Old Man, Peeing
Sleeping through the night? Forget it.
But getting up half a dozen times,
in fact, is kind of nice
thinking how much sleep-time’s left.
There in the gloom, sitting
makes more sense than standing,
because even though you’ve got to go
so bad you’d expect a cataract,
there’s just a dribbling.
It’s even hard to know when it ends.
Theater and opera are no longer feasible --
you’re usually stuck in the middle of a row
or, at intermission, in line at the men’s room,
hopping from leg to leg.
Even at the movies, climaxes bring it on
and you miss the important scenes.
I know all the pee places in our neighborhood –
the hospitals, schools, Starbucks, McDonalds,
construction sites or, in a pinch, doorways.
Though once I was taking a leak in one,
when a police car trained its spotlights on me,
and put me up against the wall.
Disgusting! the cop yelled, sizzling with testosterone.
while I tried to look like his kindly grandpa.
My old mother would have told him
to go catch a real criminal.
I was afraid to speak up to god’s avenger,
but if he cuffed me and took me in
on a “quality of life” violation
I’m sure the judge would understand
the reality of old men’s prostates.
This time, having let off steam, my captor relented
and got back into the squad car.
Another time I was peeing in a deserted lot
when the owner came out of a building
and told me off for peeing there,
where dogs and bums used for a toilet.
With no uniform to intimidate me now,
I looked at him pityingly, and told him straight
that he’d be in the same boat soon enough,
an old man on the street, nowhere to pee,
and facing the humiliation of wetting his pants.
But it’s approaching home you enter the real
danger zone, the will-I-make-it stretch.
Getting near somehow increases the pressure.
Sometimes I stuff my handkerchief down into my underwear
and hope for the best. But it's touch-and-go
as I fumble with the door keys, drop them,
and invariably feel the spurting begin,
as I make a mad dash for the bathroom.