Castles Made of Sand Are Called Sand Castles

I am a rentboy living in a ramshackle
apartment at the Champs Elysees Complex
in downtown Dhahran in the Eastern Province.
I am past my prime.
My rooms are in disarray.
Today is over 120 degrees in the shade.
I can’t eat or drink until 6.

My favorite customer is a finance minister.
He lives in Manama and rides in a Mercedes Benz.
When he crosses the Causeway on business,
his Filipino drivers know not to look in the back seat.
I sit on al-Otaibi’s lap.
He likes to pretend he is sleeping while I lick his balls.
I carry his heavy suitcases.
His back is as hairy as a woman’s cunt.

Many Saudis like to slap people around.
They are taught not to like dicks.
They’re angry you’ve got one just like theirs.
They “never” hit their wives whom say they hate.
Some like to fuck their nephews.
The desert is full of buried corpses of little boys
with their pants pulled down to their ankles.
I’ve got the bruises to prove it.

God disapproves, and the men know it. They’ll use you
but will never admit it. You’d be surprised how many
are alcoholics. They hope to drive their cars at 90 miles
per hour into a camel. Don’t worry. The camels survive.
The cars are totaled and so is everyone inside. You can’t
wear a seat belt while getting a blowjob. Everyone
goes out the windows. Bodies are found with sandy
pricks in their mouths.

I’ve learned never to smile. Saudis play dirty.
Their wives do, too. They like to burn their servants
with hot irons. My sister was raped nightly
by the family’s horny sons. Mothers always say
the boys can’t help themselves but the foreign sluts can.
She burned off my sister’s nose. The foreign embassies
of India and Thailand are full of desperate housemaids.
Some kill themselves by swallowing their expired passports.

My father worked for the Shah of Iran, but that’s another story.
One little secret: he loved Duran Duran.
Few Saudi men know how to clean their assholes.
There’s no toilet paper in the Kingdom.
There’s not enough water to flush.
Dollar bills scratch. The King has offered $1 million
to the inventor of bills as soft as a feather.
Meanwhile, they use their left hands or my tongue.

The biggest secret is that Saudis are half-American. They all
have houses in Houston. They own wards at the Cleveland Clinic
and at New York Presbyterian. They love Mexican food. They
wish everyone merry Christmas outside the Four Seasons, Riyadh.
Its chocolate reindeer are to die for. White Christians think Muslims
eat shit. Saudis never adopt an American swagger. Those big oil-rig
bodies of the Christian missionaries can be spotted outside the bikini
compounds where they live with their cursing children.

The pillowy Saudis do not project arrogance, but the Bible boys
do. Some talk openly of screwing people over. They boast about
fucking people up. They brag about poking their wives in the ass.
They say too they are working to make the world a better place.
They are outraged Saudi women can’t drive. They’d love that cute
one to drive right over. They’d love to turn Saudi virgins into
American sluts. When they laugh, some Americans bang the table.
I’ve seen them.

Like the Italians, Saudis can’t fight. The CIA knows this.
Persians can. So can Jews. Turks want to.
You can spend years in Saudi and never see a fight.
Saudis pray for patience, not to win the lottery.
Boys take calls from their mothers, not girlfriends.
Fathers whip their asses even after they have entered college.
Think Amish, not Southern Baptist.
Saudis cry at the sight of rain.

Miss De Niro’s Headdress

My guide is Cher.
She’s my moral compass.
DeNiro cries, “Fuck you”
all the way to the bank.
Cher will show us the way.

I’m eager to hear from Walter Cronkite.
He’s lurking in the wings.
He’s waiting for the standup comics to finish.
This one is going to vomit.
Cronkite carries a pail.

My guide is Cher.
She knows whom to hate.
We know her feelings are real.
Her head piece stands two feet tall.
On it, she wears a monkey devouring a hawk.

DeNiro cries, “Where’s my fucking car?”
He’s become the town crier. He’s not my moral compass.
Righteous indignation succeeds.
If the mafia had it, they’d be triumphant
Let’s ask Mother Theresa her opinion.

Transcendental meditation is the answer.
Press, “Proceed to Checkout.”
You’ve got twenty hours of happiness on your menu.
For twenty dollars more you can have eternal bliss.
Cher will know what to do, unless she has to go to the bathroom.

Fuck you! Motherfucker! Fuck your mother!
There, there! Now, isn’t that better?
Dr. DeNiro will see you in a few minutes.
Now take off your pants and hand in your money.
Please be gentle. I’m still a virgin.

Hollywood sets your name in the sidewalk.
You can spit on it or tear it out
Righteous indignation is a recipe for disaster.
Cher is over 70. DeNiro, an old man.
Can the senile lead us from temptation?

My mother taught me how to read.
She said she’d wash my mouth out with soap and water.
DeNiro is wearing Cher on his head.
Don’t forget to call her him, or she’ll sue.
Isn’t she divine? Isn’t he Divine?

Calling Trump shit should be a hate crime.
The stars cry out for attention.
They’re desperate to sell more DVDs.
Don’t click, “Proceed to Checkout.”
Click, “I’ve had just about enough.”

Bullet Points


We’ll shake things up.
Give me your pen.
This shrimp thing is delicious.
Hand it over.
We’ll teach them.
What’s the other dish you ordered?
That thing in plum sauce.
It hasn’t arrived; where is it?
I’ll write a complaint.
Where’s the manager?
I want to know.
You were saying…

“All property relations in the past have continually been subject to historical change.”

Waiter! Aren’t you our waiter? Where are our prawns, that Royal
whatchacallit with snow peas?

“The French Revolution, for example, abolished feudal property in favor of bourgeois property.”


“In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: abolition of private property.”

I don’t give a shit about that.

It smells of what?
My eggs are cold, that’s all I know.
And we’ve been waiting here twenty minutes.
I don’t want them microwaved. They’ll
be ruined.
And another cup of mud or whatever you call this.
I’ll take the check. Yes, now.
This place is overcrowded.


“The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property.”

Just a minute. I gotta take this. Excuse me.

Yeah. No, Abe, no. Abe, listen, will ya? Don’t be—what? Well, that’s not true.
Who told you that? That’s—that’s utter bullshit. Bullshit! What I…I told you…
Uh, hunh. Right…no! Look: what I said…would you let me finish? What I said…
I said…I was totally serious. I’ll have the stuff there. That’s what I said.
Guaranteed. I don’t care what…who? Who said that? I’ll have it there,
if I have to drive there myself. Are you kidding? I’ll throw it in the back of my Taurus.
Sit yeah. And deliver it myself. I swear to God. Listen. Please, Abe.
Don’t back out on this. No, don’t, please. I’m…look, Abe, we’ve been working…
I’ve got…this is a big contract for me.
Okay, we can renegotiate if we have to. Abe, be reasonable, will ya? Just, just…
I don’t give a fuck what Mitch said. What cost? What cost? Okay,
if that’s how you feel.
We’ll cover that. I’ll waive the fee. I’ll work it out. So be it:
if the price has to come down. I will drive it there myself. I will take it there.
No. Fuck FedEx. Fuck them. Forget that. There is no shipping cost.
I will get it there on time. Right. Right. Okay? No, Abe, I appreciate it, man.
Thanks. Thanks for let me…no, no I thank, I appreciate, I appreciate your business.


Larry? Oh, come look, darling. Hurry! I want you to see something.
Lar? Lar, darling? Where are you?
Honey, hurry!
Look! Aren’t they sweet? I can’t believe it. They’re adorable.
The mother just flew away. Oh, Larry, I love it, don’t you?
Don’t you think it’s perfect? I can’t get over how bright it is!
I don’t want any drapes. It’s so sunny!
We’ll be happy here, Larry. Don’t you think?
We’ll be able to afford it. You do like it, don’t you?

“But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.”

Crime of Understanding

He tells me Fashion has a purpose.
“You’re not against anything,” I say.
This is part of the problem. People
defend the end of the world, explain
it, like they don’t care. Like if they
understand it, they can control it.

I say denounce it. Call a spade a spade.
Bring back the capacity to object: tell
those boys to keep it down. Remind the
little ones to get dressed. We are losing
our will to power; we’ve given up.
That’s what Voltaire has done.

We’re not born free. We confuse ourselves
with lions. We are born with little.
They put us into cages. Tell your mother
to stick that rattler up her ass. Sucking
plastic won’t get you anywhere. Get
dressed and stop wearing underwear.

Cry out. Protest your decapitation.
Life is a luxury. Stop playing it cool.
Renounce your throne. Cross the border.
Get yourself declared persona non grata.
Join the Ku Klux Klan. Drop acid.
Denounce Elvis. Drink your own piss.

I’m saying mushroom picking beats all.
Surfing the web is for sissies. Join the Army.
Relive Normandy. America’s falling apart.
They let Columbia crash to save a dime.
This time around more will perish. The Report
On the End of the Human Race will be in braille.

You know the drill: pounce on these delightful
gifts. And know they will not pounce on you.
Look but don’t touch. They reserve the right
to deny service to anyone. Don’t forget your shoes.
Wear a shirt. Take out the trash. Sharpen your pencil.
One last thing: if you break it, you own it.


“Miss De Niro’s Headdress” and “The Crime of Understanding” are excerpts from David Lohrey’s new anthology, Bluff City. You can purchase the book from Terror House Press here.