David Lohrey

Happy Birthday

Many years ago, my mother decided I was queer.
She never asked me. When I was 15, she told me
not to read D. H. Lawrence because he was homo.
On my 37th birthday, she gave me a novel by Gore Vidal.
Some years later, I got one by Armistead Maupin.

My mother hates queers. She told me so.
She asked me once if I knew what a homo was. I told her yes.
She said, “A homo is a man who loves another man
the same way as a real man loves a woman.” I said oh.
For my 42nd, she gave me Edith Wharton.

Something about me reminds her of patrician women.
My mother was always interested in what other people do in bed.
She spoke about men with whom women could relax.
A real man should make a woman feel alive. It’s all about
being made to do what one doesn’t want to.
Real men are predators; they make women feel threatened.
“If you were a real man, women wouldn’t feel safe around you.
Remember that.”

The year my father died, my mother was 71.
She called to say she wanted to be 17.
She was determined to be taken advantage of.
She started going to the local bars.
She found the Mexican men attractive.
She liked that one of them stuck his tongue down her throat.
She didn’t want anyone to say she was old.

My mother bought a gray convertible.
When I objected, she called me a pansy.
She needed a place to fuck.
She hated me for telling her to be careful.
She hung up when I objected.

She called to say she felt lonely. Why not stay the weekend?
When my wife and I arrived, she talked incessantly
of a new girlfriend who wanted to go down on her.
It thrilled her to tell us. She’d invited the girlfriend
to move right in. We’d better go to a motel.

A few months later, she kicked her out.
She came home to find a total stranger sitting
in her living room on her sofa. Her new girlfriend
Had invited in the neighbor. That was her mistake.
My mother doesn’t like surprises. She didn’t want visitors.

The next week, the police tried to stop her for speeding.
She drove her new car into a retaining wall on the freeway.
Her Prius was totaled.
Her new boyfriend with the tongue stole her money.
He sent his wife over to help clean her house. She boosted
mother’s silk scarf and tried to take her mink coat.

My mother is 80. For her birthday
I gave her a pack of leak-proof condoms.
She and Mario preferred to make love poolside.
I thought she might like to stay protected
if they fell from the patio into the water.

Thank God, she no longer drives.
She thinks she’s 18, but she’s been grounded.
She lost her driver’s license but kept her DUI.
She still thinks I’m an old queen. She misses men.
She wants one to come over and knock her teeth out.

The Rubble of Cant

Letter to the Editor,

I am writing in response to the press conference
held yesterday afternoon by Chief of Police McDonough
of the Omaha Police Department. He made a series
of less than satisfactory statements in response to questions
from the press and from the distressed public about
the investigation into the murder of Lesley Ann Bower,
the 8th grade school teacher in Neeler County, whose body
was found in Bryant Park.

These responses are summarized in brief.

I wish I could,
at this time,
ladies and gentlemen,

I can’t answer that question, not today.
We can’t release that information.
We can’t ignore protocol.
I can’t agree with that.

I wish I could,
at this time,
ladies and gentlemen,

I can’t explain further.
I can’t say anything more.
I can’t say for sure.
I can’t confirm or deny that.

I wish I could,
at this time,
ladies and gentlemen,

The coroner says he can’t.
The mayor says he can’t.
The mother says she can’t.
The school says it can’t.

I wish I could,
at this time,
ladies and gentlemen,

The hospital can’t, no.
The doctors can’t, not now.
The neighbors can’t, that’s for sure.
The girlfriend can’t.

I wish I could,
at this time,
ladies and gentlemen,

This investigation is ongoing.
We are following standard procedure.
Who’s to say?
That’s prohibited.

Our investigation has just started.
We’ll let you know.
Now, if I may be excused,
I have to get back to the station.
Thank you.”

I wish to add my name and voice to the chorus of outraged citizens who are appalled
by the indifference to human tragedy expressed by the Chief of Police.

When will the police respond to questions?
What information is the President hiding?
Why will the government not answer our questions?
How much longer will the Congressman refuse to answer?

Chief McDonough, answer our questions!
President Trump, tell us what happened!
Secretary Clinton, release your emails!
Mr. Putin, have you no decency?
Prime Minister, have you no conscience?


Millie Cole, retired nurse, Neeler County Hospital

David Lohrey is from Memphis. He graduated from UC Berkeley. His plays have been produced in Switzerland, Croatia, and Lithuania. In LA, David has had plays staged at Group Rep, FirstStage, and the Long Beach Playhouse. His plays appeared at the Studio Theatre, ArtGroup and TRU in NYC. In addition, he has seen plays performed at university playhouses in Arizona, New York, and Pennsylvania. Several are published online at ProPlay. Internationally, his poetry can be found in Otoliths, Tuck Magazine, and Southword Journal. In the US, recent poems have appeared in New Orleans Review, Obsidian, and Apogee Journal. His fiction can be read in OJAL, Dodging the Rain, and Literally Stories. David’s newest collection of poetry, MACHIAVELLI’S BACKYARD, was published last year by Sudden Denouement Publications.
previous page     contents     next page


Post a Comment

<< Home