the temptation to make things fit to our taste & why the painters packed their brushes away, & the kids stopped crying

she has teeth
like a swiss mountain chain,
Les Dents du Midi, jagged &
wildly irregular,
leaning here and there,
for support or fun,

people gasp
for breath when she parts lips,
babies cry, & fortune tellers
search for the extension of her lifeline
in the crooked beige and white.

but unabashed, free climbers hang
with messed up fingers on the bearing-out, then jump
onto the cushion of her tongue– (ha, fun), &

painters comb her hair
into diffusing clouds, shadow-dye her eyes
“looks like the lake geneva”
oil paint—driP DriP droP dRop dRip
to catch her odd, odd beauty

they meet in a sidestreet, he a dentist//straight,
measures & fills gaps with self-stewed amalgam,
sits on a streamline aluminium chair,
starEs at her,

boOOOm phUOng cLash //
————1000Volt flash,

pearly beads of spit drip from her slightly skew
corner of the mouth– someThing
in her wild smile touches him (doWn
to the intestines)

&he drops the ruler, between passionate
lip on lip //valley hiLL Hip hiGh pEak sEEd e-

lava dust, crest to ground–

marries her–

at the breakfast table– tUliPs, butter seas,
gold on honey sweet/Soaked wheat rolls,
bees hum drunk, turkish delight lakes on
the soft spots of her thighs, he takes
the waterscale– with scrutinizing gaze
divides, adds, multiplies, explains—

“these teeth need work–”

the painters shake their heads, “this—
you should love her like she is”
the dauntless climbers freeze in shock,

& she stands naked in the kitchen,
washes dishes in the moonlight,


—————–sealed close


temptation is what mary wants us to write for poetics at dVerse…grab a pen..smiles… i’m in munich for the weekend, exploring the city (in pouring rain..) but back at my laptop by 3pm EST when the pub doors open..


42 responses to “the temptation to make things fit to our taste & why the painters packed their brushes away, & the kids stopped crying

  1. …the sadness here is quite too deafening… but your words are like pulps — succulent & craving… liked the cushion of her tongue for its freshness in poetry… plus you beat me with your 22 word, 118 character title… ha… loved it…

  2. Temptation. So was it her teeth that tempted the dentist? It sounds like he married her and then fixed them. But sadly I did not feel happiness for either the dentist or the woman. And I wonder about her standing naked at the end with lips sealed. She is a mystery, as she seems so alone and I am trying to figure out just what to feel. A fascinating character study, Claudia.

  3. you should love her like she is…that is the crux of the whole piece…how many get into relationships thinking they can change the other person into who they really want…i like that you chose superficial, teeth…funny descriptions too…the climbers…you paint her wonderfully in your words…wonderful close…

  4. This is a lot of fun – fantastical – really rather like being in a cubist painting come alive – I especially like the dents du midi and the whole sense of landscape as well as woman – the perfection that we think want, the idiosyncrasy we fall in love with and how we want to change it all once we get it! But loved the painterly feel here. Very cool. k.

  5. Oh, yeah. Love this. A second reading reveals all. That wild smile of hers was enough to produce an interlude of passion and marriage. Now, a suggestion, a repair, removes her reason for smiling. Sadness for his failure to see her true beauty.

  6. WAHL, SHUT MAH MAOWTH! From dentist chair–to breakfast table. You write humanity in every word, Young Chicka (ref to profile pic!)

    I read this twice, not because I had to, I WANTED to. So well-thought and constructed. It is SO true, others cannot change who I am. WYSIWYG!

    Thank you Claudia, for another winner!

  7. I see it as an artist and his masterpiece… love the message of unconditional love, too, Claudia.

  8. I specially like this part:

    the painters shake their heads, “this—
    you should love her like she is”

    My impression is that she is a work of art, bad teeth and all, needing repair and painting ~ At the end, we need to accept others for what they are ~

    Have a good weekend ~

  9. I liked the piece. Very strong–though I’m not enamored by your hyped-up typography which I think though sets you apart, takes away from the message .>KB

  10. great image-attention. potential heart break OR as Laurie said above, unconditional love. I often look closely at a person’s teeth… I enjoyed how you take it several notches deeper here.

  11. A great abstract look at accepting and loving a person just the way they are…these days we can get a complete makeover but in the end does it make us any happier or make us a better person. Interesting perspective on temptation.

  12. Sometimes the aspect of a person that attracts (a quirky smile) can end up repelling (our strengths often being our greatest weakness). Love the description here : )

  13. honestly, this feels like a painting; I read the first stanza and wondered where the accompanying image was—even scrolled down looking for it. a truly breathtaking piece of art the tears at the emotions with those final lines.

  14. This made me think of “My Fair Lady” where Henry Higgins wanted to recreate her to his own taste, give her culture, dress her just so. And I agree with Karin, definitely a cubist feel to this…even a bit of dada. I loved it.

  15. What a delightful and entertaining read….I focused on each line and smile throughout the reading…thanks for adding so much fun and enjoyment to my day.

  16. Layers of jaw dropping imagery and the story that binds it all. You tell it well, Claudia:) And yeah, there’s that sense that there is more than a side to this. Beauty and grit.

  17. “she has teeth
    like a swiss mountain chain,
    Les Dents du Midi, jagged &
    wildly irregular,
    leaning here and there,”

    This is probably one of your better beginnings. And the rest unfolds beautifully. By the way, you beat me by one minute at the cat’s lair a while ago! 🙂

    Greetings from London.

  18. the hidden message within the her though flawed..always an interesting trail of words as I see where it will go as it twists and turns..

  19. Quite a story. A moral tale, I think, if indirectly. The temptation to change what one first fell in love with! (And you yourself have painted her well, loving her as she is.)

  20. Love knows no cosmetics but love! wonderful play and a very layered poem…dissecting down below for much more than teeth on display! 🙂