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Mark Russell


kid will marry young and be entertained


Night and day are so alike
               tea and cake ease the grief

seething with ideas    maids will
without blood        without pestilence
hear subjects        cured by rapidity    
                                        and praise
                                        at the speed-healing pageant

statues of wooing cannot be moved
not for donkey’s     or several intimacies

Folly straightens
        folly loathes

ample dwellings        
                              the word for fool
                                             with piglets

Sure, I thought that I was pure holy law
when they lived here          when they lived with us
when they lived and served and sickened

when I became mother        
               brought the entertainment kit        
bridesmaids                      best men
Kira the striptease artist              Lil
               Radiator Duke                      his son Max
               Heart Mary who never answers Yes
Hans and Skoda       Cha Da (promoting living expenses)
Fetid Glory                      Rub of Opinion
                              Private Dayglo    

I can score one        I can store one

they stumble in        custom designed    


                              in suspense



surfing in malay


On his holiday, Kid saw water birds
in the painted cloth, saw how everything hung
when he wasn’t looking somewhere beyond.

The report claimed he lost her. 
It is complicated. A weird-song.
She brought undulations to the land.

He collected limestone fragments,  
sketched the brilliant beaches, wrote in his diary
about her humiliating career, its gaps, its pleasures.

She once told him to beware such relief, 
that malice and wedlock are not to be indulged.
‘Water is light and calm,’ she wrote. ‘Is quietly beating.’

Before they drove him to the airport,
Kid told them they should question the hood and the veil, 
their soft subterfuge, their stakes in the swamp.



Kid Lost Consciousness and was Ill-defined by Moonlight


I am willing under most circumstances
to be brought to the point of citrus pleasure and rejoicing, 
more so when the season’s futile desire
is pledged to pummel its rhythms
on an alter of youth and fecund horsepower.

I can be persuaded to lie with swine
when the eulogies are over, when the ashes have cooled;
to reserve fishing trips with the soft-bodied beetles,
luminous in abdomen, squishy parlour-maids
of sylphs and badass lamentations.

But if I overhear the ripened berries
discharge their solemn oaths in the mystery-patch
I will buckle with puberty and pale broth, 
and bury the proof in the Doom Bar.





Mark Russell has published ℵ (book of moose) (Kattywompus Press), ا (the book of seals) (Red Ceilings), Saturday Morning Pictures (Red Ceilings), Pursued by Well-being (tall-lighthouse), and Spearmint & Rescue (Pindrop Press). He lives in a forest on a hill in the Scottish Highlands.