We’ve Become Crude: Our Common Tale of Woe. {poetry}


I, too, am a passéiste. A passéiste am I, a believer in a golden time, a better time,
when things were right, when men were men, and a cup of coffee cost a dime.
There’s been no birth, but I am suffering from post-partum depression.
Do you know the feeling? Something’s been taken away.
I am a passéiste; I do not have my eye on the next best thing.

I’m proud, but not of myself. I’m not even proud to be an American.
It’s nothing like that. No, I am proud to be human. So much has been done,
even though, nothing by me. In the garden, the delphiniums are in flower.
We’ll do everything together; we’ll change the world.
We’ll abolish all private property except my house and garden. Tea?

I am a sampler of the exquisite, a witness, perhaps some would say an intruder,
but I know I am unwanted. I remain grateful. The tea is fine. I don’t care for
much of the company. I said before that everyone should eat popcorn. That’s
not because I like it. I just like the sound of my voice. My fantasy is to live
in a Faulkner novel, but that doesn’t mean I want to wear underpants.

I have found a nice quiet table here at the club. If left alone, I will thrive.
There is rage and there is disgust. There is disappointment. I feel regret.
I want to get me an emotional support peacock and move into Flannery
O’Connor’s old house. Flowers prefer moist, cool summers, and do not fare
well in hot, dry climates. One does still hear dreadful stories.

Perhaps it can be said I regret everything, but that doesn’t keep me from feeling nostalgic.
Yes, it was all a mistake, but I would do it again. Every humiliation and those very
few triumphs. The greatest birthday present I ever got was a potted tomato plant
from a garden center in the San Gabriel Mountains. It cost $.79. There is nothing
on this green earth as delicious as a cherry snow cone.

I treasure every smile; there have been few. Look where we are. We’ve become brawlers,
like skinny guys at ball games, those nasty, boney thugs with tattoos, the kind who
like to start fights with pronounced Adam’s apples. Who takes advice from a poet?
Tamara is soaking. Lenora’s on the roof. Robin betrayed me. Now hear this:
I don’t think women should be allowed to vote. How’s that for a blast from the past?

This is finally who we are, in steel-tipped boots, drunks with shriveled dicks. Women
with broken teeth. People who save up to go to Rome and end up in the local jail
for pissing on art. I saw my first film by Truffaut in the Mission; got my first
piece of ass on Craigslist. I’ve been trying to sell the same radio play for 25 years.
I’d prefer to live in Arcadia and drive an Audi.

We have become a disgrace. The story begins with our lovely heroes waving and passing
out Hershey chocolate bars to children. Next thing you know, we are urinating on corpses.
The plants also dislike sudden winds or rain. Except for the dwarf perennials, most
delphiniums need staking. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Who’s afraid of red, white, and blue?

We’ve become boxers who bite our opponents. We’ve become women who fail to report
rape. We’ve become men who piss themselves. Heavens to Murgatroyd, that’s about it.
This is our common tale of woe. Some thrive in the present, others not. It all comes
down to the Tootsie Roll, Captain Sinister who once lived in the Oreo Palace.

We’ve become the kind of people children aren’t allowed to play around. We’re degenerates.
Yes, I know a good thing when I see it. I live in the past. I am a passéiste; I do not look
ahead. Tomorrow might prove an improvement, sure, why not? It’s today I can’t stand.
Americans have become crude. Things will never get better as long as we think
FDR was a nice guy.


David Lohrey‘s plays have been produced in Switzerland, Croatia, and Lithuania. In the US, his poems can be found at The RavensPerch, New Orleans Review, Nice Cage, and The Drunken Llama. Internationally, his work appears in journals in the UK, Australia, India, Malawi, and Hungary. His fiction can be seen at Dodging the Rain, Terror House Magazine, and Literally Stories. David’s collection of poetry, Machiavelli’s Backyard, was published by Sudden Denouement Publishers. He lives in Tokyo.


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