• concern for karen •

I worry for Karen.

She’s my dental hygienist:

just so, that’s clear.

We have an appointment, in the a.m.,

first thing, tomorrow,

and she’s set

to clean my teeth,

poor dear.

My chief concern is not, so much,

that she might discover,

a bit of plaque, per se,

or some spinach, say,

or anything as mundane as that,

left over from yesterday;

or heaven forbid, a cavity.

No, that would be perfectly ordinary.

No, it’s the other things,

which I only suspect;

probably, needlessly,

that give me a care,

but—

what if—

there really are,

you know—

pitfalls, potential prangs, or

monsters of the deep, down there:

sharp-eyed barnacles,

under the mandibular arch, say,

or, lazing on a lingual surface,

with their needle-like adornments,

spindly, insatiable urchins,

on display?

What if, perhaps,

the famously territorial lion fish

came roaring in,

from lateral incisor number twenty-three,

where a pride of ravenous fish-cubs,

may lie in wait, hungrily?

Never forgetting, of course, that famously,

venomous coral reef snakes,

cavort with the cuspids, proprietarily.

Or, near the incisors, on subsistence,

wouldn’t you know it,

the dreaded stoner fish,

a molar misadventurist,

to be shure, man,

with it’s gateway drugs,

and multifarious uses of ‘dood’,

and disarmingly similar syntax,

its anaerobic antics, cretinous capers,

and other tomfoolery,

what kind of long-term effects,

or moral uncertainty, might my

favorite protector of dentition,

needlessly suffer,

in such company,

can anyone tell me?

Should I say, to:

“Beware the curmudgeonous,

moray eel, with its enviable

ten-thousand dollar smile,

perfect complexion,

and confounding bad rattitude.

Be mindful, dear, of rapacious

sticky-fingered, Blue-Ringed octopi,

a maxillary arch-enemy, when in there.”?

Not needlessly, do I worry.

Or, mayhaps, what may

become of my dental hygienist

if she should, too far,

into the shallows

of the labial surface, stray –

well known to be, to my mind,

a favorite lair of

lurking, insensate, wizened

salt-water crocodilli?

I do worry for my dental hygienist,

the intrepid, Karen, poor dear—

as they offer so little real protection,

those little, blue, nitrile gloves they wear.

~ Tim Burchfield

8/30/16 (revised 1/22/19)

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•talking vegetables•

I loves me some baby carrots.

The kale is all ruffled,

with envy.

I have no time for psychodrama,

and no appetite, at all, for jealousy.

(Not that it shouldn’t be taken seriously.)

But, I mean, let’s get real, folks,

we are talking, vegetables,

here,

aren’t we.

~ Tim Burchfield

1/22/19

• crooners •

Actually, I didn’t think Elvis was that cool. I mean, what was up, with those sideburns? Plus, for some unknown reason, I’ve gone right off of… hamberders. And Frankie, well, geez, Frank, misogynist enough?!! When you threw those two bucks at the Aussie reporter, saying, “Here. Isn’t that what you usually charge?” Oh, I could have…! Little pitchers, Mister Sinatra, have big ears, and teensy little hands, and someday may become President, and follow your dismal example, to the everlasting shock, appall, and detriment of the entire land.

Now, Tony Bennett, how cool is he! My sister and I bumped into him in Central Park, one sunny Sunday, with a beautiful companion (probably his niece), and when my dear little sister (sticking her camera into my astonished hands, and shoving me out of the way), asked if she could have a picture with him, with his gracious arm around her shamelessly fit shoulders, he gladly shined for the camera. What a guy, what a talent! Hey, Tony (assuming I ever do), when I grow up, I want to be just like you!

~ Tim Burchfield

1/19/19

• mole hill/stormy weather •

Had a very good session in the tree house, this a.m. with Stormy Weather. It got me thinking about weather related woes, especially S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder, a mood disorder associated with a lack of sunlight, which usually of occurs during the winter months), which I have had bouts with for year upon year, and this little story I wrote some time back, unbidden, sprang to mind, which has a happy ending. No, not really…but I think it’s fun. Oh, and just to spare you any unnecessary anxiety, here’s my disclaimer: it’s a fiction. No animals were injured, defamed, or abused in the writing of this piece. Any resemblance to any animal, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. There, I said it. Now, if you are still up for a bit of horror and irony…enjoy, if you can.

‘Mole Hill’: A Tiny Tale of Woe, Personal Perspective, and Pointless Death”

This thing happened this morning…I feel kind of, ambivalent…it’s silly, but I don’t know, it’s kind of got me thinking… About the ‘big questions’:  Are we really free to choose our fate?  Is anyone? Or are we merely guided by some daft Determinism…bound by dogged diminution and devolvement?  Well…I’ll just tell you…how it was.  I’m driving on a rural road, last night, or rather, early in the morning.  It’s raining, like bad: windshield wipers are trying to keep up, to beat the band…and I am straining to see what’s in front of me.  And then…in the beams of my headlights, a little creature dashes across the road, right in front of me, and just…stops there.  It was all so sudden, there was nothing I could do.  I slammed on the brakes, and tried to avoid, but my tires just rolled right over it.  My heart was in my throat.  “Shit, shit Shit!!” I cried, and put it in reverse, until I could just make out it’s little flattened form in the blatting rain, on the black, rain-slicked pavement.  “Shit.” I reiterated, my heart, a flattened marshmallow.  Nothing like this had ever happened to me…thirty years, I’ve been driving, and never before, had I…taken a life.  Unfastening my seat belt, and putting on my ‘flashers’, I dashed into the soaking rain, just to see what, if anything, you know…could be done.

Ok, this is going to sound really dumb, but the creature had been really small, like a field mouse, or some thing, it was the red reflections in its teeny little eyes…in the…headlights, that’s stuck in my head.  Ok it wasn’t a deer, or a porcupine, or a fox, and believe me, I’ve seen them by the dozen on this road at night.  I know…the old saw, about how ‘size’ does, or doesn’t, matter… to me it didn’t…it was a life, and I…was responsible.

In the darkness, in the rain, in the poor reflections of the headlights.  The sound of the wipers working, fruitlessly flinging the encompassing deluge, and me, on my knees, drenched, wiping uselessly at my steaming, rain-streaked glasses, crying silently, ridiculously, with dry tears, staring down in the (footling) darkness, at a…what?  Not a mouse.  I picked the thing up, and held it on my outstretched palm in the headlight beam.  I’d seen this thing before, while digging foundations for my in-laws.  What I had run over with my car, the life I had taken, had been that of a mole.  “A mole?” I asked myself, water running in rivulets down and off the end of my nose.  “Above ground?”  Why…how…what could be the…cause?  I could not put it together.

And then…this gets…pretty weird here.  In its little mashed claw, paw, whatever…hand, if you will, I swear, it looked like a bit of sodden cloth, or a shred of a paper bag, a water-soaked scrap of paper, wet and worthless, but, somehow, compelling. The way it was…seemed like…rolled, in his little mangled paw.  I don’t know… But I HAD to look at it, HAD to SEE!!   

So, carefully, gingerly, I retrieved this…artifact.  I placed the little former mole, gently, on the toe of my rain-soaked boot which, by now, was slowly filling, and, unrolling, between my fingertips, in the steaming beam of the headlamp, this decrepit scrap, to my amaze, and everlasting bumflummery, inscribed on this morsel of mangled missive, unbelievably, was a suicide note!  It read:  “I can’t go on…I can’t STAND IT any longer!!  It’s been RAINING…for DAYS!  Day, after day, of miserable, unremitting RAIN!  Day after day, nothing but rain…and…even when it isn’t…raining…being born a mole, I STILL…can’t SEE SHIT!!”

~ Tim Burchfield (October 2012)

1/7/19