Peripheral Visions – David Lohrey
They’ve outlawed torture because it doesn’t work,
but they forgot to tell my little brother.
I went to Madrid and wanted paella but all I found
was frozen pizza.
I traveled to Saudi Arabia and knew exactly what I wanted,
but found the road to Mecca closed to outsiders.
Americans claim to be welcoming. The kids in Tibet cry “hello,”
but when the Chinese visit Brooklyn, the kids shout “Fuck you.”
It’s the only language they know.
The kids in Harlem are no globe-trotters. They’ve never
even crossed the street.
Their female teacher doesn’t wear underpants, but her neighbor,
a man, wears panties. They claim it is the children who have a lot
When the infants say they are not ready for anal sex,
their teacher makes them sit by themselves in the corner.
The six-year-old is sucking her thumb is told in no uncertain terms
to remove her thumb and find a boy to satisfy.
We’re heading for Broadway to watch a play with the provocative
title, Rotten. The actors throw tomatoes at the audience, after checking
first to see how they voted.
Righteous indignation supplants despair. Feeling superior sure beats
finding fault with oneself. The world is so stupid.
Diversity works like this: first, we take over. Children of the Empire visit
and are told they’re wonderful.
After the bombing, we legalize gay marriage. Napalm in the morning,
but the bathhouses are to remain open, announces the Pentagon spokesperson.
The President is trans. Her name is Annabelle. The debate question
she couldn’t answer was how it is she manages to look so fabulous.
She bursts out laughing and then begins to sob. After a break,
she gets a standing ovation.
It has been announced that everyone in the country lives in one city,
Houston, coast to coast; zip codes may vary.
Why bother with different names like LA and Atlanta. The whole
country is one big Houston: the bars, the malls, the adult bookshops.
Now that it’s been outlawed, kissing between men and women,
there are fewer law suits. There is no population growth. What have
we learned? Men can’t get pregnant.
Houston, Illinois has higher taxes than Houston, Texas, but New York’s
Houston is the worst. People there no longer keep addresses. Their
official residence is in Puerto Rico.
I was born David but call myself Dawood, Princess of the Desert.
I like getting my nails done. What I hate is driving in the slow lane.
And my husband likes to slap my ass. I won’t go into it. First,
he bites it.
I feel diminished by modern life. The lifestyle is belittling.
How can I develop an ego? Start by killing a mosquito.
People come to Memphis seeking Elvis. They leave having made
fools of themselves. Elvis did not die in vain.
The train leaves out of Union Station at 3. Get yourself a paper.
The toilets are certain to be broken.
I never wanted anything more than love. That’s why I’ve come.
You’ve come to the wrong place.
She may be rich, but she is bitter. She wants the nurse to wipe
thrice not just once.
If only my mother had been well taken care of. She lived ‘til 93
but could have made it to 105. I’m suing. She died on the way
to the hospital.
I just want love. My lips are luscious. My dick is huge. My nails
are dazzling. My bum is plump. What the fuck is wrong with me.
[David Lohrey is from Memphis, where he grew up, and now lives in Tokyo, where he teaches and writes for local travel magazines. He graduated from UC Berkeley and then moved to LA where he lived for over 20 years.
Internationally, his poetry can be found in Otoliths, Stony Thursday Anthology, Sentinel Quarterly, and Tuck Magazine. In the US, recent poems have appeared in Poetry Circle, FRiGG, Obsidian, and Apogee Journal. His fiction can be read in Crack the Spine, Dodging the Rain, and Literally Stories.
David’s The Other Is Oneself, a study of 20th-century literature, was published in 2016, while his first collection of poetry, Machiavelli’s Backyard, was released in September 2017. He is a member of the Sudden Denouement Collective.]