Something there is that loves a toilet. Something there is that loves the dank, dark interior of a rundown restroom: the wicked smells; the unholy molding; the vile and gruesome decay stuck tight to the hairs on the ass-end of civilization. I am that something.
For whatever reason I have been drawn, pulled, to the realm of the Porcelain Gods. Nightly I have terrors in place of gentle dreaming, and in these dreams I have toilets. Sometimes there is a broken down wreck of a shower room with blue tile decomposed grey by the countless generations of fungi. Other times there is a solitary room with a behemoth pot boiling over with the most unspeakable foulness. In either case, there are toilets. Why always toilets? Why?
My grandmother asked me, on hearing of my dreams, if I’d ever been molested in a bathroom, to which I responded in the negative. No, I’ve never been lured away from my mother with promises of candy and realities of improper fondlings. I’ve just has this deep inner longing to be in the places most would rather bypass.
Is it that smell? Does chlorine bleach, cleanser of our water, bombardier or sugar into caloric absence, dioxin harbinger of our endless cancers, hold a special place in my olfactory nostalgia? It screams to me of summers in overdone pools turned yellow by those godforsaken children who can’t take the time to walk to the restroom; of those bathrooms in the Y, full of naked children running around, naked men striking poses, naked fear behind the flimsy cloth curtains that makes you want to wear your bathing suit in the tepid stream. But ah, no, still no touching. No, it was a smell of simple summertime. Thoreau had the moss on the trees, the upturned dirt on the keel of a kayak. I had corrosive toxicity declaring warfare on the whites of my eyes and the tightness in my throat, silencing my fears of contamination.
Is it that smell? Does ancient feces and yellow, ammoniated film clinging to every once-pristine surface draw me onward and downward to the filth that crowds out any hope of sanitary sanctity that may be clinging to my subconscious bellow to me at nighttime? That sound, that plipping of water from an antique faucet that never saw daylight after installation, and never will again, because the window is worse off than the seats on those fallen gods. Such stains, such horror. Such beauty in the destruction of manmade things. This is the sight and stench of the world.
I sit in Gehenna, reflecting on past experiences with these gaping mouths just clamoring for my expulsions, and I think back on that supermarket that no longer exists in town. Oh, that was a bathroom for the record books. The tile was so filthy I couldn’t discern its original state. The stall, it was green, like everything else in that putrid place. And inside of that there were words. Cryptoglyphs to a young child, perverse fun to a teenager, an annoyance to scrub for the elderly on pensions. I remember it was there that I found my first toilet verse. Here it is, just for you.
“He who writes on bathroom walls rolls his shit in little balls.”
Good one, Shakespeare. I’ve meditated on that for years. Did the person who penned this in fact make fecal spheres? Coproglobes of such miniscule size as to be indistinguishable from the other dross littering that unheavenly floor? Or was it a tongue-in-cheek (which one is up to you) jab at the art of defacing stall doors? Did he disdain the use of crude caveman scrawlings and their depictions of stick-figured women with massive eyeball breasts and squiggly triangular genitalia? A feminist if ever there was! Down the tube with unrealistic standards and practices!
Or, was he just some teenager, thinking it clever to write about shit and balls all in one sentence, getting a rise from all the infantile tits, wanking away the afternoon while his mother shopped for milk and bread, completely oblivious to her son’s long departure.
Oh, for an answer. I know not.
These nightmares continue without anyone to explain them.
‘Often, dark nightmares, stamping out sweet innocence, will scar soft dreaming. Beneath grim shadows we dream fiercely of waking and wish away fear. But behind each snarl, each undulating terror, there is a small light. This light holds a truth, as hidden as it may be, that bespeaks great hope. We pray it’s a dream; that we will escape safely, groggily, at ease. If we’re fortunate the quiet light will quicken, staving off the blight. Then there are sometimes when our eyes fail to open and we remain trapped. Withinside the gloom no others can defend us. We fear this bleakness. If we are careless, the horrors will overcome and leave us nothing.’
Did you like my extended haiku? Oh, I know you did. How about “withinside”? Isn’t that glorious wordsmithing? No, this isn’t some digression. Look here, that light? Oh, that light is what I like to call lucid dreaming. Well, not just me, but everyone else. That was my digression. My dreams, my nightmares of toilets, are accompanied by lucidity where I am fully capable of controlling any number of things through will manifest. It’s quite intriguing, really.
I’ve heard talk from various sources, and it seems that lucidity requires acute intellect, keen mindsmanship, to be able to control the subconscious in such a way, and I must admit that I am flattered by it. But it also brings further terrors. With the hope and knowledge that I can actually escape a scenario by bringing about my own dues ex, my suffering is amplified. And I do suffer. Dreams, toilets or no, bring pain. Real pain that I cannot escape until waking. And even then, there is no guarantee of safety. No. Once I jumped through a window, gashing myself to pieces. I awoke to find scars and bleeding in my side. It worries me. It worries me like toilets.
But unlike toilets I cannot flush this all away, and I’m left with this mental diarrhea just pouring out endlessly from that wondrous anus of the mind, flooding over the rim of my eyes and down, sticking to my fingertips leaving brown dance steps as I type away at this pointless enterprise. Dancing dancing dancing like an androgynous clown bent on world destruction.
Call me Kefka.
Call my disturbed.
Call me a madman.
Don’t call me before noon.
I’m trying to be creative here, pondering and confessing what it’s like to be inside this oversized head of mine. Size four mortar board, I shit you not. When I went to write “inside” I wrote “insane”. Freud would be proud of that slip. I wear it like a bride, blushing in naked honesty as those silken strands fondle and caress my secret places in ways strangers never have in the dank seclusion of the bathroom I’m telling you, Nana I’m the only one that touched me there. Then. Whenever.
I’ve seen the restrooms at all those great tourist spots in the southeast, and I’ve left my mark in them all. Yes, I too roll balls of shit. There, on every wall in every place I’ve ever been you shall find a “^_~” with the epitaph “Insane-Sama”. Oh, I don’t know why, but I just felt the need to carve it into the roadside railing at Shenandoah, on the walls of the cabins at Lake Cumberland, in the log houses in the Daniel Boone Forest. I cannot escape that tag. It cannot escape me. I am that Insane-Sama, and that is my happy wink. I am lost without that guiding mark, that sign to show me the way to freedom. I need no drinking gourd to escape that darkness. Just that cryptoglyph. Veni, vidi, defecati.
I have some photos in my pocket of the men’s restroom at a park in Berea. There’s a urinal full of brackish water, so brown as to make my well-tanned lungs shameful. And look, right there. It’s a newspaper. I can’t make out the date. I didn’t really want to reach in and pull the thing out. Despite that paper, in spite of that paper, I still used it, adding my own mark to that tapestry. It is my “Piss Christ”. My “Piss Paper”. I should make millions off of this. My “Fountain”, hah, you lose Duchamp. You lose like all those other PoMos. Weird for the sake of weird? No. I am weird for the sake of scarring those around me with words that no one even considers in order to spare my own hands, my own wrists, my own heart so holey, so overpatched that it’s nothing but staples and strings anymore. On the surface. Deep down inside, though, there’s something still throbbing, still pulsing out all that wonderful blood, flooding it out into my microcosm and through those adrenaline crowned junkies and back out into the world, signing my signature in the snow that filters down from these asbestos packed ceilings. “^_~ Insane-Sama”. I’m full of it. If I weren’t, I couldn’t sign so well in cursive.
Toilets toilets toilets. They begin my most favorite story that I’ve penned. “Nothing but rows of stained porcelain…” They called it “horribly beautiful.” Isn’t that something? And here’s the big secret everybody knows. The scenes are comprised of my very own somnically abundant dreamstates. That venom spewing spider, that living wall of flesh, that drowning so deep, so fast. The blood, the stink, the flies and the sea. The only thing missing is the whalefish.
Let me tell you about that whalefish. He saves me. He is truly that hope that saves me from withinside. I’m there, wading in the arctic sea, and he comes to me, screaming out such a beautiful melody. His body doesn’t work in reality, too many holes like me, but he takes me everywhere. And I can breathe securely with that ever-loving savior, everlasting breath in the bluest of undersea worlds full of crystals and purity. Blissfully, there are no toilets under the sea. Under the sea. Life is de bubbles, under the sea.
This goes on and on, night after night, and I can’t escape it. I won’t escape it. I don’t want to be free, be normal. If I can just cling to these maws of hellish grue, I may well survive intact.
Toilets: Odi et amo. Odi et amo sine fine. Amen