David Lohrey

Back to Nature

Who started the fires?
Many are drawn to the flames – men and women in equal number.
They clamber to get closer. They take off work to travel so they can see
for themselves: the flames climbing higher, engulfing, filling the skies.
The smoke gets in everything; there are ashes in the houses, on the carpets.
Many stand still and hold out their tongues. They tear off their clothing.
They crave the heat. They’re excited by the smell of ruin.
They’re delirious.

The fires mean trouble. The people can’t tell the difference
between fireworks and flames. They welcome the fires with tribal dances.
The women bare their breasts. It excites the men. The logs in the fireplace
have rolled into the living room but the people are too drunk to push them back.
They’re laughing. They’re excited that something’s finally happening.
They’re so bored the thought of burning the house down makes them giddy.
The gals want their backsides smacked. The men get close enough to the flames
to singe their body hair. The women shriek.

The parents no longer watch the children. Many die running into the flames.
The parents shrug. What’s the difference? The children carry fiery
logs about and throw them into the cars. They take hot sticks and poke out
each other’s eyes. The parents don’t know what to do, but declare
with a sense of urgency there is nothing to be done. It’s all beyond them;
it’s fate. They move closer to the fires. They’ve burned all their clothes.
They have nothing on. They push the children away and commence
to fornicate in the ashes. The men relieve themselves on the hot coals.
Many children are burned alive.

They move back to the caves when the fires burn down. They remove
the paintings from their frames to use the wood as kindling.
The museums are ransacked. Libraries are emptied. They desperately
raid the theatres for wood from the stage floors. In short order,
there’s nothing left. The fires die out. The men and women crouch
in their earthen holes and cry. Some brave women venture out
but quickly regret it, if they survive. Most hide themselves deep within.
Much if not all is lost. The fires burn out. When there was fire and music,
nudity seemed sexy, but now the women are cold. They feel ugly like insects.
The men don’t caress them; they kick them. The sexes are not equal.

Recipe for a Better World

Don’t you know the difference between a potato and a lion?

That’s odd.

They put lions on pajamas but not potatoes. You’ll never see potatoes on your brother’s pajamas.

Lions roar. Lions are not called spuds. Lions are fine and dandy, like petunias or dandelions. Your mother could make potato and dandelion soup, if she cared to, and you could help.

All you’d need is a dandy lion and an ideal potato.

Potatoes grow on trees. Just tell your favorite farmer you’ll need a bushel this year. He’ll know what to do. But there’ll be fewer apples if he grows potatoes. You’ll have to think it through.

Of course, some say potatoes don’t grow on trees. Some people get quite angry about this mistake. My father used to shout, “You’re always forgetting to turn out the lights. Do you think potatoes grow on trees?”

When I was young, we were poor. Father would turn over the ketchup bottle to catch the very last drop. My family liked to put ketchup on our potatoes, but not on our lions. Ketchup grows on trees, too. Put in your order at the start of the year.

But when it comes to lions, I’d be careful. I wouldn’t get too close. Lions are reluctant to swim. You’re probably thinking of dolphins who can swim very fast. They swim as fast as crows can fly. But I wouldn’t put ketchup on the crows either. In point of fact, you’d be better off keeping the ketchup to yourself.

So, where were we? You’ve got the ketchup, the lion, and the potato, not to mention the dolphins and the lights. What are we forgetting? The crows! And the trees. Don’t forget to turn off the trees. And the apple sauce. If there is any left.

Now pick the petunias before it is too late. Add them to the soup. Stir. When it comes to the boil, you’ll have chicken soup. Enjoy. (Serves 4.)

David Lohrey grew up in Memphis. His poetry can be found in Otoliths, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Easy Street and New London Writers. In addition, recent poems have been anthologized by the University of Alabama (Dewpoint), Illinois State University (Obsidian) and Michigan State University (The Offbeat). Work can also be found in The Stony Thursday Book (Limerick) and Hidden Channel Zine (Mall Sligo). David is a member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective in Houston. Recent fiction can be read in Crack the Spine, Brilliant Flash Fiction and Every Writer. He teaches in Tokyo.

His first collection of poems, Machiavelli's Backyard, has just been released by Sudden Denouement Publishing, and is available from Amazon.
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Blogger Reality is Subjective said...

This is just a glimpse of the amazing poetic powers of David Lohrey.

11:04 PM  

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