Real Monsters

In Forbidden Planet, the monster
Was Walter Pidgeon's Freudian id,
A less-eloquent Prospero bent
On attacking those space sailors who'd
Take his daughter back to Earth. It was
Invisible, as the scariest
Monsters sometimes are. My beloved
Is mine as rooms are empty, Auden
Might have written but didn't. The worst
Monsters take the form of absence. In
Fritz Lang's M, the child's ball rolls away,
Each black-and-white bounce more horrible
Than the last. By contrast, Frankenstein's
Creature is touchingly innocent.
Fleeing from his own ugliness, he
Accidentally commits his crimes.
He inspires pity but also, like
His creator, we wish him elsewhere.
Real monsters are deliberately
Evil, whether dressed as white-faced clowns
Or smiling presidents with cufflinks
And cologne – or perhaps appearing
As normal folks, not too young or old,
The man who trims his hedge on weekends,
The wife with chocolate chip cookies,
Photographed in front of a garage,
Waving to the camera and by
Extension us, the helpless viewers:
Welcome! Come in. Please stay for dinner.

About the Author

George Franklin is the author of four poetry collections: Noise of the World (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions), Travels of the Angel of Sorrow (Blue Cedar Press), Among the Ruins / Entre las ruinas (Katakana Editores), and Traveling for No Good Reason (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions). Individual publications include: Red Ogre Review, Cagibri, Sequestrum, The Threepenny Review, Verse Daily, Pedestal Magazine, and The American Journal of Poetry. He holds a PhD from Brandeis University, practices law in Miami, teaches poetry workshops in Florida state prisons, and is the co-translator, along with the author, of Ximena Gómez's Último día / Last Day (Katakana Editores). Visit him online at