Two Poems by Marcus Wicker

BOMB 157 Fall 2021
The cover of BOMB 157, Summer 2021 features a photograph of a woman screaming against a hot pink background.
Marcus Wicker Mockup

INTP ENFP INFJ WTF, Mate. Please/Don’t @ Me.

I am intimately acquainted with the shut mouth

     of a mailbox, interminable heat, black needle

beak of the hermit thrush scrambling a millipede raw

     in the parched stone birdbath. No matter.

I know sugar maple & crab apple, hornbeam & fringe

     tree. Though, more acorn, privet—more HD row

of crimson leafery hemming my privacy fence. More so

     the quiet walk back to the couch than the moment

I glimpse my neighbor, & the moment he ponders big-

     nodding or waving me in. We consider

a happy medium. Strain our voices, jubilant! Over-

     exert them with lazy platitudes, Herculean 

Mm-hmms. Anything, to avoid a knowable distance.  


To give of myself, freely, what can be

     mustered. To be received as a birthstone, 

zodiac—without fear, of injury, judgement—

     is all I want. Cancer-Pisces on the cusp

of serious Aquemini energy, I enjoy a cheeky candor

     with any audience prepared to welcome me.

The way beer with buddies tastes better after

     a considerable absence, I admire

the ocean but fret its leviathan gulp—

     the interrogation bulb’s seasick sway, inside

a shipwrecked abdomen. I love love. The buoy-

     ancy, boundlessness. I like to be touched

while wearing a seaweed face masque. Hey, add me 

     to your group chat! I’ll bounce

in & out of threads, leave you “on read”

     while I’m low-key missing you, missing 

you missing me, mistiming 

     the moment, mistaking the beach

for an ocean, widening between us.

ATLien Considers Neighborliness as a Conditional Concept

Judge Lets Derek Chauvin, Ex-Cop Charged in George Floyd’s Death, Live Out of State After Posting Bond

—Steve Karnowski, Associated Press

If only in the beginning someone said    i wish us both to do more than survive

If only i began i’m no i-    sland    peninsula maybe    or you & me—that’s an oasis 

If cruise ship vouchers 

If international time share markets    predated the middle passage

If forever-ever the lighthouse    unlatched    illuminating north-south 

If compass doors guarded in    toward a soul &    lashed at an id: the fuck out! 

If the British docked for democracy   offloaded ballot boxes    back in Boston  


If in the beginning    said someone    my fig peels are your tea leaves

they’d never have to suffer    honey whiskey    industry-    mixers    general

awkwardness    at the water cooler municipal building house senate judiciary

They’d extend voting rights    to felons    sun people & immigrants    because

it’s obvious    Ancient    as my neighbor next door    knocking to borrow

hot sauce    Man would rather live w/    than w/o    & if they like fish & grits

& all that pimp shit    they’d consider    the priceless comfort of    breath    

Marcus Wicker is the author of Silencer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017) and Maybe the Saddest Thing, selected by D. A. Powell for the National Poetry Series. A 2021 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow, he is Poetry Editor of Southern Indiana Review, and an Associate Professor of English at the University of Memphis where he teaches in the MFA program.

Originally published in

BOMB 157, Fall 2021

Our Fall 2021 issue features interviews with Rabih Alameddine, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Suzanne Jackson, Candice Lin, Kevin Morby, Naudline Pierre, and Diane Williams; an essay from Hafizah Geter; short stories from Akil Kumarasamy, Harris Lahti, Holly Melgard, Edward Salem (winner of BOMB’s 2021 Fiction Contest), Adrian Van Young, and Diane Williams; a comic from Ricardo Cavolo; nonfiction from Hugh Ryan; poetry from John Keene and Marcus Wicker; a portfolio by Manthia Diawara; and Nam Le’s newly hand-annotated interview from 2009.

Read the issue
The cover of BOMB 157, Summer 2021 features a photograph of a woman screaming against a hot pink background.