Friday, June 05, 2015

Poetry Seven Share Odes

During the month of May the Poetry Seven spent their time working on odes. After much discussion of form, we decided that a bit of humor was in order. Beyond that, there were no rules, no subjects, and no limits.

This is where I'll admit I had a hard time with this. I was the kid in school who hated free writing. I stared at the page wondering what to write about. However, if I was given a topic, writing was easy. Form does that for me. When I have constraints, I find getting underway a bit easier. So for me, free verse is tough. And no theme meant I found myself in the same space I so often inhabited in high school English class, staring at the blank page wondering what the heck I was doing.

Inspiration eventually came from the strangest of places ... a visit to a port-a-potty. I'll let the poem tell the rest of the story.

Ode to Where My Backside's Been

To all the toilets that have been
privy to another side of me
from the port-a-potties I have
hovered over
     one hand holding my nose
     while the other finds purchase on the wall
to the heads on rolling ships
to the Amtrak bowls spouting blue water
and the tightly confined closets at 10,000 feet

To the padded seat my mother thought
was a good idea … it wasn’t
     a great whoosh of air escaped when you sat on it
     and in the heat of summer you stuck to it
to the myriad of public toilets I’ve run from
only to realize when traveling abroad
just how good we pampered Americans have it

From the loosely constructed,
half-walled stalls placed over a trough
running the length of the “Ladies” room at the
base of the Potala Palace
     an unavoidable stop before climbing all those steps
to the holes in the floor with footprints on either side
to the basins with no seats at all

I salute you all for your service
but you pale in comparison to
the water closet at Narita airport
whereupon entering the stall
     quiet music played
     water trickled into the bowl
and the heated seat … yes, I sat on it!
offered comfort and relief after a 15 hour flight

I still dream of that toilet in Tokyo
would even brave another trans-Pacific trip
to rest my weary behind
and perhaps, take a selfie
to begin a photographic ode
to the commode

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2015. All rights reserved.

You can read the fabulous poems written by my Poetry Seven compatriots at the links below. 

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Buffy Silverman at Buffy's Blog. Happy poetry Friday friends! 


  1. My sister-in-law is Japanese and they have one of those heated-seat etc toilets in their home (in Boston). Advanced potty technology! Nicely done, Tricia. I think the second line might be my favorite :-)

  2. It was so fun to reread this, Tricia. Your first stanza is my favorite! Though that description of the airport one at the end made me lust after that toilet. Ha! That's what good writing does. Makes you dream of things you didn't even know existed:>)

    I agree about forms. Free verse is a challenge for me, too. I instituted some rules for myself as I went along on mine (like "Cut each stanza to 4 lines") just because having structure gives me walls to bounce my words off of. But I really enjoy the odes everyone came up with. Thanks for "going" first. Hehehe. It's amazing how almost anything can be turned into bathroom humor, isn't it?

  3. Oh my gosh, I love this poem! First because I've lived those experiences, too, even the luxurious Japanese toilets. Secondly, because you dared to choose this subject! The last stanza is my favorite - a commode selfie! I suppose it's been done!

  4. Tricia -- This poem was so brave -- so funny -- so daring. And to think you also kicked us off. GO YOU. I'm impressed!

  5. An ode to the commode! St. John be praised. This is so clever and so true. Narita Airport here I come.

  6. Hah - free verse IS FREAKIN' HARD. We rule-oriented folk are happiest with a lot of structure, which is why I end up with internal rhyme even when I don't intend to. Crazy, that.

    This is just a brilliant flash of your intellect, Tricia-mine, this is SUCH an excellent poem, and it kills me that you just scribbled it out -- you batted it out of the park, my friend.

  7. Jama's comment pretty much says it all . . .
    Love this.

  8. Oh, my. I have to admit I did not expect such eloquence about toilets. I could add a few lines to this one. I remember that padded seat. Not a good idea. Ours split pretty early on, so when you sat on it you had to balance to avoid getting pinched. Odes are really fun to write.

  9. "privy to another side of me"....hilarious! Love this brilliant ode!

  10. So many good parts to this. Got me thinking about a few toilet seats I've loved and hated, too. Excellent job!

  11. I'm so glad you shared first when we were creating these odes, Tricia---you just let it fly, and I felt emboldened to do the same. You went long---so I did too. I guess I'd follow you anywhere, even into a scary loo. :)

    Also, I know you said that free verse scares you---but man, this is one of your best. So funny and flush with detail. Heheheh.

  12. More odiotic brilliance (oh, I wish I had thought of "odiotic" when I ws commenting on Sara's)! You have all surprised me, and yet how EASY is an ode? You only have to choose something you truly love, and the praisewords come flowing out! Good to know for poetry teaching....

  13. Wow! You've visited the entire spectrum of commodes!

  14. I agree with all the others - this is fabulous! You lead us well. Such a wonderful range of experience, from humble to grand. Fabulous work!