The Grind

A stumpy old molar lives alone in the back of some mouth, like a tombstone at the grave site of all the missing teeth. He reaches up, searching for his mate above, to press against, eager for contact, ready to grind and mash together like crazy young lovers, but alas, she’s long gone. She got the rot and they came and took her.

He thinks they might as well come take him too. Lone molar, a widower with nothing much to do but keep that cheek from caving in. They give him a good flossing now and then, but really, he’s just biding his time, a mockery of function, like a gate with no fence. He can’t even go put in with the smile up there, back of the line his whole life. Front teeth were always so well cared for, weren’t they? Vain sons of bitches.

Well, at least he wasn’t a wisdom tooth. Butt of every dental joke he’d ever heard.

The Line

I barely had one foot in this world when they handed me a face and a name and a number and said, “get in that line over there.” So I did. I don’t know much else. I don’t know where the line goes. The lady ahead of me doesn’t know either, or the guy behind—you’d think someone would know. And don’t think I haven’t asked around. Everyone has. Around here it’s like talking about the weather. Anybody find out where the line goes? Nah. Think it will rain tomorrow? Maybe. Continue reading “The Line”

Existendencies

I’m accused of believing in deities
like an irrational dummy, while
the material world in every direction
teases our intellects into a
puzzle-solving mania, clamoring
for the victories of knowing
and having known.

Happily, these elaborate conceptions
serve as a handy basis for making
offerings to the deities.

And they do supply the
handholds we’ll need, if we’re
determined to get a grip.

Beyond that, I don’t much bother
with ‘that is’ or ‘this isn’t’
unless I have to.

Every conclusion is a
leaf on the winds of inquiry.

Ephemeral as a raspy little fart.

Heat

We shrink from July’s
sizzling face-lick, as August
stokes the coals and prepares
its glowing branding iron.

Biosphere’s down with a fever
fighting the infection that’s
razing her trees, fouling her rivers
smoking her skies.

She’s picking bits
of plastic from her teeth
with all the patience
she can muster.

Conveyor

thank you for the telling
all these things I didn’t know
how like the wind it ever is
to blow and blow and blow

the mind, so like a cup, is filled
with things to know and do
the brim of it is never reached
the murky depths, so too

so on we go, we never quite
see how this knowing queue
takes up the flow of intellect
exchanging old for new

that knowledge is impermanent
is one more thing to know
it really is no problem, friend
—relax and let it go

Swingers

the way doors swing
things hinge upon things
the piano lid of the world is
like a canopy for our unhinged lives
swinging in the trees below
hangers-on learning the grips

I held you once, like that
like a hinge bearing the two halves of us
and the pins of it released
the sweetest, breathless refrain
like a sprung garden gate
whispering open, then close
swaying in the greens

Belly Dance

we brought an umbilical cord
to this knife fight, this
unrehearsable rumble

cut and sutured, blood mopped
cuddled and reassured, little man
welcome, everything’s cool

all the lifetimes sprout like this
like buds on the branches, their seeds
fall, and rise

make way for pleasure
and pain, good for the getting
and the giving too

find a groove, call it purpose
grow some thick skin
call it ambition

signals compete, it all plays out
knuckles whiten, the hair grays
the teeth yellow

and that belly button pocks us
like the record of a stray bullet
we never saw coming