Peaches and Cream-David Lohrey

Many live without love.

Not I, but I do have

sympathy. I understand,

as they say in Alabama.

I get it, as they say in

Philly. Life without love

must be tough. I first heard

that at the Westside Y.

The man who said so was holding

my dick. He tightened

his grip when he spoke.

It made me scream.


Life is a shit sandwich.

I don’t agree, but I do

see what you mean.

Life is not always peachy

keen, I agree. Just last month

my cousin had to go to

hospital, complaining

about her stomach. Her

surgery wasn’t a success

so now she shits into a little bag.

She smells. She says now she wants

to kill herself. Who could blame her?


I have compassion for her and for

victims like her. I can identify

with their frustrations.

It’s not easy being angry,

directing rage while feeling helpless.

One is torn, yet one is paralyzed.

Revenge is understandable. I get that.

If you had the chance, you’d strike back,

even if it meant committing murder.


Sympathy, understanding, and

compassion are related. It’s

all a matter of relating to

misfortune, identifying with

victims, sharing feelings.

Some can do that; others can’t.

I have a talent for living

as others do, a genius

for seeing as others do.

The danger remains that one tires of

suffering. The thrill wears off. Sympathy

turns into pity. One wants privacy.

One hopes, ironically, for abandonment;

one searches for love, not just understanding;

not for patience, but for anger. Don’t

hold your breath. These feelings take time.


Can we pull ourselves together?


Not if you call the police.

Not if you involve the law.

Not if you head for court.

Think about it. So many problems

now are settled by lawyers.

Who do we sue when we’ve lied?

There’s no one else to blame. We are

talking about self-inflicted wounds.


The court of humiliation.

Who is the justice of the peace?

If only the laws were enforced.

How divine to see justice served.

Who can decree tranquility in this chaos?

Who can quiet our longings? I’d like to file

papers against all who have awakened this beast.


We’re past negotiating.

There is no ready settlement.

There is no point in holding a meeting.

It’s not that there can be no compromise.

It’s that everything has been compromised.

We are the aggrieved parties.

We’ve sold out. We’re hollowed out.

We’re wiped out. We have nothing to give. 

Now we’re talking dispersal of holdings,

confiscation of property, liquidation of assets.

We’re bankrupt: financially, sure, but much more

importantly, morally. We can’t vouch for ourselves.

We are traveling without a letter of credit.

We’re liable to be detained, searched, and,

in all likelihood, arrested. We could spend the rest

of our lives in prison, left to rot.

We’re lucky not to be tarred and feathered.

Some of us will be shot. They have our guns.

[David Lohrey was born on the Hudson River but grew up on the Mississippi in Memphis. He currently teaches in Tokyo. He has reviewed books for The Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register, has been a member of the Dramatists Guild in New York, and is currently writing a memoir of his years living on the Persian Gulf. Also, he’s freakin’ awesome.] 

23 thoughts on “Peaches and Cream-David Lohrey

  1. David I loved the flow and content of this piece. It as if some of that was plucked from my own philosophical musings and refined with your sharpened pencil. “Who can decree tranquility in this chaos? Who can quiet our longings? I’d like to file papers against all who have awakened this beast.” Beautiful apex of this societal indictment.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. David– this sat with me for a long time after I read it. I love the agility with which you move through this piece and the weaving you do. No threads ever get lost and I can feel the silence in the room after you drop the mic and walk away, leaving the reader stunned..

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think the more I read of your work, the bigger fan I become. You somehow manage to write something grim and relatable and although you don’t normalize it, make it seem neutral with the ease of your rhythm. It’s the same way that a snake charmer is at ease handling a cobra and it makes it seem easy to the onlooker. I don’t even know if I’m making sense, but I hope so

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s