told us he was a
superhero when we
asked about the backwards
question mark tattooed
over his heart. And
we believed him,
even though people
portrayed him as a villain.
the secret disease
What began as a joke on Ohio,
became an argument over an old
fashioned Texas bet. California called
‘heads’, New Jersey ‘tails’, and Nevada
split the difference until Mississippi got its hands
on it. The Dakotas ate dinner together while watching
a fight: Alabama vs. Utah. And the winner won a date
with Connecticut and her cousin from Arkansas.
The loser was sent to a Virginia prison. Meanwhile,
Montana had a field day with the shit it found in Florida.
Half was on its way to Rhode Island, a quarter to New
Mexico—but Iowa called Illinois—who filled
Michigan in and whispered something to Tennessee.
This got the Carolina sisters into a holy uproar, so they sent
to New Hampshire for back-up. D.C. said no treaty would be signed
until it got a piece of the pie. New York knew what was going on, but played
along, told Minnesota to stop asking Colorado questions. Arizona got scared,
played it safe on the side that was both anti-abortion and pro-death
penalty. Missouri sang songs as bombs flew from Alaska
to Maine. Hawaii kept its mouth closed, as well
as Massachusetts, so no one knew who shot down
Pennsylvania’s plane. That’s when England got involved,
all hell-bent on revenge. And on came Europe, Asia, then Pluto.
the Winter Speeches
We ate this city,
dined on high rises
gobbled every last avenue—
slurped down slums.
And after chewing up
all the road signs (billboards),
we pointed our forks towards the parks,
then cleaned our teeth with whatever trees were left.
Yet our enemies would have their spring.
Sound asleep in a cave for so long,
billions of humans in our abdomens,
they repaved the way with cobblestones,
drove their carriages over our fattened faces.
And buried us inside black/white TV sets.
You would’ve thought we learned our lesson
when we made breaking hearts illegal.
But once what was considered regal
could no longer deceive the new species
who made space stations of our eyeballs.
John Franklin Dandridge received his MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. His chapbook, Further Down Road, was published in 2010 by Fast Geek Press. Franklin also leads Screamship, an avant garde electronic music band, and he lives and writes near the North Pond in Chicago.