David Lohrey

(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;

             he whistles Dixie
             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
Davy Crocket

                                  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




Evolution of Grief

I am a beached wail,

a lonesome dove without wings,

a caged hamster whoÕs gnawed away

its paw.


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

sitting down.


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



Stolen kisses.

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.

Without sex, thereÕd be nothing but hand to hand combat.


© 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.