We Regress Back to Refined Terror. {poetry}


An economic depression is emotional.
We are despairing.
Our cities are afire.
Our minds are aloof.
We count our chickens before they hatch.
We gulp our food.
We wet our pants.
The once mighty people who slew the Sioux
are hiding under their beds.

My friends who claim to be masters of the human
race wash their hands of it. “Cheer up!”
They’ve washed the blood down the drain.
The Black maid is no longer black, she’s blue.
The White masters, masters of the universe and of
little else, can no longer get it up.
From patriots to traitors, they have run out of ideas.
The master race is bankrupt and they’re fine with it;
they are happy to let others clean up their mess.

Tools of the Mississippi, slaves of trade, the master-race
now prefers foul to beef. They take their gristle with asparagus.
Artichoke hearts and red wine drizzle down their chins. Their
limp genitals respond to the Chinese lip lock. Just don’t let them
hear you say you don’t like Jerry Garcia. Our ruling class consists
of potheads, flower children, who guard their gardens with vicious
pit bulls in chiffon tutus. Dear Karen knows what to do when she
runs into strangers using public space for private amusement: she
calls 911 and tells them she’s White.

In suburban Denver, one can’t appear to be from Alabama. Don’t
let people think you fell off a turnip truck. This is what our
schools teach. Everything depends on where you’re from.
“Dicks or cunts: which do you prefer?” You can only be
a redneck if you’re gay. It is all about the right combination. Sexual
perversity goes with progressive politics if you want to conform.
Taking it up the ass is expected, with dreams of tomorrow; this will carry
you to the finish line, like an IBM family picnic in 1955. Cry as you
apply for a grant. Tell them how much you love the starving children.

As long as your degree leads to a salary bump, who gives a shit?
Just keep your thoughts to yourself. Don’t tell anyone you hate your
mother. Keep the fact that you prefer prosperity a secret. Grad schools
teach that the ideal life can be found in the jungle. MFA programs
insist that dancers who barf are preferable to George Bernard Shaw.
It is wrong to despise the cockroaches in Mexico City, but it is okay
to hate the bugs in Beverly Hills. It is hard to believe that this can be
mastered, but it can, and when you are finished, you will know
how to whistle while giving a blowjob.

Tea and sympathy served on avocado toast drizzled with truffle oil.
Modernism has it all figured out. We regress. Back, back, back
to refined terror. The disgrace of fighting; there will be no more sharing.
The surveyors take over. It will be a monumental divorce. Someone
is going to get nothing. We will revert to fighting to our last breath, no
more funny business. No sharing. In this war, those who have everything
will fight back, as they did in the Renaissance. Nobody can live in
half a palace. Winners take all, not like the Quakers in Pennsylvania
or among Hollywood celebrities. Old McDonald has a farm, EIEIO.


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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