If You Can’t Find One in Queens, Forget About It-David Lohrey

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I love Japan.

I’m so into it, I eat my cornflakes

with chopsticks.

I want to fit in.

I’m so into it, I wear a fake, jet black

top-knot of my bald head.

 

Japan is everything I imagined

it would be. They still hate us;

it’s a chance to re-experience WWII.

On the trains at night, late, I imagine

someone might run a bayonet through

my knee, screaming, “Stand up straight.”

 

They greet visitors at the airport

with a test. “When,” they’ll ask,

“are you planning to leave?” If you answer,

“Never,” they send you home. There’s

only one acceptable answer to this question.

“ASAP.”

 

Many foreigners love it even more

than I. They eat rice cakes for breakfast,

lunch, and dinner. They bow as they talk

on the phone. They have all their body hair

removed. They wear tattoos of men raping carp.

They regret not having slept with their mothers

during college as many locals do.

 

Visitors often say how they love it here.

They declare themselves smitten; they gush.

They adore all of it, even the green or pink

poodles, the boys with yellow toenails,

and the men wearing red lipstick and mascara.

I love them, too. I especially love the male retirees

who take their pants off at the cinema.

 

I love the soiled underwear sold in vending

machines. I appreciate the home delivery of fresh eggs. I

crave the beer-fed beef sold by the gram, at over $400

per kilo. I’m addicted to the parmesan cheese made of sawdust

and powdered soy. What I love most are the young housewives

who wear Disneyland bras and Donald Duck panties. Quack.

 

My ardor, however, does not compare to that of my colleagues.

They love it so much they hate their own countries;

America, England, Ireland and Canada are all in their eyes

nothing but shit. They don’t miss home at all. What they love

best about Japan is that those on death row are executed

in secret. They like the denials of war guilt, the cult of the Emperor,

and the open hostility to “inferior” nations.

 

What attracts them immediately and what they embrace is

the Japanese love of peace. It’s their delicacy,

their manners and their politeness that stand out.

When they chop a prisoner’s head off, they shout,

“Excuse me.” But this is not what I love most.

I love the citrus, a variety that tastes familiar but different.

It’s something like a tangerine but it’s yellow. It’s small,

but looks like grapefruit. It could be called a Japanese orange.

Its name is Yuzu.

 

My conclusion is that there must be something in the soy sauce.

It must cause blindness, because when I wave at the locals,

they never wave back. When I smile, they don’t react. When I whistle,

they run. Or is it something in the saké? Perhaps something in the water?

It rains every day, but they fine residents for running the tap.

My only guess is that they’ve sold their water to the Chinese.

They say that’s why there are so many of them in Hokkaido.

Heads will roll, thank God.

 

And with that, it’s time to leave for the airport. If they’ll let

me. My taxes may not be paid up. I made $28,000 last year,

but they taxed me as a multimillionaire. They withhold over 70%

from foreigners out of fear they might abscond. Once you do,

you can never go back.

 

Let’s see if it works.


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. He is also the author of Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing.

Indecent Calculations- David Lohrey

Miss Lion, Miss Lion! I have a question.

Miss Lion, Miss Lion! I have the answer.

The boys raise their hands and hope to be called on.

Miss Lion, however, has something else in mind.

She’s trying to decide which boy to suck off.

 

Standardized testing creates a lot of stress. English

teachers and their colleagues in geography, Spanish

and arts appreciation all have it easy. Female teachers

of geometry and algebra have fantasies of blowing

their fourteen-year-old male students.

 

Why this should be so is not easy to explain.

It wasn’t so in my day. Mrs. Mills, I can assure you,

had no such thing on her mind. It’s most definitely

generational. Like their male counterparts in the NFL,

these gals seem determined to take a knee.

 

Have you noticed it’s always 23-year-old blondes with husbands

who get caught in the front seat with naked adolescents? Or

they bring a couple of teen-agers home for an orgy. They arouse

the boys first by sending naked photos on Instagram. Sooner or later

the pictures wind up on the Principal’s desk.

 

If you read the New York Post you’ll notice this phenomenon rarely

involves men. Male math teachers seem able to control themselves.

It’s the pretty wives of working class men who seem unable to resist.

What is it about pimply faces and little dicks that attracts these women?

Boredom, no doubt, plays a part. The boys, one assumes, are nervous wrecks.

 

Is it their innocence or their politeness? “Yes, Miss Lion, whatever

you say.” That must be a turn-on: Their sweet dispositions and their

soft peach fuzz. I can see how the ladies find them charming. All

across America, in cities like Chattanooga and Tulsa, Albuquerque

and Des Moines, Iowa, young female teachers seem desperate.

 

Interesting, too, how understanding and forgiving our judiciary is.

Men who molest students, male or female, get called perverts and

are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. 20 years to life is not

too much for these monsters. But the demure math teacher is forgiven.

She gets a suspended sentence or probation. Cock-sucking is natural.

 

Teaching provides little satisfaction. Perhaps herein lies the answer.

There is little learning and not much teaching. English teachers can

show movies. The Spanish teacher makes piñatas. In the gym, they play

tag and when nobody is watching, the coaches make the boys do pushups.

It’s the math teacher who wants to pull her hair out when the boys can’t count.

 

They don’t know their multiplication tables and they forget their calculators.

So, substitutes throw up their hands and offer to help the boys pass sex

education. They gamble away their lives, their good names, and their profession

to have an adolescent cock in their mouths. Who can blame them? This is, in

many instances, all they have to give. Our culture is bankrupt.


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. He is also the author of Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing.

Multicultural Sushi – David Lohrey

What Europe needs is more Asians.
England will never be the same and dear
Katie can’t wait. She wants Liverpool
to look like Calcutta. Her dream
is a world of heterogeneity. Her idea
of bliss is Los Angeles everywhere.
Kuala Lumpur in Germany. Italy
without Italians, brimming with
Somalis; that’s the ticket. Germany
without whites.

Syrians will build Mercedes, according to sweet Katie. The
Algerians can bake the Stollen. Refugees from
Afghanistan will make the watches.
The Iraqis want to design Cuckoo Clocks;
get rid of the Swiss, the Germans, Swedes,
and the Danes. What do they know? They’ll be fine
in downtown Nairobi.

But Katie also likes Tokyo. She loves
the buzz and the sushi. What she likes above all else
is how safe it is for women. She can walk the streets
after midnight. But, here too, she celebrates
diversity. Bring in more Asians, Katie declares.
Welcome Filipinos and Chinese by the millions.
Why wouldn’t you? But she doesn’t wait for an answer.
She rushes to fling open the gates. Let’s erase the borders.

Yes, nothing less than 30 million will do.
If the US can take 1, 000, 000 Mexicans – and we know it can –
Japan can easily handle half of China. Throw in Manila.
Why ever not? If you dare to argue, you’re a racist.
If you express a doubt, you’re a Nazi. The more the merrier.
What is there to lose?

I ask…

If Merkel can’t get the Greeks to work 60-hour weeks,
how is she going to convince refugees from Sierra Leone to do overtime?
Is it true that economics is color blind?
Do Moroccans read Max Weber?
Do Ugandans have a work ethic?
Do Filipinos commit suicide when they’re wrong?
Do Americans have a sense of shame?

What of honor?

Japan without Japanese is China.
America is an airport with an annex.
It’s less a culture than a location, a living space.
Do we really want more and more of Houston?
A Dallas that stretches from sea to sea is bad enough.
Must it now be exported to the rest of the world?
The Japanese give up Kyoto but get Colorado?
A sea of homeless people. Mexicans without Spanish?

And the streets will remain safe?
Why ever not? Katie laughs. I wouldn’t try it in New Delhi.
Only a fool would in most of Chicago, not to mention Tijuana.
She doesn’t believe it. She knows better.
“If you’re nice to them,” she sings, “they’ll be nice to you.”
Diversity is marvelous, I’ll agree to that,
but I can’t see how a diverse Japan remains Japan.
Japan without Japanese isn’t Japan; that’s all I’m saying.
What it becomes might be great, perhaps even better, I won’t deny it.

You’ll get a better world perhaps, but you’ll sacrifice the sushi.
Have you tried the tacos in Los Angeles made with kimchi?
Many find them delicious – it’s a fair point – but remember this:
The Japanese don’t drink their tea with sugar.
When you add peach flavoring to green tea,
it ceases being Japanese and becomes garbage.
So, open the gates and cry welcome but don’t tell me
you love Kyoto. Tell me you want to live at Kennedy Airport,
in Terminal 9; the sushi there is marvelous. Try it with salsa.


[ 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. He is also the author of Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing.]

A Note from Jasper Kerkau

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I want to take a minute and wish everyone a very happy holiday. This has been a wonderful year for Sudden Denouement and Sudden Denouement Publishing. The holidays can be blissful and arduous. I want to apologize for lack of communication over the last couple of weeks while I dealt with work and personal matters. Over the next couple of days, I will be finally have time to make corrections to the site, assign new editors and begin moving SD to the next level. I want to thank everyone who has given their time, passion, and vision to our humble collective. We have put together the premier collection of writers on the planet. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I will be working with others and make the process more cohesive and share the responsibility. I want to give a special thank you to David Lohrey, Nicole Lyons (thank you for your friendship and counsel), Olde Punk, Sam Lucero (there is a special place in the next world for Sam for the work she does without asking for recognition). I will be adding two new editors who I feel will bring new energy to SD.

There was a time I would bombard our writers with my emails—especially OldePunk.  As writers, we often fall into strange places. We live in the darkness and the light. I look forward to getting caught up with a lot of you, getting input about the direction of SD. I will get caught up on emails, but I promise not to overshare.

I appreciate every one of you. SD has been the beacon for me to find my way out of the darkness. The future is very bright. Each one of you is touched by the light of the universe. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We are doing something special.

Jasper Kerkau

Poetry: Buy, Sell, or Hold – David Lohrey


Poetry: Buy, Sell, or Hold?

I sent my new poem to an old friend who replied:
“I know nothing of poetry.”
Another said about the same. “I don’t read the stuff.
Sorry.” It got me to thinking.

Had I sent in a stock tip, they would have rewarded me.
I might have received a bottle of Chablis, maybe even a good one,
had I sent in trading data on Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange.
Who would have said, “I’m not into making money.”?

But one comes to learn an awful truth about one’s friends.
Not just their indifference; that’s painful enough.
No. It’s that for them poetry is something akin to masturbation.
They don’t want to hear about it. It’s an embarrassment.

My friends are always buying or selling. If I had produced a tomato,
I’d have been advised to set up a stand on the sidewalk.
The price of tomatoes is high, asparagus even higher,
but poetry is nearly worthless; like trying to sell one’s teeth.

Poetry is not a commodity. My friends are merchants.
It’s a shameful action, like going to Confession.
Can you sell your sins? How much do one’s dreams weigh?
Nobody wants to watch a friend display himself.

It’s not that poetry is disgusting. But it may be shameful.
It’s seen as a waste of time: not an adult activity, not a good investment,
something more akin to gathering pine cones or pressing leaves in an album,
i.e., kid stuff, or a hobby for little old ladies.

I feel like a cat taking a bloody mouse to her master.
As I drop my poem at my friend’s feet, she gives it a glance
and sneers: “What’s that for? It’s not very pleasant.
Your job is to please me. Go play in the garden.”

That’s the response of my once best friend. She sees herself as an artist
or at least claims to be artistic. She wouldn’t treat a painting the way she scorns poetry.
But then again you can own an oil. You can hang it.
Even better you can resell it.

Stocks and paintings are good investments, like real estate.
Cars and furniture lose value, more like a poem.
They’re best when new, but with art, the worth is in its place,
they say. It’s not just beauty; it’s location, location, location.

Poetry is a dying art, especially when the artistic disown it.
They’d rather have crème brûlée or pear mousse with walnuts.
It’s not only prettier but something sweet. Poetry is no treat, and poets
are a nuisance. They have the absurd idea that what they do has value.

 

[David Lohrey is the author of Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing. He is also an editor for Sudden Denouement and a mentor for me personally – Jasper Kerkau]