Marcus Amaker

Author archive

Frances & Betty & Cicely & the Others

(a poem about Miles Davis) As if the ability to blow into a horn is more important than the ego balloon it took to suck the air out of a woman’s voice. As if Sketches of Spain is anything but a masterpiece. As if calling yourself “the prince of darkness” is something to be proud […]

The America I Know Could Use a Good Cry

I met America at a neighborhood bar. He offered me a shot of rum and I reminded him that Captain Morgan was a slave owner, so the bartender awkwardly slipped another liquid lie down my throat. I ordered another drink and was channeled by dark spirits. The courage of black ghosts who haunt American dreams. […]

When I’m at Home, I Watch Star Wars. When I Watch Star Wars, I Write Haikus About War, Violence, and Memory.

Episode 1 Battle droid theory: Turn war into fetish, make army of robots. Episode 2 Soldiers are now slaves in galaxies of mass graves, programmed for violence. Episode 3 Fear is mutation, soul transformation and sin when man starts to kill. Episode 4 The family back home: Echoes and faint memories of life before war. […]

What It’s Like to Walk Under Shadows

written with Asiah Mae. Commissioned by Mayor John J. Tecklenburg for the removal of the Calhoun monument in Charleston, SC. I. There is a shadow that no one talks about We allow it to reside among us in our supermarkets In our schools At festivals where willing ignorant laughter topples over the chatter of my […]

20 ’til Infinity

New book: The Birth of All Things

Hey everyone! My latest poetry book is The Birth of All Things, available now. Click here to get your signed copy, or order a copy from Barnes & Noble.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps,”

they say. As if sleeping is a switch easily turned on. Especially when all of your mind’s power is being used for the electricity of fatherhood. Especially when you know that a dad could be a God, but you are a feminist. Especially when your daughter’s breathing could brush the quiet off of a cloud, […]

Retelling and the remembering

composed for the Anderson Slave Dwelling Preservation Fund Black spirits can not be absent from anything. Especially in South Carolina, where every open, abandoned space holds a family’s erased echo, and racism is embedded in every memory. We, the living, have the privilege of being restful ghosts. We haunt material things, and hold our history […]

Hope is in the listening

2020 Charleston Mayoral Inauguration poem. Read about it here. City as sorcerer and storyteller, sharp-eyed observant, holy grandmother. She’s survived 350 years because the longevity of the Lowcountry requires a special kind of magic. Today, we are witnesses to that witchcraft. Citizens of its charm. Today, she is the voice connecting her family: The tourist […]


When will I stop seeing tired eyes after waking up next to mirrors? Why do I call the cracks on my face fault lines? How does the earth hold so much weight, so much anxiousness? When will I stop messing with my hair? When will I break free from vanity’s repetition: Look for natural light. […]