Self-published and Small Press Books

If It Comes To That

If It Comes To That


Marc Frazier

Author Bio

Marc Frazier has published poetry in well over a hundred literary journals and is listed in Poets & Writers Directory of Writers. His poetry has appeared in The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Slant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, Ascent, The Tampa Review and Poet Lore to name a few. He was included in New Poetry from the Midwest (New American Press). Marc, the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and two “best of the nets.” He has studied with some big names in contemporary American poetry and has had writing residencies at Vermont Studio Center and The Ragdale Foundation. Marc has gone on to continually publish poetry/prose poems, essays, flash fiction pieces, book reviews, and memoir, particularly in online literary journals. His fourth full-length collection of poetry was published by Kelsay Books in September 2023. All of his books are available on Amazon. He is grateful for the many years he workshopped writing with NewTown Writers, the longest, continuously running LGBTQ workshop in the Midwest if not the country. Marc, a Chicago-area, LGBTQ writer, transplanted to Fort Lauderdale, is active on social media, particularly on his Marc Frazier Author page on Facebook, mcfj24 on Instagram, @marcfrazier45 on Twitter, and website


If It Comes To That Book Synopsis If It Comes to That explores an individual’s search for identity within and without the bonds of a relationship. It covers subjects of every kind from the environment and disappeared children to the Boston bomber and a gathering of siblings after family members’ deaths. It is centered on the many manifestations of “narrative” and the relativity of “truth.” For it is always, it seems, a story we are telling no matter the type of poetry. Vivid images are crucial to the poetry, as well as the strangeness and beauty of the natural world and the universe itself. The book riffs off of famous artists, writers, movies, paintings and is not in the confessional mode overall. If It Comes to That considers what we are prepared for in our honest moments when anything is possible: How ready are we for the unexpected “if it comes to that?” This book strives for an empathy with others amid the struggle to accept and love ourselves as we are. The book not only touches on personal history but contains evocative poems based on other art such as films and paintings. It contains poems about the films Indochine and The Sheltering Sky and includes a duet of poems about the artists Kahlo and Rivera. It also reacts to paintings by various artists including Edward Hopper and George Romney. Myth is explored through interpretations of Cupid and Psyche and Demeter and Persephone. The book challenges accepted classics such as “Ode on a Grecian Urn” and includes a subversive version of that poem as part of the history of British colonialism and its looting of classical artifacts to be displayed in their museums. There are two erasure poems: one about an article titled, “Bulletproof Blankets for Kids” related to school shootings and one taken from Boston bomber Tsarnaev’s statement scribbled inside a boat riddled with bullet holes and streaks of blood. If It Comes To That explores how we are connected to those who inspire us as artists, how the past both historical and personal affects us irrevocably, and how we are tied with the natural world. As one of my blurb writers puts it, “Frazier creates a second world of dramatized human experience by weaving personal history with artistic ancestry (John McCarthy).”

Book excerpt

Now —All the new thinking is about loss. In this it resembles all the old thinking… (Robert Hass) You put ax to wood with angry thrusts: an arsonist without something to burn. If only we knew how to manage what we have: that impatience waiting for water to boil. Why can’t we just sit out front toothless and drink moonshine from jars And be happy for once? Why can’t we use apologies with the rattler removed? A fabulist run out of tales is the new version of us. The old version crackled with exquisite detail: emerald, brocade, blue flame, comet. We need tinder for a slow taking off— none of the crackling abandon of skin burning fire, my tongue on your sweaty nipples an epilogue after all the most important words have been used. Are we without light: black stones, black clouds? These are things I still marvel at: How marble and immortality go together in an artist’s eye How medievalists believed in the signature of all things— God’s imprint on every natural object Birthing mares relieving their newborns hooves first The flow of tango steps that appear unpracticed Balm of crushed leaves and herbs on wounds. Hummingbird, harbor, groundwater, dune. Rivera There: the infant in the bulb of a plant warmed by earth: a life born to flower. Oversized women nestle lilies, anything: the cradle of their fleshy arms a womb. A man’s privilege: the macho gesture of posing mistresses for posterity. How much he bends to his will as he takes the gringo dollar: bold claims: indigenous and communal man: stock images on public spaces. In the end a self-portrait of time’s wasting an old man’s face: cliché on canvas. For whom does the artist speak? Who is who they claim to be? Nova Scotia The only museum worth seeing is the Maritime Museum in Halifax. There is nothing false or practiced about anything in it and they don’t have a gift shop. They have pieces of ships (such as a figurehead or cannon), items associated with shipping like uniforms with buttons that really make a statement. I sat through the video in the small dark room three times because I could and no one would ask why or tell me to move on, you’ve looked at this painting long enough. The most famous museums are the worst. Just monuments to empire showing off how much that culture accumulated no matter who they stole from. The “Masters,” people say as if we should all genuflect and make the sign of the cross. The Maritime Museum is real and when you walk back onto the streets of Halifax that all lead down to the sea tasting the salty air you know sailors love their lives, and the loneliness inside you is deeper than the sea. Mother of IRA Leader Tries to Bury her Son My feet don’t fail me. Morning, we start again, casket raised above the crowd. We push forward, troops drive us back. I want a place for him to finally die. Each evening my hands pray, tomorrow. They shout a hero’s chants as I reach for the hard shell that holds him. I want to kneel at his grave and forgive no one. They claim him for themselves, but I loved him before reason.

Genre Poetry
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