A Mud Bath, Followed With An Insult

A few months into my job at the Pfister I learned something very interesting:


If you want, the spa will give you a bowl of clay to go with a hot steam shower. Yes, with this spa offering, you can temporarily remake yourself as an exquisite porcine figure, steamed on a spit, enjoying the mud bath of your life.


I did not take pictures of this service, but I did experience it on Saturday. Actually, that’s not true, I took one photograph of the steam. My intent was to capture the breath of hell curling out of the shower door, but by the time I turned my camera on, the breath had transitioned from that scene of Hades unfurling to that of the whole bathroom being filled with a boiling fog.


I could not see my feet. Actually, I could not see anything but the fog for the next twenty minutes. I relied on my sense of touch to carry me through it all.


After my shower I felt like a sedated lobster on a dinner plate. I went up to the lobby with my typewriter.  My  intention  was to document the fascinating phenomena of what it feels like to be a cooked crustacean, but I did not get the chance.   I smelled cigarettes.


Before me were three pretty people wearing cigarettes as a lingering perfume. Voyagers from the land of Green Bay. To make conversation I inquired, “Are you in school?” The tall one replied, “No, none of us are. I make enough money so I don’t have to go to college.” The group of them came down for the weekend, never having been to the Pfister before, and very much enjoying their stay… except for Drake. Drake, the fourth element to their group was asleep, while they explored the city. He also did not join them for drinks last night. “Drake is always missing out on the fun because he works third shift at a cheese factory.”


Drake’s friends asked me to write him an insult letter. They handed me my tip and told me that when he emerges from his room later he wants to “meet chicks.” Tashina, the female in this group of friends adds, “He likes chicks a lot, but never sticks with them for very long.” As they go upstairs to admire the ballrooms, I write the insult.DSCN1041

They loved it!
They loved it!


Screen shot 2014-05-18 at 9.40.29 PM

“Breakfast, pharmacy ” by: Léon Francois Comerre (born 1850, died 1916), Oil on canvas, 48” x 28”

There is a woman who continually offers me breakfast as I type at my desk. She always hangs behind my chair, oblivious to my working status.  She is confident that I have just finished a long slumber and am now in need of some gastronomical vivification. The expression of her face is set into a gentle greeting, sovaldi as if she knows she is the first person I have seen today, and also that my hair is still snarled by the bed raggles. She is glad to see me in my most unrefined state once again. That’s my loyal servant!

I usually pay brief attention to my servant, but today two sisters asked me to write them a poem with her in it. The sisters, Jill and Judy, gave me these other facts to work off of: they both grew up in Peoria, Illinois, one now lives in Milwaukee and one currently lives in Portland (“Oregon, not Maine!”), both are staying at the hotel because the Portland based sister came to Milwaukee to attend the first birthday party of her granddaughter. Jill and Judy saw me just as they were coming back from a walk along the lake. They claim the status of being “exercise fanatics.” Additionally, they wanted to know why my servant wears a gold headdress that appears to be from somewhere in Asia and is, as my mother would tell me, “awfully fancy for breakfast time.”

The rest of this blog post is a digital transcription of what I spontaneously typed for Jill and Judy:



Here, eat your breakfast!

A quart of sugared buttermilk

served in a silver pitcher

that tinges the thick nectar within

with the substance of metallic

responsibility to the day rising:

one in which 73,482,551,232,473 strides

will be stridden besides your sister

hip-to-hip see-sawing in time to the waves

that know Portland, Portland and Milwaukee well

enough to know you’ll need this roll

and empty cup of coffee for strength.

There’s just one roll here though, so half it

and half this smile from the French

woman in orientalist headdress.

Baubels and rectangles of gold

parting the lace of her face

and confusing her time period

of 1900 with that of 2084

when such temple bling

will be all the rage

amongst Peoria’s android

house maids.

And if you were born a year ago today, you may just live to see this fashion.