riveted by a dark exhausted eye/ a dry downturning mouth

I wonder if a poet has ever thought to write a meditation on mortality and ageing inspired by their teeth? That's what I thought while I sat in a Cavan dentist's chair as he jammed a giant flubbery lump of some kind of gel around my banjaxed upper teeth last week. He had made a mould of them to begin the process of rebuilding them from the sorry translucent shards they are today, a cross between the teeth of a deep sea angler fish and "the retarded hyena from the lion king" (as I was once gloriously called on twitter).

Because the gel took five minutes to harden, I had a bit of time to think about poetic metaphors. Teeth can't regenerate or grow back once they are gone, you see (in saying this, my brother once lived with a woman who confidently assured a mutual friend that his front teeth, which fell out when he drunkenly tripped over his own shadow in the NUI Galway bar one afternoon, would "grow back". This same lady remarked, on another occasion, that Bulmers cider is different from other ciders because "it's made from apples", so maybe her claims need to be taken with a pinch of salt).

a filling or two should do the trick

Where was I?  ...teeth...inability to regenerate...permanent reminder of the ageing process...got it. I spend much of my down time obsessively running my tongue over my front teeth, checking for new chips and cracks. I do this so much now, that I don't realise I am doing it unless I stop to think of it or unless my tongue discovers something new. For my tongue knows every microscopic crevice, from the chip that sprang from an incisor when I tried to slide down a bannister on my arse aged 13, to the ugly fracture in the upper right molar that was foolishly used as a bottle opener during the Electric Picnic four or five years ago. There's a whole tiny geography in there, a coastline of dental attrition.

Of course, I have those dreams about my teeth falling out. Standing weeping in a dole queue holding a palmful of teeth as big as dominoes, spitting hundreds of them all over a higher level leaving cert Irish exam that I am doing in the nude under Garda supervision, or feeling them crumble to chalk dust as I pathetically mouth the words "be with me" to Christina Hendricks. That sort of thing.

Hmmm, maybe it's not the dentist I need to see?

MP3: Mark Van Hoen-Where Were You
(I will write about his brilliant album soon)

Podcast news: the podcast returns on Friday.


TAD said...

G: I think a poet JUST DID write a meditation on mortality & aging "inspired" by his teeth -- & you're still a young guy!
I have a visit 2 the dentist coming my way that I'm going 2 put off as long as possible. It isn't going to be pretty. I've lost 2 teeth over the years, & sooner or later they're gonna cause me Major Trouble. Last time I saw a dentist was around 1993, & I swore Never Again. I'm not in pain right now, but I think about it a lot....
Intresting tho that the best kisser I ever met had lost all her bottom-front teeth...? Don't wanna know WHY, it spoils everything....

Gardenhead said...

yikes Todd, sounds a bit gross!!! HAHA