Glass from Sand

Are you mindful of the fact that the man there in the turban
is not a chimpanzee?
I know this because that man is me.

If you close your eyes, you’d never guess my race.
My nails are the color of blood and my nose has been known to run,
but Heaven knows, I don’t bite. We came here to have fun.

I’m on my best behavior, don’t you worry.
Please give me a chance. We don’t eat with our hands.
I just popped in in to savor the goods.

Learning how to speak is part of the game, but
could you please give me your name?
It could be Smith or Smythe. How can one know?

Let me say this: it’s a joy to be laughed at.
My name is not easy, but please do say it right
and without making those faces.

We’ll stay out of your way.
I’m not blocking the aisle.
We’ve been standing here for over an hour.

Our turbans aren’t glass; there’s nothing to break.
For your sake, and for ours, we’d be more than happy
to put our turbans in the boot of our car.

So long? Good bye? So soon?
No cause to get jumpy. Your voice is growing angry.
Okay, we’re going. Yes, right away. We’ll stay no longer.

As you stroll through the park, if I may be so bold,
why not see our cousins the apes? They are in the zoo.
Wave so they’ll know we are all friends.

Call to Arms

A belief in God has been destroyed.
God is so 15 minutes ago, no longer 24/7.
The belief has been transferred to things.
People believe in #1.

One could never argue with true believers.
They claimed belief was sacred.
Today they believe in nothing but themselves.
Try arguing with them now.

The cliché is always used to dismiss the Other.
The retort kills. Try arguing with that.
Try getting one of them to change his mind.
The person in doubt is destroyed by the ones who know.

It’s all about whatever except when the subject comes to them.
Quite suddenly, one doesn’t hear about “been there, done that.”
They find themselves endlessly fascinating.
They believe in Vogue.

They know better, all right.
They even know what’s good for you.
They’d take your milk away; they’d kick you into the gutter,
not because they hate you, but because they know better.

The code defies the call for improvement.
They are puritans, all right, but without a theology.
What you see is what you get.
They take up now and drop the rest.

In the cause of been there, done that,
your life is sacrificed, and so goes the world.
They’d do it for your own good.
You better believe it. I do.

Solitary Confinement

Crows are fine and interesting, but
no more so than dandelions. Feathers
or seeds float or pirouette, blown by the wind:
dead or alive; surface events scarcely count
as much as luncheon with the Queen. After all,
we are not ants; how fast or slow we crawl
is of no consequence. Just tell me what she said.

The retinue is the hive; the bees relate the story.
It’s my goal to join in the tête-à-tête. It’s all revealed
in the buzz; but it depends on whether HRH is in.
The Queen’s presence quiets the din. The hive hums.
It’s the same for humans. We’re all heading for the box;
we know the way, by instinct. We just want someone
to tell our story: yakkity yak.

Walter Benjamin once said the best way to fill
a bookshelf is with a pen. Get to work. One’s library
card is an excuse. It’s better to commit it all to memory,
as in Fahrenheit 451. Telephones are the same as whiskey.
Human contact is fulfilling; it is better to withdraw.
Don’t lose your thread. We only get one heart;
it’d be foolish to break it.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Could there be anything worse?
Linus plays well but it’s too slow.
The air, thick with smoke, stinks.
Nostalgia is philosophy without hope.

Christmas with cartoon characters
is like a funeral with mannequins.
Looking back isn’t anything more
than an admission of guilt.

Kanye West will know what to do.
If you add motherfucker to every hallelujah
the patrons cheer up. We miss the past but we’re not
good enough for yesterday, never mind last week.

We’re like high school drop-outs
returning for graduation, there to
watch our friends take a giant step.
We’re a nation on the sidelines,
gentiles at a bar mitzvah.

We haven’t done our homework;
we never study. We’re going through the motions,
attending class but never coming prepared.
We forgot our books in the locker. Sorry.

The losers have been getting prizes.
The experiment is over. Limos
at sixth grade graduation count for nothing.
The hundred-dollar bill divided by one thousand
just doesn’t cut it.

Some are convinced we’re on a winning streak,
but we missed the start. Now we’re talking
with our lawyers about a second chance.
But the winner’s already been declared. We lost.

Eat a Peach

The prostate goes.
The plumbing breaks.
The penis drips.
It isn’t pretty.
Sagging boobs are the least of it.

Being young sucks but for other reasons.
The balding head started balding years ago.
I was prepared for it.
But not for this.
No one told me the knees would go.

Everything falls out and what doesn’t
Doesn’t work well.
When your body goes, you’re through.
People say today, “I’m done,” but they’re not done for.
If they were, they wouldn’t say so.

Love is over: you’ll never pat an ass again.
You want to touch and be touched in turn,
But let’s face it: you’re old and stinky.
You used to count on that chance to get closer.
What’s missed is not the fornication but the flirting.

I for one see no reason to get together,
No point at all to communication.
In fact, if they’re not helping with the tax returns,
What’s the value of all this interaction?
Not even for a ballgame; better just flip on the TV.

Bodily secretions, special strains of sweat,
Rare sovereign odors once confined to one’s nether regions.
Little spills don’t add up to much, yeah, sure. But the
Throat-clearing, sneezing, and nose-dripping are constant.
Death is so close I can taste it.

The final feet, the final door:
One works one’s way towards the finish.
Can one find a sign of hope, or a bit of encouragement?
The only sign I have is one tiny hair on my nose.
Perhaps tomorrow I’ll find two.


“Solitary Confinement” is an excerpt from David Lohrey’s new anthology, Bluff City. You can purchase the book from Terror House Press here.