(Photo of David Lohrey)
Beside the Red Barn
Beside the red barn
at the intersection
of today and tomorrow,
a man from Alabama
plays the banjo
on his knee;
and wears a Confederate cap
with shoes by Nike.
Roy Rogers, his uncle,
stands stark naked
on his bed
eating a Milky Way,
with a red bow on his penis;
His second wife Maybelline
wonÕt quit laughing.
Daniel Boone and
embrace with affection.
The mayor of San Antonio cries quietly at attention.
ItÕs Thursday afternoon at 3.
tyranny of neglect
circus-like outside, the crowd
dances by; some walk the tight
rope; others smile like French clowns.
one manÕs frown deserves a call to the
municipal police: 911; one girlÕs body
is hot enough to combust. great displays
of displeasure or delight
catch oneÕs eye
there is enough hair on the women
to make them look like pumas.
some of the men, hairless, look like
patients in hospice care, preparing their farewell.
others, handsome, cultivate the look of ex-cons.
ink spots on their bodies do not so much decorate
as distract, like graffiti. itÕs not mutilation but
vandalism; it should be against the law
some of the people are said to drink
their own piss. Others like to masturbate
on the opposite sex. all in all, itÕs a display
of good cheer; like hooved-animals mid-
summer, huddled under a tree, its trunk
wrapped to protect the bark. if you get too close,
they might charge. you can smell their shit
from 75 feet away
males have been gelded. females play
with each other. itÕs a display of stricken harmony.
castrations are scheduled every afternoon.
the butcher awaits. they might be goats; they insist
they are not sheep. kids prance around. whatever
they are called, they weep black gunk. pellets cling
to their back sides. the doesÕ tits are pink. bullies await
their fate. ItÕs late in the summer. soon it will be cooler
I am a beached wail,
a lonesome dove without wings,
a caged hamster whoÕs gnawed away
I havenÕt done anything for which
I can be blamed. IÕm like an anorexic
whoÕs trying to disappear. Fifty
more pounds and I wonÕt be able to stand.
IÕd do anything to avoid responsibility.
IÕd even give up sex. Better to be
repellent than to risk rejection.
Better to withdraw than be ignored.
Get out before someone pulls the alarm,
like a hoodlum fleeing through
the kitchen. IÕll have to learn to pee
Better to starve than to be fulfilled.
When you get too small to be loved,
you can say you are a worm. YouÕll be
like a frog, too weak to croak.
A million years on, youÕll develop
the ability to spit blood. Your glistening
flesh will be toxic. You will be left alone at last.
You will finally have the rock all to yourself.
Hand to Mouth
We die alone because old people stop fucking.
Once you give up sex, youÕre on your own.
That so-called friend, your partner, no longer
returns your phone calls.
HeÕs found someone, as people used to say.
HeÕs found somebody else is a polite
way to say heÕs no longer fucking you.
ThatÕs why heÕs being so nice.
Dating is not about popcorn.
More than friends is the opposite of only.
Who controls the hands, controls the sex.
Your life is in his hands.
Hold them (down), tie them (up), or cuff them:
there is no on the other hand.
His hands are all over the place.
What he needs is a hand job.
But you can hold his hand instead.
Go ahead, if itÕs clean.
IsnÕt that what Ògive your hand in marriageÓ
He had a hand in it. He conned you out of it.
The crime of the century was an act of indiscretion.
He pinched your bottom but you didnÕt flinch.
Give an inch and heÕll take a mile.
Copulation wonÕt prevent death.
I never said that.
ItÕs Philip RothÕs brutal insight I have in mind:
Without sex other people donÕt matter.
© David Lohrey
Bio: David LohreyÕs plays have been produced in Switzerland, Croatia, and Lithuania. In the US, his poems can be found at New Orleans Review, Panoplyzine, Nine Muses, and Southword. His fiction can be seen at Dodging the Rain, Terror House Magazine, and Literally Stories. DavidÕs collection of poetry, MACHIAVELLIÕS BACKYARD, was published by Sudden Denouement Publishers. He lives in Tokyo.