Panoply – David Lohrey



Not Only Yesterday


It’s never been the same. But, no, 
I don’t want to have another drink.
I don’t want to forget. Tonight, I want 
the opposite. I want to remember.

I want to see everything one more time. 
One more time I want it back. I want 
to see for myself what it was like,
when life was good. 

I want back, back before this, to that time
years ago, when men didn’t wear rings, back
to that time when all women could sing.
You don’t need a beer to feel good.

Put your drinks down. You don’t
need a beer.
Paradise was there. It happened,
and it happened to us. 
We lived in paradise. We did.

No, I don’t want another beer; 
I want to remember. I want to be clear. 
The Paradise we remember, 
the one everyone knows.


And we can make it paradise again. 
We can make it paradise again.
I’m not saying it wasn’t paradise then; 
please believe me.

I’m just saying, look around; 
it’s paradise now. 
Don’t be a fool. 
It’s paradise now.


Hell’s Bells


This is what I would call the Biggest of the Big Ugly.
Well, you know, it’s…uh…
Have a bit of Mississippi roast, why don’t you? Go on.
You know, it wouldn’t kill you to thank your mother.

Life is a shit sandwich.
Do you believe that? Huh?
Used to be able to pick up a house ‘round here for, I’d
say, six maybe eight thousand dollars. That’s right:
eight thou. Now look at it. Go on, look at it. 

We don’t talk about tutti-frutti at the dinner table. 
I don’t know why. We just don’t. 
Pulled a tick the size of a postage stamp from our fucking
dog’s ear this morning. It was this big and then fuck-face
over here went and stepped on it. Squashed it and now 
the whole fucking porch is painted blood red. Red! 

Kitchen of tomorrow, today.
That is it. Said it clear as a bell.
Kitchen of tomorrow, today.
I was watching The Jetsons. You know.
Earl’s mother just bought herself an electric.
Gorgeous it is. Sleek. We’ll see how this year’s
turkey turns out. Might be dry.

My relatives will insist this here key lime pie was sent 
straight from heaven. No, I am not joking.
Cooks beautiful. Such as this quick and easy 
Turkey Tetrazzini. 
You said it: kitchen of tomorrow, today. It’s right on the box.
I kid you not. On the box. Just like this. 

Life is a shit sandwich.
 – without the bread.
Yeah, my dad said the same. Same fucking thing.
Only, he meant it. He meant it. Hated this shit. Hated it.
Let’s get out of here. It’s the devil’s music. I can feel it.


Low and Behold


They speak of organized religion.
How would that be?
They might as well have organized sex,
like the military, set up in camp, named
after a confederate general, or a Japanese
flower. With regiments and lieutenants, and staff
sergeants shouting orders to the young men
and women, telling them to get into position.

I’m not for it. 

There cannot be organized sex,
any more than there can be organized rest.
I’m against it. Any more than there can be organized
fashion, without it being called a uniform.
A white blouse and blue shoes, a bone through your
nose, and a phone up your ass. People crave order.
They like to be whipped into shape. They’d come
in to town for that. They might leave home for that.

All rise. 

“All that exists deserves to perish,” Karl Marx.
Confirm your humanity. Click on all the pictures of dying
children. Is that one? Or is that a dog? Is that a car or a truck?
Hurry up or you will be timed out. Your humanity will expire.
Jo Sullivan is at the wheel, soon to drive into a tree.
She wants her daughters married off before she leaves this world.
Who wouldn’t? Who doesn’t? When it comes to daughters,
say what you will…Jane Austen prevails: it is all about money. 

75 mph.

She wrapped her car around a tree. Jo knew a thing or two but 
made the mistake of bringing her poodle, a dreadful animal 
whose turds were as big as bricks. So much for the shag carpet;
so much for the marriage. When her husband smacked her across 
the mouth, it was time to go. Stopped for a pack of cigarettes, wet
her whistle, and stepped on it, drunk. The coroner found her teeth 
in her brains. Forget about her lovely green eyes. I remember 
how she asked me to keep quiet. 

Back then

Sex was on the down low. Wives shagged the chauffeur at his
peril. But I digress. A young stud at the wheel. It wasn’t long before you
were at his heel. Daddy said a barking dog wouldn’t bite. This one was
quiet as a mouse. You begged to hold the shift. You asked if he wanted
you in the front or back. You said, “turn up the heat.” That was back 
when Benihana’s chef tossed chunks through the air. You bent back and
let his meat find its way down your throat. You put your foot against
the wooden dash. You didn’t give a shit who he was. You called him Darcy.

Blood drips.

Bury the dog with your mother. In goes the Lincoln. Into the hole
goes the whole thing: the years at Lausanne, good times at Wellesley, 
the masters of fine arts, the book of poetry. Fuck it all. The poodle’s 
shit on the floor. The dog coughed up fur. Your lover’s hairy balls 
smell. Throw him in, too. It all goes into the meat grinder. Henry 
James thinks he is so smart. Portrait of a lady, my ass. The cliché:
you carry rose bushes to the cars without gloves and your arms 
get ripped to shreds. When will the applause begin?


French Revolution


It’s all about the money, not the population.

Let’s revert to the camp fires.
We’ll take up flints and arrows.
We’ll make spears and pierce the heart of this so-called art.
Smash it all; shred it; throw it into the sea.

My friend Keisha McCormick took one look at Mark Rothko’s Void #3 
and wanted to vomit. She redoubled her gaze. “I look at this painting 
but can’t find my people. I only see you.” Where, she demanded, 
are my African-American brothers and sisters? 

This is not part of my people. We’re not at the center; 
we’re not even at the side. Why must I study this perverse style?
This is not Mississippi. The sexes may be mingling, but the races are splitting.
In future, Kanye West must be shown at the side of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa.

We are radical practitioners of right thinking, determined to destroy 
Western Civilization. We must step back to move forward: first go the arts,
then the courts, the laws and institutions. By the time we’re through, there’ll 
be nothing left but vaginal jelly and sawed-off shotguns.

If I can’t see my people, I want to get rid of it as Genghis Khan 
and the Taliban dynamited Bamiyan. We’ll destroy the offending statuary. 
Why should a museum be a sanctuary? We are determined to enact our purity.
There can be no beauty without justice. 

Give us our cut. 13% or we’ll set the museums on fire. We’re kind-hearted
and loving, but you give us the sculpture or we’ll cut your necks. Oprah deserves 
to be right up there on that Sistine Chapel with Louis Farrakhan and Michael Jackson.
Until then, it’s nothing but another ugly ceiling. 

Guernica? The Prado: what’s that got to do with it? 
Why’s that horse’s neck cut in two? Picasso use a guillotine? 
He’s as much a sadist as an artist. I’d call that horse a gelding. 
How can the symbol of human suffering be depicted by animal mutilation? 

It is not just about renaming Yale after Malcolm.
We must demolish the Washington Monument. 
We burn with righteous resentment. My parents only make $229,000 a year. 
They can afford to send me to college but can’t buy me an Audi.


Put this shit in a vault, send it to the university archives. Who 
wants to see Chippewa or Oneida paddling bark canoes? 
Subservience to white settlers is offensive. This art depicts a race-based view. 
Those offended have declared it harmful. The First Amendment is racist.     

This country needs new style of art. How about renaming the Grand Tetons?
Or Michelle and Barack Obama, both nude, placed on a golden chariot? 
They’d look cool next to Lady Liberty. That’s what I’m saying. 
Where is the people’s eternal flame? 


It’s all about the money, not the population.


Paradise Is Demanding


It must be thrilling to know everything.
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 flamethrowers.
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 origami.
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.
Infants 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 green.
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 lettuce.

Paradise 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.
Last week I lost the Empire State Building.


I want my teddy bear.
Can’t I like pandas, too?
Thou shalt not kill.
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?




POTUS Interruptus

Donald J. Trump is often very good. What he is great at is being Donald – 
the only one we will ever have. When he dies, any outpouring of affection 
will come about because the American people feel he remains in some 
indefinable way close to them, one of a kind but one of their own – a regular
guy who at heart just wants to be rich.

It’s easier to arrange an interview with the American POTUS 
than it is with Tom Cruise. Is it true that he once slept with Artie Shaw? 
Did he actually ghostwrite James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake? 
Some believe so. In 2023, Trump just turned up grinning, almost swaggering, 
at his private club. We shook hands. He declared that Melania was pregnant.

Much as I find The Art of the Deal entirely uninvolving and sometimes 
close to obscene, the moment I met him, when I was alone in the room 
with the Donald, I came unglued. All along, what we were getting wasn’t just 
this or that great or perhaps even obnoxious tweet, but an idea of the President
himself: his charm, his boldness, his humor, and his desperation. 

Trump has a striking talent for shaping luck, and for exploiting his better half:  
there’s Ivana, his first wife, co-author Tony Schwartz, then VP Pence, Melania,
and his special assistant Kellyanne Conway. He’s the nerveless chess master; 
on the other, a man crippled by self-doubt, cocky but insecure, a man elated 
by his personal rapport with foreign leaders.

The interview goes well. We start off in the penthouse at Trump Tower 
but say our final goodbye at Grand Central Station where the former President’s 
driver drops me.  The now-empty Times Building down the street prominently 
displays an enormous for sale sign. My conclusion is this: If Trump smoked 
Gauloises and drank white wine, the high-minded would fully embrace him. 

Studying the Donald has been a lot like doing a Ph.D. on the origins of Jell-O. 
Americans came to see his White House as little more than a Potemkin village. 
It’s impossible to imagine someone like Trump giving the media anything 
like this kind of open access – but then, of course, there is no one quite like him. 

The Donald never did win the Nobel Prize for carpet bombing North Korea.

To whom was Jackie referring when she spoke of the White House dogs? 
We’ve all had our flirtations with celebrity. Trump comes across like a petulant 
bully, pure will and a fantastic show-off. What more is there to disclose? His taxes? 
Truth is, you could go as mad as a pampered real estate mogul from Queens 
just trying to sift through all his baggage. 

I’m not sure how seriously Trump wants to be taken. In 2022, the former 
President was in Los Angeles pretending to star in a picture that isn’t 
going to be made, adapted from a memoir he is never going to finish, 
certain to be called ‘You’re Fired: the Rise of Donald J. Trump’. It is said 
to have sold for twice the amount of President Obama’s.

Better yet, think of casting the President in Hello, Donald! He looks a lot
like Carol Channing. The first time we met he’d just come back from Moscow.
There were those lingering rumors of his affair with Kanye West. Is this 
the kind of shit Trump himself would ever want to sit through? Wouldn’t he 
have preferred Kardashian? Isn’t he supposed to be into women?

I find myself wondering, as we do with most postmodern politicians 
(Hillary Clinton, for example): is this good because it’s good Trump, 
or is it good by any standards? Or is Trump essentially, now, just imitating 
his own brand, because that’s what one does? Think of Madonna. Think of
Trump Vodka. Watching Trump selling himself to the world is depressing. 

My part of this interview for the New Yorker consists almost entirely of grilling
him on Putin, Kim Jong-un, and Iran, and of him trying to plug the ‘ideas’ 
in The Art of the Deal, Part II. The days of interviews full of sex clubs 
and paternity suits are over. He sounds like any other President with products 
to hawk. Obama’s signature line of chocolate chip cookies comes to mind.

His looks remain largely unchanged: his body still has the shape of an enlarged 
marshmallow; with that wig, equally pillow-y, he resembles a masquerade of times
gone by.  He looks like an aging hermaphrodite, a Liberace, or a 1970s’ female 
impersonator. How much the former President is really here at all remains to be seen. 

His presidential library stands empty.

He is not in prison. He lives in a house three times the size of the White House.
So what, if his daughter and son-in-law had to flee the country? He built a tower 
near the Kremlin. He sold Detroit to China. When Bill died, Hillary fell apart.
The Donald made it to the end of his first term and then Romney took over. When he 
ran in 2012, 47% were on public rolls; now it’s closer to 58. The country is bankrupt.


High Noon at the OK Corral


It can’t be denied, this phenomenon.
My own mother dreams of bedding Obama,
Clinton, too, when he held office. She loves them.
She foams at the mouth when she hears them criticized. 
She gulps air and stares bug-eyed.

It’s not a political affiliation. It’s cultish and emotional, 
the worship of a student for a beloved teacher, 
Bobby soxers fainting in the auditorium, fans at a ballgame,
or soccer fanatics. There’s no proper distance, 
no adult wisdom. Just childish worship.

It’s the maddened love for a cult leader; fat women 
exposing their heaving breasts. Boys panting.
It’s what serial killers want from men and women
– their pleas before death, begging, total obedience. 
It’s what Manson got from his sick followers: adoration.

What in the world is happening? Has the US President 
become nothing more than a centerfold? If so, how 
did we come to this? Men and women once 
clambered to shake a President’s hand; now they 
dream of sleeping with him in the Lincoln bedroom. 

The women who fought for women’s suffrage 
didn’t want to sleep with Woodrow Wilson.
Did American women have fantasies of fucking Teddy 
(Roosevelt, not Kennedy)? Little children may have 
wanted a Teddy bear, but did women before ever 
dream of taking the President to bed? 

Where is this heading? If we don’t grow up and grow up fast,
the next president will treat us all like children;
we’ll be told when to come in off the street; we’ll be sent 
to bed without our supper. If we don’t grow up,
and grow up fast, the President will give this country 
a reason to cry, and it won’t be pretty.

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.

Bunny Mellon gave millions to John Edwards because of his kisser. 
Funny Bunny barely flinched when pretty boy fizzled. 
Many women have fantasies of going to bed with Obama; 
some would prefer Michelle. Should a top think tank take a survey
of the American people on the nature of this depravity? 

Why not strip them and put them in a centerfold,
like one of those sexy English rowing teams? 
Their private parts covered in whipped cream?
Instead of voting hope and change, we’ll celebrate 
Presidential chests and buttocks. America needs to take a poll, 
conduct a survey of our most recent proclivities. 

Did French women want to sleep with Charles de Gaulle? 
What of Gorbachev or Mandela? Our once great Republic 
is beginning to rupture, resembling something once 
familiar to men like Tacitus and the Roman Emperors. 
Isn’t it time to establish a blue-ribbon committee headed 
by Henry Kissinger – before he kicks the bucket?


Post-Partum Depression


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 new thing.

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.

I said in my last poem that everyone should eat Pop Tarts, but that’s not 
because I like them. I just like the sound of my voice. My fantasy is to live 
in a Faulkner novel but that doesn’t mean I don’t wear underpants.

I wanna get me an emotional support peacock and move into Flannery 
O’Connor’s house. Delphiniums prefer moist, cool summers. They don’t
fare well in hot, dry weather. One does still hear dreadful stories.

The greatest birthday present I ever got was a potted tomato plant from 
Armstrong’s on Azusa. It cost $.79. There is nothing on this earth 
as delicious as a cherry snow cone.

Who takes advice from a poet? Tamara soaks. 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? 

I saw my first film by Truffaut in the Mission District; 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.

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?

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. 
Things will never get better as long as we think FDR was a nice guy.


Confessions of a Trump Supporter


I am a man, too.
Listen up.
I’ve given up.
I’m one of those guys who never wins.
I have no backing.
I’ve never been in the right place at the right time. 
I’ve never been elected.
I’ve never been called to the microphone. 
My shoes are often left untied.
I forget to zip my fly.
No one has ever said to me, “I love you.” 

I missed out on disco-mania.
I still use too much salt. 
I smoke.
I hit my children.
I ate canned ravioli as a kid.
My life is almost over.
I won’t let my wife serve instant rice. 
I often forget to lift the seat.
I don’t know how to tie a tie.
I never take down my Christmas lights.
My mother called me stupid.

I bite my nails.
I have a pimply ass.
I forget to flush.
I voted for Richard Nixon.
I make my wife take out the garbage.
I can’t catch a ball.
My wife makes me sleep in the den.
She says I smell like a dead mouse.
My first-grade teacher said I should be ashamed of myself.
My high school coach said I was full of shit.
My father beat my ass.

I have no friends.
I hate the snow.
I used to eat Lucky Charms.
I love baseball.
I’ve changed a lot of flat tires.
I never look at porno.
I used to like cutting the grass.
I joined the boycott against Coca Cola.
I’ve never been out of state. 
I voted for Ronald Reagan. 
I voted for Bush.

I once hated the Soviet Union.
I hated communists like Castro.
I hated Jane Fonda.
Now I love Kim Jong-un.
I’m not into hate.
I didn’t take Watergate seriously.
I didn’t vote for Obama.
I always order broccoli beef and spring rolls at the Chink’s.
I drive a Chevy.
I’d like to retire to Panama.
I laughed when my brother got hit in the head by a fly ball.

I’m a goner.
I won’t let my wife shave her pussy.
I prefer sunflowers to roses.
I am an alcoholic.
My wife had her left tit removed.
I’ve always wanted to see the Pyramids.
I think Pete Rose got shafted.
I voted for Trump.
I’ve never been to a French restaurant.
I never go to church.
I think Margaret Thatcher had balls. 

God bless America.




Igloo Thanksgiving 


Caribou steak served on an artisanal loaf of sourdough, heirloom tomatoes, stoneground mustard, and a single item fresh from the fat of the land. How’s that? At IGLOO, my favorite restaurant in LA, there is a snarling Malamute with blue eyes placed under every table, growling and feeding on a live pigeon as patrons order from its non-existent menu. Thanksgiving on Ice, prix fix: $290 per couple. Singles pay a surcharge of $45. It is the only meal in the world served without land-based flora. Veggies don’t grow on ice. IGLOO serves bowls of algae and kelp salad. Seal blood ice cream remains a specialty even after lawsuits from the Sierra Club. After appetizers, they kill the dogs. Only their intestines are preserved, as they are filled with undigested bits of seafood, to be served as sushi. The “Yukon” is a specialty of the house: eagle feathers in a sea cucumber brine served with Alpine pine cones, prepared at table like Caesar Salad. The mystery item is turtle eggs from the beaches of Australia, flown in fresh, floating in seawater and ice. For Multicultural Awareness, this week only, patrons will be invited for the Japanese tea ceremony: please add $75 per person, including instruction and a fresh cup of matcha green tea, picked exclusively by local virgins on the Kagoshima Hills. Enjoy.* 



Forty Mules and an Acre


You can’t teach anyone to want to be successful,
not a soul. I don’t care if they pissed in the pool. 
I don’t give a rat’s ass. I am just telling you,
there has not been a single person willing 
to give up the ship since we moved to Brazil.

The guys barbequed that last one in their offices, on 
the 12th floor, and did an excellent job. All that, without 
compensation. You gotta have dough. Sig gave them 
$1.2 million. Now, there is another push. The push 
never ends. We’ll open floating offices on the Amazon. 

We are moving, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have
a good secretary. Write it off. Build a pen tall enough 
for a giraffe. Show some balls. Every Jew should have 
a German office manager. It’s a nice touch. No one said 
anything about gouging out anyone’s eyeballs.

Gotta think outside the box. Flip it. Start all over.
Think big. How about “40 Acres and a Mule”? See?
It’s a beast of burden. Why do you need more than one?
As it is, they’re cramped. There is no air. It stinks. People
won’t stand for it. The fumes are nauseating. 

They might as well be donkeys. They are that stubborn. You
can’t eat the meat. You could get something for the hooves,
but not much. You have got to decide. Take my advice, and 
move to Manaus. I wouldn’t say anything. Just release photos 
with a single mule. Smile. Give him a name: yes, Barack.

I don’t see that it matters. Him…her. Don’t get caught up.
Go on the attack. Arrest twenty or thirty of the ring leaders
and shoot them. Start filming. Get pictures for Town and 
Country. Invite a thousand people to watch. Bring in some 
Porta Potties. Keep them locked at night. Ask CNN.

Look into Netflix. Out of sympathy for the fallen, maybe not. 
Hand out bubble gum. They’ll be passing out Juicy Fruit. We 
want the memoir out by mid-March. No, bigger than the Bible.
Then, put him on the Supreme Court. We think the President, 
like the Pope, should be perceived as tough.


Guns and Provolone


The girl had her hand in her boyfriend’s pocket. Need I say why?
The place is a leper colony with a Ferris wheel. Let’s get some
popcorn. I wanna do more than get away, I wanna travel into
the past. I want to ride the roller coaster. I want to fuck Bridget.
If I can’t have her, I’ll take Sally Fields.

Nostalgia can’t be played on the violin, don’t you know? Pretty
soon, they’ll be doing a translation of Phantom of the Opera
in Swahili. Everything is race-based in the USA. We are doing
business the Japanese way. I turned on the TV looking for a movie,
The Guns of Navarone. Low and behold, I found a new gay musical. 

Guns and Provolone, a low-budget melodrama about a gay guy
who dreams of joining the mafia, written by Angela Angelou.
One doesn’t often think of poets as money managers. It must be nice
to see one’s work issued by the government decree, something like
the royalties on Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book.

You have to give her credit for it, she made an industry out of having
had a hard time of it, even if today she lunches with the likes of Oprah 
and aristocratic communists like Jessica Mitford. Something about her 
reminds me of a circus, a tented carnival with a snake-man called Scaly
and a three-breasted lady. Step right up and hear her tale of woe. 

Not a tale of triumph but the tale of your miserable past: how you were
beaten and mistreated, and how you experienced unwanted advances. 
Why not explain once again what it was like to have to eat fried
bologna on Christmas morning? Now there’s a tale of human suffering.
The royalties mount beyond anyone’s imagination. 

Like the Shuberts, rake it in while it lasts. There’s the 5-bedroom 
townhouse in a fashionable part of Harlem, the mansion down 
in swampy Carolina, a wee property along the Hudson River
and, rumor has it, a pied-á-terre in a posh section of Paris. The 
newest new book is just coming out in a new waterproof edition. 

The text, it is said, glows in the dark, so it can be read underwater, 
or you can get one that floats. It is scheduled to appear later this month
in coordination with her new show, Big Woe, the new Broadway
Musical. Like the Delancey Street sisters, have your say, as they 
say, but be sure to count your earnings. 


Some might say it is too much to dare. When you wear earrings 
and things from Tiffany’s, it gets harder and harder to ask for 
sympathy. You might wind up like some of your devoted readers,
much too rich to notice a little girl in need of affection. Ask Sinatra,
the Chairman of the Board, to teach you how to count your earnings.


The Whole Hog


My friend Louis sits all day at Macy’s playing Santa, 10 to 3, but he can’t do it
without a dildo stuck up his ass. That’s what he does. He sits like that all day long,
talking to little boys and girls. Without a sexual subtext, he can’t relate to people.

He can’t go all day without living a pornographic fantasy. Many people are like
this; you’d be surprised. My Catholic mother says this is what life is without God.
It is a crucifix or a dildo for most of us. My sister plays the violin.

Here’s what the Thanksgiving Parade looks like in Pandemic New York. I never
left my hotel room. I just lay there, absent-mindedly teasing out my scrotal hairs.
Is that all Christianity means to you, Andy Warhol Christmas tree ornaments?

Glass balls in neon pink decorated with phallic symbols? Whose job is it to paint
those little cocks and balls? Chinese slave labor? Volunteers with the Salvation
Army? Inmates of the New York State Penitentiary?

One guy does the cock and balls, while another adds the public hairs. That’s art?
At $25 apiece? Why couldn’t I be a small town Catholic full of dread, instead of
another lazy atheist full of shit?

I don’t feel dread. I don’t feel anything. These Protestant sects have ruined everything,
obsessed with free love, birth control, and sexual experimentation. God, why does
atheism make people feel bored? Does faith make life more interesting for the faithful?

Is that why Italians are so much more vibrant than the Godless? Why does
the Bible-belt produce so much music? In a little bit, it’s going to have me crying;
perhaps, you, too. We’ll both be crying. I feel good about not crying by myself.


Camping in the Desert


I watch every night as the President is stabbed. 
They have at him and I love it. Hatred is rewarding.
One is praised for hating the right people. I like that.
One is praised for letting oneself go. Hatred is transgressive. 
It warms one’s insides, it caresses the soul, soothes one’s
memory of past humiliations, the sting of being passed up,
especially if one is fat and lacks talent. The indignities are 
great. When I need a boost, I tell someone Melania is 
someone to loath. I hate her guts.

The sense of gratification cannot be measured. One feels
full of resentment and envy. One hates a man who doesn’t
follow the rules. How dare he put ketchup on an expensive 
steak. The contempt. It is like rolling hundred dollars bills
and smoking them as cigars. It is an outrage. I could kill 
him just for that. There. I said it. My friends swoon. It gives
my wife an orgasm. She runs her fingers through my hair
and praises me. If I were thirteen, and in a gang, I might
get in a car and conduct a drive-by shooting. 

Shoot some bastard in the head. Laugh. They would admire me
for my cries. I’d hang my head out the window and roar, 
“The President is shit.” That’ll get me tenure. I am desperate
for a promotion and this is the only way to get it. I must demonstrate
my hatred. I belong to a club at the state university. We all hate him. 
Some have bumper stickers that say so. We send each other hand 
signals. We hate Trump but more: we hate those who don’t, all 
the more. The loss of self propels one forward. It reestablishes 
one’s identity to find somebody to loathe. 

It gratifies…it somehow encourages and strengthens one’s innards.
“I hate his guts.” It’s good for my sex life. My wife loves a hater.
The quivering of righteous indignation is especially comforting. I love 
to kick a man while he’s down. And to spit while standing over another
is bliss, to watch one’s spittle fall, especially if it hits him in the eye. 
Tonight, I boasted I had sucked Ann Sexton’s left tit. I bragged that I had
licked Virginia Woolf’s quim. I told them all I hit the ball out of the park.
And when the party was over, I had a slice of honeydew and ham, and ran 
my fingers over the crystal.

I went back to pocket a small Tiffany ashtray, and then left by the pantry
door, taking one of the cars in the driveway. I drove it into a wall at the end 
of Center Drive where it forms at “T” with Cloar Cove. Then I ran all bloodied
to the White House to join the demonstration. There we chanted until dawn.
I felt satisfied being with others, shouting our rage. We screamed in unison.
I got so many pats and hugs. I was praised for shouting, “Fuck Trump.”
I almost wept when I heard he was sick. Then we sang we hoped he’d die.
This heartless man who does not care is finally suffering like his fellow man.
It pleases me to know that I feel more. I am full of life. I am full of hate.