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Bathroom Break by Matt Mason
published in Volume 6, Issue 1 on March 1st, 1999

It's nothing major, but I wonder
about urinals

like at a Burger King, a bar,
an interstate rest stop,

and why I can stand there with a full bladder,
staring at the wall tiles,

meditating on urinating; but nothing
if someone else is around,

washing his hands, flaunting his skill
with a crashing piss.

But I know I'm not alone,
why else would restrooms everywhere

be bolting up privacy dividers between the urinals?
And why now?

Could we pee more freely in the restrooms of yore?
They didn't have so many of these bathroom cubicles,

there were more long troughs;
maybe men were hardier, freer,

men of profound irrigation,
firefighters, rainmen, geysers inside plaid shirts and

And when I was in grade school,
I know it didn't matter, we'd have contests

seeing who could back up farthest
while still spraying mostly porcelain.

Something went away; something evaporated;
my body, mostly water, swam upstream, hit drought;

and what now?
Am I overly timid,

needing so much concentration, so much effort,
so much planning for the simple and universal?

Can't we all of us,
black and white, red and brown, yellow and, well, everyone,

gather 'round a bucket,

brothers weaving streams,

thundering like Angel Falls
and not giving it a thought

as we open ourselves
and empty?

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