The Soldier and his Poison: a Dental Duel

  

The battle begins at the rising and the setting of the sun.
 
There he is, the scoundrel.
Waiting, staring, still. Silent and motionless in his metal cup.
The disproportionate comb is focused.
He is preparing for our daily battle of brush upon calcium brick.
Every day and night, this cunning soldier stands erect.
His loyal companion, Col, stands by his side. Let not his squidgy body fool you.
Col is the gate to the crucial chemical penetration. Col is the poison, the soldier – the spiny syringe.
 
Col and Sol wait. At the encroaching tread of my bare feet on blood-coloured tiles, they signal to each other with telepathic talent: and the shining light of the heavens above is switched – ON!
 
I, fishing an oat from a tooth, stride in.
Dressed in my royal striped bed-wear, I am a soldier too.
 
Col’s poison is squeezed silently from his shiny body, and the soldier waits for the great jet of icy liquid to permeate his bristles. Not a noise pierces the air, but for the incantation under my breakfast breath: Pearly-white ONE-TWO, Pearly-white ONE-TWO, Pearly-white….
 
The soldier ascends. My battleground is open wide. The battle begins!
 
Tooth against soldier, tooth against paste, the pain and suffering is relentless.
The bricks hold a solid stance; a powerful posture, but Col and soldier are in the prime position for attrition. The pain of my weak pink gums! The pain of my bewildered red tongue! Like a fat golden retriever, it is flopped and brainless – no help to the fight.
My cream-coloured gems gnash and gnaw. Outside of the action, the faucets watch on, stunned in their silver spectatorship.
Hot is gunning for me, Cold is gunning for the enemy.
 
Suddenly! Without warning, without a chink in the air, without a teapot or a hat, without Margaret Thatcher, without Charles de Gaulle, without –
The soldier falls.
 
Time slows. The moment seems to last a lifetime.
 
And then there he is, lying splat in a mess of saliva and frothy white.
 
And I realise something amazing. We were on the same team all along.
We were playing the same game – I no longer need to be afraid.
We shouldn’t be fighting each other, we should be fighting together.
We’re fighting the bacteria.
 
I save the noble stick from the floor, mop up Col’s suds kindly, and put my new friends back in their Ikea-cup home. You get some rest, pals – I prod them affectionately.
My day has never begun so well.
 
Tonight, the three of us will battle together,
and I’ll smile wider, and cleaner than ever.
 

I Poured the Bran

I poured the Bran
I sat on my hands,
I hummed.
 
and I saw that face
from my window
before she was lost in dust
in the plastic keys
on a piano
or on a computer
 
equally futile
akin to crabs scuttling from reach
 
I scuttled too
so did you and he and she
 
all scuttling towards or away from…
it’s hard to tell
 
Through every box I fell into
jingled soft sappy Christmas carols
 
I was lost to it
really
I was lost in the box in which I came
I want to come
I never came
this week nothing arrived
 
No letters thorough the slot
just a waving shadow on the stairwell
 
Just as the foam sat in its bag
I fell sexless I stayed
 
until the microwave beeped
Then I got up
opened a cupboard
opened a door
opened my locked screen
 
faces all but gone
implied only in blue bubbles
pixellated chatter
 
I meant to write 30
but I only wrote 3
 
And I forgot to reply to that email
or tidy my room
filled with presents given or waiting to be given
bags boxes bags boxes bags
 
non-fiction 3 ams
staring into the carpet
with videos of more accomplished people
 
and that’s precisely it
– I want to dive into the warmest colour of myself
but I think I’ve already drowned in the greys around the edge
 
Shoes, pockets, mouths
all filled with pebbles
 
Something needs to be ravished
some building needs to be set alight
banality burnt down in wild, frenzied lines
 
We don’t need that sun in the sky
we need that sun in our eyes

Breakfast



eat my face for breakfast

scoop out truth
with stainless steel
drench them in syrup

take the spoon from the bowl
and eat that too

stomp on my daily bread

fish out lies from the plate
crumbs run down your arm
lost in your shirt sleeve

your hands are empty now
look at me

the strands of morning light

my hair my head
my face is looking at you
with your empty bowl your empty plate

your empty dirty hands