This is one for the Russians whose tears freeze.
We Americans are too easily deceived, distracted
by the bright lights. The regime of glad tidings insists
we say we’re all right. We are in it to win it.
Our singers are fake. The laugh-track distracts us.
We’re forced to applause. Our moods are orchestrated.
Shows on Broadway get standing ovations like the Soviet
Politburo. We’re part of the sham; we say we can’t help it.
We’re wasting our money. The soloist has stage fright. She’s
lip-syncing. Her throat’s tight and she feels dizzy. She’s been
drinking. All very natural but an occupational hazard.
She’s not the only one who is afraid.
Our comics get booed for cracking jokes. They can afford to slur
their speech. They are allowed to put on weight. Nothing wrong
with a fat comic, but don’t let anyone know what he is really thinking.
The happy campers are taking over.
The angry men from the Depression are dead. Don Rickles, Rodney
Dangerfield, even John Carson smoked like fiends and hid their malice.
They hated their mothers. These men had fire in their empty stomachs.
Mel Brooks couldn’t sleep at night. Many were maniacs like Jerry Lewis.
Russians have it rough. They eat rocks. They freeze. We have it easy;
we know that. Americans are lonely. It’s not a village but a leper colony.
We compete with our friends. Everyone is against us. Our parents hope
we fail. We want our enemies to die. One finger cannot kill a louse.
David Lohrey’s plays have been produced in Switzerland, Croatia, and Lithuania. His poems can be found at the RavensPerch, New Orleans Review, Nice Cage, and The Drunken Llama. Internationally, his work appears in journals from the UK, the Netherlands, India, Malawi, and Hungary. His fiction can be seen at Dodging the Rain, Terror House Magazine, and Literally Stories. David’s collection of poetry, Machiavelli’s Backyard, was published by SuddenDenouement Publishers. He lives in Tokyo.