Blank Verse – David Lohrey

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Blank Verse – David Lohrey

I’m asked to ignore too much…look the other way.
In fact, I should call my poems empty poems.
“Never-mind poetry,” that’d be a better name.
I’ll write poems about nothing. Poems that say
absolutely nothing but say it well. I’ll write poetry
that resemble Rothko’s paintings of voids, great hollow,
pulsating works of art, undulating existential blobs
from the bottom of the heart, written down but just
as easily forgotten.

Poems celebrating everything that’s good and wholesome,
that’ll be my racket. Easter eggs before they’re broken,
poems about Elvis as a matador printed on black velvet, with
HOME SWEET HOME embroidered in sequins and little
plastic pearls, with hymns to the Almighty. They’ll be called blank
verse and can be served with dessert toppings like apple sauce,
chocolate or maple syrup. Those would be apt subjects for a howdy-doody
poet like me. We’ll call them frozen yoghurt poems and serve them on a stick.

Today’s editors dictate the content of poetry. They remind poets
that anything found to be inappropriate will not be tolerated.
They are little Ivy League Gorkys. I’d be happy to write what
they want but only in exchange for a dacha on the outskirts of Moscow.

These sensitive souls demand a poetry that doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
These self-satisfied prudes are backed by their attorneys. “Mustn’t give offense.”
Poetry is to be edited like church letters in the 1940s. They’d change the title
of Ginsberg’s “Howl” to something like, “Help Me!” Hallmark America.

By the time I’m finished editing out everything offensive, I’ll be left with
4 or 5 safe words: the, yet, then, too, and but. All the rest relegates me
to Facebook. Everyone is offended by my rubbish as every decent
human being in 1957 would have reviled Charles Bukowski’s poetry,
or T. S. Eliot’s, Henry Miller’s and surely Jack Kerouac’s, too.
The New Yorker did so and refused to publish them.

The internet editors now take it upon themselves to enforce common decency.
So off we go, back to the genteel tradition, back to placing covers on piano legs,
back to saying nothing that gives offence, back to the times when dreams
meant nothing, back before Freud, when a pickle was just a cucumber in brine.
And for what? The defense of Christendom? Not at all. No! So we can be nice.
And all this on the advice of corporate lawyers and the guys who make cereal.

The purpose of poetry after all is to make others feel good. This was cooked up
by some madman, a recent graduate of the school of insanity. Be sure that the fat
feel good about being fat, that blacks have black power, and the disabled are made
to feel they can do whatever the next man can even if they live in an iron lung.

I’d prefer to go back to the mimeograph machine, or back as far as the quill.
Forget internet courtesy and creative writing school notions of politeness.
Twenty more years of this and we’ll be back to where we were in the 1900s
when Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein left the country. Back then the boobs in charge
were mainly little old ladies holding a Bible in one hand and a pistol in the other.
Now the magistrates of decency have MFAs from graduate
writing programs with certificates in censorship signed by the Governor.
They can have it.

[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]

Glass Ceiling – David Lohrey

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Anya: she’s a cheerleader for the downtrodden.
I know because she’s ambitious.
The higher she wants to go, the more she cares.
As she fills out applications, you can hear her crying.

Oh, Anya, how she weeps for the poor.
She wails for the disabled. She loves
above all else to wag her finger. She prides
herself on her outrage, she thrives on indignation.

What Anya craves is power. She longs to join
Mothers of the Disabled. After distributing
pamphlets to the masses, she’ll drink toilet water.
She’s on the same wave length as the desperate.
She hangs a portrait of Mother Teresa over her bed.

What the fuck, she wants to be President.
She’s determined to get that promotion,
enough to hug a leper, but first she’ll read
to the blind. She’ll distribute clothing to the homeless.
She wants street cred; it’s the only way to the top.
She wants to be compared to her idol, Lady Di.

Not so long ago, the poor piano player was told
to try drums. Today the little girl is told to keep playing.
Anya has seen to that. The fat girl is encouraged
to join the ballet. The not so very bright boy is sent to law school.
This is the world she hopes to dominate.
The triumph of empathy is the next big thing.

There’ll be no stopping her. There are billions to be made off
mediocrity, a thousand times more than what’s been
made off talent. The triumph of failure. She’s tapped
into the voice of despair. Today the losers are on the move.
Everyone gets in. They’ll get a certificate for breathing,
a degree for trying.

They’ll attend graduate school on Skype from prison.
No one gets left behind. By the year 2029, 89% of the
American people will have a Ph.D. Now that Anya’s
President everyone on earth can attend Harvard; they’ll
learn to turn their despair into dread, like Franz Kafka.
The American dream is fulfilled; everyone’s a fool.


 

[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]

Sudden Denouement on Pinterest

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As part of our attempt to expand our social media footprint we have expanded into Pinterest.  Take a few moments to check out and follow our new Pinterest account! The goal is to utilize media outlets to highlight the extraordinary work of all the SD writers and to direct traffic back to the SD site.

We have individual folders for the writers listed and continue to add new boards.

 

 

David Lohrey’s Machiavelli’s Backyard

David Lohrey's Machiavell's Backyard

Sudden Denouement Publishing is excited to announce David Lohrey’s collection of poetry Machiavelli’s Backyard. Lohrey’s poetry is rife with dark humor, biting social satire, and paralyzing honesty. His work illustrates that now more than ever, in a world overrun with vapid pop culture, shortened attention spans, and loss of a collective sanity, there is a need for voices that speak truth, spreading light in the darkness–poetry is alive! All is not lost.

Lohrey is a brilliant artist, a visionary with a keen command over the English language, an ability to make fire out of rock and wood. His collection is available on Amazon and The Book Depository.  October 1st, his book will be available on Amazon Kindle. A pre-order is available for the Kindle version.

If anyone is interested in writing a long-form review, please contact me for a copy of the book. In the process of publishing, I have learned that reviews are an important part of the process. I would ask anyone who purchases the book to go to Amazon and Goodreads and leave a short review.

Jasper Kerkau

Co-Founder Sudden Denouement

 

Jasper Kerkau talks with Dustin Pickering about Rana Kelly, David Lohrey, and Sudden Denouement

Dustin Pickering, of Transcendent Zero Press, and I were interviewed by Z.M. Wise. We discussed Dustin’s new book Frenetic/No Contest,  Rana Kelly’s Superstition, and David Lohrey’s forthcoming book of poetry Machiavelli’s Backyard.

Please check out Z. M. Wise’s YouTube Page, as well as Transcendent Zero Press.

Staff Picks – David Lohrey

I don’t want the staff to pick for me.

I go to the other side of the store, looking for a good remainder.

I don’t even like getting books for Christmas.

I don’t want anyone to make a selection for me.

I don’t want to wear underwear bought by my mother.

I prefer to cut my own meat.

I don’t want to smoke a cigarette lit by a stranger.

I don’t want to wear a tie that’s been chosen by a friend.

I don’t want to use a fork that’s been in someone else’s mouth.

I can’t share a tooth brush, can you?

I’m like Madonna: if it were up to me, I’d just as soon sit on a brand new toilet.

I’d just as well not flush for you; and whenever I forget, I regret it.

I’d just as well clean up after myself. And I sure as hell don’t want to clean up after you.

I don’t want to smell another man’s breath on my wife, but that’s something else, isn’t it?

I’m sorta funny that way, but I’d prefer not to share my cookies.

I’d just as well leave my leftovers left over, and not picked over.

I like being on my own.

I never liked tearing my sandwich in two, not even for my friend.

I never liked it as a kid when another kid mooched my potato chips.

I’ll take the check, just the same. Thank you kindly.

I don’t want to be alone, but I want to be left alone.

I don’t like it when someone sips my drink or wants to try my dessert.

I couldn’t bear it if my wife ate my ice.

I just don’t trust a man who can’t dress himself. I’m just saying.

I’d prefer to wipe my own nose.

I don’t want anyone to pick things off my plate. I’m like a dog; I snarl.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll get back to work.


 

[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. A book of his poetry, entitled “Machiavelli’s Backyard” is soon to be released.]

First Look: Machiavelli’s Backyard by David Lohrey

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I just received my proof copy of David Lohrey’s new book Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing. It is beautiful book. We will have copies available in the next week. It is a very exciting week for SD. I would like to think those who have purchased Rana Kelly’s book Superstition. We will have the Kindle edition available any day now. We will also be giving away copies of both books. Though we have a lot to learn, we are on our way to becoming a serious publisher of divergent literature. This process has been the culmination of a year’s work. It could not have happened without the love and support of so many wonderful writers/editors.

Jasper Kerkau