Tokyo Express: Poem from Machiavelli’s Backyard by David Lohrey on SD Publishing

Tokyo Express – David Lohrey

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Tokyo Express

That man there used to be my father.
I recognize those blue-veined arms on that corpse riding the
train with me from Shimokitazawa to Chitose-Funabashi.
That’s the corpse of my father, I swear to God.

I recognize his receding hairline and his pale skin.
It even has curly hair and wears glasses. That’s dad,
all right, sitting there beneath the sign for special seating.
That’s exactly where he’d sit if he were alive.

Dad saw himself as disabled and in some ways he was.
He was an emotional cripple, that’s for sure.
He flew into rages over nothing.

I once got up the courage to point out there were no other cars on the road but he was cursing. He was ranting. He looked out the window and stopped. When I was eleven, he’d have turned around and smacked me on the head. He was always threatening to trounce me.

Dad was a bully. When I was little, mother asked me to get dad an aspirin to go with his pickled herring and his dry martini. Years later, dad once said, “After two martinis, I’m not afraid of anything.” I like that.

Like a lot of monsters, he had a heart of gold. Like Frankenstein and all his monster friends, he scared the neighborhood children but felt lonely. Like many bullies before him, what he needed was a blind man to make
him a cup of tea. It was precisely because people were not blind that he hated them.

Oh, but how well Edward Albee understood him. What he wanted above all else was love: L.O.V.E. Just like an alcoholic, but he didn’t drink. No, his father drank enough for two generations. He once said, “You think you’re a big shot, but you’re nothing but a big shit.” I like that, too. I used to pick cashews out from father’s dish of mixed nuts. Amazingly, it didn’t make him mad. It amused him.
I did that from his lap.

That old Japanese guy sitting across from me reminds me
of my father when he was alive. The old man there looks
very thoughtful, looks intelligent. My father, too, had that look. I wish I did.

That man’s flesh is as white as a frog’s belly, so pale I can see his blue cheesy veins. I could see my father’s, too. It made him look frail. He’d get cross but with no power. He became pathetic, especially when he smelled of urine.

It’s hard to control other people when you stink.
It’s impossible to run the show when you’ve sprung a leak.
It’s hard to frighten your son when you have to wear pampers. Fear goes but love lasts. Now there’s a line for Machiavelli’s Prince. I learned that from my father. Or is it the other way around?

From the forthcoming book of poetry Machiavelli’s Backyard via Sudden Denouement Publishing.

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A New Poem by David Lohrey – After Providence (1977) thevoicesproject.org

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David Lohrey, author of the forthcoming book of poetry Machiavelli’s Backyard, which will be published by Sudden Denouement,  has a new poem published via The Voices Project. The title of the poem is After Providence (1977). Please take a second to read and share David’s wonderful poem. It seems that many people are coming to understand what we already know, David is a poet of the highest order. It is exciting to see him finding an audience. David is smart, and kind man possessing incredible wit and wisdom.

http://www.thevoicesproject.org/poetry-library/after-providence-1977-by-david-lohrey

Sudden Denouement Publishing: David Lohrey and Rana Kelly

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Sudden Denouement Publishing: David Lohrey and Rana Kelly

We are very excited to announce the forthcoming publication of works by David Lohrey and Rana Kelley. Over the course of the last few months, there was a great deal of work put into transitioning our energy and talent into creating a fully-functioning publishing company. Though the process has been arduous, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. SD Publishing will serve as an outlet for our writers to have access to publishing their work, and we will also be open to submissions from non-SD writers.

     Over the course of the last four or five months, we have seen several of our writers find avenues to publish their work. Nicole Lyons’ published her stunning debut HUSH through the Feminine Collective, Georgia Park (warrior poet extraordinaire) self-published her first collection, Quit Your Job and Become a Poet. We have several other writers who have already published books, and I felt that with the wealth of talent we have at our disposal it was natural that we provide our writers an outlet for publishing.

     I am proud to announce that we have two books that are forthcoming. First, we are honored to publish David Lohrey’s Machiavelli’s Backyard. David is a poet who continues to find ways to stun me with his honesty and mastery of the art. I am very proud of the book and think his work will gain much-deserved attention to this brilliant artist.

      Rana Kelly and I have been finishing up editing her chapbook, Every Breath an Earthquake. I remember the day Nicole Lyons sent me a frantic email that she had discovered a brilliant writer on Facebook. I will always be grateful to Nicole for bringing Rana into our collective. She is fierce, honest writer speaking the secret language Sam Lucero educated us all on. I believe her work will find its way into the hearts of many who share our passion for poetry.

     Additionally, we will soon start the process of putting together the Sudden Denouement Anthology. My passion has always been connecting writers with a larger audience, in the process, we have formed a family. The anthology will be the result of over a year’s work and showcase the amazing talent of our writers.

     All of these projects are a labor of love. It is the work of every writer that makes it possible. We are interested in talking to anyone who wishes to participate in the process. This project is larger than one, or two, or three people. This undertaking will require many people bringing their gifts to the table. I will be setting up Skype interviews with anyone who wishes to participate in the publishing process, or who wishes to have their work published. We all do this for the love of literature. It is our goal to be good stewards to those who bestow upon us the honor of sharing their work. We are a collective; we are a community. We are all stronger together than we are on our own. Sudden Denouement is the most important project I have been privileged to involve myself with. Please contact me or any of the editors with any questions or suggestions.

Godspeed

Jasper Kerkau

Jasperkerkauwriting@gmail.com

Ikimasen – David Lohrey

Talking truth to power.
What potent language.
Truth. To. Power. And if
power talks back, I’ll call
my lawyer. I’ll return
to my safe space. I’ll issue
a trigger warning to comrades
around the world: Help!

We’ll take them to court. My
lawyers will set them straight.
They’ll read them the riot act.
They’ll spank their asses
and set me free. I’ll
celebrate with pancakes
and whipped cream. A
brunch for the warrior class,
LGBTQ crusaders fighting
in pink tights and gold
lame running shoes. It’s
a true revolution, led by
Pussy Riot and the Marijuana
Growers of America. Give us
the chance and we’ll turn
the country into a 3rd world
basket case, just like Venezuela,
or my favorite, Zimbabwe.

We’ll kick pregnant women
in the stomach, set
fire to the White House, and
suck off anyone who
joins the cause. We’ll line up
on our knees to sing The Battle Hymn
of the Republic: “Oh say can you see
how fucked up we all are.”

The Black Bloc will attack us
if they believe we are against
them. Black power groups
declare white lives don’t matter;
we better sign up or they’ll
cut our throats. Speak
truth to power. What do
the US Army, Walmart, the World
Bank and Madonna have in common?
They all demand we get along. Open
borders and open arms. That’s CIA policy.
That’s the lyrics of the Pussy Riot. Globalism
is the new narcotic; it’s an aphrodisiac. Just
ask Kissinger. It’s orgiastic and if
you disagree, you’re an enemy of the State
as well as an enemy of the Stateless. There’s
unanimity; just ask Anonymous. There’s
consensus. The new Totalitarian State has
decreed that we must all get along. You’ll only be
targeted if you say, “Not me.” You may be shot,
if you utter, “Ikimasen,” which in Japanese means,
“I refuse.”

The greatest We in the history
of mankind is under construction.
All you have to do to join is
to give up everything you believe.
Clinton demands that Putin
go down on Obama. Then there
can be peace. You not only
have to obey, you have to swallow.
Total surrender and then we’ll talk.
That’s the US position; our boot
on your neck, our cock in your
mouth. Clinton has you in her
sights. McCain’s finger’s on the trigger.

Take me out for a walk.
Put a collar on my neck.
Use me like an imprisoned
sex slave. Beat me, drug me,
hand me over to your friends.
The new regime demands total
humiliation and absolute power.
They’ll put rings in our noses
and baseball bats up our asses.
This is no joke. The party is over.
It’s come to this. Samuel Beckett
had it right. We’ll be told
to bleat like sheep or squeal like pigs.
We’re all to be named Lucky,
each and every one of us.

The bright spot on the horizon is
that our enemies are too stupid to hide
their intent. We have time to prepare,
time to fight back, but when they
say it’s time for us to shut up,
they’ll mean it. Few will believe them. They want
erasure. They want ethnic cleansing. They’re
planning to exterminate the opposition.
They’ll let us live as go-go dancers or park rangers.
We’ll just have to submit to castration and
permanent brain damage. It’s coming.


 

[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 he is currently writing a memoir of his years living on the Persian Gulf. His latest book, The Other Is Oneself: Postcolonial Identity in a Century of War: 20th Century African and American Writers Respond to Survival and Genocide, is available on Amazon.com.]

Tumble Weed Blues – David Lohrey

There can be bebop and billowing skirts,
hot pastrami and cold beer, but only if
we’re good.

That’s the catch. We’re weighed down by doubt.
Can all this wonder be had for free? It’s
time to take stock.

All the pretty horses can’t put humpty dumpty
together again. It’s partly a matter of will
power, sure.

It’s mostly a matter of power, pure and simple.
And the will is half-hearted. There’s no
zeal. There’s no roll.

Ketchup, but no mustard. There are eggs, but
Benedict died last June of a stroke. Whoever
said we could have it all, lied.

The billowing skirts were not the first to go, but
the girls get tired of playing. They’ve
been recruited by the army.

Now women carry guns. Our next loss is jazz.
Without the blues, there’s no rhythm. The
country’s lost its beat.

Everyone is out of step. The problem
is not the booze. It’s the money. We’re all
too rich for our own good. We’re unhappy.

Louis Armstrong was elated. Count Basie, giddy.
Think back. You remember. Jazz was rollicking: horns
toot-tooting, the pianist on his feet, the drums exploding.

We’re all miserable. Fattened up for slaughter. Now
we wait for the other shoe to drop, as the centipede
crawls toward the exit.

We know it’s just a matter of time. It can’t go on like this forever.
We’ve become too refined, far too delicate, too fat for
good music.

Anyway…no one has the oomph. It’s all petered out.
We’re out of gas. There’s an energy shortage,
you know.

For the most part, pictures will be enough, for a while,
like those of farmers. Nobody wants to get his hands dirty,
digging in flower beds, plowing, changing diapers.

No one wants to turn potatoes, feed the pigs or geld the stallions.
What is there to celebrate if there are no children?
That’s the question.

If there’s no harvest, what’s the point of drinking? And
now they say there’s no purpose in planting flowers.
The suburbs are obsolete, no pleasure in squirrels.

No need for dogs to bark. No need for evening walks. No
need for games of catch. Eliminate the lawns, they decree,
which are nothing more than symbols of Farmer Brown.

There’ll be nothing to remember, not even the sound of crying babies.
Family life is finished. Dirty floors, mother’s milk, chicken pox
are all a thing of the past.

Now the smell of grass must go. It’s no longer the Age of Aquarius;
it’s the age of exhaustion. We’re entering America’s very own
Cultural Revolution. At the end of the day, they’ll be hell to pay.

It’s the age of recrimination. People stand around pointing fingers,
as the time French women were made to pay for bedding
enemy soldiers. They were driven through the streets, naked.

It’s an age of exculpation. We all want to wash our hands of it.
The only music left is what we demand to see others face.
Otherwise we want silence.


[David Lohrey is the Shadow Lord of brain-seizing, heart-piercing poetry, and a medium for the ether words. He 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.]


Continue reading “Tumble Weed Blues – David Lohrey”

Oscar Wilde Is Back/David Lohrey

At all costs, be nice.

Your job is to make people feel good.

You’re a defender of the status quo.

You agree with Stalin:

everyone should be happy.

The first to stop smiling gets the axe.

The first to stop clapping, disappears.

What’s all this doom and gloom?

The Democrats are the party of good cheer.

The Republicans represent darkness.

Oscar Wilde – were he alive – would be

easy to place; he never had anything nice to say.

We know what he represented. We

don’t need to read his stories.

His books don’t deserve reprinting.

Take them out of circulation. I’ve got it:

let’s distribute the works of a dedicated progressive

instead: Obama’s memoirs along with the yellow pages.

We’ll make them mandatory reading, like

Slaughter-House Five for incoming freshmen.

We’ll not only not read Oscar Wilde, we’ll

arrest those who try to keep him in print.

We’ll listen in on their conversations. We’ll

have anyone who looks unhappy picked up,

anyone who’s not delighted, arrested. Progressives

are happy. We’ll make sadness against the law,

beginning with Mr. Wilde, who was a notorious complainer.

He demanded a dialogue when we know

happy people prefer to talk to themselves.

Saul Bellow said that: an unbroken record,

an incantation of jolly thoughts, a forced smile,

or even a perpetual dance fits democracy best.

Wilde dared to ask for open

discussion. He wanted the young

to think and debate; he spoke

like a Sophist; every student of Plato knows there’s

only one truth. Our professors know a thing or two,

beginning with the desire to see Wilde banned.

Let’s drive him off. Hell, we’ll

put him in prison, once we

deprive him of a living. The

editors at Simon & Schuster should

be picked up, too. At least they deserve

to be boycotted and picketed – driven out of business,

for daring to give freedom a greenlight, for

giving that faggot an open mic.

He says he’d be happier in prison anyway, so let’s do

him the favor. We’ll make dialogue against the law,

not just a forbidden custom, like masturbation. We’ll censor

discordant voices. We’ll start with that loudmouth from England.

We’ll get him off television and run reruns of Downton

Abbey for Anglophiles, something wholesome about

heterosexual families, not a vile-mouthed homo spouting trash,

like his hatred of conformity and political correctness.

Who the fuck does this guy think he is?


[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.]

When the Cradle Stops Rocking – David Lohrey

b07398eca4f48361d9c8dfce1482c845When the Cradle Stops Rocking – David Lohrey

When the cradle stops rocking,
pink and blue darlings
spin in the breeze,
as these pastel posts
pen me in, lest I fall.
It’s dark. Why’d they turn

out the lights? That man came in again,
repeating my name. He pressed his wet lips
against my cheek and blew.

I want that ant to follow my eye.
His friend circles above,
keeping her thoughts to herself.
Her mate can’t seem to get in.

Silk threads above hang loose and
dangle. Is it a trapeze; is it for fun?

There’s so much murmuring I can’t sleep. The flying duck
and the mouse dance but don’t sing.

It’s the woman’s fragrance I miss most of all,
and I like her cold finger behind my ear.

[David is lost in Japan. He is a smart, kind man who writes amazing poetry. We are thrilled to…

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