Freezing Here in Santa Cruz
TUNE:(Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?)
All I need is a sheltered spot
warm, dry blanket, a pad or cot–
But that’s what I ain’t got–
I’m freezin’ here in Santa Cruz.
Need a place I can store my stuff’
Lay me down when the nights are rough
I just ain’t warm enough–
I’m freezin’ here in Santa Cruz.
When I traveled to California,
It was warm and bright
Never thought I’d freeze to death
some terrible winter night!
As you sleep in your nice warm bed
Think of me when you rest your head.
Pray I don’t wake up dead
Just freezin’ here in Santa Cruz.
If they make us a Warming Shelter
I’ll be first in line
Save a space for me and some poor
ho-omeless friends of mine.
We don’t need something soft and plush
Just a pad and a bowl of mush
and one clean pot to flush,
and keeping warm in Santa Cruz,
Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz,
I always floss. The last time I had my teeth cleaned, the surly dental hygienist–whose ministrations must be, in this age of painless dentistry, the most dreaded part of any visit to the dentist–laid on me the inevitable, rhetorical question, always delivered while one’s mouth is full of plastic-coated fingers and sharp instruments of torture: “So do you floss every day?”
Without a pause or a blink I answered sturdily, “Eh, I oo.”
She did not take her deadened, colorless eyes from the size 14 crochet hook she was poking into my gums, as she droned, with blatant skepticism, “Every day?”
“Erry ay,” I mouthed resolutely.
She rolled her eyes, shrugged, and dug even harder into my tender, pink gums. Clearly she did not believe me. Nobody believes me, but it is true. I floss every night before I go to bed.
This hasn’t always been the case. Actually, until I was thirty or so, my dentists were pretty casual about suggesting that I floss, and nobody was ever really expected to do it every single day. You were supposed to eventually get gingivitis and lose all your teeth, as both my parents did by the time they were forty. Still today, the set of false teeth is a staple of ageist humor, though I think the baby boomers will all have caps and crowns and bridges and die at very advanced ages with their own nearly complete sets of much-mended choppers.
I did not always floss every day, even after I understood that, if you let even one 24-hour period go by without dislodging those nasty little bits of plaque, germs will begin to grow and gum disease, cavities, and root canals will inevitably follow.
I have in the past gone for long periods without even giving a thought to floss. After my first divorce, it was two or three years before I had the heart for it. Eventually, though, I became a sort of sporadically regular flosser. I’d do pretty well on weekdays but on weekends and vacations I tended to let it go. For years, my flossing depended on how the d.h. delivered her message. If she was a sweet and kindly person, and seemed to understand that I was only human and would sometimes slip up, I’d set to with an earnest wish to make her proud of me next time I came in for cleaning. But if she was menacing and officious, I’d get my back up and rebel by flossing only when I damn well felt like it. I’m proud to say I finally got over that childishness after only five or six years of intensive psychotherapy, and now not even this last sour and cynical dental health professional– who, incidentally, never opens her own thin, pale lips wide enough for me to see what’s going on in there–has been able to shake my resolve.
I like flossing. I enjoy the wholesome sense of oral purity, the awareness that I am a member of a very tiny, superior class of beings who floss every single day. I’ve flossed with unflavored waxed, unflavored unwaxed, cinnamon-flavored waxed, mint-flavored unwaxed; I’ve flossed with a hanging thread broken off from my own or a nearby person’s ravelling hem. In a pinch, I’ve tried flossing with my own hair, but it breaks easily, and leaves an unpleasant sensation in the mouth. But I’ll always find something to slip in between these precious pearlies. Even though they aren’t particularly white or nice-looking; in fact, they’re more kind of yellowish-gray-green. But nothing can make me give up my good habit. I floss, and you can’t talk me out of it.
The only time I believe in God is when I’m trying to make a bird.
Seen my glasses?
The computer ones,
not the ones I keep by the phone–they’re missing a lens.
My reading chair pair might be under it–haven’t seen ‘em for days.
Not the bed ones; they’re bifocals; I only read
through the lower lenses in bed.
The computer ones are red, I think.
they’re not so scratched.
I really need ‘em but
they’re not in the pocket of my robe or under the desk . . .
No, not the purse ones! I’d never remember to put ‘em back.
The pair in the bathroom belonged to my Dad; they stay right where they are.
FERGUSON IS BURNING
(Tune: The Missouri Waltz)
Ferguson is burning
Will it burn forevermore?
Just another victim of
our country’s Endless War.
For white cops have learned that black lives can be spurned
Angry rap songs are sung,
black men know they’ll die young.
Way down in Missouri in our country’s fertile heart
prejudice and hate are tearing families apart.
The children are crying; their fathers are dying.
Tell us who’s to blame?