Saturday, January 25, 2020



        “People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times
         as opposed to once. They end up using more water.”

                                 Donald J. Trump, 45th President 
                                of the United States of America

Marizio Cattelan’s solid golden crapper
has gone missing, prematurely ripped
from its moorings at Blenheim Palace,
the birthplace of Winston Churchill
in Woodstock, England.

The irony is breathtaking: A theft from the birthplace
            of the man who saved western civilization
of the contrivance essential to the very existence
            of humanity as we know it. Over the years
an armada of typically porcelain relief receptacles

has afforded generations of leaders and followers,
            noblemen and commoners alike, momentous
moments of mercy and, for some, mystical inspiration.
            The famous psychoanalyst, Erik Erikson,
in his justly ignored book, Young Man Luther,

argued that Martin Luther’s constipation rendered
            him terminally antagonistic to the bowel
paralyzing rigors of interminable hours imprisoned
            in the confessional. Peristalsis became, for him,
a manual task only enabled by long walks around Rome

where he became disgusted with sales on indulgences
            and the blatant salaciousness of his fellow
clerics which convinced him that absolution,
            as well as laxation, is something strictly
between a man and his God. Absolution probably

wasn’t on the mind of Thomas Crapper, royal sanitary
            engineer to King Edward VII and King
George V, and inventor of the floating ballcock which
            enables our toilet tanks to fill with water
and, notably, the U bend plumbing trap in 1880

which vastly improved the S bend trap because it
cut the odor by leaps and bounds and, thereby,
 pleased both monarch and prole. Hence, the term
            “crapper” which has rightly immortalized
the inventor of this life saving/sustaining appliance.

Crapper also invented the man hole cover, but
            I shall leave that connection to the few
psychoanalysts left who might prattle
            on the subject. Deep into this poem
I realize that I have neglected to mention

the title Cattelan gave to his lustrous creation.
            He called it, “America.” I suppose,
being Italian, Cattelan, felt a kinship with
            his countryman, Amerigo Vespucci,
argued by some to be the true discoverer

of our large land, and felt he could comment
            on the dire situation in which we find
ourselves with a billionaire in the White House
who feels put upon if forced to read
anything besides the wrapper on a Big Mac.

Still, he is a billionaire, fixated on gold and
            most certainly convinced of the greatness
of his kak. What better contrivance to welcome
            and contain the presidential poop than
a solid gold commode worth three million dollars?

No one has direct knowledge of where Cattelan’s
            crapper has gone to, but investigators could
do worse than work their way into the living quarters
            of the White House, which is, of course,
the people’s house—a place where even the lowest

among us deserves, in this democracy, to defecate
            in the same splendor as the leader
of the free world, a right we hold to be not
            only self-evident, but the very essence
of the pursuit of happiness.

--Charlie Brice

 Charlie Brice is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand (2018), and An Accident of Blood (2019), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net anthology and twice for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, The Main Street Rag, Chiron Review, Permafrost, I-70 Review, The Paterson Literary Review, and elsewhere

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