Our theme for February is actually a challenge: write a piece without using first person pronouns (I, me, we, etc.).
All the world’s a men’s YMCA locker room,
And all the men merely exercisers;
They have their exits and their entrances
And varied levels of clothing,
And one man in his time wears many towels.
His acts being seven ages. At first the newcomer,
Mewling and shy in his pre-changed glory.
He removes his coat in the locker room—no more.
Stashing it hurriedly, and spinning the lock.
Eyes downcast, face pink, self-muttering.
Then, the weeklong attender, with his gym bag
And shining morning face, creeping like a snail
Unwillingly to expose his bottom fully,
Instead holding a scratchy towel up as a shield.
And then a month later, all the bolder,
Checking over his shoulder with a woeful ballad
As he quickly drops his trow, bare cheeked
and bashful to return to shorted-safety again.
Then, the veteran of many months
Full of strange oaths and jested conversation.
Still sudden, and quick in nudity,
Absolutely no eye contact allowed.
And then, the naked shower walker,
Emboldened in his newfound freedom
Towel shouldered instead of waisted.
He steps his puddled feet upon the
scale, to learn the weight of his clothes.
The sixth age shifts
to the middle aged dad,round in belly, who might just skip the work out.
He eschews the towel, walking into the sauna nude.
Later he’ll lounge, waist deep, in the hot tub
While daycare watch his children for free.
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
The naked and dancing octogenarian.
Carefree in his weirdly positive body dysmorphia.
Towel dropped, leg propped up upon the bench.
An imaginary breeze sways the baggage of age.
Almost forgetting, as he struts away from his kingdom,
That the rest of the world has a dress code.
Matt Medendorp (’14) graduated with a writing degree held together by duct tape and a few trips abroad. Currently he lives in Grand Rapids, works for Chaco, and claims to be producing a book of writing and photography from his time in Alaska.