Spit, Rinse, and Repeat

by Robert Russell

 

I am Prufrock in the morning,

as I stand brushing my teeth,

reflection gazing, an oak to my left:

“do I dare disturb the universe?”

 

Wrens spring and budding dahlias;

viridian sweetens the air,

and the cerulean heavens

are daubed white and bird-stippled

 

spit, rinse, and repeat

 

I am Oedipa in the evening,

as I stand brushing my teeth,

reflection grinning, a siren sounding:

“shall I project a world?”

 

A summer sun summons skin,

sweat-shimmering and craving cool breezes,

married to shade and mouths perpetually parched,

sowing fast memories with each day’s dawn

 

spit, rinse, and repeat

 

I am Prufrock in the morning

as I stand brushing my teeth

reflection glaring, dust plumes on my right:

“do I dare disturb

 

Leaves fall with the heat;

crepuscular tides and pastel skies,

soaring crows, apples, squash,

timber cracking and floating embers

 

I am Oedipa in the evening

as I stand brushing my teeth

reflection glowering, tired eyes

“Shall I

 

Winter’s eve with bitter, biting wind

frigid, grey, gooseflesh, rain,

sleet, snow, silence, cynicism,

once nostalgic, now an obstacle

 

spit, rinse, and repeat

 

I am the observer, the daren’t

I am the projector, the auctioneer,

watching the clock’s hands

and millions going hungry,

asking: is this all there is?

 

spit, rinse, and repeat

sleep, rise, and repeat