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Wicker , Marcus

Marcus Freddie Wicker

Years: 2008, 2010


Marcus Wicker’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in jubilat, Crab Orchard Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Harpur Palate, Rattle, Ninth Letter, Sou’Wester, Mythium, DIAGRAM, and cream city review, among other journals. He is an Ann Arbor, Michigan native who holds an MFA from Indiana University. Marcus is also a 2010-2011 Fine Arts Work Center Fellow.


Love Letter to Flavor Flav


            We know we are beautiful. And ugly too.

            —Langston Hughes    


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?

Or Vaudeville?

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 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.


Published at the Missouri Review Online