poem an aubade if it detailed
new breath departing his mouth. I think I could
get away with that. Because who knows what
that even means? Maybe I mean
that's safer than saying it straight
like, This is about the woman I'll marry.
How one summer, she hit snooze four times
each sunrise. This is about her smiling
and nodding off, and smiling, and listening
to me mumble into the back of her perfect
freckled shoulder about anything but poetry.
And this morning at my desk, in the midst
of a breath, I remember not every moment
needs naming. I know precisely what to call this.
Ars Poetica in the Mode of J-Live
It's like this, Anna:
shell banged bare
with a bat, Anna
vat of gun powder
fed off scraps, Anna
south for life, Anna
dropper's stool self-pecked
wince or stool
dropped again, Anna
through his shit, Anna
slug built by a bird's
It's like this, Anna
gun the bird
It's like this, Anna.
It's like that.
It's like that
and like this.
Love Letter to Flavor Flav
We know we are beautiful. And ugly too.
I think I love you.
How you suck fried chicken grease
off chalkboard fingers, in public!
Or walk the wrong way down an escalator
with a clock around your neck.
How you rapped about the poor
with a gold tooth-grin.
How your gold teeth spell your name.
How you love your name is beautiful.
You shout your name 100 times each day.
They say, if you repeat something enough
you can become it. I'd like to know:
Does Flavor Flaaav! sound ugly to you?
I think it's slightly beautiful.
I bet you love mirrors.
Tell the truth,
when you find plastic Viking horns
or clown shades staring back,
is it beauty you see?
To express myself honestly enough;
that my friend, is very hard to do.
Those are Bruce Lee's words.
I mention Bruce Lee here, only
because you remind me of him.
That's a lie. But your shades do
mirror a mask he wore
as Green Hornet's trusty sidekick.
No, I'm not calling names.
Chuck D would have set cities on fire
had you let him.
You were not Public Enemy's sidekick.
You hosed down whole crowds
in loud-mouth flame retardant spit.
You did this only by repeating your name.
Flavor Flaaav! Flavor Flaaav!
I think I love you. I think I really might
mean it this time.
William. Can I call you William?
I should have asked 27 lines ago:
What have you become?
How you've lived saying nothing
save the same words each day
is a kind of freedom or beauty.
Please, tell me I'm not lying to us.
-from Maybe the Saddest Thing, selected by Guest Editor Phillip B. Williams
BIO: Marcus Wicker is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, The Missouri Review’s Miller Audio Prize, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem and The Fine Arts Work Center. His previous collection Maybe the Saddest Thing, a National Poetry Series winner, was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. Wicker’s poems have appeared in The Nation, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Oxford American, and Boston Review. His second book, Silencer, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017.