...what exactly are toilet issues, "issues" being the operative plural noun here? I didn't know people had toilet issues...
So enquires the gentle reviewer of Shit Creek Review
over at Tryst3
. I too was but dimly aware of toilet issues as poetic matter prior to editing The Shit Creek Review
. But that soon changed: to the point that I came to realise that not only was the topic solid substance for the expressive efforts of many poets, but indeed it was a genre in its own right - Toilet Issues Poetry (TIP) was a type of verse that was very frequently submitted to me for inclusion in the SCR zine. Verily, based on the number of submissions, I could have devoted entire issues to the style. Apostrophes to unflushable turds, laments over motions passed or not passed, celebrations of faecal splendour or nuggets of lavatory wisdom, fleets of free-verse floaters, golden-showered fontes Bandusiae
- the editorial desk was awash and replete with cloacal offerings. What was
it about Shit Creek Review
that encouraged or provoked authors to submit proudly this profusion of excretions?
Sadly, the TIP genre has not often been productive of poetic excellence: hence my Submissions Guidelines article appealling to authors not to fling such material willy-nilly in my direction in the first raw flush and glow of creation. Please, poets, spend time polishing your effusion and moulding it into due form, until it reaches at least the standard of Jonathon Swift's exemplar:The Lady's Dressing Room
Five Hours, (and who can do it less in?)
By haughty Celia
spent in Dressing;
The Goddess from her Chamber issues,
Array'd in Lace, Brocades and Tissues. Strephon
, who found the Room was void,
And Betty otherwise employ'd;
Stole in, and took a strict Survey,
Of all the Litter as it lay;
Whereof, to make the Matter clear,
An Inventory follows here.
And first a dirty Smock appear'd,
Beneath the Arm-pits well besmear'd. Strephon
, the Rogue, display'd it wide,
And turn'd it round on every Side.
On such a Point few Words are best,
bids us guess the rest;
But swears how damnably the Men lie,
In calling Celia
sweet and cleanly.
Now listen while he next produces
The various Combs for various Uses,
Fill'd up with Dirt so closely fixt,
No Brush could force a way betwixt.
A Paste of Composition rare,
Sweat, Dandriff, Powder, Lead and Hair;
A Forehead Cloth with Oyl upon't
To smooth the Wrinkles on her Front;
Here Allum Flower to stop the Steams,
Exhal'd from sour unsavoury Streams,
There Night-gloves made of Tripsy
Bequeath'd by Tripsy
when she dy'd,
With Puppy Water, Beauty's Help
Distill'd from Tripsy
's darling Whelp;
Here Gallypots and Vials plac'd,
Some fill'd with Washes, some with Paste,
Some with Pomatum, Paints and Slops,
And Ointments good for scabby Chops.
Hard by a filthy Bason stands,
Fowl'd with the Scouring of her Hands;
The Bason takes whatever comes
The Scrapings of her Teeth and Gums,
A nasty Compound of all Hues,
For here she spits, and here she spues.
But oh! it turn'd poor Strephon
When he beheld and smelt the Towels,
Begumm'd, bematter'd, and beslim'd
With Dirt, and Sweat, and Ear-Wax grim'd.
No Object Strephon
's Eye escapes,
Here Pettycoats in frowzy Heaps;
Nor be the Handkerchiefs forgot
All varnish'd o'er with Snuff and Snot.
The Stockings why shou'd I expose,
Stain'd with the Marks of stinking Toes;
Or greasy Coifs and Pinners reeking,
slept at least a Week in?
A Pair of Tweezers next he found
To pluck her Brows in Arches round,
Or Hairs that sink the Forehead low,
Or on her Chin like Bristles grow.
The Virtues we must not let pass,
's magnifying Glass.
When frighted Strephon
cast his Eye on't
It shew'd the Visage of a Gyant.
A Glass that can to Sight disclose,
The smallest Worm in Celia
And faithfully direct her Nail
To squeeze it out from Head to Tail;
For catch it nicely by the Head,
It must come out alive or dead.
will you tell the rest?
And must you needs describe the Chest?
That careless Wench! no Creature warn her
To move it out from yonder Corner;
But leave it standing full in Sight
For you to exercise your Spight.
In vain, the Workmen shew'd his Wit
With Rings and Hinges counterfeit
To make it seem in this Disguise
A Cabinet to vulgar Eyes;
ventur'd to look in,
Resolv'd to go thro' thick and thin;
He lifts the Lid, there needs no more,
He smelt it all the Time before.
As from within Pandora
When Epimetheus op'd the Locks,
A sudden universal Crew
Of humane Evils upwards flew;
He still was comforted to find
at last remain'd behind;
lifting up the lid,
To view what in the chest was hid.
The Vapours flew from out the Vent,
cautious never meant
The Bottom of the Pan to grope,
And fowl his Hands in Search of Hope
O never may such vile Machine
Be once in Celia
's Chamber seen!
O may she better learn to keep
"Those Secrets of the hoary deep!"
As Mutton Cutlets, Prime of Meat,
Which tho' with Art you salt and beat,
As Laws of Cookery require,
And toast them at the clearest Fire;
If from adown the Hope
The Fat upon a Cinder drops,
To stinking Smoak it turns the Flame
Pois'ning the Flesh from whence it came;
And up exhales a greasy Stench,
For which you curse the careless Wench;
So Things, which must not be exprest,
When plumpt into the reeking Chest,
Send up an excremental Smell
To taint the Parts from whence they fell.
The Pettycoats and Gown perfume,
Which waft a Stink round every Room.
Thus finishing his grand Survey,
Repeating in his amorous Fits,
But Vengeance, Goddess never sleeping,
Soon punish'd Strephon
for his Peeping;
His foul Imagination links
Each Dame he sees with all her Stinks:
And, if unsav'ry Odours fly,
Conceives a Lady standing by:
All Women his Description fits,
And both Idea's jump like Wits:
By vicious Fancy coupled fast,
And still appearing in Contrast.
I pity wretched Strephon
to all the Charms of Female Kind;
Should I the Queen of Love refuse,
Because she rose from stinking Ooze?
To him that looks behind the Scene,
Satira's but some pocky Quean.
in her Glory shows,
would but stop his Nose;
(Who now so impiously blasphemes
Her Ointments, Daubs, and Paints and Creams,
Her Washes, Slops, and every Clout,
With which he makes so foul a Rout;)
He soon would learn to think like me,
And bless his ravisht Sight to see
Such Order from Confusion sprung,
Such gaudy Tulips rais'd from Dung.