from Poems for Teeth by Richard Loranger



Bite me.


Eye tooth rises
I see you
and behind, a brood of

Awake, fresh ones, to pounce,
song of union
anxious but rising
to city, island, pack, myth, tone.
Awake and rear, ardent compendium
torquing with hormone, hungry
for first
kill —

Smile big now

Half a gleam and half a pall
rise within the burning eye
Saliva wets the tensing jaw
Hold back, hold back

For an hour
all present,
all possible,
the creatures find themselves
in sensate wilderness
urgent, honed, nearly sybillic,
brazen —
nothing shakes the granite heart
pulsing the
sweet acrid cells of hunt:

Away, away with childish things
and off to fields of victory,
away to ribbons, rants, and reels,
a pot of meat and mead for all!

Smell that hot

You are a wolf’s grin and you are
maniacal, flooded
with such sharp
curl’d lip of
meat love,
blades sprung,
mouth of steel,
the scent
filling blood with
the banker in the corner,
the harridan at the stove,
two hare in a culvert
and a grouse not to take flight —

Gotta have it
huh huh

Champing hot breath,
the 32 debate the spring:
one for the rank taste,
one for the quick slice,
one for the high cry,
one for the slow grind…

Two worlds eager
to collide,
the jaw a clutch of
that sees the end of jaw

and laughs, drunken

— with flight, with speed,
with adrenal joy
and for an hour


a grin
fabulous with
heat and the seductive
charm of the beast
disarming and illusive
twisting and marking
you bared for the


one throng gleaming
in the dusk shimmering
into many one many
like a Tarot deck or I Ching sticks
to be spilled across the table


a brief
tortuous glimpse of
the mass mental
the perfect teem
before beset upon
before we isolate
the tender, sweet, careening
citizens of the womb.





The beat at the heart of a tooth
is the beat of a radiant wing
lifting the thrum of a vibrant drum
to a mind of fire and pearl.

22 is the stress of a bird flying with the wind
manifest in an 86-year-old showgirl —
weathered, petulant, lives to play,
stores every frill of finesse and folderol
within arms’ reach – sings a song of
seabreeze to herself every morning,
a shadow shanty to her other self at night.

Hey breeze, hey sunny beam,
bring me a golden egg,
hunt me a fairing eye
and shine, shine ~~

Please, hey seas,
spin me a silken tide,
throw me a shiny stone
so rare, rare ~~

She breaks her fast with an Irish tea,
a dusting of chestnut rouge,
iridescent eye shadow (sky today),
brand new lashes,
lip gloss to part the seas,
seven molecules of ambergris,
and a side of whole wheat toast.

Breeze, hey breeze,
rear me a cheery mare,
carry me safe inside
this day dream life….

Duty done, she turns to the task
of summoning her moxie.
This she can accomplish in a number of ways.
She may take a stroll through the garden,
or jump up and down making monkey sounds.
She may breathe and stretch, warble and spin,
or just stand at the window and drink it all in.
Thus staged, and made, and cauldron warm,
she opens the door and begins to perform.

This ain’t just any old tooth, girl —
she takes her day by storm
boogies on down to the bo-de-ga,
fox trots out to the fair,
switches back to the laund-dro-mat,
hops on the bus, hops on the bus,
stomps on the pavement, struts in the square,
shimmies downtown for a spell,
spins in the tap room, swings in the spotlight,
ho - ay - oh, ho - ay - oh
No foolin — she takes a big cherry to her lips
and riffs the archetype —
hair whips out to string you up
tenderly, red smoke rises from her tits,
and that sly ol’ smile shines right through,
glinting, revving, ready to rip —
This girl is packed, she rides the rumbleseat
with mambo thighs, she wields a
wild eye, she kicks a heel
through the ceiling, she gots jazz
leakin from her anus. We’re talkin body.
We’re talkin spine. And in the big of the night,
blazing all bells,
what rivets her to life is riveting
the howling throng to a truck o’ joy —
borne to calliope, born to spark a tune
down to the last coda,
to the last shorn wing.

How she pleases.
How she pulls a rug, rubs an eye,
bows out.

Goodnight, little light,
hallow night and beam well,
Farewell, little bell,
you shadow-ring, shadow-ring,

Goodnight, little bird,
may the wind be your friend
and nestle you into
the end, the end.

excerpt from ROCK, CH’I, SCISSORS

So the nature of teeth is conflict. OK.
How can this be told
in a toothsome way?
The battle for the island rages
in the idea of the island raging
in too many, too fertile minds,
the vision in too many hungry eyes,
the bloody taste in too many . . . teeth
bartering brow and claw,
fang and nail for a wrangled suck.
Some clench the nipple so fiercely
they damn near bite it off.
Some gnash their days to bits.
Some try to chomp the world.

You might say that, and might also say
they are foundation, the prime
adamant, first bone, first law,
first piece of mind,
that you are your jaw, and from it springs
all bone, all form, all sense of whole
without which one is just a broken stick,
upon which whirls and calcifies
the greater body of the churning sky,
tameless and resistant, yes,
but founded, funded, found
in the sea-flesh of the womb,
gripping with a stony spine
the molten heart of clay.

Either way,
such is rock,
and such are we.