All Japan Super Poem – David Lohrey

Kabuki Lessons 


It must be thrilling to know 
Girls used to be so full of doubt but now they say,
“Sure, I’m sure.” I say 1970, she says Nixon bombed Cambodia.
When I was a kid, I found a brontosaurus under my corn flakes.
Today I get all of world history at the end of my tootsie pop. 

The bodies, you cry. The dead bodies in the lobby. 
Why can’t I reply, my mother’s violets in the window box 
remind me of tiny 
The poor don’t need money. It’s the rich who are always short.

Everywhere I go, I’m an unknown quantity.
Why do you invade my territory?
They bring me hot dogs when I order 
In China they begged me to stay, but here, why won’t you go?

Don’t ask, how are you? It’s an intimate question.
I think it is privacy and so do you, but here it’s a matter of public policy.
wear reading glasses to mommy and baby English classes.
You are in another country

when students dance into class wearing chiffon tutus.
They hide their hair in 
One student’s yellow toenails match his glasses;
another’s braces are as sparkling as her tiara.

On trains, the girls don’t keep their legs together. One sees
bandaged knees and little hands spreading skin cream.
The Santa Barbara coffee shop in Roppongi brews no coffee; 
it serves poached eggs on a bed of 

is demanding.
The bodies pile up to my Adam’s apple.
My daughter’s into cranes and pandas.
Are we punished for ignoring corpses?

Must I feed the neighbors, take care of tornadoes,
split the atom, and make ice cubes?
I can barely add 2+2. I can’t remember to change my socks.
week I lost the Empire State Building.

I want my teddy bear.
Can’t I like pandas, too?
Thou shalt not 
Is that not enough for you?
The busker asks for what’s left over. 
Must I share?
I have lots to spare but none for you.
Why can’t I say that?


There is no such thing 
as friendliness here. One’s contact is measured to a purpose. 
Hello could lead to marriage in the US, but here…one 
never answer a stranger’s greeting. 
He or she is just a stranger here, a gaijin.

Japanese are not too polite, no; they are not polite at all. 
Americans have this idea about them, but the fact is that 
on the street it is a matter of silence; there is no communication,
not even an acknowledgment, not even a look. 

One has no part to play, one is at a loss; one 
never speaks to strangers. There are no hellos, 
good mornings, no smiles, no head nodding…no winks: nothing. 
On the street no one ever returns my automatic American smile. 
In fact, that smile is seen as a solicitation. What do you want?

It’s simple: they are waiting to be introduced. Once 
one has an identity people spring into action: 
“Ah, you must live on the 9th floor. Nice to meet you.” 
And from then on one gets polite good mornings 
and without fail: konichiwa. 

Women particularly are loath to make eye contact. 
I know what he wants! 
starts with merchant-customer exchanges; people know their place, 
their lines. Excuse me. It all falls into place and they speak with ease. 
May I help you?

There is no such thing as friendliness here. 
contact is measured to a purpose. 
Hello could lead to marriage elsewhere, but here…one would 
never answer a stranger’s greeting. He might need something.
He or she is just a stranger. Why bother? 


The chef stirs the pancake mix
and stirs me, too. I love her
bowtie. She looks like
a soda fountain clerk circa 1959.
She keeps her hair cut smart
and wears slacks. She has
a flat chest and works at a brisk pace.
If she were a boy, she’d make
me laugh. As it is, she makes me swoon.


It’s not that I’m into ogling chicks.
Good lord, no. I just appreciate
the effort, the development of
a caring soul who knows how 
to use a whisk. She doesn’t 
just throw things together. She’s 
not just killing time. 
and excellence are so rarely found. 
It’s a thrill to see a girl embody both.

The Japanese understand these things.
It’s not just the sushi; it’s in
the way they bend. You find it 
in their insincerity. It’s a 
They’re like ballerinas on the stage, not idle 
dancers in their dressing rooms.
It is indeed like kabuki. Their actions 
mask their pain. They study movement;
they rehearse each step. 

They want to know who you are 
before saying hello. 
they don’t know what to say. In a land 
where speaking out of turn could get you 
killed, they don’t waste words.
Visitors get the cold shoulder because 
they have not been introduced.
We’re like the help at a wedding
in the Hamptons, told to serve 
the champagne and not to speak.

Invisibility is not due to race; 
it’s because strangers lack
consequence. In the West, a greeting 
could lead to marriage. Here, hello goes 
nowhere. It’s better to greet passers-by with 
It is cruel. Many can’t see it. Some can’t
take it. Travelers temple-hop from Akasaka 
to Kyoto in the belief they are welcome. 

That’s one way of looking at it. 
What’s more likely is that the 
and the ready smile 
are put on for your pleasure. Each 
and every minute is an agonized 
display. Secretly, the Japanese 
can’t wait for you to go.  They can’t wait
for the final curtain.


Japanese praise role-playing.
If the teacher acts like a teacher, and looks like a teacher, 
he is deemed to be a teacher. Dress the part. 
Polish your shoes.
take their cue from the act. If you act like a teacher, 
they will in turn act like students. 

This has nothing to do with teaching, of course,
and nothing to do with learning. The act is the outcome. 
The applause is what is rated, not the performance. 
There are no gods of caring. 
is frowned upon. 
You’re expected to come in every day. 

That’s what teachers do. Caring is a sign of malfeasance. 
You can teach your heart out, but if you leave early, they’ll call you
Interference is a form of molestation. Don’t call the parents 
when daughter forgets her homework. Don’t call the police 
if she comes in with bruises. You mind your own business. 
Parents will wonder why you care, and she better not be cute. 

If you talk to the boys, they’ll figure you’re a homo. 
They’ll be concerned.
Stand back, and do your job. Go through the motions.
busy. Attend commencement. Show up. Bow.
Don’t laugh or cry, that’s not professional. 
Accept flowers at graduation, smile.

Don’t complain. Don’t make suggestions. You’ll do fine. 
Don’t whine. Prepare to be surprised: my top engineering student 
aged 19 asked me why all Americans eat McDonald’s, 
breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. “Don’t you get tired 
of eating the same thing?” “Do you have fish in your rivers?” 
“Have you ever eaten rice?” Tell them you’re dying to try. 


I love Japan. I’m so into it, I eat my cornflakes 
with chopsticks. I want to fit in. I’m so into it, 
I wear a fake, jet black top-knot on my bald head. 
Japan is everything I imagined it would be. 
They still hate us; it’s a chance to re-experience 
On the trains at night, late, I imagine someone might
run a bayonet through my knee, screaming, 
“Stand up straight.”


They greet visitors at the airport
with a test. “When,” they’ll ask, 
“are you planning to leave?” If you answer, 
they send you home. There’s
only one acceptable answer: “ASAP.”  
Many foreigners love it even more.
They eat rice cakes for breakfast,
lunch, and dinner. 

They bow as they talk on the phone. They have 
all their body hair removed. They wear tattoos of men
carp. They regret not having slept with their mothers 
during college as many local boys do. Visitors often say 
how they love it here. They declare themselves smitten; 
they gush. They adore all of it, even the green or pink
poodles, the boys with yellow toenails,
and the men wearing red lipstick and mascara. 

I love them, too. I especially love the male retirees, 
who take their pants off at the cinema. I love the soiled 
underwear sold in vending machines. I appreciate the home 
delivery of fresh eggs. I crave the beer-fed beef sold by the gram, 
at over $400 per kilo. I’m addicted to the parmesan cheese 
made of sawdust and powered soy. What I love 
most are the young housewives who wear Minnie Mouse bras 
and Donald Duck panties. 

My ardor, however, does not compare to that 
of my colleagues. 
They love it so much they hate their own countries;
America, England, Ireland and Canada are all in their eyes 
nothing but shit. They don’t miss home at all. What they love 
best about Japan is that those on death row are executed 
in secret. They like the denials of war guilt, the cult of the 
and the open hostility to “inferior” nations. 


What attracts them immediately and what they embrace is 
the Japanese love of peace. It’s their delicacy, their manners, 
and their politeness. When they chop a prisoner’s head off, 
executioners shout, “Excuse me.” But I love the citrus, 
a variety that tastes familiar but different. It’s something 
like a tangerine.
It’s small but looks like grapefruit. It could be 
called a Japanese orange. Its name is 

There must be something in the soy sauce. When 
I wave, 
they never respond. When I smile, they don’t react. 
Could it be the sake? It rains every day but there is no 
The puddles are fine and the river runs wide,
but showers are on timers. Take the wrappers off the bottles, 
keep the lettuce in the larder, the neighbors eye our bin.
This summer, lightning strikes harder but the rains lose heart.

And with that, 
it’s time to leave for the airport. 
If they’ll let me. My taxes may not be paid up. 
I made $28,000 last year, but they taxed me 
as a multimillionaire. They withhold over 
70% from foreigners out of fear 
they might 
Once you do, you can never come back.
Let’s see if it works.


Nights in Shining Armor

A true story:

The Baltimore Orioles had just beat the Red Sox 
in ten nail-biting baseball innings. But there were no 
joyful cheers that day. Instead of high-fives, fans 
exchanged worried glances. Instead of filing toward the exits, 
they remained frozen in their seats. 

In the hood the people are restless.
They don’t want to be there. It’s too ghetto,
they say, the whole set up. Gospel music
has stopped. Rap won’t let up. They’re wretched.
It’s depressing. Even $100 nails don’t cut it.

Sounds like the country is readying for the OK Corral 
at High Noon. It’s either the Alt-Right OR the Alt-Left
to the rescue. Some profess to like the black philosopher,
Cornel West. Others, Louis Farrakhan. Then there’s
Richard Spencer and Milo who for some always sound right.

The stadium loudspeakers sounded again: “Ladies and gentleman, 
due to an ongoing public safety issue, the mayor of Baltimore 
and the BCPD have asked all fans to remain inside the ballpark 
until further notice.” 

Then silence… Except for a distant white noise…

…the sound of an enraged mob tearing through stores, police, and bystanders…
just outside the stadium walls. 

Something had gone terribly wrong in the city that night…

Some words from our brother, Mr. James Brown himself:

Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please.
Our church has no bells.
They call it virtue signaling, this thirst for recognition.
What is this hunger? Starved for attention, craving 
spiritual nooky, folks out there need more than Sunday
school cookies. Who are we?

Thomas Wilkinson, Esq., London, wrote last week, eager 
to offer his services, should I request them. He must
be related to poor Mr. Negri, as I recall his name, who emailed 
several months ago, on urgent business in the matter of some 
twelve million bucks. 

He just needs a small favor and the money is mine;
he is offering a contract. “Send along your bank 
account number,” he instructs, and your wallet. He’ll need 
my birthdate, my passport, and my telephone number. Once
he has all the information, he’ll see the transfer through. 

Baby odors, perspiration-saturated bras…
Women clamber to breast feed in public; men
seek surgery so their tits will lactate. 
One smells diapers, never a good sign;
there’s baby powder on the jack boots. Fascists
tend to be sentimental; Hitler was maudlin.

Men hunger to wear girdles, have their hair done, 
paint their nails. Their fingers smell of cum.
Drag queen nation, let it go; be done with it:
wax lips, Beatles wigs; the nostalgia is killing us.
Where’s John Wayne? My mum wants a man to kiss 
her hand.

The men are lined up with the ladies waiting to powder
their noses. Will they talk about cock sucking between stalls?
When men use the little girls’ room, are they still ladies?
The self-pity is nauseating. Bring back the draft. Let the men
fuck on the battle field. Nothing wrong with a little love.

If Mr. James Brown is not available, I’ll take Jagger:

Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please.

Where Muslims live, sexual assaults increase.
Only the virgins deny it. A pinch for these guys
is not enough and certainly not just a look. 
They demand a poke and are willing to slap to get it.
Some say they wouldn’t do that. Some insist 
they know right from wrong. Others suggest instruction 
is needed. Teach the foreign lads to respect our little
girls. Leer but don’t rape. Go online. 
Subscribe to Playboy. First ask. Beg, as we do.
What the hell: pay. For heaven’s sake, learn some 
manners. Don’t you Muslims get it? Won’t you ever learn?
In the West, you can get all the pussy you want:
Just find yourself a girl who wants you.


Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please.

This is another installment in our common tale of woe.
In my pain I accidentally hit send.
I’ve been home-bound since I fell & broke my knee bone.
Walking with crutches, so haven’t made it to the post office lately…
English, it can be said, is a language of pronouncements; 
American remains one of confession.

The deplorables versus the insufferable: you choose.
My mother calls them ghastly. As she says, don’t forget to lower the lid.
There it is, civilization in one simple directive. Will it be followed? 
That is the question. If you ask me, our only hope now lies in reaching 
Captain Sinister at the Oreo Palace. 


Desert Party


You haven’t lived ‘til you’re seen your mother’s skull
crushed into pieces on a table. I nearly died when the
director of the crematorium handed us a pair of chop
sticks and said: feel free to select pieces of your mother.

This train.

I had on a blindfold. I was bumping into things, but I liked
playing the fool. I smiled a lot, knew it would make everyone
uncomfortable. In Japan, smiling, that is by men, is frowned
upon. Girls are encouraged to do so.

This train is a clean train, this train.

Americans live happily in a nation that celebrates injustice.
Nonetheless, the reality of Japanese policies of inequality
gets under their skin. They go on about Saudi women denied
the rights given to adult males. “They, too, deserve to drive.”

But this train is a clean train, this train.

I never dreamed of being the object of another man’s desire.
Imagine that, me, a university teacher, blackmailed by a local.
I’d submit to his demands or be deported. Walk away, no doubt 
all very hush hush, or I’d let him turn me into a little girl.

This train is bound for glory, this train.
This train is bound for glory, you know, this train.

He said he found me attractive. I’d come to his office for a visa.
He invited me to his place in the country. Of course, everyone
was away. He had my passport. I’d have to earn it back, he said.
“Take off your pants and wait here.” He came back stark naked.

But this train don’t pull no liars, this train.

He was fat and hairy. He had no space between his eye brows.
He was heavier and taller than I. He drove an enormous SUV.
He wanted to be licked from head to toe. “Start here.” I stood 
there holding my pants in my hands. He sipped a glass of wine.

This train don’t pull no liars, this train.
You know, this train don’t pull no liars, this train.

I wondered what he meant. He lay on his stomach. There was
no furniture in the room, just pillows thrown about. He got  
on all fours, then lay down. “I have a riding crop,” he declared.
“Listen: don’t miss the best parts. Now get started.”

This train is on the way to glory.
Yeah, this train is a clean train.

I stared. I put my things down on the floor and stood by him.
“You want a massage?” I asked him quietly. “A body massage,
Is that right?” His eyes flashed and he lifted his head, turning.
“Shut up. You’ll lick my body just like it’s your wife’s cunt.”

You know this train don’t pull no jokers, this train. 
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. This train.

I started on his toes. I licked between them. I even sucked one.
I put my tongue to the bottom of his feet. All was well while coming
at it from one direction, but when I turned around, he was reaching 
for my balls. He held them in his hand. “Don’t stop.” 

This train.

I licked his knee. I was getting closer. I was licking his inner thighs. 
His dick was getting hard. In fact, it was pointing right at him. It was 
bobbing. I gave his scrotum a lick or two. Pretty soon, I had his 
sack in my mouth. It was huge. “Keep it there.”

This train don’t pull no jokers, this train.
Because this train is a clean train, this train.

I did as I was told. It was difficult to maneuver. I just sort of lay there,
with his balls in my mouth. He spit on his hand and stuck his finger 
up my ass. Every once in a while, he’d slip out and give my ass a hard
slap. He told me to thank him. “Say, Thank you.”

This train, everyone got to be Holy, this train.

I murmured something incoherent. I was afraid to let go. I kept 
sucking, trying to postpone the inevitable. Finally, I had no choice,
and moved from his balls to his stiffy. He had his riding crop out,
and was giving it to my ass. He didn’t stop until my lips disappeared.

I said, this train don’t pull no liars, this train.
Because this train is a clean train, this train.

I had his whole cock in my mouth and was breathing through my nose.
His cock now rock hard was throbbing. I figured he’d be ready
pretty soon. He was thrusting. “I’m about to come. Don’t spill a drop.”
Then he burst. My mouth filled and I slurped. He stayed deep within.

This train is on the way to glory, this train.
Yeah, this train is on the way to glory, Oooo, this train.

When he finished, his now shriveled cock remained in my mouth.
“Keep going. I want to cum again. Three times, motherfucker.”
I moaned. “I’ll encourage you.” He stood up now with his cock 
in my mouth. He reached for his little whip.  

Everyone who rides her, got to be Holy, Holy, Holy.

He made me count. I sucked and then emitted a garbled sound. “One.”
He hit me again and again, each time demanding that I count out loud.
Pretty soon, we were at 18. “Two more.” He was having fun. He was 
hitting me hard enough but it could have been harder. I was grateful.

Yeah, this train.

He came all over the floor and made me lick it up. He drank his wine.
He peed in my mouth. “You can be my little toilet.” The salty piss had a wine 
flavor. “Now my back.” He plopped back on to the floor. This time 
I had to lick his hairy ass. I was drunk on cum, piss and exhaustion.


“I’ll keep you as my pet. You’ll continue your job; I’ll keep your passport. Tell
me when you have to leave the country.  Are you heading home for Ramadan?
I’ll give you points for each visit. Let’s say ten. Earn 200 and you can have
your Exit Visa.” I didn’t understand.  “20 visits. That’s twice a week.” 

This train.

“Do your job and you’ll be free.  I might even bring a friend. That way, you can 
earn double.  That’s only fair. Don’t cut your nails. When you come next time, 
we’ll paint them bright red like your pretty lips. And your hair. Don’t go to the 
barber. I’m going to turn you into a girl. I might even brand you.”

This train is on the way to glory.
Yeah, this train is a clean train.

“My initials on your ass, just like a cow. And a little bell on your dick. You can pour 
wine for my guests. I’m having a little party, some business associates from Qatar. 
You can give massages in the back room. They’ll tip for a happy ending. Only be sure
to swallow. I don’t want everyone’s cum all over my things.”

This train. Yeah!

“Then we’ll put you somewhere and hang a sign around your neck. I’ll tell them my toilet 
is stopped up. Don’t make a face. You’ll love it. I’ll strip you naked. They can aim for your 
mouth. Who knows, maybe I’ll let them shit on you. We’ll send them home happy.”

This train is on the way to glory, this train.
Yeah, this train is on the way to glory, Oooo, this train.

“Anything is better than being tied to a tree and left overnight for the flies and the mosquitos. 
Insects in the desert are ferocious.”  “Why? Why are you doing this to me?” “You don’t know?  Think about it, my friend. That’ll be your ticket out. You can tell me why. Now, get to it, baby. I’ve only come twice.” 

Because everyone who rides her got to be Holy.
Yeah, this train.

“This time in your ass. I’ll use the riding crop while we gallop. I want more passion. 
Tell me you love me. Say it. Go on. Beg for it.” When we’re through, you can sleep 
with my driver, Kareem, and the Bengali gardeners. They’re lonely. They haven’t had
a woman in years. I’ll let you wear my wife’s abaya. They’ll love it.   

Yeah, this train.

And this was the beginning of my enslavement. I taught at the state university and serviced
the Minister of the Eastern Province for the duration of my contract, for a total of three years.
I learned to love. He turned me into one of his wives. He had three others. It was a lesson in
humility and of obedience. I learned for the first time not to say no.

This train.