Marcus Wicker

Marcus Wicker is the author of Maybe the Saddest Thing (Harper Perennial), a National Poetry Series winner. His awards include a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, Pushcart Prize, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem and The Fine Arts Work Center. Wicker’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Nation, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Oxford American, and Boston Review, among other magazines. He currently serves as poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review.



Ars Poetica Battle Rhyme for Really Wannabe-Somebodies

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX“I’m not here to make friends!”


This is for my Liz Taylor-
Literati. Gaudy darlings
ear hustling your way into &
through ill-lit poet soirees
all kinds of illegitimate like,
You heard who’s a sure thing
for which distinguished
fellowship? The one with the
(not so) super secretive
selection panel, & one percenter
endowment? & who was it
who spotted Mark So & So
canoodling with DB Wong
last AWP, over extra wet
martinis, top shelf, twelfth floor
of the Hyatt Regency? I see you
checking your Rolodexes—
Feckless. Y’all some young-
actin’ Eddie Murphys to me:
too good at doing impressions
for comfort. Must have fell asleep
dreaming of feature readings
& never woke up. Ol’ really wannabe-
ass somebodies. Go sit down
somewhere & shed. Quit
stalling, squawking
like a sucker & open up.
Come off it, cousin.
Think your favorite, famous
so & so never feared what he
couldn’t yet do? Hmpf— think
you’re the first fool with a laptop
to ever arrive at a blank screen
& ask, is this enough?


Share This Post!