There needs to be less salt in the world*
There needs to be less salt in the world and more
– what? – nosavour, let’s call it that, the antidote to savour,
the antimatter to light, to scent, to song, to caress,
to the burst of lemon on my tongue, a magic in nature
that makes away hunger and thirst, the gainsay of wit
– nohumour – with which out goes catch-it, ratchet, dodge-it, oh do!
Nosavour is the earth, which is cold and gentle, which lets me
lay me down in a dunt and feel it drift over me, spadeloads,
scratchloads, and all, as I curl as tight as I can, looking for a time
– the measure of the rate of change – before I was an idea
in my mother’s insides, a saunter down the passiveway
where no foregodmothers and foregodfathers have trod,
before ifs, before ands, before buts, no wherefores, no whyfores,
no howcomes; there, with half an eye, safe in my dunt,
I see the last of salt-light as nosavour covers me, cool, safe, gentle,
gracefully dark, restful, earth blessing me with each shoveling,
that neutrality of taste taking away salt-light, negating savour,
peace, peace, peace, I leave my breathing
before I’ve time to notice the pressure.
I long to be a place where there’s no trace of me, to be
where nettles grow and occasionally oblivious people tread,
a place where the trees go Ssuhh, ssuhh, ssuhh, ssuhh
and I don’t hear;
a place where the passing cars go Zihh, zihh, zihh, zihh,
and I don’t hear;
a place where a blackbird’s alarm call goes off Chip-chip-chip-chip
and I don’t hear because I’m not here, I never was,
there’s not even a metaphor for me.
There’s a rumour going round about a girl who broke her arm,
who sailed a mud-slip in her wellingtons, had pirate-thoughts
of skiffs and skellingtons, dressed in yellow
as the breeze whipped her skirts,
who spied on the girl across the road,
who tackled what other girls cackled,
but she’s a nonesuch;
there’s a tale of a woman who wouldn’t be told,
who danced an old dance to her new steps, perverse in conformity,
who loved more the madder she became,
who mattered less the more she loved,
who took words, pickled or sundried them,
hung them out on heartstrings,
yes pickled them where other women stickled them,
pasted them on walls where other women didn’t even know walls grew,
soughed with the trees, zipped with the cars, chirped with the blackbirds,
but we all know now how not to trust tall tales, they’re all dust and wind;
there’s a fable about salt, in which all women learned how to lick rocks,
except for the one who wouldn’t;
there was a story noised by old wifies about a poet
who wouldn’t leave well alone, but who would always look
for that nothing that lay between stars, the definition of Zero-Kelvin,
the cat-in-a-box who wouldn’t confirm or deny because
(she insisted) there was nothing to confirm or deny,
that story turns out to be true in part,
but the true part is the arcane part known only to wights and wifies
wearing tinfoil hats, and in any case she’s the one who’s sleeping
that nosleep of nosavour in neutral earth, the dunt-baby, nobaby nomore;
imagine knobs dead-set on an old receiver, null-beat, noise-blank.
Imagine there is no one to imagine that.
Imagine there is nowhere for anyone to be to imagine that.
Now impose on that the blessed of nosavour,
come out from among it and be ye savourless,
let there not be savour,
impossible because there is no power to say savour into existence
nor the raw stuff of salt to be given savour,
that place where nettles grow and occasionally people tread
is now impossible (nonow);
you ask where my mind is? There’s no mind, there’s no me,
there’s no one to ask. There needs to be less salt than even that,
no cross to bear, no crown to wear, the carryaway of all salt,
the drowning die of a whisper, salt, sssssalt, sssssssss…
*A few weeks ago I was asked to write a poem about how I was feeling at that moment, and so I wrote a poem about the annihilation of self, using ‘salt’ as a metaphor for self. The person for whom I wrote the poem said she would put it up on the wall of the Temple at Burning Man. And so she did.
This reaches quite deeply.
It does dig a rather deep hole, I’ll grant.
words are but wind, but dunts are the devil
I wrote by dint of a dunt.
I dunt understand Scottish vernacular. Just finished The Sunlight Pilgrims, though
The dictionary definition of the Scots word ‘dunt’ usually gives it as a blow. However, I have heard it more often used for a depression scooped out of something, or the concave hollow left after a blow.
I see a parallel between your poem and the slang expression “Don’t be salty”, but maybe a fairer comparison is to the lyrics of a Swiss metal song:
“Where I am there is no thing. / No God, no me, no inbetween.”
Some parts sounded like a sing-song school rhyme, other sections were literary and reminded me of Margaret Atwood’s flash fiction. Loved the flow of this!
Thank you, Millie, for pointing out that someone has said the same thing in just two lines! 😀
Seriously, I love it when you read and appreciate my stuff.