Paradise Is Demanding

Author: • November 27, 2016 • Poems

© Steven Depolo via flickr.comIt must be thrilling to know everything.

Girls used to be so full of doubt but now they say,

Sure I’m sure.  I say 1970, she says Nixon bombed Cambodia.

When I was a kid I found a brontosaurus below my corn flakes.

Today I get all of world history at the end of a 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, when will 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?

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About the Author

A Ceciles Writer: David LohreyAuthor: David Lohrey

Country of residence: Japan

Nationality: American

Mother tongue: English

David Lohrey graduated from UC, Berkeley.  He currently teaches in Tokyo.  He has reviewed books for The Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register, been a member of the Dramatists Guild in New York since 1990, and is currently writing a memoir of his years living on the Persian Gulf.  David’s plays have been produced in the US, Canada, and India; most recently they were translated and produced in Croatia and Lithuania.  His poetry can be found at Rat’s Ass Review and Plum Tree Tavern.

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