Prose Poem the News: Oh My God, James Franco Wrote a Poem about the Inauguration

Recently, Yahoo! News commissioned a couple Pulitzer Prize winners and also James Franco to write poems on the subject of Barack Obama's second inauguration. The full text of James Franco's poem is available here. You also have the option of watching him read the poem into a webcam while lying down in bed wearing a t-shirt, which we highly recommend doing, if only for the funny way he says "little burrito place." Here, I've responded to James Franco's poem with a poem.

Franco comma James
One of central CA's most gifted high school sophomores
But troubled, too; Needs direction
We'll make him write a poem

Poems aren't my scene, man
But James; Did you know
That poems don't have to rhyme?
...I'm in.

"OBAMA IN NASHVILLE"
Too played-out *delete* *delete* *delete*
His fingers strike the keyboard like similes crashing from the sky
"OBAMA IN ASHEVILLE" he types
Much better

The opening lines, a Wikipedian ode:
"Asheville, North Carolina, is the birthplace of Thomas
Wolfe and the sometime residence of F. Scott Fitzgerald"
Asheville is the county seat
of Buncombe County,
with a humid subtropical climate

Two stanzas down; so much space left to fill
Did you know that Zelda Fitzgerald was hospitalized for madness?
James Franco does
He'll tell you:

"Soon after his fortieth birthday, Fitzgerald attempted suicide
Here, but couldn't shoot his own head, drunk, I guess.
Later, after he was actually dead, from alcohol,
Zelda perished in a fire at her institution, one of nine."

But enough about those miserable sons of Gerald
Back to James Franco
I mean Obama Franco
I mean Barack Obama

What
to write
of him
?

Thinking about thinking about poems makes James Franco hungry
He goes to a burrito place where he feels famous
"I went to class and then the little burrito place where they know me"
Porfa bor mis amigos, no autographs hoy

But sir—you must
The check
Please
JF he scrawls on a napkin, and winks

No poem ideas yet. He emails friends
How am a poem for Inauguration?
One writes back; a sleepy old man
"...he said that my poem was a difficult task."

Some friends—What friends?—no help as usual
But wait! James Franco met Obama once

"...we waited in a private room with the likes of Tom Cruise,
And Katie Holmes, and Claire Danes."
The Manhattan Project's Hollywood satellite office? No,
The annual Correspondents' Dinner

"He knew me from Spider-Man. I asked him for advice,
I was scheduled to give the commencement speech at UCLA
And there were some undergraduate knockers against me;"
Is it illegal to touch a freshman girl's boobs, Mr. President?

That meeting took up a couple more poem stanzas
Now break to decry the hypothetical beheadings of presidents
Obama is a president, "not a king," observes James Franco
And his head belongs attached to his living body

In closing, James Franco ponders the role of a lifetime: the part of Obama
"All I would need to get down, aside from the outer stuff-
And I know that's important—is his essential kindness,
I'd let the writer put in all the political crap"

He imagines himself in a slim grey suit
A golden aura shining out 'neath a layer of blackface
"Yes, his race, no one will forget. But the soul too.
I'd win the Academy Award if I just captured that."

Inauguration.

Image via Getty