Wednesday, November 9, 2011


…Is there anything that makes you feel more vulnerable than sitting/laying in the dentist chair while two people poke inside your numbed mouth using needles and electric drills that screech and smoke?
Can’t be, can there?
Perhaps gynecology visits for women. That would be unnerving. Just the thought is more than a little unsettling to me.
Yesterday I was fitted for a crown. I’d much rather have been fitted for a tux or even a bra.
Thankfully my son wisely suggested that I bring an iPod to squelch the drilling cacophony. I put on Ryan Adams and kept my thumb on the volume path slide and would turn it up as loud as I could take it without making my ears bleed.
I went through 23 Ryan Adams songs during the time I was there.
Afterward the left side of my face was numb until the afternoon. I felt like Elephant Man.
What’s funny (is that the right word? Probably not) is I didn’t go to the dentist until I was 23 years old. Yep.
My mother didn’t believe in dentists, or so she said. Really, I think it was just that we couldn’t afford it.
On my first trip to a dentist, he told me I had no cavities and the first thing he asked me was if I grew up in North Dakota. I said, “How did you know?” He said, there’s in fluoride in the water there that shields the teeth from cavities.
So there’s at least one thing good about North Dakota.
I remember flossing once and my mother later telling my dad, “You should see it; he cleans his teeth with a string.”
Anyway, getting fitted for a crown isn’t much fun and though it wasn’t anything like childbirth, nothing even remotely close to it pain-wise, for some reason yesterday’s experience gave me a renewed appreciate for mothers.

…I'm still enamored with Lidia Yuknavitch's memoir, "The Chronology of Water."
"You see it is important to understand how damaged people don't always know how to say yes, or to choose the big thing, even when it is right in front of them. It's a shame we carry. The shame of wanting something good. The shame of feeling something good. The shame of not believing we deserve to stand in the same room in the same way as all those we admire. Big red A's on our chests."

…Today, in just a few minutes after I read some submissions for Metazen, I am going to work on the novel. It's been a while. This week I've written a few thousand words--six pieces in all, kind of stylistically experimental for me.
Here's what I wrote yesterday, which is more or less a true event from my childhood:


I am six almost seven when the twister comes do you see it do you see it my brother asks it must be as far away as Dickinson or Fargo the hill we live on gives a view of the flat land and on it this afternoon with the sky gone gray as night this twister is a manic marauder a cone-shaped thing alladin’s angry genie unleashed will it take us I ask you’re such a scaredy cat my brother says but he doesn’t realize I’m not really afraid he sleeps downstairs and can’t hear their fights mom’s muffled shriek’s her squeals mirror glass shattering atop their dresser pipe or fist hitting the wall going through it on the other side of mine my little indian warrior clock with its big brown eyes coming free of its nail breaking off one pony tail when it hits the floor and bounces dead as I always knew hate you hate you I hate you she screams and so he hits her his father does hits or slaps I’m leaving you you’re a monster oh yeah I’ll show you a monster last night was the worst every evening is bad but last night the floor shook bombs exploded I expected smoke expected flames to burn their room to cinders but breakfast came and mom was at the stove frying flap jacks wearing a head scarf and jackie o sunglasses smoking silent as a hollow log saying stop your gawking and eat go on you let it get cold and I’ll whoop you sure as satan and now in the distance the cyclone is swiveling its smoke hips and I imagine it sucking up barns and buildings and houses with screaming children and astonished parents milk cows and chickens hogs farms being rolled up like rugs the moss place folger’s farm chicory square all of them slurped up that massive funnel of dirt while I wait our turn kenny says we better get downstairs come on you stupid turd I shake him off fine go ahead and die see if I care he might mean it he might know more than I think there the twister pivots like a jerky dust dancer moving through smolinski’s plot swiveling mowing pulverizing breaking things apart wherever it finds them a motorcycle comes flying this way hurled a mile through space like a chrome asteroid this is it this is it this is deliverance this is god acting saying I’ve heard your prayers this is his wrath that I’ve read about only at the bottom of bell street where the coolie sits the twister veers east without warning east east why east I’ve been waiting my whole life my short life willing eager to give it up and there you go god there you go you do not exist don’t tell me any more lies there you go no different than the gray ghost vapors my mother blows out of her nose when she smokes mom dad and me the fight between three maybe not tonight but tomorrow tomorrow the twister will reappear a different cyclone but just as savage and cruel and it might finally be the one that takes me the one that ends it all.

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