Superfast Expensive Small Things & Other Poems

John Franklin Dandridge

A Scream

Expressions on a doorknob. 
Fright from some unholy ghost.
Scarf falling ever so carefully to the floor.
There hasn’t been a fight at a high school dance
since a Wolf slashed an All-Star’s shirt
and the principal pissed his pants.
Now, lights are left on at high school dances. Government-
issued spies are hired as chaperones.
If they didn’t get so political about the ribs dipped
in paper shirts, some would’ve been saved from
getting stuck in the pavement.
Angelic specks of dust after the dirt bomb burst.
So many cameras and guns,
but who’s left to talk to besides
a sonofabitch’s grandmotherfucker.
Go brag about that on a magazine cover
as your daughter pulls her
mini skirt from the ads.
It’s nonbelieving season and there’s no innocent
bystanders in hell.
Heaven has shopping malls, a star kitchen,
a cleanup lady who’s been using the same mop
since the first caveman was shot.
One chance remains for whoever finds the foetus
hidden in a satellite.
But who is going to want to touch it?
Who has Frankenstein’s fingers?
Quiet. I heard a mouth open.
Wince if you hear a scream.

Superfast Expensive Small Things

An egg drops from outer space into a sea
of unborn babies. After sex magic, a philosophical
zombie becomes half man/half plant.
Another orphan of the universe.
Pandoral expressions about-face. Adopted
by a witch on welfare who needs a bum’s harmonica
to complete her spell.
Actors auditioning for death cheer in proletariat celebration,
then gotten rid of the same way insects are infected with disease.
Replaced by baby robots. They’re not alive, just kept fresh
while walking computers create
crossword puzzles for clones.
Cheap ones get flogged. Go worry about that somewhere else.
It’s already tomorrow outside. Fried daylight. One hundred
rusty guillotines waiting for heads
of state, who’ll loot but not pillage – who put
please in (  )’s.
No provisions for the weekend. And everybody whose
continent-country has to share sins, shovel dragon shit.
That’s what happens when the joke is played on the jester.

Chores for the Body

Royal Numbers are sanitary, 
only calculated by known bodies 
with an omniscient touch.
They give them
to their daughters and sons
who are poised for supreme reflection.
Seen in the mirror, but not in the room.
They’ve been banished to a dream.
Awake by vibration.
They’ve become their own toys.

Now, everybody out of the bathtub!
We’re having celebrities for dinner,
a president for dessert.
It only hurts if you forget to chew.
Make sure no one tells the neighbours.
Those lonely butchers won’t leave the table
until there’s no breakfast left.
Let them feed on their infant witches.
That smell will last forever in their kitchen.

John Franklin Dandridge received his MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. His chapbook, Further Down Rd., was published by Fast Geek Press. He has poems published in past issues of Callaloo Journal, Rigorous Journal, New Reader Magazine, Albany Poets, Court Green, and Former People. Franklin lives and writes near the North Pond in Chicago, where he also plays electronic music in the band Screamship under the name Wolfgang Gillette.

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