This little bit of doggerel should be out in the magazine in a day or two, if it isn't out already.
Goddammit, now I have to come up with another idea and write something before next Tuesday. Maybe I should go get a foot massage.
Ode to a Foot Masseuse
They call it "reflexology," and with brief apology,
I confess I only learned the word quite recently.
What they call it, I don't care: 'round these parts, it's something rare—
A massage where neither party acts indecently.
Here in China, as you know, from Heilongjiang down to Guangzhou,
Or the Lhasa Valley's Himalayan ice,
It's hard to find a town where you can't get your feet rubbed down,
And enjoy it at a bargain-basement price.
It's a pleasure so sublime it really ought to be a crime
But I'm awfully glad the foot-rub biz is legal.
When you're seated in your chair, the feeling's just beyond compare:
I think the word I'm looking for is "regal."
They're from Henan or Anhui—not from Zhengzhou or Hefei*
But from little county towns you've never heard of
These friendly country lasses from the agronomic classes
Off'ring service that your feet can be assured of.
When those foreign guests come calling and you've spent the day Great Walling,
Or strolling Kunming Lake at Summer Palace,
Nothing's better for the feet—a major podiatric treat
That keeps those tender heels from going callous.
Corns and bunions she'll endure, toe-jam smelling like manure
Athlete's foot, or even fouler forms of fungus
But she won't so much as sigh, and it costs but 80 kuai,
That is why, my friend, my gratitude's humongous.
There's a fascinating chart, describing how each body part
Is linked to certain sections of your feet
For your spleen or for your gonads, or your Grand Primordial Monads
There's a spot to increase qi or quell the heat.
Soak your trotters in the tub, as you ready for the rub
And accept that this is going to hurt at first
There's no pleasure without pain, her ministrations will make plain
And you'll praise the fingers which, just now, you cursed.
It's a universal fate, that when guys begin to date,
They'll play the back-rub card at their first chance.
It's a hackneyed first-date ruse, and to women, this ain't news:
The masseur vamooses once inside your pants.
But our dour and faithful lass will prove she's of a better class
And your tired 'taters are the benefactors
She'll go that extra mile, and she'll do it with a smile,
And she's free of such crass motivating factors.
It's impossible to capture how from pain you come to rapture
As she kneads those knuckles up and down your sole,
I'm not waxing metaphoric when I say that it's euphoric
When the angel breaks you down, and makes you whole.
* Zhengzhou and Hefei are the provincial capitals of Henan and Anhui, respectively