Tuesday, October 14, 2014

poem of the day 10.14.14

a grand gentleman

they are in a fury in this place
the customers and the staff

she turns to me and says,
well, he’s been in the bathroom
for almost an hour

some things take time, i tell her

people are piled up around the door
every minute or so someone keeps knocking

occupied, is all he says

the supervisor of the place
asks him if he needs help

no thank you, he says

still they wait
more and more staff and customers line up
they’re waiting for the man to come out of the toilet
they want to be a part of the great reveal

i think i heard the toilet flush, a kid says
and anticipation abounds

she turns to me
it’s over an hour now, she says

one customer tells another customer
this is outrageous

as if there aren’t bombs in iraq and gaza
murder on the streets of missouri
hungry, illiterate kids in housing projects
a block or so down the street

as if the other bathroom isn’t ready for use

someone pounds on the door again
come on, he shouts

just a minute, the voice says from behind the door
it opens a crack and then it closes again

there is a residual sigh throughout the place

pervert, she turns and says to me
he has to be a pervert

the building stays captivated by this
for another fifteen minutes
as they keep knocking and knocking on the door

suddenly it opens and an old bald man
comes walking out into the fluorescent fanfare
as if nothing has happened

everyone in the place stares at him
like he’s a deranged celebrity

he puts his hands in his pockets
and smiles at the angry hoi polloi
like a grand gentleman on his way to the opera

when he leaves the building
the pack of them descend on the small space
looking for traces of degradation

they look for piss in the toilet
sniff the air for traces of his shit
they check the floor for blood or semen

only they find nothing

and another whole hour in all of our lives
has been gambled on the hope
of something different in this life

what a waste of time, she says to me
before going back to her video of a two-headed dolphin

as the supervisor puts the bathroom key
back in its place

and the rest of the people in here
go back to searching
for a new and improved meaning of life.

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