If the automatic flush does not work, please flush manually before reporting the toilet out of order – Thank you

How many times had the janitor been summoned?

How many times had he been unnecessarily forced, by the terms of his employment, to confront someone else’s shit?

How many times had he bent down and simply flushed?

And within a city where the rate of illiteracy was nearly 50%, was the shit that much more foul because it was academic shit?

Scholar shit?

Tenured shit?

Poet shit?

What did the poet’s shit smell like?

What did it look like?

Did it float?

Was it one solid mass…or loose?

Was there blood or mucus or semen in it?


A penny?

I would have liked to imagine the janitor as a tragic, working class hero who cleaned shit by day and drank red wine and read Celine by night, but within a city where the rate of unemployment was 33%, the poor were too numerous to romanticize.