Sy — I don’t, as a rule, write poetry. But there are many things which I don’t, as a rule, do, but do on occasion. So, a while ago, this poem appeared in my head and I wrote it down. I typed it up and send it on to you because I think that learning to brush teeth with eyes closed (as opposed to watching in the mirror or staring out a window) helps to make one aware of the sensual pleasures routinely offered by our bodies. My father — who taught me about massage and self-hypnosis and a zillion other neat things — also taught me about brushing teeth with eyes closed. He learned about it because of some movie in which “the villain” put a poison in “the victim’s” toothpaste which was not absorbed through the mouth but rather gathered in the bubbles of foam which then popped, releasing the poisonous gas which then drifted upwards and was absorbed by the eyes. So, lest someone poison him by this ingenious method, my father, to this very day, brushes his teeth with his eyes closed and his mouth wide open — bubbles flying in all directions, grinning like a coot. And dentists are amazed at his teeth. In fact they are so strong that once his brother shot him in the mouth with a shotgun and the bullet just bounced right off his silly grin — but that’s another story. Spread the word if you like or just try it yourself.

 

On Brushing Teeth With Eyes Closed

for my father

WHAT IS THE PLEASURE OF WATCHING                        (IN VANITY)
THE VIBRATORY ACT.
THE WHOLE BODY MOVES SO MUCH                (CAN YOU FEEL IT)
FOR SUCH A SMALL CHORE.
THE FINGERS GRIPPING THE BRUSH
THE HAND GRIPPING THE FINGERS                                   (CONTROL)
the arm
PIVOTING ON ELBOW                                                                 (IN AND OUT)
BALANCED AGAINST SHOULDERS                             (UP AND DOWN)
COUNTERED BY PELVIS                                      (AND HEAD, FEIGNING INDEPENDENCE)
TOES DIGGING INTO BATHMAT                           (CAN YOU FEEL IT)
GRIP THE EARTH AND SHAKE IT                                            (AMERICA)
                                                                                                      (BREATHE DEEPLY)
teeth and gums
MASSAGED AND ABRADED                                     (CLOSE YOUR EYES)
MASTURBATION OF THE MOUTH                      (ARE YOU COMING)
SO MANY DIFFERENT POSITIONS          (YOU TAKE SO FUCKING LONG)
WHEN YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES               (TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH)