Welcome To My Bed

The mouth fills with string.

1. I have a toothache, a condition that implies an abscess that must be drained (ew), a wisdom tooth that needs pulling (ow!), or a possible future root canal (ugh...). None of these options is desirable, and nothing I've tried as a pain remedy has helped. I've done several suggested home techniques (dissolving a baby aspirin over the tooth, holding a mouthful of whiskey in the cheek of the affected side, biting down on a hot Tetley tea bag, using mouthwash, etc.) but they're not as effective as I need them to be. I doubt I'm going to sleep very well, if I can ever get to bed. I just drove to the 24 hour CVS in Chicopee to buy Orajel as a last resort, and even the maximum strength stuff has only slightly dulled the throbbing. And when is my dentist appointment? Sometime after December 17th, when I'm next in Jersey for an extended period, and then at the end of December, my dental insurance goes poof! Hopefully, this swollen, painful situation is resolved by then. I would scream very loudly, in hopes that making a loud noise would distract me from the pain, but Cass fell asleep hours ago, so for now I will just mime screaming, and you will get the idea.

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2. While in Jersey, I went to Loser Slam for the first time. Any other time I've spent in Long Branch up to this point has been in service of a family reunion. I much prefer being there for poetry, even if poetry in Long Branch is not at the beach. I ended up winning the slam, much to my surprise. Read about that, and other poetry exploits of mine, here.

3. My G-ma went on a tirade this afternoon while I was hanging out with my family in our kitchen about my nose ring. She asked me if the money it took to pay for the piercing couldn't have been better spent feeding a starving child somewhere. Chrissie (who also has her nose pierced) and I just looked at each other and bit our tongues to keep from laughing. Couldn't the money spent on anything be put to better use feeding a starving child?? A direct quote from the rant: "You're not jungle bunnies." I'm glad she didn't start in on tattoos. I'm still not sure she's seen the 82, and if she has, she hasn't mentioned it. I'm fairly certain she disapproves of almost everything about my lifestyle. I cannot imagine what kind of conversation will ensue the first time she and I discuss touring poets or other such semi-starving artists. But she did give me a bunch of bananas and some vegetable lasagna to take back to school, so it was difficult to be mad at her.

4. The Posthumous Voice in Women's Writing from Mary Shelley to Sylvia Plath by Claire Raymond is one of the most intellectually pretentious collections of essays I have ever laid eyes on. It does have the word "posthumous" in the title, so I suppose I should have known better, but I was holding out hope that there were big, thoughtful ideas to back up the massive, wordy titles, and no cigar. Just lots of reliance on Derrida (blech), among other pretentious academic fall-backs that typically prevent an essayist from having an original, inspiring thesis. Sample sentence:

Indeed, the self-elegist claims her understanding of the cultural mechanics of mourning, her exquisite schooling in private poetics.

Seriously, Claire Raymond, what does that even mean?! You go on for twenty-five pages, and I made your same argument (that Plath's "The Rabbit Catcher" both takes agency from and gives it back to the speaker of the poem) in less than two pages. D. H. Lawrence, or Keat's treatment of antiquity really don't have anything to do with what you're saying, nor does the imagery of the rabbit from Alice's Wonderland, nor the discussion of Aurelia Plath's elevation of her collection of Emily Dickinson poems to the status of family Bible that you open the essay with. How do these things even get published?

5. It feels silly to be back at school only to be leaving again on Wednesday afternoon. I wish I could go to the Cantab this week. I am dreading Christmas break because of how totally it will separate me from the things that have been making me creative lately-- the Cantab, the Lady Poet house, the umbilical cord connecting me to the Five College library system. I promised my parents they would see me read poetry in public at least once this winter (I should have swallowed such a promise before I ever uttered it, but it's too late to go back now...) and I am scared of what they will think of me. They nod a lot when I try to explain my experience at open mics, but I know they don't really get what I'm trying to articulate. Maybe once they see it (if I don't die of embarrassment in the middle of the experience) for themselves, we'll be on more level ground. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever stop feeling like a foreign object shoved uncomfortably into the middle of my family that doesn't belong there even out of irony.