The Bathroom

He writes, I really want something actual to write about, sitting on the toilet. “I write,” he says, writing. A fly buzzes on the ceiling, conveniently. No, it’s a wasp.

This will not do. Point of view is clearly a buried metaphor. He looks, by God it is a wasp.

It is a toilet. It is a sink. What more can one say? Flushing, it smacks its lips. Washing the hands, his sink laughs.


So tell me, john, how much of your life have you sat here, or stood here, each day, a room much like this room, staring at the dumb wasp hitting its head on the bare light bulb? Wings beating uncontrollably.

So necessary, so functional. Its absolute utility astounds me. Shit. What is this thing for? Whoosh. Take a bath.


“The incidence of anal malady among Americans is due in part to the position in which they void their bowels. Whereas the natural manner is in a squatting posture, the weight of the body being supported by the legs and feet, the American way is to seat the rump over a bowl, so that the stress due to gravity is born entirely by the fleshy anal area.”

“What are you reading?” I look up from the page. “Hey. Go away,” I say. “Ain’t a guy supposed to get a little privacy in here?” “There he stood, six foot seven, red beard,” I read. “Why don’t you use the garden?” Buzzzzzzth. Buzzzzzzth.


The actuality of writing, the reality it indicates, the bathroom that makes it so. The effort of shitting, the digestion it indicates, the bathroom that’s made so for it. The transitional nature of the bathroom.


Eating, one doesn’t think of it; sleeping, one needn’t think of it. Or in the kitchen, closet, quote living room unquote, one may get the feeling there’s something missing, something actual. This bodily animal we so indifferently take for granted, one’s heart beating uncontrollably.

Yet I have a life like any other, real enough, he thinks. You definitely do not, however, shit in the woods, says the other.

29 August 1975