The dentist opened my mouth and found
all these lies that I’d been hiding
inside my teeth like egg yolks bursting,
dripping falsehoods only whispered
now laid bare to clean tiles, white walls
He asked me do I find the pressure painful,
do I feel it throbbing in my ears at night-
I can’t eat truth or it will stain my reputation.
How can I swallow what I cannot bear to taste?
I lie because it’s easier
than finding the words to explain-
I lie and say I’m not angry
because I don’t know why I am.
I say that my honesty left me somehow
slipped away and I didn’t follow,
I didn’t try to get it back
but that’s just another tooth to pull,
another Vicodin to take
The truth is so much harder now,
a stone inside the womb, a diamond to cut
open old scars, to make each trip
with less and less air-
it takes a miracle of strength
to go back anymore
so I have lived without visiting those places
I’ve survived without eating that fruit
I’ve made a new life by filling cavities with lies
and pretending my smile is sincere
but the dentist knows, and God knows
one of my teeth is fake
what a secret to hold onto
when the delivery guy smiles
and when the boss is happy with me
or the boss is upset with me
and when my mirror gets lippy
they don’t know
but I know
a gold porcelain crown
is holding me down
and I don’t need
Before the glories of success
we die routinely,
give our bones and backs
to unearth what we seek,
and just before the crowning
of new daylight
the strong are separated
from the weak-
their willingness to die
and die completely,
give jaw and teeth
again and yet again.
When winter comes
it asks for one last battle
and proves the foolhardiness
It’s a medically necessary procedure
with a bonus that by the end
you’re gonna look better
but it’s gonna cost you
well ain’t that
some kinda racket.
Protector of the infantry
from their own scraping blades-
no more falling
on your sword
in your sleep-
the night guard
I sell it to myself
on the drive home
from the dentist-
the closest to truly brave
I’ll ever get.
How easily we grow up
and forget the stress
of trying to catch the bones
falling out of your jaw
before you swallow them
while your overlords
order you around
and don’t believe
what happened to
Nice protection, wearing my skin,
nice way of avoiding my ire.
Nice way to insure your assets
when half of them are mine.
How could I act without mercy
when it’d be my blood on the wall?
Why must I always stay my fists
though you never flinch at all?
If it’s love that gets you off the hook
it’s only love that keeps you there-
a privileged exception to the rule,
of flesh and teeth and hair.
Don’t forget to check out my first anthology, Candy Pizza: Poetry that’s Fun and Healthy, available on Amazon & Kindle.