December 7, 2017 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Gerome Viavant photo



David Lohrey





An Anthology of Utopias



We all want answers,

even if it means carrying a crib.

It’s necessary when our teachers

ask impossible questions. We study hard

but we hardly come close; our responses

approximate the truth. It is better to cheat.


But I’ve lucked out. I found a bound

volume, an anthology of utopias which

provides all the answers. It promises

nothing if not an end to despair. Just think:

Brook Farm in hardback; Skaneateles explained.

Read with care it is a blueprint for Amana.


In this volume life comes to an end. It demands

that we turn our backs on ourselves. We give up

the everyday; in exchange we gain the eternal.

This is social equality forever and an end to jealousy.

Purity of purpose replaces greed and an end to lust.

The threat of mutiny is replaced by true harmony.


An anthology of utopia has no room for sexual difference.

The trans movement is a step in the right direction.

Soon we’ll be like Barbie and Ken, not creatures

with the same genitals but with none. People no longer

identified by their color of underwear. Hallelujah.

We’ll all come in camouflage and in wigs.


We’ll be soldiers more comfortable in death than in life.

Women’s breasts will no longer have nipples. Men’s asses

will no longer smell. People will go to prison for calling

him, her. That old woman at the end of the corridor will be

our monitor. Death assists utopian aspirations. The only thing

standing in the way of perfection is human enterprise. End it.


Charles Manson was one of the authors of this anthology

of utopias. Pol Pot, too, designed plans for eternal bliss. He

trained all his people to crawl and how to meow. He instructed

them on how to stack the bodies in neat piles. Others, of course,

prefer to eat them. Devouring traces of human life leaves the planet

a cleaner place. Utopians are nothing if not preservationists.





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. Must I study this perverse style?

This is not Mississippi. The sexes may be mingling, but the races are splitting.

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 and the decorations, then the courts, the laws and institutions.

By the time we’re through, they’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 with injustice.


You give us our cut. 13% or we’ll burn the art, set the museums on fire.

We’re kind-hearted, loving and caring, but you give us the sculpture

or we’ll cut your necks. Oprah deserves to be right up there on that Sistine

Chapel with Farrakhan and Michael Jackson. Until that day,

that’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’t afford to send me to college and buy me an Audi.


Put this shit in a vault, or 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 Obama, 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.






David Lohrey

David Lohrey is from Memphis, and now lives in Tokyo. He graduated from UC Berkeley. Internationally, his poetry can be found in Otoliths, Stony Thursday Anthology, Sentinel Quarterly, and Buckshot Magazine. In the US, recent poems have appeared in Poetry Circle, FRiGG, Obsidian, and Apogee Journal. His fiction can be read in Crack the Spine, Dodging the Rain, Literally Stories, and The Broke Bohemian. David’s The Other Is Oneself, a study of 20th century literature, was published last year, while his first collection of poetry, Machiavelli’s Backyard, was released in August. He is a member of the Sudden Denouement Collective. 

Editor review

1 Comment

  1. ANSman June 23, at 17:10

    Love the rhythms of manifesto and protest here, wrenched from their perverse Orwellian setting and placed into the cadence of litany and lament... and shown for their true truth. (That's what I'm saying. Man.)


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