Do we have a chance? Or has our chance
passed? The work ethic will not save us.
The kids steal bicycles, they shave
their genitals, they send pictures of themselves
to strangers, and they burst into tears.

But in the hood the people are restless.
They don’t want to be there. It’s too ghetto,
they say, the whole set up. Gospel music
has stopped. Rap won’t let up. They’re wretched.
It’s depressing. Even $100 nails don’t cut it.

There are people who eat cat food. Some are forced
to sleep in shit. There are middle-aged men, pot-bellied
and perverted, who finger their nieces. We’re becoming
degenerates. We’re lost. We’re forgotten. We’ve forgotten.
The country’s no dream factory, that’s for sure.

It’s becoming more and more like a trailer-park brothel.
Even Wallace Stevens noticed how many Americans are
brought up in dirt and ignorance without a thing in the world
to look forward to. The men wear brass knuckles and the women
pierce their nipples. Americans have gone primitive.

These people aren’t wholesome. They’re not landowners.
Where’s Thomas Jefferson? They don’t bother to change their
underwear. They serve their children grape soda from the bottle.
They eat in front of the TV. There are dirty nappies in the bushes.
Neither the parents nor the children read.

Do we still have a chance or has our chance been lost?

Image credit:JESHOOTS.COM

David Lohrey is from Memphis. He graduated from UC Berkeley. His plays have been produced in Switzerland, Croatia, and Lithuania.  His poetry can be found in Otoliths, Tuck Magazine, and the Cardiff Journal. His fiction can be read in Storgy Magazine, Terror House, and Literally Stories. David’s newest collection of poetry, MACHIAVELLI’S BACKYARD, was published last year by Sudden Denouement Publications.