SCENES FROM =A DENTAL SLUGFEST/  “it won’t grow back” 

Michael Roloff


CHARACTERS: A Male Patient & Nurse & Dentist.        


It/s eerie with the little cover gone. Still.
Nerves intact, not exposed
to acid winter condiment,
the exigencies and ravages of mouth weather.
There/s just a twinge when you eat hot or cold.
You need a temperate climate as your teeth grow old.

It hums in there.
Wind whistles through a crack --
a sting --
goes way again.
That/s odd!
Like a manhole cover in the roadbed.
Run over it
it flips up
Unpredictable but curious drive-to-work event.
At the office you look jarred.
=Who/s fucked you?= your boss says.
=The gutta percha has escaped!=
The little beast won/t bring the codeine!
=Bet she/s gabbing with her friends again!=
Air pressures the escarpment
wind tunnels through the hole...
Lips apart you whistle automatically
teeth tight.
=Worse than your snoring,=
jokes your lover,
=besides, I/m sick of that dogpack at our heels.=
Badly buttressed?
Is a metallurgist to blame?
A mining disaster in the making?
A carpenter?
Can we blame general dynamics?
=T/aint of steel
and if it is,
use sorrow TNT.
Sorrow will crack anything,
yet a platinum heart.=

Pry around
toothpick or bent metal clip.
Tongue catches at each meal
and in between
tears bleeds
is retorn
annoys twitches
twists to the side.
Spit hisses
teeth grind in rage
contorted facial muscles
ache in the frozen jaw --
The tongue turns forager
and explores the gorge to tip/s content.
Porridge sticks like engine sludge!
Cavity becomes food for party talk.
How you play with your tooth.
The novelty of it.
The pleasure and the pain.
The intricacy of the configuration.
The ragged edges of a new-born mountain range.
You turn baroque to shock
a bright young thing.
The sheer exquision of exploring.
Things that get stuck:
a raisin fills it to the brim;
Familia is shist;
a peanut crossways bolder.
steak fibers mangrove roots.
It/s more than a touch loose.
It rattles in its badlands bed.
Yip and yap
in concert.
Where there was too much tolerance
there now is too much play.
Should be a snug fit?
Not a playpen for Bacilli and his kin.
So far in back.
A jackal in a canyon on a winter night
on the fright attack
or taking fright.
Or a dentist goat
out to butt you from behind
the aboriginal first fright.
And you sleepwalk
to your dentist --
finally -- a little less of you
And there will be less yet.


NURSE (holding a dental x-ray up to the light): Ah, what a pretty sight!=
PATIENT:[COMING OUT OF HIS REVERIE, THEN FAST]: =Looks like an silver antelope
amulet on stilts.=
PATIENT: =Dr. Soandso.=
D: =Medal in your jaw!=
N:=An expositionary jewel of a reconstruction job.=
D: [LOOKING MORE CLOSELY AT THE TINY X-RAY]: =The engraving shows black tips
at each one white flower sack.
Those are the maggots=
N: [CONSOLINGLY]: =Sometimes it doesn/t work.=
P: =What?=
N: =The same one again, lower left.=
D: =It would have to be on the left that it attacks.=
N: =Hard of access, awkward angle.=
P:=Hard to defend every outpost isn/t it? Occasionally concede a loss. Draw in
your battle lines.=
N: =Be a boysport.=
P: =What to do?=
D: =That/s an abscess!
Waited too long, ha ha!
The nerves there,
don/t you feel the pain?
P: No
D: Well, in that case it/s displaced,
a tomcat who...
you step onto his tail
or toes.
It could be worse.=
P: =I know.=
=What about the amulet beneath the crown?
D: =They wear out.=
P: =Like tires.=
N:=Something like that,=
P:=Are they calibrated to degenerate?=
N: =They will, calibrated or not.
The fate of metal is fatigue.
Won/t stay the course to Armageddon.
One night of indulgence and neglect
D:=We can save it.=
D: =We can do an apiectomy.=
P: =Hugh?=
D:=We go at it from below.=
P:=How/s that again.=
D: =No, not through the jaw.=
P:=I would hope not.=
D: =I/m not your grandfather & your father didn/t shoot your jaw.
This is not World War.=
P: =I should hope not.=
D: =We get at the rot at the root the directest route, sideways, through the
gums. A combination oil-drill-jackhammer gattling roto-rooter gun!
A genius product of the civil-industrial-military-hydra-hybrid!
P: =I love that tooth and its twin crown.=
D:=I realize that.=
P: =So far I/ve spent...=
D:=Let/s not waste your investment!.
P: =Too bad gutta percha isn/t nougat
or I/d come see you all the time.=
N:=I/m surprised to hear you say that.
I/d have though you/d have lost that addiction as a child.
D:=You should have been born disinfected.
P: =And the Bacilli Brothers and Amoeba Clan?=
D: =Yes the pulp and they all gotta go.=
Here/s your release.=


P:=From what? Concentration camp.=
N:=Don/t be funny...Just in case.=
P: =Of what?=
D: =There/s a congestion of the nerves there.
In the event of a head-on collision...=
P: =Who is being funny now!=
D:=Think of it this way:
a dental slugfest
performed with delicacy.=
P: =When and how and whom do I hit back?=
D:[ASIDE] =That/s nice work there
built that amulet crown.=
N: =A little penicillin just in case.
And ointment to control
the fungi
from previous treatments
for third world microbes.
Just a dab of it.
Keep the thrush away --
the white lung bird
spreads inside.=
A touch of disinfectant spray.
A touch of xilocaine.
Not sweet -- bitter.
The icing on the surface is pure surface.
The needle pain
pure pain.
Jabs infinitely deep.
You won/t like that one bit.
Pain addict you/re not.
ASIDE [DESCRIPTION]: Dentist in mirror many miles away...
Dentists do not like the fret of pain
undone by empathy
 nerves fray.
They have a higher suicide rate
than neurologists.
Aesthetics don/t assuage,
pain that pure
and don/t alter character.
It/s really simple:
for there to be the subliminally sublime
there must be the sub- and un-subliminally crude & rude & vile.
what could we refine
in the genius factory of the dream torture-mine.

N ctd: TO THE PATIENT: =Soon we/ll be getting the slow needle
that tickles pain away.
Millimeters inside
spewing anesthesia.
/Where/s the pain?/
Meet it half way!...
D: =Hit a hot spot?!=
N: =Oil or a by-product!
D: Like rotten eggs. ...Your tooth has farted.=
Oh how foul!
Now we saw off Matter horn.
A little drilling for the proper fit
for the half-diamond-shaped gold brick,
the pagan /mongst the porcelain!=
Not only for aesthetic reasons.
Not only to alleviate the pain.
Immune to decay.=
P: =Gold?:..A little thin & grandiose?=
D: =Let/s put it this way:
in event of further holocausts
you/ll be worth more than skin and bones
I assure you, matter what
it will show you once a wealthy bone!
N: Tap Tap.=
D: =Push push.=
N: =What weight a jaw supports!=
D: =A royal molar
deserves a royal crown.=
N: =Still too much.
Must file down --=
D: =We/ll have to take it out.=
P: =Whaat? Have to take what out?=
D:=We have no choice.
We don/t want your jaw...=
P: =But you said -- =
D:=So what?=
P: =Can I use it over?=
D:=It/s half-cracked.=
P: =I thought it was such a perfect job!=


D:=Must have hit something. Shrapnel...=
P: =It/s not guaranteed?!=
D: =You/re not a car I/m no artist.=
P: =Save half of it? Trade it in?=
N: =You/re full of jokes today.=
P: =What/s it cost?=
P: =The exaction, I mean...=
D: =The extraction? 85. A bargain.
Pretty, I admit, but go it must.
A pauper/s funeral for an ex-millionaire in teeth.=
P:=Why not give me altogether a new mouth?=
D:=We/re not quite there yet.=
P: =When?=
D:=Why, you want a whole new mouth?=
P: =The day I/m born with a fleet of Cadillacs!=
N [ASIDE] No wonder the poor/s teeth are all stained and thinning at the roots:
with life sentences in Moroccatraz,
chewing beetle nuts.
P: =Can I invest in you doctor?
Can my teeth share your tax shelter?
Negatively say.
What if I sell you teeth on consignment?
Arbitrage them for you?
Lease them back?=
N: =You are nice and mad today.=
P:=You must have an accountant.
He must have a plan. Let/s
see, a tooth is much like
real estate. Square
inches of swamp. How/s about
some future swamp in me?
We must figure something out.
Where there/s a will.=
D: =Look at it this way:
A decent mouth has 26:
Chompers, chewers, rippers, canines...
(discounting the misnomered wisdom-wish-bones for the nonce)
ASIDE (Was I once wise in ways of teeth?)

And each tooth, actuarially speaking, worth
approximately 1500 smackeroos.
Imagine 250 million mouths each a full set
jumping at me kangaroos
(discounting baby/s)
Imagine the compounded incremental g.n.p.=
P: =Doctor, who is going mad? Me or you?=
D:=Dentists of the world unite!
Teeth are your gold.
Our President be a dentist.
He will prophylax the nation.
He will do the nation/s teeth.
And they/ll do the sweet sheep bleat!
He will emasculate us once and all.
Why hadn/t I thought of it before!...
A death head with gold teeth!
A million exactions march past.
There! That wasn/t bad, was it?=
P: =Simple as crunch... Scarcely noticed.=
N:=Not with all your nerves gone.=
P:=I don/t think I had to have that shot.=
D:=Only for your head.=
P: =And what with all the twinges in my cock.=
P: =At the mere mention of the word.=
D =What word?=
N:=There! STILL can/t say that word.=
P: =I know. The tongue, limp and torn and numb.
It can/t trill.
N:=Did just now!=
P: =Extraction!=
D: =Not your tongue.
An aberration of the circuitry.
Inherited from worms
who don/t know their own mouths.=
D:=Deep down.=


P: =Something you can do?=
D: =Pretty soon, when we/ve perfected deep apieo-lobotomy.=
P: =It/s still there!=
D:=What is?=
P: =My cock.=
D: =We/ll get it!
Only in your head.
Won/t grow back.
We have a choice of bridges
temporary or insane.=
P: =Oh, make it mad doctor, put in an underpass to hell.=
D: =Have it in a week.=

The shock sets in belatedly.
Where/s the reward?
or some appreciation of your stoic jaw
which you held wide for onslaught
of simple instruments
adapted from construction, destruction
fishing watchmaking
and expeditionary industries.
Wherefore abstinence, renunciation, dry nurses, loss and pain,
retribution torture for addiction?
A shock of hair turns gray
as you lose
to neglect, oversight, lethargy, guilt, weariness, incompetence,
primordial sweets,
and mourn
the cud it chews no more
the nipples it won/t nibble
no more Magnolia teats
no impacting the soft spot in Mom/s Maginot?
no happy idiot baby smile
no clean optimistic all-American smile
the buds it won/t bud up against again
the pinon nuts that ground IT down.
You can/t fool yourself.
Not any more.

©Michael Roloff, 1986 - 1990


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