Utopia – David Lohrey

Rebel Without a Cause


The rebel comes from noble stock. She told her friends she was a descendent
of slaves, daughter of the weak and powerless. That’s what got her into UCLA. 
Her prestige derives from the suffering of her ancestries. It’s what got her the 
genius award from that oil company. She said she had black oil in her veins. 

Instead, her ancestors applied the whip, like Hollywood actors playing masters, 
they made everybody suffer. Like Elizabeth Taylor, they threw a fit when their tea 
got cold. They ordered chili-dogs on Air Force One. She’s been practicing 
the rain dance while her grandmother performed the jig. 

Word of this reached the historically black university from which she graduated.
The world-famous scholar, civil rights spokesperson, and intellectual has spoken out
about the university’s threat to sue. The university claims that the dissident lied
to its admissions team, placing the university’s reputation at risk.

O, where is Ruchell Magee now when she needs him? Where is LBJ?
It’s not enough to be angry; she can’t rage now that she’s white. My oh my, like
Aunt Jemima, they’ll demand that her picture be taken off the pancake mix.
She won’t be able to demand a free car from GM for the sufferings of her people.

She’ll be free now to dye her hair, that’s what her friend Martha Stewart told her.
Snoop Dog agrees. She’s waiting now for a call from her godson, Jussie. He’ll
know what to do. She tried getting the princess on the phone but her secretary said
it would cost her. “I don’t do pro bono.”

Where is Michelle? They are tight. She was invited to her palace on Friendsgiving
Day. She brought a bowl of dirty rice to the festival. They laid out a full display
of hogs’ feet, spoon bread, and chitlins for their guests. Michelle whispered 
in her hairy ear that they’d be serving wine and imported cheese in the back room.

She’ll have to let her white servants go. She likes her house maid, Melinda, a fat gal
who often stays late without complaining. Now that she’s known as a descendent of slave
owners, she’ll have to hire blacks. She’s never had blacks in her home. Not since
moving to Watercress Drive. She remembers informing the agency that she’d only take whites.

She’ll get herself a couple of Filipinas. That’s what Jussie suggests. The Obamas, too.
This morning, she had to let her gardeners go. It’s not easy to find a good yard man. 
She talked to one this morning who would only take the job if she promised to give
him her stockings to wear on his head.  She threatened to call the police.

The chancellor called to say that he would have to end her contract. Whites aren’t wanted
in the black studies department. She can’t expect to teach in a fine ivy league university
now, not if she is white. She can’t talk about the suffering of her people if her descendants
were slave owners, relatives of Scarlett O’Hara, for God’s sake. She could teach feminism.



Feast of the Circumcision


There’s a holiday for everything; if you look hard enough, there is.
Nothing a wee drink can’t cure, and some time alone can’t improve.
I’d say, in America, anyway, the only holiday I ever liked was the
one they now want to cancel, called Thanksgiving.

Father loved to cut the turkey, chop it to bits, pull out its bones
by hand and snap them in two. When we were through, he’d find
something to do with the bones, boil them with chopped carrots,
and make what he called soup. We ate turkey sandwiches for weeks.

I don’t remember ever giving thanks to anyone for anything ever. 
No, they may have called it Thanksgiving but we kept our thoughts 
to ourselves, yessirree.  Fuck Bob. The saints come marching in, and
the townies raise the rent. That’s another thing my uncle used to say. 

Demosthenes couldn’t hold a candle. Cicero and other Romans, including 
the historians Sallust and Tacitus, knew a thing or two. One thing was clear: 
the importance of dangerous women. The orators were putting their lives 
on the line. Public pronouncements could be caustic. 

There were epic put-downs: ridicule and denunciations. This made the Romans 
scary. Treachery and intrigue ruled the roost – what fun! Juicy parts for the likes 
of Glenn Close and Sharon Stone: poisoned baths and whipped backsides.
Talk about the deplorables! They devised verbal assassination plots. 

Hell is an equal opportunity employer. Hallelujah. We’d prefer, it seems, 
to put a cap in our opponent’s ass. John Adams, America’s Founding Father, 
wanted his kids to write poetry, screenplays. We’ll know America is back when 
people once again value the power of words and the right to speak them.

Read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Adams loved the Romans. Lincoln, too. 
People obsess over the right to bear arms; they want to carry concealed weapons. 
Of greater power is one’s tongue. A golden voice or a pistol? If not writers, then 
anthropologists; someone in this country has to study ancient languages.

When the bombing starts the president’s artistic son can suggest we not bomb 
ancient sites or capital cities. An artistic education might come in handy. With 
presidents this low, we’ll have to depend on children to write their epithets. Why 
would a successful businessman want his sons and daughters in trade?

Let that son of his keep his prick, that’s all I say. If he wants to join the ballet,
who cares? If he wants a 16-year-old boyfriend from Cyprus, let him be, but don’t call
him a girl; don’t name him Sue. Don’t make him wear high heels or let him wear
his mother’s earrings. Let’s stop this obsessive worship of the limp dick.  
Our business class produces clerks and bondsmen only; if not from the rich, from
where are our artists and historians to come; who else can afford Manhattan rents?
Our God doesn’t believe in sharing; ours is a religion of hoarding.  Membership’s 
limited to the greedy; fuck the needy. They’ll get financial aid in Heaven.

We’ll know it’s here when the cherry blossoms fall and the hibiscuses blossom. 
No more tears. All women will have big breasts. Plastic surgeons will join in
the harvest as fieldhands rejoice. There will be no more universities, only ignorance.
It’s what we have been waiting for. Bowel movements will be televised.  

The news of the day will be read from a podium at the White House. There will
be daily parades. We’ll make the president himself a majorette. She’ll wear nothing
more than a cotton yukata, not a stitch more. She’ll perform in digital blackface, 
known to all as the man of the hour. At breakfast, she’ll be Cuban; by lunch, Chinese.

Hell is an equal opportunity employer, and everybody knows it. Hallelujah. 
The Starship Enterprise is right there on the horizon and so is Top Gun, Part 3: 
Roman Candles.
When we look back, people will say, it wasn’t so bad. They 
may even say we never had it so good. Trust me. Utopia is nigh.