Susan Browne



I didn’t have time to masturbate this morning. It’s right there at the top of my To-Do List, but I have way too many things to do. I’m retired and busier than ever. I started meditating every morning, so now I don’t know which to do first: meditate or masturbate. Probably makes more sense to masturbate and then meditate because I would be more relaxed, but sometimes masturbating can take a while, depending, so I might have to skip meditation and then feel lousy that I didn’t get everything done. I could alternate, I guess. Masturbate on Mondays and meditate on Tuesdays and so forth. Skip Wednesdays because my husband and I usually have sex on Wednesdays, the whole point of the daily masturbation program. My doctor prescribed masturbation. “Do it as much as possible,” she said. The old use-it-or-lose-it. After I told my Doc how much time it was taking out of my day, she recommended using a vibrator to speed things up. We went online to look at choices—she was surprised I didn’t have a vibrator—and then I remembered the one my friend gave me for my birthday a long time ago. It was small, a Sunbeam; I think that was the brand name. My friend called it a “traveler” because it was so portable. You could put it in your purse or your coat pocket and use it anytime anywhere. Well, almost anywhere. I wouldn’t use it, say, in Costco although I could, easily; just duck behind the gargantuan mountain of mega-rolls of paper towels, or better yet, behind the floor-to-ceiling stacked boxes of Cuervo Tequila. I could break open a bottle, take a few chugs, turn on the traveler and ándale! I’m starting to get ideas: Put on my headphones and listen to my meditation while shopping at Costco and then cruise with my traveler for a quickie and a brief Happy Hour. Thinking further, masturbation really is a kind of meditation. Ergo, is meditation a kind of masturbation? I miss teaching my Critical Thinking class. I bet my students would have a rousing discussion on this topic. I went home from the Doc’s and searched the closets for my little Sunbeam. Then I got side-tracked with throwing stuff away. My husband asked me what I was looking for, and when I told him, he said “oh.” We aren’t big fans of electronics in bed. I even have a problem with using an electric toothbrush. I don’t mean for masturbation, I mean for my teeth. It rattles my brain or something. I’m not in favor of electric or battery-operated gizmos around my orifices. My husband isn’t crazy about vibrators, either. He thinks he should be enough, that he’s better than a machine. But these are desperate times, and we discussed it, and he understands. After all, it’s doctor’s orders. When I finally found the traveler, I turned it on, and it needed batteries. I wrote Go To Costco on my To-Do List. I might try out my new plan with the headphones, et al. Cleaning took hours, so multitasking is a must to catch up. I wouldn’t exactly say I’m retired. Just living takes a lot of work.


SUSAN BROWNE is the author of Buddha’s Dogs (Four Way Books) and Zephyr (Steel Toe Books). Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, The Sun, Subtropics, The Southern Review, Writer’s Almanac, and 180 More, Extraordinary Poems for Every Day. She teaches at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California.


Read more by Susan Browne

Poem at superstition [review]
Poem at Linebreak
Poem in The Southern Review (via Soundcloud)