Demotic Vistas

My first introduction to public poetry occurred in a construction site porto-potty. You know the kind of stuff: "Here I sit broken hearted..." These little ballads were often signed works of art, their authorship always attributed to "The Outhouse Poet."

I often imagined he was the same wag who used to scrawl "This gum tastes terrible" on condom machines. I haven't found a poem in a public restroom in years. Sometimes, especially near large universities, you can still find gnomic statements or bits of lowbrow repartee:

God is dead – Nietzsche.

And underneath in a different handwriting:

Nietzsche is dead –God.

Once in Madison I found this line scrawled across a bathroom wall: "Eat dignity, excrete self-righteousness." It's always stuck with me for some reason. Sadly, the quality and quantity of such verse has declined in recent years. In most places it's practically an abandoned genre. I do read poetry in the bathroom, however, almost every morning. The wife will be running around getting ready, the kid enacting some six-year old psychodrama, and me? I'm quietly slipping into the bathroom with the collected works of Elizabeth Bishop. The Outhouse Poet may be dead, but the Outhouse poetry reader lives on.


TXC said…
Thought of this post when I just saw this:

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