Pest removal

There is no satisfaction quite like the satisfaction that comes from destroying a misbegotten poem — especially when it can be done with the click of a mouse. Removing a tick, by contrast, is much more difficult: grasping it firmly and pulling just hard enough so the skin stretches into a tent around its buried head, this paper-thin creature, trying to get it to withdraw on its own. And when that fails, sterilizing the tip of a sewing needle with a cigarette lighter and digging for the severed mouthparts. I was once almost that thin, I think, as I work the needle into my abdomen’s soft gibbous moon.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

9 Comments


  1. Waning or waxing?

    Either way, a well-conceived poem-like thing.

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    1. Well, I don’t over-eat at Thanksgiving, so I can’t really say it’s waning right now! Thanks. Funny how a note about trashing a poem ended up being twice as well written as the piece of crap I abandoned.

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  2. Mmmmmm! I don’t think that destroying anything with the click of a mouse is a great idea. As a painter I’ve discovered that it’s much better to put anything I think is terrible to one side for later evaluation. Sometimes the expectation of what I’m trying to achieve blinds to me the unexpected aspects of what emerges. Putting a drawing or painting out of sight enables it to be better judged weeks, months or even years later, when whatever it failed to be has been forgotten. If I could delete my work with a click… like a poem composed on a laptop… I think a great deal of what was later discovered to be rather good may have been lost.

    But that apart, great piece of work Dave. I find that everything you write ‘reads’ beautifully when spoken aloud. Words fit together so satisfactorily and meanings emerge as they should. (Like slipping on a bespoke suit from the hands of a master tailor and knowing that you look good.) I’m sure actors would love reading them.

    Ticks! Yes. Never saw them until we moved into the countryside to live in proximity to sheep. The dog gets them all the time in the Summer, and his daily grooming includes the removal of them. I once had one too, discovered while showering not long after we arrived here. It was buried in the soft flesh of my underarm. Not a good moment. Of course I’m less squeamish now, and always carry a little forked tick-remover in my back pocket. Just in case.

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    1. Don’t worry, Clive, I rarely ever destroy anything. My dad was a reference librarian, so the archival instinct is strong. But I’ve been doing this for so long, I can tell when something is devoid of any redeeming qualities.

      Thanks for the encouraging comments about the aural quality of my owrk. I do focus on that — in fact, it’s one of the main ways I have of telling whether something’s any good or not. If I listen hard and find the right sounds, then quite often I’ll find the right images and ideas at the same time. It’s a mystery to me why that works so well.

      The problem with ticks here is that they can carry Lyme’s disease — though generally not at this time of year, my mother informs me. Still, it’s disheartening to see all these ticks in the woods now. We never saw a single tick here when I was growing up. This is a direct effect of global warming.

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  3. Gah, ticks! I got bit once, several months ago… the sore is *still there*! :-(

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  4. Yech!! I hope you got it without too large an excavation: aliens discovered after the moon-landing.

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    1. I don’t know. It’s looking gangrenous. Might have to amputate.

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