Friday, April 8, 2011

angel of salt

The universe provides us
a planet on which to live,
but salt! Salt is the crux,
the lightening in our eyes, the
taste of birth. It played a sadly
unacknowledged role in Genesis,
for it must have been salt water
over which the Spirit hovered
in the formless empty.

Then there is
the matter of God
and dark matter,
who, as a tag team of elusive,
invisible and unmeasurable partners,
make up most everything.
Scientists and theologians, one equally
mystified by the other, have tried in vain
to capture this duo;
if duo they be.

Salt, though filled with God and
dark matter, makes up hardly anything
but is apparently everywhere
from meteorites to mars; its existence
confirmed by the taste of blood.

The cosmos is a babushka
down to her last quark:
a different universe for
every elemental particle.
A combination lock
made of every electron;
where a single change in sequence
across the universe from star to galaxy
to the Lipton tea and sodium chloride
in your kitchen cupboard
unbolts new heavens.
Spin it! Again and again
and again.
Open every lock of every heaven
that God already knows.
While we know nothing
except how to make a nice cup of tea.

Through the Old Testament
flows a vein of blessed salt.
Jesus salted his disciples. Paul
called for salting our conversations.
Allah bestowed the four blessings
of fire, water, iron and salt.
Shinto, Hindu, Jews, Holy Water,
the Tridentine Mass are all sprinkled
in salt. 

In New York, Terence Koh
created a performance piece with
several tons of solar salt
arranged as an austere cone
consecrating a bare concrete space.
From 10 to 5 for five weeks, Koh crawled
on his knees around that perfect mountain,
prostrating himself every half circumnavigation.
His circular liturgy a submission
that salt may be all that matters.

Though to the person who
has since finished his tea,
and is now, even as you read this,
strapping on explosives,

salt matters not at all.