Robert Laidler

The King Killer in Newspapers Ads

We are looking for:

old or sad hater of everything young
shoots a hammer to stake some shins into
the ground. it won’t be long before nature
takes over, these kind can hide in the trees
hoping for fingerprints on the hammer
maybe bring nails and knee pads equipped with
a knife. bring unwatchable videos
bring treachery and aneurism, bring
n-word—do not bring rams or ghillie suits
bring fire and one of his fathers, wick
will settle for bent spine horseback riders
or sheet metal swords that wobble pitchy
high wobbles like whistle echoes on train
cars past fields of young men playing I spy.

We are still looking for:

old or sad hater of everything molten
starting group of book readers to burn books
will meet on every days, like optimum
level of success—death is knocking.
membership fee is book. book is when
they lie to earth, or earth lies on its flat
face like hell is a forever ground and how
horizon doesn’t end. hate is too easy to say.
hate is too easy to plant into young growing
soil. book is when fog covers the tops of
trees, and saturates them like honey over a
wound caused because old found a match.
we can’t lie, the old man kills the young man
for being curious.

Motive found:

old or sad reader of good article for the people
who can read good about what cannot be smart,
found eyes in his window and shot the glass out
the seal. came outside after to keep shooting into
the ground. still no motive. boy’s body found,
boys found body. never been to body before,
visibly shaken. old hater flee the country by now.
found out the country flags fleeing. old hater
probably dead by now. all registered guns still
shelved except ground splitter. too old to rope
or dope. too far from bridge to fly. too many
witnesses at shore. justice still needed for closure.
funeral home unable to close wounds. sea
shell found near ear. boy did not hear the ocean.

Suspect in custody:

I need new window glass. or glass cups cut into
the shape of glasses. found cracked up on
something dead didn’t wipe blood off shirt.
a missing milk carton not necessary. we found
him. old or sad hater of everything going
places. here is a word: dolmen. here is a harp
to play in celebration. he want to paint again
I want to try again. old or sad hatter of every
head with taxidermy style. I know I am better
than this, he quoted the greats. innocent until
proven hammerer. I shot because I didn’t know.
stains still on shirt he was found in. mourners
dance in street with the candles. teddy bears maul
poles. there is no other way to see things.

Robert Laidler, Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Wayne State Department of English, is the author of a poetic libretto, The Fallen Petals of Nameless Flowers, which premiered at Chamber Music Detroit in 2022. He earned his MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan, where he is currently a Zell Fellow.

Read next: Poetry by Brenda Coultas

Founded in 2020, Three Fold is an independent quarterly based in Detroit that presents exploratory points of view on arts, culture, and society in addition to original works in various media, including visual art, literature, film and the performing arts. We solicit and commission contributions from artists, writers, and activists around the world. Three Fold is a publication of Trinosophes Projects, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Three Fold recognizes, supports, and advocates for the sovereignty of Michigan's twelve federally-recognized Indian nations, for historic Indigenous communities in Michigan, for Indigenous individuals and communities who live here now, and for those who were forcibly removed from their Homelands. We operate on occupied territories called Waawiiyaataanong, named by the Anishinaabeg and including the Three Fires Confederacy of Ojibwe (Chippewa), Odawa (Ottawa), and Bodewatomi (Potawatomi) peoples. We hold to commit to Indigenous communities in Waawiiyaataanong, their elders, both past and present, and future generations.