Nitrous oxide: about as close
as it gets to the gods
without sacrifice, the nonsense of origins
a pretty polly epiphany
polyphony cackling through
the wireless speakers of the mind.
It’s a shame they don’t serve religion at the dentist anymore.
It damages the brain, the wowsers say, and it’s true
that religion should be consumed in moderation,
but what’s a few cells culled from the mortal billions
while they drill.
My last dentist wore loud shirts
and installed bad crowns in mouths.
His talk of motor yachts as he drilled
and filled was a poor craftsman’s
desperate superiority, the man was all enamel,
an anger coated in achievement, my mouth
was his McMansion, his shirt an admission
of life being elsewhere. Probably Hawaii.
My new dentist takes 3d images of my jaw.
There are coloured regions like a rain chart
where the teeth press together:
mountain ranges chowing down
on the unevenness of things,
clenching the inequality of dreams.
Megabytes ride the ether,
a small mill the size of a budget printer
in the next room carves the crown.
We watch it together wearing our smiles.
Who needs gods when you can do this?
He fits it, bakes it, glues it in. So many
almost miracles, so many leaps of reason
to tantalise the understanding.
His assistant gives me the bill.
God is historical and I am on my way to join him
This dentist is younger than me
and in better touch with the future.
He looks like a movie star and I’m already looking back,
to the old days, when we self-administered religion.
We were stupid then, beginnings seemed endless,
the gods were mostly with us, we found them
when we drove to Maccas and sucked
the nitrous out of ten whipped cream bulbs
in the carpark, then tried to order burgers
from the smiling girls inside
without dissolving into laughter.
- 108: DEDICATIONwith L Patterson & L Garcia-Dolnik 107: LIMINALwith B Li 106: OPENwith C SLowe & J Langdon 105: NO THEME 11with E Grills & E Stewart 104: KINwith E Shiosaki 103: AMBLEwith E Gomez and S Gory 102: GAMEwith R Green and J Maxwell 101: NO THEME 10with J Kinsella and J Leanne 100: BROWNFACE with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPOREwith J Ip and A Pang 97 & 98: PROPAGANDAwith M Breeze and S Groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones