Archive for January, 2011

Another winter storm is blasting the East Coast with snow today. For the third time this season, a mass of tropical moisture, fierce enough to spawn tornados, formed along the northern edge of the Gulf of Mexico, raced across drought-stricken Florida, and turned north in the direction of Greenland.

Riding like a star upon jet stream winds of a frosted heaven, the storm, like its two sister blizzards, is destined to follow the currents of the Gulf Stream and skirt up the Jersey Shore like Snookie.

Meteorologists are calling for eight inches in New York. I could use eight inches. My body feels alive and sexy again. Snow inspires me and my sex drive rivals that of the Situation when barometric pressure falls.

This being the third blizzard in less than a month requires that a name be given. These storms, like hurricanes should be named. The winter storms are like craigslist hookers; seemingly on a path to outrun a deranged John.

At approximately 6:20 a.m. this morning, just after local news weathermen demonstrated on radar that the frontal boundary of the potentially harsh winter storm out of the Gulf was still as far south as Elizabeth, New Jersey, I went jogging.

Like a craigslist hooker, I made my way expeditiously through a “mixed-bag of precipitation.” That was what a weather lady wearing a huge garnet necklace prepared me for—a mixed bag. It was easy to see the coast was clear for at least an hour by observing the radar; the rain and snow mix was highlighted in pink. My legs needed to stretch because they have been tied up inside for days and I know it will be eons before sidewalks are passable for running again.

Across icy sidewalks and mounds of plowed dirty snow, I ran like a nymph in the morning fog. The fog was more like a mist, evaporating in translucent vapor from atop month- old snow banks. This was not a traditional San Francisco pea-soup fog. I was fearful that I would slip and bust my ass. I have no insurance. Suddenly, I remembered why it was I was outside in the dark on a cold morning running alongside mounds of snow from the last storm—I’m getting fat again. Ice Pyramids blocked access to my stride.

Just as I rounded Prospect Park and came to the point from which I had entered this little Amazon forest of Brooklyn, it started to snow– no ‘mixed-bag’– just snow. I slowed, deciding to walk down Underhill Avenue instead of jogging; but the snow flakes, like little razor blades, pecked like needles upon my steamy face. I ran again across the recently shoveled sidewalks now covered in a silk-like mesh of huge snowflakes. Trash was piled high all around me. I knew if I slipped I could catch myself like Tonya Harding spinning on point. I ran faster knowing it was still early and if I wanted to avoid the rush hour of New York City and the ferocious storm, I had better get my ass in gear and run back home.

Dog piss has been scattered everywhere in Kings County this winter. Yellow patches simply will not melt and go away. I was getting fat again, being restricted from my runs and that God-awful double chin that is creeping up on me. These storms and the snow that does not melt are the reason. All this yellow Brooklyn snow makes one wonder. I will not grow a beard just because I’m getting old and fat! I will remain clean shaven and run as much as possible, between these Nor-Easters.

It was easy to see where stuck-up dog owners of Brooklyn picked up blobs of crap like craiglists Johns placing everything they have inside plastic bags; I side-stepped the lesion-like scars in the snow. It has been more than a week since my last run around Prospect Park.

I’m out of breath now.

My mouth is still sensitive and susceptible to the cold air. I had a tooth extracted last week. The hole thumped somewhat as I started the run, but before reaching Atlantic Avenue, the hole in my gum served as a tambourine of sorts– one played to my heart beat– a cadence of rushing blood and random thought!

For the first time in what seemed like a long winter, my head no longer hurt. The toothache vanished on my run in the yellow snow. I am free think clearly, even in the snow.

Prospect Park, where the urban forest floor is still covered in at least five inches of firmly treaded snow, I run– run from the Johns of Brooklyn– the dog owners who simply shit all over this place. Today, or at least this morning, the landscape was white again, free of their clutter. May the purity last for a long while, or at least until this stiffness leaves my legs.

If I had lighter boots, I’d run again tomorrow through the eight inches of snow, because eight inches is just what I need.

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A Good Brooklyn Dentist

The most effect method for ‘casting-out’ a demon is by tooth extraction. A priest is not needed when tooth-for-a-tooth transactions between God and man occur, only a good dentist. Surely demons are real. Civilized society denounces the notion of demonic possession and for the sake of argument, often refers to the phenomena as ‘mental illness’. When suffering from aches in a tooth that has crumbled more than the ancient Jewish temple, it is best to forgo the cost of a root canal and simply have the rotted piece of bone pulled out, like a demon trapped inside the head of deranged man.

Modern philosophers rarely take note that in ancient religious literature, the dentist Jesus, when not preaching and giving sight to the blind, was casting out demons. Today, as easily as one obtains 20-20 vision with the assistance of glass or contact lenses, the mentally ill, as far as most are concerned, have demons cast from them with mind-altering drugs. Unfortunately, there is no pill to cast out demons nor is there over-the-counter medication for a severe tooth ache. One must resort to exorcism, or as is the case when one does not have a job or insurance, an extraction for the redemption of sweet sins.

Toothache pain is as severe major depression. Psychologically tortured individuals, when suffering from intrusive thoughts or hallucinations, blame the bombardment of random thoughts to an external factor, such as demons. Tooth pain is far from enlightening. Twisted minds often conclude that mind-controlling, highly technical implants have been placed inside fillings and under crowns in their mouth. Ask any mental health professional who has worked in a psychiatric ward—almost every crazy person imagines there are thought-control devices in their teeth. These shared fears and delusions of dental work are uncanny and are the root cause for teeth in my mouth to be falling out or in need of exorcism. I spent years grinding down my teeth following my hospitalization for imagining there were through-control devices in my head.

When a toothache strikes the mouth of one who once suffered from the shared psychotic delusion of many– that of Thought Control Technology (TCT), reaching out to a dentist can be as terrifying as trusting a psychiatrist with the freedom to force-prescribe anyone dropped into their care, with any paralyzing medication deemed necessary for fighting the devil.

There are saints who walk the earth in the year 2011; there is good one in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn who has a church called “Ryerson Smiles”. Those who fear demons and dental implants and those who instill them should not fear walking in the valley of the shadow of death when one’s mouth suddenly becomes possessed with legions of throbbing nerves. There are those who see beyond crucifixes for the purpose of extracting demons. There are dentists, godly black women, scientist with God close to their hearts, workers of modern Jesus miracles who perform tooth extractions on weekends, after hours, just when the staff of a tiny, Brooklyn office were about to be sent home for a three-day, Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. The miracle does not cost an arm and a leg!

A tooth in my mouth had a filling on the side. Dentists– probably the ones who instilled thought-control devices in the first place– have told me for decades that the tooth needed a crown. Too cheap, without insurance, and remembering the crown that Jesus wore, the side-filling stayed in place for decades although it had been replaced numerous times over the near half-century for which it has existed. Just as the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend began here in
Brooklyn, a piece of my most cherished thought-control device broke off while I was eating one of three cheeseburgers from McDonald’s.

Saturday night, the demon of tooth pain kept me awake all night. I laughed, remembering the time I had ‘gone-psychotic’, but the laugh quickly vanished and I started to cry. I imagined, on the day I had gone psychotic, that there were little chips inside my teeth. Now it seemed, one of the chips had exploded. I was far from crazy with these thoughts in my head, considering the pain I was in, but the agony in my mouth was far worse than the ‘schizophrenia’ I once, supposedly, had in my head.

“For God sake!” I cried at 3 am, after popping my eighth Tylenol in a 24- hour period, “I’m going to die if I don’t see a dentist today!”

A hospital in Downtown Brooklyn has a clinic– I remembered the place because I visited there last spring when my Medicaid was still active. I had as many new chips put in my teeth as the government would allow. Unfortunately, the City of New York and Mayor Michael Bloomberg limited me to just two dental visits per year; I had so much work to be done. While in that clinic of Brooklyn Hospital, I remembered seeing a sign that indicated that tooth extractions were $100. “How inexpensive,” I said to the receptionist. “Do you think they can pull them all today while I still got my Medicaid card?” I asked. She laughed and sent me on my way for another high-cost x-ray.

I marched to Brooklyn Hospital’s dental clinic yesterday morning, just before 9:00 am. I prayed with an aching mouth, every step of the way. I asked the heavenly father that the place be open. I passed St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and made the sign of the cross– not because I’m Catholic, but because there are always so many Hasidic Jews near St. Mary’s. How crazy is that? I ask as I ‘Father, Son and Holy Spirit’ myself, kissing my sore lip as if Jesus might be sitting on a bench nearby. I wondered as I spat on the sidewalk if anyone even attends the huge cathedral for services in an age where demon casting is so commonplace.

The clinic was closed. I nearly fainted, wondering if I could tolerate the pain for three more days. There were no signs on the hospital’s clinic door, but a man in a white coat (probably a Jew) reminded me of a psychiatrist as he lip-synched through the glass doors, telling me quite clearly, as if I could read his thoughts and lips, that the clinic would not open until Tuesday, after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I gave him the middle tooth.

By 3 pm yesterday afternoon, I decided to stop fasting and eat something, despite the pain. On my way to the Pioneer supermarket on DeKalb, after nearly running down a flock of city pigeons with neon pink, threadlike down upon their long necks, I noticed a sign for a dentist posted near the large condominium complex just south of supermarket. There were lights on inside what I concluded was the dentist office at the edge of the condominium known as Ryerson Towers. I decided to ring the doorbell, despite a sign that informed the demon possessed that on Saturday, the office closed at 1pm.

I asked to make an appointment and explained to the receptionist that I needed the earliest possible slot on Tuesday– “I nearly died last night,” I explained. “I have never felt anything like this.”

“Do you have something for the pain?” A woman sitting next to the receptionist asked as she extended her hand to shake mine, “Hi! I’m Dr. Poindexter,” she said.

“Very nice to meet you,” I replied. “Tylenol seems to be working better than the Advil I took all night.” I returned my demon-possessed stare to the receptionist and asked, “Can you give me an idea of the cost for a tooth extraction?” I asked, “I know the tooth needs a root canal and a crown, but I cannot afford it. I’m not working and have no insurance.”

“I can give you an estimate,” the receptionist explained, smiling at me with teeth whiter than my underwear, “This is only an estimate, but it will be in range of approximately $180…”

“Yes, it could be more,” the woman next to her, Dr. Poindexter, explained, “depending on how it looks when I examine it, and how difficult it is to extract.”

“I’ll give you three hundred if you do it today,” I responded, pretending to be joking, but holding my jaw as if the Holy Spirit was inside the body of a black woman on Martin Luther King’s birthday.

Money is the root of all evil! In less than ten minutes, I was on a comfortable chair, watching the Steeler’s game on a wide-screen television mounted on the wall near the ceiling, and receiving the most refreshing shot of Novocain ever to embrace these lips.

Just after I had received my shot, Dr. Poindexter noted the total cost would be $330. I didn’t even blink as she said this but watched as wide receiver with long hair made his way to the line of scrimmage.

“I don’t know how I can ever thank you enough,” I expressed. “This is the kindest thing anyone has done for me,” I mumbled with cotton in my mouth. Businesses never stay open, even in an emergency these days. I think I would have died if I had to wait until Tuesday to get this tooth out. It’s amazing, there are a million nail salons open in Brooklyn today– all run by the black women of the East, but finding a real saint on a day like today is a gift from God. Thank you so much for being here for me!”

“You are welcome,” Dr. Poindexter said. “It feels good to make someone’s day. I could tell you were in a lot of pain when you came in here. I could see it on your face. I do have magic hands,” she said, jokingly. “If you want to do me a favor,” she asked, almost as if it would be too much of a bother, “go on line to dentist dot com and give me a good rating.”

“Oh– I’ll do more than that,” I shared. “I’ll write about you. Being in my blog is like being in the Bible,”, I joked.

I winked at her as I walked out the wooden door, wondering if demons, saints and thought-control were real or just something we imagine when seeking out a good tooth exorcist.

Ayanna E. Poindexter, DMD
General and Cosmetic Dentistry
309 Lafayette Avenue
Brooklyn, NY


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In a Depression

Warm sunshine strikes unwashed, smoke- streaked windows at the rear of a shabby brownstone. A gas-fueled furnace, one not turned on in fear of escalating oil prices, does not work well anyway. What little heat is emitted from rusty, dust-covered ventilators here on unswept, thin wooden floors, rises to roach and mouse filled upper levels in a run down, cold, three-story complex.

Everything is expensive; even a dozen eggs. One must cut corners where one can; recycle Stryofoam egg cartons and start seedlings inside this time of year.

It is better to suffer and freeze in winter than to be broke and unable to afford $12 cigarettes. A little of the heat from the second floor oozes downstairs somehow, even though heat is supposed to rise. There are holes in the ceiling; gaps in the drywall created by rivers of water that cascaded downstairs, summers ago. The kitchen sink and bathtub from filthy, upstairs neighbors overflowed numerous times over the years. Now they must pay. Heat seeps down the holes– one of which, just above the first floor’s kitchen sink, looks like the crack of a flabby ass of an overweight, hairy, white man. The landlord, a man who does not believe in leases or Jesus, did not have the holes patched, and with this streaming sunshine and down-draft of heat, the place is tolerable in winter, even on the coldest of January days.

The tilt of the Earth on its axis causes winters to be brighter than summers on the South-East side of the house, away from busy, non-shoveled sidewalks up at the front of the apartment. This is why two cats with so much fur have not died this winter. They sit in these bright, sunny windows, warming themselves for nights that are far too cold for the humans that feed them. Somehow they all survive. The sun, streaming across a snow-covered garden, is heavenly bliss for all who live inside. The cats must learn to stay out of those windows now. The time has come– “Shoo! Get down. Do not spill those egg cartons filled with dirt or you will spend the rest of the winter outside!”

New pets have hatched and need some of that abundant January sun. Every January, for the past ten years, seeds of the gods have been placed in the windows on the back side of the house– away from all those blood-shot city eyes. The seeds will rise come Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as surely as Christ resurrected. These seeds, started in a home and not a depot, grow so well when planted in January. There will be green peppers and red tomatoes by the Forth of July.

In July, those on the first floor of a poorly heated Brooklyn brownstone will be as high as the sun on a mid-January day. All will have forgotten the cold price that one must pay to have a private back-yard in the hood– a plot of land owned by someone who does not care, but for the rent– this place sustains the godly. A few egg cartons, a bag of Miracle Grow, and a dirty ray of sun go a long way in a depression.

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