Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One Shot: pride, in the men's room

a man stands at the urinal staring
even though a copy paper
sign taped across its mouth reads

OUT OF ORDER

as if his last hope is a flush
that just got rolled by four deuces
& even though it goes
against guy bathroom protocol
eyes level i ask:

hey buddy, you ok?

& he grunts and goes on staring
the stare that guys get when
they think they can handle all the
junk they been carrying as if
it were some ritual to prove you
could wrestle a grizzly, if called upon
or that manhood were me-
assured by the amount of shit
you can take and still keep your
mouth shut, until the paint peels
in long strips from your sanity
as it claws its way out, i been there,
but i know, so i say:

alright then, have a good day

& as i head out the door
the air freshener hisses its con-
demnation in a spray of antiseptic
floral scent, which is super manly,
but even that won't cover up the
fact that he is dying under the weight
of two ply lies he tries to hide inside

Welcome to One Shot Wednesday - where all the best poets jump in the mosh pit...hey we are all legends in our own mind right? smiles. write soomething poetic, come join us. It all gets rolling at 5 PM EST.


A special request of all my friends that tweet...we are in the running for a Shorty Award over at One Stop Poetry...currently in second place with one week to go. So if you tweet, please tweet a vote for us in the #art category...matter of fact, go HERE and vote for...

@OneStopPoetry in #art because...(you must give a reason) we create community in art, we promote youth poetry or whatever...

120 comments:

Daniel said...

There's a reality in this one that I have seen and lived from both sides. Good one.

Melinda Owens said...

Gritty, raw and honest...well done. Very well done!

Mama Zen said...

This is outstanding and very, very real.

Austin said...

Nailed it bro.

ds said...

One of your most "earthy," yet. Powerful stuff. "until the paint peels
in long strips from your sanity
as it claws its way out"
Wow.

California Girl said...

You had me at

"a man stands at the urinal staring..."

:)

Shadow said...

those lies are damned heavy...

Cheryl said...

Real and gut-wrenching.

I tweet therefore I vote.

annell said...

This is a very strong write!

Jerry said...

I could smell this one. Men's rooms are quiet places of despair. Two ply lies...thats good.

Suz said...

Goodness gracious the man can write!

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Brian...
I have to agree wholeheartedly, with the previous commenter...this post is very real, very honest, and
most definitely, very well-written.
Thanks, for sharing!
DeeDee ;-D

Brian Miller said...

you are the best cheryl! ty

McGillicutty said...

There's been a lot of peeing lately... or am I imagining that.

budh.aaah said...

Yes the weight of lies is too much to bear..

I would like to cast my vote for this shorty awards and how to go about making my twitter account - I dont have one. I think I'm gonna hardly use it but I want one so I can vote for one stop poetry..

drybottomgirl said...

So true, I love the "out of order' sign taped to his mouth. Real strength comes when you can admit you need to lean on somebody else, and share your burden....

TALON said...

I'm glad women don't use urinals. The capturing of an intimate moment...shared with a stranger and a glimpse into a "manly" world...very well done, Brian.

Sue said...

"that manhood were measured by the amount of shit
you can take and still keep your mouth shut, until the paint peels in long strips from your sanity as it claws its way out"

Now, THAT line takes no prisoners.

Well done!

=)

Claudia said...

yes - love it - makes me aware of these countless men (and women) who try to hide that they're dying under the weight they carry around..

Neva Flores said...

I think the sign was the icing on the cake of his bad day or bad life..very well penned.

repressedsoul said...

I was going uh oh this is going to be about men comparing...well...ahem...anyway...I saw the honesty, great piece here Brian.

Brian Miller said...

repressed...there is something inherently wrong with talkng about 'that' and asking for help to win the shorty award...just shaking my head..lol

Debbie said...

Not a setting you see written about very often. Loved it!

Nezzy said...

Ah, what and analogy. Haven't seen this settin' much!!! Heeeehhee!

God bless and have a glorious day man!!!

Betsy said...

I thought that about the shorty award but wasn't going to say anything! lol.

Brian, your writing just keeps getting better and better. I always leave here amazed. xo

Vicki Lane said...

Wow -- stark and true.

moondustwriter said...

Two plie lies...
Something that men often leave in the men's room


Bri how do you segue way to the shorty awards??? Good luck with that.

we would love support for the Twitter shortys tho - One Stop is close folks here's the URL (not urinal) Here

I know I'm a shameless hussy for votes
smiles

Dulce said...

And yes so it happens... well we take it or we leave it...but I guess peeing we cannot leave!

anthonynorth said...

A harsh reality perfectly described.

LauraX said...

oh Brian...you are the ultimate witness of life unfolding. Beautifully written my friend.

Glynn said...

The vividness of the language, the growing dread of the narrative as it moves forward, or downward -- this is one cool poem, Brian.

SuziCate said...

Wasn't sure where you were going with the first line, love the honesty and the way you tied the beginning and the end back with "out of order".

Natasha said...

You made me a fly on the wall as I watched this exchange take place. I'm almost left blushing, as it's not often (never!) that I get to visit a men's room. I'm sure it's an exchange that's happening all to often as the pressures of this dark and dirty world try to take us down. Another awesome adventure...bravo!

willowwishfree said...

Now how the hell did you manage to take THAT topic and make it a good read?

tolbert said...

Hi Brian
Thanks for the feedback. I think I need to do it differently...the difficult font is not actually the poem. I should explain that somehow. The poem follows the pictoral part....

Thanks for the feedback, I will work on it right away...I will be back to read yours....thanks again

flaubert said...

A very real portrait of people, no matter what gender.
Excellent.
Pamela

Asobime said...

Whoa! I've always wondered IF there was mens bathroom protocol, and you gave us a little view of that. LOL!

Very powerful poems, Brian.

Makes me wonder though, what the two-ply lies were? Great line, too.

and that hissing deodorizer? Priceless.

Lady Nyo

secret agent woman said...

Just today I saw a man for the first time who teared up as he told me that he was starting to break under the stress of having to be the strong one as he battles brain cancer.

Refuge Insomniac said...

I enjoyed the raw truth in this. Well done!

Vodka Logic said...

so powerful. As you probably know woman feel the same way, we just get to do it in stalls.

hedgewitch said...

Roles can be stifling and kill the soul, and so few really look behind the mask at the price being paid. Excellent piece, brian.

william said...

VERY REAL, AND RECOGNIZABLE MATE :)

tolbert said...

Thanks again for the feedback on the hawthorne zep. I changed the font and made it more obvious where the poem is. (Hope you will return for a re-read)

I really like this clever piece you have written and it is one that surely all men can identify with!

From a copy paper Out of Order sign to two-ply lies! Good stuff Brian.

Heather Grace Stewart said...

The last time I was in a man's bathroom, I was five, pulling my mum in there by accident. Oops. Never again--but somehow, you brought the world (and pride) of a man's urinal back to me in a whoosh of images with this one. Original, honest, wicked.

Carys said...

Hell of a setting! Location, location, location. Clever use of the super manly scent at the end of the piece, that fails to mask the stench of fear. A very confident write Brian.

Pastor Sharon said...

The raw grit of what is real with the perfect setting. . . you nailed this one.

Daniel Jay said...

I had to laugh a bit when I first started reading this Brian, not because I found it humorous, but because on a whim, in the nursing building, a urinal was out of order and somehow it struck me as "hey, something tells me I can write about this", so I snapped a pic, yep, of an out-of-order urinal, but never did use the pic. Guess what I thought of when I read this thought provoking piece? Yep, urinal. I suppose I can let the pic go now, you've done it well brotha:)

Joanna Jenkins said...

Somehow, I think I understand guys a little bit better after reading that. Great job.
jj

gospelwriter said...

Love "two ply lies" and that whole line - the almost continuous rhyme (with "dying" in the previous line as well):

dying under the weight
of two ply lies he tries to hide inside


This kind of pride sure doesn't do its possessors much good, ever... been there myself.

Monkey Man said...

I find this hysterical. So "man code" perfect.

Thoughts Not Lost said...

Interesting and intriguing. Well done!

G-Man said...

Kick Ass Bathroom Poetry Son!!

Nikki Rules said...

"until the paint peels

in long strips from your sanity

as it claws its way out" from someone who's been there to another one who's... been there: this is the perfect visuals!

Joann said...

Words like flush, grunts,long strip, two-ply,shit,manhood -so appropriate to the image created.

Lisa notes... said...

I always look forward to your poetry. So real and raw...

booguloo said...

Sometimes it's just the soft skin caught in the teeth

Kat_RN said...

Makes me glad to be a girl. We can be tough if we want to, but we don't have to. We have it made :)
Kat

haikulovesongs said...

great juxtaposition of the weight of keeping everything bottled up to prove your manhood set in a men's room ~ the last place i'd normally be thinking of such a serious subject. nice one shot! dani

Sy said...

Ah men.. something about you creatures... lol

Steve E said...

TOMORROW, tomorrow, and tomorrow, I shall try to conjure a blog posting while at the urinal, and when someone asks "Hey buddy, you OK?" then later, "Alright, have a good day."

I will know that is YOU, Sir!!! GREAT One-Shot!

marousia said...

Gritty - I can smell it

Chris G. said...

*cringe* Oh man...now there's a slap of reality for you. Gritty and unapologetically honest...a "manly" world indeed. Good analogy, good write.

kkrige said...

Sometimes we just need to stop and let it all sink in. One little thing can push us over that carefully crafted edge & then watch out. You are such a master of observation Brian. Nice

Marian said...

best part?
"me-
assured"
that just about sums it up, doesn't it?
bravo!

KB said...

Guy bathroom protocol...what a hoot!

Hope said...

an honest eye opener, Brian
nicely done
enjoyed the read
thank you

Joanne said...

Honest, very. The reality of the man burden sinks in through this imagery. Thanks!

Lori said...

Wow! Beautiful. Honest. Brilliant Brian!

Nancy said...

Wow, Brian, my heart just went out to all the men in my life that shoulder so much responsibility. Thank you for that.

jen revved said...

This absolutely rocks because it's real-- and it's in the details-- something many don't realize when swept with the emotion that leads to wanting to write a poem. Tough and loving. Thanks for your kind words to me, Brian. xxj

Zuzana said...

Love the way you make a scene in a restroom reflect the skeletons in the closet and the excess baggage we all carry, some of it less than clean.;)
Your writing always moves and stirs.;)
Have a great Wednesday dear Brian,
xoxo

slommler said...

Wonderful...powerful!! I could feel the weight bearing down on his head. I could feel his hopelessness. Great piece Brian
Hugs
SueAnn

Alan Burnett said...

"two-ply lies". I just love that phrase and want to write something so I can incorporate it.

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

hitting bottom, man
when you fall you need something a little deeper than two ply...

the walking man said...

I know a lot of guys like this but me...aww hell no I always scrape a half portion of shit onto the plate of the one trying to feed it to me. If they take the first bite I may consider taking the second. If they don't chew and swallow, neither will I.

Lorraine said...

sometimes I forget I'm reading...

Anonymous said...

very interesting poem brian.

trisha
mydomainpvt.wordpress.com

wkkortas said...

Takes gritty to a new place, or perhaps a new stall. "Two-ply lies" is a wonderful phrase. It's an interesting venue for a piece of writing, and you should be congratulated for writing something this strong which doesn't stoop (or squat) for the easy cheap laugh.

Carl said...

This is a great piece! It is so real with both individuals.

I loved these lines because I have felt them:
"assured by the amount of shit
you can take and still keep your
mouth shut, until the paint peels
in long strips from your sanity
as it claws its way out, i been there,"

Thank you for visiting my site!

ModernMom said...

So real!!!

Velvet Over Steel said...

WOW... how original, at least to me! lol So, so many talents in writing you have, Brian! :-)

Hope you're having a Great week!!!
~ Coreen

River said...

Jeepers my comment might get lost in the 80 some here. You are understandably becoming a very popular poet. :)
Such honest truth of the sad world of emotion you guys have to endure. Great write!

PattiKen said...

Awesome, Brian. It's sad that so many feel they must stand tall under the weight of something (problems, depression, sadness?) crushing the soul.

mama-face said...

ah you men. you take the world upon your shoulders. I can see this in the men I know. Other than the part about the men's room. Never been there. Oh, there was the time or two I walked in by mistake.

L.L. Barkat said...

oh, this is a good one. And fun, even in the midst of its darkness.

Margaret Bednar said...

Very real, that's for sure! I have NEVER understood why the mens bathrooms don't have stalls ... open urinals have always confused me. Just sayin'...

Eric 'Bubba' Alder said...

TWO-ply? That's a fancy bathroom!

I enjoyed the word play, Brian... nice One Shot!

(Or was that a deuce? LOL!)

Magpie said...

I was a bit apprehensive when I first saw the title of this one. Very deep and intense, but occasionally you used phrases that did have me smiling.

Aquarius63 said...

A great message of what lies beneath, well written.

Anita

signed...bkm said...

Brian, I love the two ply lies too...and how much sh't you can take and still their mouth shut... you call life as you see it...that makes for excellent reading...bkm

Inked said...

I will be writing this on a bathroom wall soon.

The Stupid Q

Captain Dumbass said...

I've tried to hold it all in with that two ply. Wait, that just sounds all wrong.

natalee said...

Only you my friend could take a gross bathroom and make it something meaningful!!!

Syd said...

I am glad that you asked. It sounds as if he needed someone to ask.

Kavita said...

Whheeew!!! Now this, I am in no position to corroborate (for purely anatomical reasons :))
But I must say there's truth in this...seen it in some of my friends too.. (sigh)...
Why.. I really wonder why!!

Very thoughtful of you to ask this particular man though... I don't think he ever expected anyone to bother!

An excellent write, B... aahh... when the urinal inspires, things really get smelly, don't they? :)

Nessa said...

I really like your choice of imagery for all the shit men must quietly carry around.

jessicakristie.com said...

Brutally raw. Loved it.

Madame DeFarge said...

Why do men never speak what's on their mind until it's too late? An touching insight there as always.

Jannie Funster said...

What a freaking kick ass poem, Brian Miller!!

I usually try not to be reminded or even ever have to think about men's urinals, but your thoughts here more than made up for it!

I've been that man!

But I'm perfect now!! :) :)

xxoo

Rachel Hoyt said...

"two ply lies he tries to hide inside" -- I love this line. Men keep so much bottled up inside. Your words and imagery describe that so much better.

My One Shot: Stop Licking the Drain

Beachanny said...

Goodness gracious Brian there's nothing much more that I can add. I've returned to poetry that is about cold desolation, winter and the pressures of a hardknock life.
Yours strong, insightful, and honest. Well written sir. Gay @beachanny

Arts web show said...

Ha ha.
Brilliant imagery in this one.
Nicely done Brian

Laura said...

I voted!

This one makes me a little sad because "they think they can handle all the junk they been carrying" when really we just want them to lay it all down. Walk away with us, free.

Life with Kaishon said...

I always wonder how men make it without communicating. I just can't imagine holding things inside.

Diana Lee said...

Fantastic and cleverly written. I love when poetry pulls me by the scruff of the neck in the first few lines, and this one did that.

nance marie said...

wow....lots of comments here!!!

randallweiss said...

Good image to show the expectations of masculinity.

Alegria Imperial said...

Terrific poem, Brian! How craftily you handled the theme and the subject! I love the last stanza where you clinched the heart of manhood. Thank you for sharing this wonderful work of yours!

joanny said...

Reality knocking at the door,


well done one shot, or just plain WELL DONE!

joanny

Dasuntoucha said...

...but even that won't cover up the
fact that he is dying under the weight
of two ply lies he tries to hide inside
...

...two ply lies...love it...champion write.

ladyfi said...

Wow - this packs a punch... so much sadness kept locked inside.

TechnoBabe said...

Guy bathroom protocol does not take precedence over humanity and you took the step again.

Goofball said...

argh men...why can't they just spill it out ;)

Steve Isaak said...

Clever, relatable, distinctive/life-true situation, great wow-able word pictures.

Shewriting said...

until the paint peels
in long strips from your sanity
as it claws its way out...horrifying description and yet most appropriate...great one shot, liked it lots!

Deidra said...

"...two ply lies..." I've known a few of those in my lifetime...

I voted and tweeted! Good luck!

Otter Thomas said...

One doesn't alway expect such mastery of words when drawn in by a bathroom reference. Unless that person knows you. Great work.

kenny said...

I like this!

Marla said...

I tweeted/voted. Hope I wasn't too late.

Cheryl Smith said...

Love this one. It's crazy good, and raw/real.