Once upon a midnight dreary, as I spit this weak and weary,
("Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary" is the first sentence in "The Raven", a famous poem written by Poe. Poe says he spits raps against King, even while he is weak and weary.)
I will choke this joker with a trochee till his cheeks are teary! (Ahh!)
(A trochee is defined as "a foot consisting of one long or stressed syllable followed by one short or unstressed syllable", and one of the most prominent examples of trochees is "The Raven", by Poe. Poe also uses trochees in his raps, specifically in his first two lines. In short, Poe will strangle King with raps in trochaic meter until he cries. Calling him a joker means that King's books are funny and over the top, not scary. It also insinuates that King has no chance, and it is a joke to come up against him.)
But y'all don't hear me! All should fear me!
(Poe shows off and says that anyone who crosses him should fear him. King seems to be ignoring the taunt.)
I'll forever be better; you'll never be near me. Your books are as eerie as Beverly Cleary!
(Poe says he will always be better than King and that King will never even get close to Poe's greatness. Beverly Cleary is an author of books for children and young adults. Poe insults King's ability to write scary stories by claiming King writes them for young children, which would mean they are not scary at all.)
You're a faux Bram Stoker, so scram, the show's over!
("Faux" is a French loanword that can mean false, fake, or phony, meaning that something is made to resemble the original item as closely as possible, but it is still not the real thing. Bram Stoker was an author known for his stories in the horror genre, including the novel, Dracula, one of the most famous horror stories in history. Poe claims that King just tries to copy Bram Stoker and then tells him to get out because the battle is already about to be over. Also, King has won The Bram Stoker Award before, which is an award for "superior achievement" in dark fantasy and horror writing.)
Your flow's so-so. Poe's poems pwn posers!
(Poe first says that King's flow is so-so, or just okay. He continues, saying that his poems beat the ones written by posers, or people who copy him, implying King is one of them. Poe uses alliteration for this line, or a series of words with the same sound at the beginning, and assonance, or the repeating of vowel sounds in a series of words.)
(Snap!) I wrote them locked in a cave, while I sobbed in a rage.
(Poe wrote most of his works when he was alone and in places that, for lack of a better phrase, would make a man think too much during times of great stress, which explains why he wrote them while sobbing in a rage. "Locked in a cave" refers to the plot of Poe's story, "The Cask of Amontillado", where a man traps another man inside a cellar in the catacombs.)
The Tell-Tale Heart beats soft in its grave, while this jerk just beats off on a page!
("The Tell-Tale Heart" is a story by Poe that tells of a murderer hearing the sound of his dead victim's heartbeat. Poe may be referring to himself in this line, declaring that even in his grave, he is a more passionate writer than King. Poe claims that King just masturbates and ejaculates in one of his own books to write. The word "jerk" has a double meaning: jerk could refer to an asshole, and to jerk [off] or beat off means to masturbate.)
(Talking shop means to discuss work, especially of a technical, jargon-filled nature. A fop is a man who is concerned with their clothes and appearance, and Poe's dark, gloomy, dreary style is seen as what a goth would wear.)
Go back to Hot Topic and shop for a top!
(Hot Topic is a clothing store that sells dark goth-like clothing. Poe's black outfit is considered quite a distinguishing piece of clothing. King tells Poe that the way he dresses is dark and Gothic.)
There's a melancholy alcoholic laughingstock
(Melancholy means moody and depressing. Poe had alcohol problems towards the end of his life and this was widely believed to be the cause of his death. A laughingstock is someone that everybody mocks, so King is calling Poe and his works laughable. In essence, he says Poe is a depressing and drunk idiot. He could also be pointing Poe out to a stock of clothing in Hot Topic as a continuation of the previous line.)
In the King's house; now watch the Castle Rock!
(Continuing from the previous line, Poe is on King's turf. Castle Rock was the fictional setting of some of his books, taken from the mountain fort in the famous William Golding novel, Lord of the Flies. Kings typically live in castles, so this is a pun on his own surname. King wants Poe to take notice as he raps, saying his rhymes will rock, or be better than Poe's.)
Pouty little poet with an opiate affliction!
(Pouting is when someone has a sulky facial expression. King implies Poe's fiction is whiny and sulky. Poe had problems with opiate narcotics, which people also believe may have been the cause of his death. An affliction is a problem or illness.)
I'm a workaholic with a fiction addiction!
(King has said he writes every day so could be considered a workaholic and having an addiction to producing fiction. He could also be comparing his addiction of writing to Poe's addiction of drugs and alcohol.)
I'm making dedicated readers shivery and jittery!
(King says that his books make the reader shake with fright and anticipation as well as saying that he has many die-hard fans that read his novels.)
Feel that Rage and Misery!
(King says that his books have many levels of emotion in them, as well as telling Poe that he should be feeling angry and glum because he is getting beaten by Stephen. Misery and Rage are also books by King. However, Rage was written under King's pseudonym, Richard Bachman.)
You better start Running, Man! You're in deep poo, Poe!
(Running Man is a novel written by King under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. He tells Poe to flee because he is "in deep shit", or trouble. This line also references a part in Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, a novella written by King where the main protagonist, Andy Dufresne, crawls through excrement. He also references the similarities in sound between poo and Poe.)
I'm a mad dog, fangs Shining; Cujo!
(The Shining was a novel by King which was turned into a film and properly established him as an author of the horror genre. Cujo was another Stephen King novel about a rabid dog. He says he is wild with shining fangs and will rip Poe apart like Cujo did to his victims.)
Tommyknock you down till you can't Stand up!
(The Tommyknockers and The Stand were other books by King. He makes a pun on the title of the books by saying he will knock Poe to the ground until he fails to get to his feet.)
You're as soft as Po, the Kung Fu Panda!
(Kung Fu Panda is a DreamWorks movie about a fat and mild-mannered panda who is chosen as "The Dragon Warrior" to fight off the main antagonist. Another pun on Poe's name, saying that his fiction is mild compared to King's thrillers. Pandas are also known for being soft and fluffy.)
Racks on racks 'cause I pen fat stacks of frightening writing; have you seen the pile?
(King brags about all the books that he has written with racks, probably referencing book store racks. He asks Poe whether he has seen all the novels of his.)
I can even take a break from my routine style!
(King says that while he is a horror writer, he can show diversity in his work and make novels with alternate genres.)
Crank out a Shawshank or a Green Mile!
(Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile are stories by King that have been adapted to film. The Shawshank Redemption is considered by many audiences to be one of the greatest films of all time; likewise, the film adaptation for The Green Mile received positive reviews from critics, and both of the movies were nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Unlike the majority of King's novels, the two books are not a part of the horror genre. King says that he can take breaks from his regular raps and make a new style, which can even become more popular than his original style in the same way these stories have become well-received despite having no horror elements.)
Masque of the Red Death? Barely blood curdling.
("The Masque of the Red Death" was a short story by Poe in which a strange creature who appears to be a victim of a new plague kills the main protagonist and the other supporting characters. King says it barely curdles his blood, making it not too frightening. It also references the nature of the plague in the story, which causes the diseased to bleed through their pores. Interestingly enough, King's novel The Shining contains a plot device that references "The Masque of the Red Death" whereby "and the red death held sway over all" (the final sentence of the story) and cries of "Unmask! Unmask!" crop up infrequently during the protagonists' visions and dreams, referencing the tale.)
Pit and the Pendulum? Not even unnerving.
("The Pit and the Pendulum" was another short story by Poe, which describes a narrator's experience of being tortured during the Spanish Inquisition. King claims it doesn't have much suspense in it. This may also allude to the fact that the story actually has a "happy ending" where the narrator is saved from the Inquisition's traps at the last minute in a deus ex machina, thus arguably negating the terror leading up to that moment.)
Perving on your first cousin when she's thirteen years old? Now, that's disturbing!
(At the age of 27, Poe married Virginia Clemm, his first cousin, who was thirteen years old at the time. After King says two of Poe's stories aren't frightening, he says that the only thing that's actually disturbing about Poe is how he married such a young member of the family.)
Edgar Allan Poe:
Stephen, you pretend to do it.
(Poe states that King doesn't actually know what it's like to live through difficulty, which he follows up on in the next line.)
I've been really living through it: misery and poverty and family woes!
(Poe makes the point that he has actually lived through extremely harsh trials in his life, meaning that his issues reflect in the quality of his work, unlike King. He is said to have suffered much throughout his life, as Poe was generally miserable and depressed, and he was rarely paid a living wage for any of the jobs he took on. He also had a history of issues with family; his adoptive father disowned him, his brother died, his cousin was consumed by TB, and he had poor relations with most of the women in his life. King's novel Misery is once again named.)
I see through you like pantyhose, doing Chappelle and Simpsons cameos! (Ahh!)
(An insult towards King for being "fake" (as stated in the first stanza). Poe isn't fooled by what he sees as King's façade, for it is as thin and as transparent as a woman's stockings are. A spoof of King's The Shining was featured in a Halloween episode of The Simpsons (in which Poe's "The Raven" also took part in an earlier season). This could also be a reference on how King's Under the Dome is very similar to The Simpsons Movie. King also had a guest role in the seventh overall episode of Chappelle's Show,as well as in the Simpsons episode "Insane Clown Poppy", the third episode of the show's twelfth season.)
Even if you're gripping on a weapon, then you better get to stepping if you're messing with the horror lord!
(Poe states that even if King had a physical weapon to use against Poe, he would still need to put forth an extreme amount of effort to defeat him at his own genre of terror, and Poe is known to be the lord of horror.)
In a minute maybe, I'mma hit him, cut him into itty-bitty bits, and I'mma stick em in the floorboards!
(This is another reference to "The Tell-Tale Heart" where a man murders someone and hides him under the floorboards. It was written through a first-person perspective, which can be interpreted as if Poe was actually the man who murders within the story. Poe says he'll quickly slice-and-dice King and throw the pieces under the floor.)
*sigh* Speaking of bored, you're the worst!
(Referring to the floorboard line, King uses wordplay to demonstrate how boring and poorly written Poe's works are. It also works with the next lines as Poe dropped out of boarding school.)
Dropped out of school but you can't drop a verse!
(In 1820, Poe attended the University of Virginia, but had to leave school due to gambling debts. King says that, although Poe can drop out of school, he can't drop, or rap, a good verse.)
I could have spent that time better.
(King thinks rapping against Poe was a waste of his time and he could have spent the time in a better way, which he'll explain in his following line.)
In eight bars, I can write a whole best seller!
(King's second verse consists of eight lines or bars. Many of the books which King wrote became best-sellers and King is considered one of the best-selling authors in the world. He says that instead of using these eight lines for battling Poe, which he said was a waste of his time, he could have used them to write a whole best-seller in just eight sentences, since he is so good at writing them. It can also mean that the raps King brings within his second verse is also a best-seller, or written in such a way it is positively regarded. A popular joke about King is that he manages to write stories very quickly, and some believe he can write a novel in seconds.)
I'm so prolific! This sickly goblin won't be bothering me! I'm on a clobbering spree,
(King says that he shouldn't be scared by Poe because he has so many books published. He calls Poe a sickly goblin, known for being a popular horror creature, subtly mentioning that Poe's appearance is scarier than his stories. King also states that his greatness as a writer puts him on a roll that can't be stopped when it comes to beating Poe. Once again, Poe is no match for him as he has stated in prior lines.)
And I'll be smacking you with any of the big thick books in my big dick bibliography!
(King has written many books, with his bibliography being his full list of them. Dick is a nickname for Richard, so King's big dick bibliography is a list of his books under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. He may also be mentioning how he writes full and lengthy stories while Poe wrote many short tales. Therefore, King states two things: his genitals are large like his bibliography, and he will slap Poe with any book he wrote because they are known to be big and thick, causing more pain than being hit by a regular-sized book.)
See, I'm the author with the blood and gore lore galore that'll horrify a reader to the core!
(King is often titled "The King of Horror", as he makes a galore, or a lot, of horrifying fictional stories. Many of these stories are so chilling that they terrify the reader.)
Fame? Money? Talent? Success? You'll always have less, never more!
(King lists several things he has a lot of in contrast to Poe always having less of these things. King is much more well-known than Poe in modern literature; King is a multimillionaire, whereas Poe died penniless; King brags about the diversity in his literature; finally, King is much more successful he is than Poe, not to mention that King has been writing longer than Poe. Also, in Poe's "The Raven", the term "nevermore" was the raven's response to the main protagonist's comments. This parallels Poe's first line, as the battle begins and ends with the poem's opening and closing quotes, respectively. Here, King uses it to say Poe will never have more compared to him.)