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2 poems by Mark Waldron

The Culling

They let the poets loose

close by Walla Brook

a joyless spot

on the windswept joyless moor

They’re given a head start

and they scatter out in every direction

searching hopelessly

for some kind of cover

as we fly up from Plymouth

And then we shoot them with hunting guns

from our little swarm of choppers

Every dead poet’s worth the same amount

in cash reward

though bagging a lauded one

earns more prestige

and might even garner a grin

and high-five from your pilot

(They make slow and easy targets

the important ones

being plump on cheap illustriousness)

We go for a clean kill each time

not wanting to have our quarry splutter

flowery last words into the boggy ground

or blubbing

cry-baby heartfelt last words

or worse still

something abstruse and urgent

No a nice spicy head-shot is certainly preferred

as they swerve and duck

across the gaping wide terrain

A little pink bloom in the air

bursts like a sunset cloud

where the side of a head had been

O happy blossoming

Yes I was a poet too before I was a hunter

The Goldilocks Zone

I don’t even like my own taste in anything

my petty predilections

I hate what I like

the fever that comes off it

the inveigling smooch






I hate these things that I like

They promenade with us and the sunshine and the others

who orbit

like planets with their various atmospheres and their surfaces

and their hot and icy regions

and their tell-tale revolutions

These things I like: this this and also this

and this and this and this

They smell so smug and so dewy because I like them I like them all over

all the way round to the other side

I put them in my mouth

and suck them

I have one here now on my tongue

You can touch it

Oh pardon me

It’s you


Mark Waldron’s fourth collection, 'Sweet, like Rinky-Dink' was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2019. He was selected as a Next Generation Poet by the Poetry Book Society in 2014.


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