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2 poems by Mark Waldron

King in the Hole

once upon a hotchpotch crime scene

before the new law

had sucked the lippy off each of our written histories

a king lived in a hole for to live there

(a witch put him on to it

she stole his capacity to know better

toad-turning that capacity

and then squeezing a beautifudge son from that toad)

(there was something small though pivotal amiss with the lad

as there always will be with a trick-made child)

The spelled woods marched round the king’s hole in ever circles

stomp stomp stomp stomp

the flicky leaves shook cretinous with each stomp

stomp stomp

This foolishness of the trees stuck in the king’s sophisticated craw

as the vile witch had guessed it would

Each circle of trees marched round the opposite way to the next

so that viewed from above

the whole obnoxious pageant looked like a busby berkeley dance routine

with all that that implies

Round and round they went

Round and round the furious axel of king in his hubcap crown

as the beautiful son

(some way off)

discovered bit by ticklish bit that which was awry and furious

Manning says

Mine and Marcie’s private parts,

they have more in common with each other

than they do with us.

They’d be so happy together down in the

woods, throwing pinecones, sniffing the wildflowers,

hiding behind the big trees, jumping out and laughing,

playing tag,

scenting the summer air with cute effervescence.

Then out in the big field

that leans down toward the brook

they’d picnic on cucumber sandwiches washed down

with ginger beer.

I can see them now as they lie back and watch

the drifting clouds without a thought in their minds

because they have no minds to speak of.

Hand in hand down by the lake they’d walk

wordlessly, smoking French cigarettes,

or sucking the boiled sweets

they sometimes share, and stiffening a little in the warm breeze.

There’s nothing but grit and sunshine

and that delicious hopelessness that makes a privy p to smile.


Mark Waldron has published four poetry collections, his most recent, Sweet, like Rinky-Dink, with Bloodaxe Books in 2019. He was named a Next Generation Poet by the Poetry Book Society in 2014.


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