The Powder Room at the Park

These poems are part of a series inspired by areas in and around New York Pubic Library and Bryant Park. The first was published as Mammograms for Mannequins. Here below are the remainder of the three.I thought the luxurious Bryant Park restroom deserved a poem 🙂 as did the lending library section !

The Lion named Patience on the South side of the steps to NYPL; Fortitude sits on the North side of the steps [1]

The poems were inspired by NYPL but this library, with the park and the powder room alongside, reminded me of the library complex at Ephesus as well as the Baths there. It’s been years since I visited the Scholastica baths at Ephesus. They were built in the 1st century A.D., and restored by a Christian lady named Scholastica in the 4th century A.D.. There’s also a temple that stands in this bath complex. The ruins of the Celsus library are also located nearby [2]. I should post photos someday, when I retrieve them from my archive.

Act II
Here too a library like at Ephesus

In a space like Scholastica engaged, here too a library, 
an Ephesian lung where countless pigeons pepper the trees.

Every school of thought in room 67 is bound in a book leaning on egalitarian shelves to regiment

our collective scholarship. It's a happy feeling when the spiritual,
a few paces from the history of anime or a listicle for success

rests on paper waiting to contact print onto verdant minds.
I'm delighted, there's the smell of books and those that seek 

respite from the spell of the sun. Some grown kid defies
the silence and I cannot shush her for I am not her mother. 

The law at the door turns away his uniformed face and I have
to leave, for it's late. I need the ladies room and there

are scores of them here, unbeknownst to the tourists, neat
spotless cubicles, with steel plumbing but these I avoid, 

for an aggrieved woman of colour is spewing soliloquies
of societal neglect to the restroom marble fixtures.

Her heart hurts as it petitions the neutrality of stone.
Mine beats as it leaves the echo chambers to wedge into

the throng of Manhattan wearing the sun in their hair, some
sipping coffee, pulling onion rings from their sandwiches, sitting
on metal chairs, watching few feet schlep across, others soled in exaggerated
hurry, the backs of everyone, fronts of panhandlers, sides of the 

homeless, transfixed tourists. The eyes meet sometimes. There are
so many eyes. Ah, the smell  of the city when we wore no masks.
New York Public Library

The public restroom at Bryant Park first opened about 28 years ago and received a $300,000 makeover in 2017. It has a full-time attendant, bouquets of fresh flowers, and a classical music soundtrack. In pre-pandemic times it received around a million visitors each year [3].

The Powder Room at the Park

A growing linearity here, as long as the prime space is worth
in three hundred thousand faces of George Washington

and a full length mirror catches my blush from Sphinx woman
who stands guard to these Elysian precincts. The Liliums

have elevated the space to a private arbour where the faucets
and fans keep time with clarinets, oboes and symphonies.

The daylight pushes through a northeast window stained
by the glass, alighting on fingertips stained by water 

cascading on shallow sinks. In the communality of such
egregious acts, the Ephesians saw fit to congregate in 

shared spaces with perfunctory parting of three
women and we all listen to Debussy before the flush. 


[1] Library Lions ~

[2] Scholastica Baths ~

[3] Restroom ~

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