Out With The Bathwater

Out With The Bathwater

he wanted to drink

my bathwater

or so he said

I never did take him up on it

if he had said that

after a few dates

I might have found it

appealing  

almost flattering

but to start with that

was a bit much

it was the sort of

coming on too strong

I called ‘a red flag’

similar to sending a phone number

in the first message

or as the first message

not even a call me

or I liked your profile

I’m not going to call that number

<>

he wanted to drink

my bathwater

when I asked him why

he said that it was pretty obvious

the water

was something that had touched

every inch of my body

the way he wished he could

I was amused

intrigued

all his pics were blurry

or close ups of his nipples

no face pic

<>

I asked for a face photo

never heard back from him

The on-line hook-up world is full of every fetish you can imagine. Obviously I know more about the ‘gay’ male faction but am sure this array of kink is found to the same degree in the hetero scene. Most sites are full of vanilla guys with a dash of leather, s&m, b&d & there some sites are devoted to specific types of play or types of men: bears, older, black – so you can narrow focus.

Profile info usually includes what sort of play the person is interested in & I, unlike many, read that section of a profile (after I check out their hight 🙂 ) Even profile nicknames tell me enough: PoppersRus – is not for me. If approached I make it clear that, based on their interests, we aren’t a good match. Some guys get a bit huffy mind you as if my not being interested in x is judging them. Whatever. If you want to, say, dress as a baby including a diaper, that’s fine by me but I’m not interested – my lack of interest is not a sign of disapproval.

This piece is based on a couple of actual non-encounters. I am perhaps more cautious than some, mind you, but some first contacts don’t even get responded too. Bathwater Jim did a reply though because his (I assume it was a man) approach was novel enough to warrant that much. The reply turned into one of those corny dating book pick-up lines. ‘if I told you you had beautiful body would you hold it against me?’

The anonymity of the internet allows people to approach strangers in ways they probably wouldn’t in person. It’s easy to brave when both parties are faceless, voiceless. I enjoy profile pics but know that with the right angle, lighting & photoshop anyone can be larger than life. 

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My Space

My Space

marking my territory 

even temporarily 

happens without my awareness

an automatic act

will I share a table

with a stranger

in a crowded restaurant

a stranger who has already

marked it as their territory 

with a stare

a knapsack placed just so

<>

do I want an empty seat

on either side of me

when I fly

take public transit

sit in the audience

well – yes

unless I get to pick

who invades my territory

<>

dogs mark with quick squirts

an automatic act

that leaves a message

for any other dog to read

my territory

is only mine 

as long as I am there

no trace of me

is left behind

The other day I watched a guy walking his dog. The dog stopped frequently to mark their territory & couldn’t be deterred by its master, who smiled apologetically at me for being in the way. I envied the dog that sort of bladder control. I also wondered what it expected to do with the territory it had marked. The scent isn’t like a code that can be scanned telling other dogs to back off – all they do is piss on it.

Years ago I witnessed an altercation in a cafe when someone sat at an empty table with the coffee & sandwich. Moments later someone came to the table & said that that was their table – that they had just gone into give their order. The seated person said something toe effect that was too bad. The other said didn’t you see my knapsack on the chair. Swearing ensued & sadly the seated person relinquished the table. I was hoping for at least a drink being thrown.

One of few good things about pandemic distancing is the distancing. It makes establishing physical boundaries more culturally acceptable. When patios were opened it was no longer okay to crowd so many tables together than one and to hold their shoulder bag over their heads to avoid knocking things off the table next to them.

When it was possible (remember those days) to go to a public performance, or attend a workshop I would usually get a spot with good sight lines & away from groups of people. I was never one for sitting at the table, as it were. I liked my space. 


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Have A Not

Not

Not visit houses just before noon

Not to slam the door when you leave

Not to wear out your welcome

Not to reveal how you really feel

Not to be the one to leave

Not to a give a damn

Not to bear false witness

Not to let the truth stand in the way

Not to be the guilty party

Not to wear you heart on your sleeve

Not to eat fish only any day but Friday

Not to take your name as witness

Not to give a fuck you too 

Not to wear the same underwear two days in a row

Not to wear clothes when you slam the door behind you

Not to let on how you really feel just leave

Not to came back apologetic

Not to fish for more than there is to catch

Not to ignore that there is always a catch

Not to damn the bare body

Not to be the last one to know

Not skip lunch

Not to be afraid of knowing 

Not Not Not Not

The rule that prompted this one is the actual first line – it was intended to avoid having whomever the monk visited offer them lunch. Word association kicked it off – over staying your welcome came to mind quickly. Without a second thought it became a list poem of variations on what not to do.

Some of the nots combine nots that have come before. Some are almost aphorisms ‘not to fish for more than there is to catch’ which is also a play on ‘fishing for a compliment’ also springs from ‘eating fish on Friday’ which is a Catholic commandment – the miracle of the bread & fish takes some of this into a very biblical subtext.

Canadians have a reputation for politeness – I will not say what’s on my mind lest I offend someone. Though I suspects more a case of – I will not say what’s on my mind lest I get too much attention 🙂 As a result some of this not list are admonitions to placate – they struggle to find the balance between being firm and being aggressive. If you are like me there comes a point when you don’t care. If you think I’m a prick, such is life.

The best list poems, to me, start to hint at a story. This one is about lovers not getting along, or are they playing out a familiar structure of push-pull, argue-make up, control-resistance. It almost reads like a magazine list of ‘do’s & don’t’s’ to make a relationship work. I don’t think I’ve ever slammed a door, that wasn’t asking for it 🙂


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