When we moved here in 1971, the outhouse had a metal sign on the wall with faded black letters, evidently taken from an old passenger train: Kindly flush toilet after each use, except when train is in station.

No hobo with any sense ever walked between the rails.


My brother went to the high school football game last Friday night. The stands were packed, but the air above the field was crowded, too: hundreds of migrating red bats swirled above the field, diving at anything that moved, including the players and the football, he said. Screw the game — I would’ve gone just for the bats.


This past weekend, my Aunt Jean told an amusing story about her daughter Hillary’s encounter — if that’s the word — with President Clinton. She was standing on a street corner in Washington, D.C. sometime back in the mid-90s when the presidential motorcade went by. The President was lounging in the back of his limousine eating a banana. When they passed Hillary, he caught her eye, smirked, and waggled the banana at her. She called up her mother. “I think the President of the United States just made an obscene gesture at me!”


I’m tired of the same old stale oaths. I think I’m going to start saying “Crikey!” and “Balls!”

According to the Wikipedia, “In Italian there are at least 140 vulgar words for penis and around 100 that mean vagina.” Crikey! So much for the Eskimos and their legendary 100 words for snow.


I’ve heard my mother re-tell the story of my birth so many times, I almost feel as if I remember being there.

“A month before he was due, he flipped in the womb. Fortunately, he wasn’t as big as the other two, or they would’ve had to do a Caesarian. As it turned out, he was my easiest birth by far! A half-hour before he came, the doctor let all the other doctors and residents in the hospital know — everyone wanted to see what a difficult breech birth looked like. So there were all these people crowding into the room! It felt a little strange at first, but then I thought, ‘Oh, well.'”

I wonder how many people were actually there? It would be nice to know. Considering how few people come out to poetry readings, I’m thinking that might have been one of the largest audiences I’ve ever had.

Nor did I disappoint, apparently. I not only mooned everybody, but my penis was tucked between my legs in such a fashion that that was one of the first things they saw. It was visible for quite some time before I actually popped out. I may be reading too much into this, but I suspect it was a gesture of contempt for a world that I was clearly not at all anxious to enter.

11 Replies to “Briefs”

  1. I don’t know if it was a sign of very early contempt for the world, as much as your own special way of saying hello for the first time. Have you ever waggled a banana at a stranger?

    Twins and breech births run in my family. My twin brother was breech and made his entrance about two minutes before I did. He was feet first and I was head. My sister’s oldest daughter was like you, I think it’s called a Frank breech. Depends on how high up your legs are, and if the knees are bent or not.

  2. Thanks for the humour, much appreciated on this dark and gloomy Monday as we await another deluge in a week of deluges. I almost feel like I’m back in the womb, but I think it’s a bit warmer in there! Speaking of which, did you see Dick Patteran’s latest?

  3. Damnit, Dave. I thought I had the best birth story, being born in an ambulance after the hospital sent my Mom home in a taxicab. But you might have trumped me on this one.

  4. I was witness to a birth in nursing school, there was the mom and dad, her nurse and me (her preceptee) the doc, and a resident. If you add in perhaps an intern and a med student, perhaps another nurse, that’s probably a good base number to start with.

  5. robin andrea – I’m not the banana-waggling type, believe it or not.

    A Frank breech, eh?

    marja-leena – It’s quite gloomy here, too. Not deluges exactly, but off and on cold rain.

    Lorianne – I don’t know – your story sounds more unique to me.

    Zhoen – To hear my mom tell it, half the hospital was there. But then, she was on drugs.

    Natalie – Yeah, I always was an exhibitionist, that’s true.

    The funny thing about the Clinton story is that he unwittingly singled out a woman named Hillary.

  6. “Ostie!” as they say up here. There are a LOT of good French-Canadian swear words.

    I’m going to be laughing about this story all night. Penis Poems, indeed.

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