16. Urination

From the sleep alcove and dark of his apartment, Elena asks,

“Were poor people in days of yore”–he hears “your”–”geniuses?

You know, did they have big ideas or philosophy? It seems

they wouldn’t have had time to think if they were poor.”

“My geniuses?” “No, yore, like olden days.” “Artists often had

patrons, rich people who supported them so they could work,

like Michelangelo. His patron was the pope.” She goes to sleep.

David is wearing Depends Real Fit underwear and Tena’s

Ultimate overnight incontinence pads–check out his package–

to contain his leaking bladder and can’t think of anything

but wetting the bed. Can the incontinent be philosophers?

He is zazzed on steroids and lies awake not thinking,

takes a bath at 2:00 AM, reading in the hot tub, returns

to not sleeping. Earlier, kissing Caroline in her apartment,

he worries about taking off his clothes and peeing on her

when they make love. She sits athwart his lap as on the night

they were first were kissing on his couch and refuses

to worry with him. “Everything we do is erotic,” she says,

touches his teeth with her tongue. His ancient penis fills,

he feels the warmth of urine, the urgency of her mouth.

They caress each other’s bald heads in the softening dark.

Forty-seven people, only ten of whom he knows,

like this, but fifty think it’s disgusting. TMI!

You can defriend these people, you know.

You can make them go away. You can depopulate

your world with a click. You can be alone

in your urinated dark. But don’t worry:

we’ll continue to pray for you, like the Virgin

Mary, praying for us sinners at the hour of your death.

He switches off his iPhone but forgets the blinking red light

on his MacBook, monitoring his restlessness, recording

his shrinking body on the futon wrapped as in a shroud.

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