Thursday, June 23, 2016


Sure, my father knew all the Mings --
The Marvellous, the Meritless,
The Mucilaginous, the  Miraculous,
(And, for a few months, dated
Their sister, Lucy Ellen Ming)
But the Merciless was most his friend.
Ming retired some years back
As emperor of the planet Mongo.
He was tired, he said, of being resurrected
"I've lost count of how many times
Flash Gordon killed me; I think Dr. Zarkov
Killed me at least five times. Dale Arden
Pushed me into a volcano while I was proposing.
Even Prince Valiant, in a time- travel arc we did
In the Spring and Summer of 1941
Ran me through with a sword. Enough is enough."
I occasionally find stories my father
Wrote for his young grandchildren
Ming the Merciless appears in some of them
He is a beggar with a talking dog;
He is an absent-minded magician;
He is a reflection who has lost his mirror.
Always he is my father's friend.
I know I should root for Flash Gordon
But it would feel so disloyal.

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