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Poetry by Jack Conway 

Jack teaches English at the University of Massachusetts and Bristol Community College.  He is a 2007 Pushcart Prize nominee, and History Press will release his latest book, The Cape Cod Canal: Breaking Through the Bared and Bended Arm, this spring.  He lives in Assonet, MA.





© 2008 Jack Conway




Zen and the Art of Dental Hygiene


My father kept a monk in the house

all the time I was growing up.

He had a close shave in Burma

during the war and the monk saved his life.

His head was shaved and everyday

he wore the same orange robes.

"You'll never get to Nirvana

wearing pajamas," he told me.

Sometimes he strapped on a parachute

while burning incense and claimed

that his fall from grace would be a short one.

He was my father's spiritual advisor

and a part-time dental assistant.

Most days he stayed locked away

in his room meditating

and trying to master the art of levitating.

"Gravity is a travesty," he complained,

although he did maintain

that levitation was not a reliable

form of transportation.

As monks go, I reckon he was

someone to be reckoned with.

In a moment of blissful enlightenment

he proclaimed that refusing Novocain

was the only true way to

transcend dental medication.














All work is copyrighted property of Jack Conway.




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