Weeping in the Dentist's Chair — Four Poems Featuring Teeth

Weeping in the Dentist's Chair — Four Poems Featuring Teeth

By Dana Jerman

Dreams of the Hygienist

The marvelous myriads
of stinking yellow
and eternal brown.

The sun
and the dirt.

The work of acids
and sugars
on the wet boundary
of shapely enamel
and hot root.

A bitter satisfaction
hides inside these
polished enigma.

Chipping and pulling.

Scraping and drilling
season to season
to celebrate the health
of those endless human
mouths that dutifully
comprise god’s ass.

How radical and forgiving
its poorly tempered shape.

Look here,
pull the light low,
and know how the mirror
can grow a new depth
from way down into black.

A Stunning Splash of Light Caught on a Necklace of Horsefly Heads

I want to take
all those lines
tattooed on you
and turn them
instead into floss
to use on your
barnacled mouth.

Teeth set like a
ship at sail for
twenty four years
without port.

How can a
gleam designer
be so pen and ink?

So estranged grey
like a fryer basket
trying to collect

home instead with
hip replacements
and career herpes.

I want my ache—
my very own
misplaced and
feelings for you—
to mean something better
than just another line.

Map Of My Dreamtown-

First Street holds an incline that does not reflect real life. At the bottom of the hill, the corner diner, with a modest amount of neon, also has black and white checkered tile.

A short way up the hill is the music store. A meeting of violin and saxophone players are there in the lights of the practice rooms on the second floor. Here my mouth forgets to bite itself with anger. Forgets its desire for lipstick or if it is wearing any.

There is a bar and a rollerskating rink holding up opposite ends of this 'ville scooped down into a high basin. The air is warm as if it is about to rain. All of my guides have led me here and even though I can't see or touch them, I am nervous they will leave.

Main Street is a runway of lights loping over its own thick horizon. As my eyes scan up and away with them I am reminded that this body needn't feel so heavy, and the dark place my mind insists on going needn't be so black.

My legs have carried me to the theatre with its marquee. And from its doors my friends come tumbling out who are happy to see me and are smoking and talking all at once as we embrace.

And right then it begins to snow. The seasons have changed and the lost feeling has vanished. The urge to notice average magic has returned, and I am not a stranger.


They woke you up. This is the usual. You forget they are coming, then they come at night. The first night is the worst. There is a nightmare or a really messed-up dream and then you’re conscious again. Jaw sore from dental grinding and your guts are moaning with ache. You’re too deep in it now for medicine to catch up. Not for a while.

Ache ache, bleed bleed. You manage to take some medicine. It’s hard to get up to go clean yourself up, your lower back aches like someone kicked you, but it’s always a good idea. You’ll thank yourself for it later. Anyhow, more mess is on its way. Mom said her cramps eased up after she had a kid and you say “OK mom, great, kind of a high price to pay for a few tummy twists, that’s not really happening…”

In either case you’re pretty lucky. Your ache is not as bad as the ache-ache-bleed-bleed of some others who need constant medicine and other means to help ease and regulate the symptoms.

But now you’re awake and topless. It’s still quite dark. It’s maybe 3am and you will have trouble getting back to sleep but who cares you love this hour anyway when it’s quiet, and there’s nothing else to do in the morning but swim.

You’re on vacation for the week with your family in a nice lakeside cabin with a remote, cozy room all to yourself. The bedside table lamp is made of popsicle sticks and seems to glow all over when you click it on, like a strong candle behind a Japanese paper screen. You’ll be listening to music thru headphones and grabbing your pillow and writhing in this low bunk-style bed for the next few hours.

Chances are you’ll sweat back to sleep before dawn.

Ben Ridley is a Killer

Ben Ridley is a Killer

Long Train Running: A Chicago Marathon Story | Chapter 6 — 16 Post-run Requirements

Long Train Running: A Chicago Marathon Story | Chapter 6 — 16 Post-run Requirements