Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Feature: Mike Finley Day 3

The Family that Bathes Together

You could be Fabio and still
look silly in the bath.
It is unmasculine to recline
in soapy water and relax.

Bobbing through the foam
at the center of your self
is the bobbin of the penis
a buoy in a sudsy gulf.

Periscope, sea monster,
bearded triton of the tub,
bishop with a face only
a mother superior could love,

These ancient ablutions
prepare us for bed.
Tuck the little one in
and kiss him on the head.

Artwork and Poetry © Mike Finley

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Interview Question:

How has poetry changed your life?


The more I think about it, it's just a hobby, like fly-tying or baking cookies. Something that amuses me and a very few others, and that you can get better at all your life – but has only private value.

I still have a love/hate relationship with it after all these years. I still feel the fire of detention hall scribbles, and the chest-beating and so forth.

The problem of writing remains that it arises in one head, and you want to port it to other heads. Beauty, humor, entertainment are your leverage. But it still takes two – and getting that second head to receive can be a bitch. And it's not necessarily their fault.

You need “genius” to locate the right word, but you need humility, too. It so punishes the asshole within.

I worry that this frustration is making me testy, and even less appealing. But – who knows, you know?

Occasionally, late in the day, you can still surprise yourself with something that is true and beautiful, and not ravingly immodest.

And you say, wow, I was really lucky to be able to do this.


  1. "The Family that Bathes Together" is a delightful way for my sleepy eyes to jump open this morning. A piece of honesty that lays bare the silly shapes of which we are composed.

    The rhyme scheme is neat, moving from soft to harder echo as the stanzas progress. Hmm....

    And this ain't no hype: these two lines flow with the assertive rhythm of Ezra Pound -

    It is unmasculine to recline
    in soapy water and relax.

    Hence a kind of whammy-bar is pushed, as the reader boings from the effect of beautiful phrasing at the service of squeamish image.

  2. LOL! Tim, serious or playful, your comments are poetic. :)

  3. I love this .. it has a semi-hidden delight just under the soap bubbles.. -)

    Am enjoying your writing Mike.

  4. penis rhymes with genious I am still surprised that adults can make adult rhymes (YAY)Blogger

  5. Tim, I hadn't noticed the rhymes got stronger. I have a lacksadaisical attitude about rhyme. Kind of afraid to rhyme too directly, being a free verse brat ... but aware that there is power in the sounds.

    The reason the ancient poets were valuable was that they helped people remember mission-critical things, like how to fight, make decisions, teach children. Rhyme and other "sound ideas" helped pre-literate people keep these things in their heads.

    So the bard was seated next to the king -- to protect the king. Nobody would risk harming or insulting the bard. This practice has largely fallen by the boards.