Two Poems by David Lohrey

Commotion

Hope is faster than light,
its speed behind measure.
It’s alive, today, but what about
tomorrow? Easy come, easy . . .
I need something to build up
my courage.

One advantage is sleep, an endurance
test: a locomotive or a pillow. We
learn to calculate the commotion.
Suck the straw, hang out, hit the hay.
Who’s to say? One cedes territory, one
establishes boundaries, one signs along
the dotted line. Some choose Southern exposure.

Gross indecencies stare us down. Our
calm is our rebellion. It’s the last frontier.
Benumbed, confounded, lost in space. We
escape confinement like water, searching, but
what of our aversion to chaos? Our taste for the
tranquil? Must we be held in contempt for despising
aggression, our preference for the impassive?

It’s massive: jest. Or condescension. We cultivate
superiority; we celebrate death: theirs, hers, his.
Inoculation. Innocence. Quest. It’s a matter of
combining ingredients, the right balance, justice.
Too much won’t do. There’s much too much parsley.
One less grain of sand. The handyman’s muscles are too big.
The phone keeps ringing. Where’s the drain?

There’s anguish in repetition. I prefer hilarity.
The monks won’t go. Offer them a martini.
Thelonious learned to tread lightly as one should.
Deer in the headlights, grizzly bear, a flamingo: there.
Notoriety ruins everything. Ask the Princess.
I like to stay in bed. Back to basics. Sunny-side up.
He refuses to remove his boxing gloves; he grunts
and the world stands still. Resistance begins with rest.


Menus

You’ve had Indian food, sure,
but have you tried chicken chettinad?
How about raan?
Or goat kadhai?
How about an enlarged prostate
or a prolonged bladder infection?
Are you passing blood?

These days, death is not a metaphor.
Like the Royal Delhi, my clinic’s offerings
can be described as an attempt
at encyclopedic deliciousness
from across the universe. It’s
a dive all right, a real cop-and-fireman
watering hole without the jokes.

Dishes are half price at lunchtime on
weekdays. Try the MRI; 10% off if
you schedule the EKG on the same day. My
doctor recommends the CAT scan with ultra-
sound imaging. He demands that I
try something out of the ordinary. The
nuclear stress test looks interesting.

The smell of masala spices that wafts
from the plate can’t be beat. A regal set of dishes
can be found in the dosa gallery section
of the hospital. If you crave heat, order the
‘very spicy’ version with direct intravenous
injections; no anesthetic. You’ll feel a jolt.
When the thallium begins to flow
you won’t be disappointed. I promise.

What about dessert?
It all depends on how long
you have to live. I wouldn’t recommend
ice cream. The strawberries look
divine. You can have two. Maybe you’d like
a cup of tea: brown, barley-flavored, and
lukewarm in a small Dixie cup? No sweetener.
Call the nurse when you start to feel pain.



David Lohrey is from Memphis in the USA. His plays have been produced in Switzerland, Croatia, and Lithuania. His poetry can be found in Otoliths, The Pangolin Review, Tuck Magazine, and The Cardiff Review. He received a Very Honorable Mention in the 2017 Global Poetry Contest, Washington, DC. David’s fiction can be read online at EWR, Storgy Magazine, and Literally Stories. David’s newest collection of poetry, Machiavelli’s Backyard, was published last year. He lives in Tokyo.

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