One dead body in

a room full of dolls.

A spider plays

housekeeper. A spider

auditions for spouse. Crickets get

jealous, crawl corners, wonders why

mice violence.


Clocks curse. Second

hand wants to say

something like:


but it just ticks. Sick because

there used

to be time, till someone

telled an inside joke.


Machine hide blueprint?

Now there’s only room

for distraction. And distinction.


Enter thin king.

Stand on a knife; sit night,

carve stars to feed—

lucidicious—tongue tasting

drip, so sour hot.


Numb numbers, twitching digits.

Pocket flares, pleased to dig it.

Stealing beach one grain of sand

at a time. Some stuck

in the camera. Left over

ounce of disease.




Pace the foyer with face

in elevator. How did large

talk turn so loud,

uninteresting, starting from what the shirt

said to the pants:

don’t wear me if you can’t keep up with my colours.


Ours later. Fall is unforgiving. Egonic, fleshed




auction of power


More losers than winners,

more or less.

Oil castles drilling and pulling

against the veins of nature.

Everyone wonders

if a bird flew over the ocean.

Or was it a plane,

or a super villain.

Magnets haul power plates underwater,

hurry games—shake wicked sticks of lightning.

Better safe up your suit.

Find something else to die about.

No tears near the water.

And keep your kids off the alligators.

Wrench off the dirt.

Pull out a stack of batteries.

Flattery feeds on envy, sucker up,

stickers across a kitchen, little room to bathe.

These fools need a new stage to masquerade,

a sea of cold blue feces.

Put your hands on this nice-to-invent-you bible.

It’s bulleted with electric words.

There are sensors beneath its leather bound,

that’ll shock through your fingers if you lie.

Stings, Velcro at the end of whips,

sun rinds on your lips.

Birthday flakes and all you get is a short allowance.



John Franklin Dandridge received his M.F.A. in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. His chapbook of poems, Further Down Rd., was published in 2010 by Fast Geek Press. He has poems published in past or upcoming issues of Callaloo Journal, Cerurove, 12 Point Collective and Former People. Franklin lives and writes near the North Pond in Chicago.


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