This entry is part 25 of 93 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2011


“Whither the thrush whose ethereal notes
woke me at dawn? A male towhee flies up to a sunlit
branch and takes a shit, singing.” ~ Dave Bonta

Explaining idioms to my youngest child,
I remembered a book we used to keep
in the bathroom of my childhood home,
stuffed into the basket of dog-eared

Good Housekeeping and Better Homes
and Gardens
magazines: An Irreverent
and Almost Complete Social History of
the Bathroom
— dishing out in droll

anecdotal detail the likely reasons for
expressions such as Don’t throw the baby
out with the bathwater
(the master
of the medieval household the first to dunk

himself in the tub, the rest of the family
succeeeding); and Careful that you don’t
get the short end of the stick
toilets at a time when organic implements

were used in lieu of toilet paper, which
hadn’t been invented yet). The same book
blandly made the case for privies and
outhouses still being then so rare,

that belled skirts, hooped petticoats,
and perfume provided cover or necessary
counterpoint. Sometimes I can hardly
remember how I raised my older

daughters from birth through
toddlerhood without diapers whose
sticky tabs you could pry loose
after wiping and changing, to refasten

the bundle for tidy disposal in the can.
Shit, says the man skidding out of the drive-
way then hitting the row of garbage bins.
Shit, says his wife as the shit

hits the fan. A friend tells me
that in moments of great stress,
when not only his bosses but clients
get viciously mean, he closes his eyes

and simply imagines what they might
look like without a stitch of clothing,
or grunting on the pot; then smiles at
the equalizing release that ensues.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Dear modest four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathOde to the Pedicure Place at the Mall →

4 Replies to “Shit”

  1. Shit Singing

    There is singing in the tub
    And mainly singing in the shower
    But the towhee has one up on us
    Cause this bird has the power
    To sing while he’s excreting
    And that really says a lot
    Cause I don’t know many people
    Who can sing while on the pot.
    ‘Twould require such stellar breath control
    To warble while you went
    I imagine that the subject would be totally spent
    But yesterday, the bathroom being occupied by Pa,
    I could swear I heard a musical and satisfying “ahhhh”.
    This utterance could qualify. It’s just as good as not
    For a nascent operatic shot at singing on the pot.

    Great contributions as always from both Luisa and Dave. And funny! Naturally I am more familiar with Luisa’s narration than towhee droppings but Dave’s alliteration was an inspiration. :)

    1. Well, uh, glad we were such an inspiration, Joan! “Warble while you went” does have nice alliteration, and is strongly reminiscent of Walt Disney’s “whistle while you work.”

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