Dying/broken/forgiven.... now I begin

Born: 17-06-56....gemini.... monkey
re-born: 3-09-80
born again\found: 14-04-08
other notable dates: 10-03-68; 03-09-87; 23-03-96;
1-05-98; 31-01-02; 5-04-04

Interests: movement, stressed/transgressive embodiment, lived experience (body\space\time\relation)
expression ( word, dance, text, image, story, music, poetics)
learning, yielding......

Hopes for the blog:
offer up the wild intersectedness of lived experience and engage others in creative, expressive, perhaps irreverant, hopefully playful, and respectful encounters....
enact kindness
create moments of pause for disclosure, discovery, stillness

Friday, February 12, 2010

Poetic Inquiry: Rosepoo

The other night my son told this funny story about eating potpourri. He was only eight years old at the time, and wondering why something that looked like food would be so tantalizingly displayed in a bathroom, of all places. So, yeah, he took a nibble, realized it was NOT food and got the vile tasting stuff out of his mouth with as much speed and dignity as an eight year old boy can muster. I'm not a big potpourri fan.... incense is more my speed... smoke, spark and ember bathed in a spicy haze. But I don't have incense burning in my bathroom. Mostly my bathroom smells like, well, a bathroom, this in spite of my spouse's occasional jests about alien shits (mine, apparently). I leave these behind in my own and in many other bathrooms with no small sense of pride, happy to take the credit for the products of my labours. But, I digress. I was going on about bathrooms and the means used to keep them appropriately fragrant, and the dangers of inedible fragrance makers to unsuspecting or just plain curious bathroom users.

Bathrooms --not only those in the home but, increasingly, public ones--are well dispersed across a spectrum of odour intervention. I've been unduly - some might say, morbidly-fascinated by this phenomenon over the years. I've been exposed to magnificent opulence, wing chairs, draperies, soft lighting, floral displays, bowls of potpourri and floating candles. I am almost embarrassed to do my business--much less the paperwork--in such luxurious and sacred spaces. There are also bottom of the barrel grunge pits with such well entrenched odour it has morphed into a slick--or, slime, perhaps?--that creeps over floors and walls. Breathtaking... indeed, breath-holding... in its glory. One feels privileged to add to such a body of work.

being present with odour...being present with fragrance..... who can make scents of it? one person's odour is another's fragrance; one person's fragrance ... another's odour. Tolerances are idiosyncratic, and, to be fair, it's not only bathrooms where odours dwell and flourish; it's also kitchens and basements and elementary schools, nurseries and brothels and diners, airports and bus stations and..... well, you can see the sheer immensity of it all.

I am struck, however, by tolerances around bathrooms and, it grieves me to say, around bodies. Human ones, anyway. Shit--ok, I'll be more genteel-- poo blends with the various masquerading contributors to olfactory comfort and joy and visitors encounter not one, not the other, but an even more exotic hybrid: rosepoo. Some bathrooms waft this remarkable achievement via sprays, candles, plug-ins and, yes, potpourri. My hands and nostrils carry away its remnants as a damp and tepid memory of time well spent. A body may smell like a meadow or an ocean, a flower, tree, herb, spice or breeze.... anything other than smelling like a body. Scents are the means by which women fling themselves uncontrollably at casually sauntering men, and are no less the means by which men are mesmerized by the allure of chest heaving, pouting, glassy-eyed, wild -maned women. Common scents, I suppose; or uncommon ones.

Fragrance, odour, repulsive, compelling; the desire to draw closer into a pungent nearness, seduction and ambush, all that awaits, riding on something as personal and fragile as scent. Still.... I have to say, I know it's you before I see you, and I take a tender delight in that sweet anticipation.


  1. It is an dd thing to me the whole world of scents and odors. fortunately for me my wife had allergic reactions to most perfumes and colognes ergo that saved me at least one department I could bypass when I used to gift shop.

    Nothing wrong with the stink of someone elses shit as long as it is a passing stink and not one that has to be suffered through for long periods of time. Every father, once he gets over his gag reflex should become well versed in reading his young un's shit, it becomes a duty.

    But as to the body odors about age 18 I learned to shower. I also learned the deodorant isn't. That it simply is a mask for a mans musk. I stopped using the products entirely and once my Ph levels adjusted I have never gotten complaints, even from them who seek out something anything to complain about.

    Ahh the satisfaction of being able to always bypass another shelf in the store as I leave my own unique stink behind. "Who farted?" is often heard after I have exited that area. Satisfaction, odor be thy name.

  2. There are some smells that I adore and could cheerfully smell all day. But the smell of public toilets is not up there with the best of them.

  3. WM-- thanks for the common scents of all that you've said here.... lots of humour and perspective; much appreciated
    Madame-- agree agree; but for an ethnographer like myself, the public toilet is a pithy culture indeed; thanks for the visit.