Tuesday, February 15, 2011

alkali











The salt of the earth
is not known for a bedside
manner. Theirs is not for tasting
the white of an egg, but predatory,
sponged and purged, rubbed
in war wounds, blood-red
as Mercurochrome.

Why trade in such certainties?
Let them roll like Jujitsu, tumble
easy, as water off a duck’s back,
salting icy roads instead of tears.

I ask for a small portion,
like a cocktail olive
in a vodka martini.

It’s just a scratch.
Kiss it for me.



Tess Kincaid
February 2011



Would you like me to read it to you?

84 comments:

  1. LOVE the new look of the blog...and these intense words, perfection!

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  2. Well this is lovely thank you- egg and Mercurochrome- I haven't thought of that in a while! what color! nice.

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  3. i'm always moved when i visit here.

    yes, a small portion will do - so very often.

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  4. I absolutely love the new header.
    And the poem is wonderful...that last line is killer.

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  5. I like your painted lady face header. It is so you.

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  6. Dear Tess: Recently watched the Channel 4 news from Buffalo where they showed the Lake Erie saltmines. I was suprised to know that one could be nearly barenaked and work in the saltmines. I have a salt lamp from the Himalayas that supposedly cleans the air. The foot kind detoxes the body. Just the whiff of the salty rock can begin to burn the nostrils. I don't know how they can work in that saltmine environment. It must not been too acidic rock salt. Maybe it is is..I love that word "Akali" Sounds mystic! Poem is salted nicely with just the right pinch of historic punch. Boy were our ancestors a salty salt of the earth types!

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  7. Dear Willow, Love.....is that the best of Antiseptics or the deepest cut of all for which there is no known cure? Perhaps Mercurochrome will do the trick.....it is always available in the bathroom cabinet!!

    Happy Valentine's Day!!

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  8. I see you're morphing again. Restless spirits we.

    Love this poem! I can't choose a bit I like; I like all of it!

    Kat

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  9. Love the poem Tess. Can't figure how you got there from the prompt but that 's a creative mind at work.
    Of salt - our inland Lake Eyre (a salt lake) is almost full for its once oin 25year flooding.AND have you read 'Salt' by the same author as 'Cod'. It's a fascinating histroy of......well, salt.

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  10. Love the poem and LOVE the new look here!
    Happy Valentine's Day...

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  11. Great image! I see you have been playing in the paint again! I so love having you read to me!

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  12. I wonder how many will miss that heart on the forehead and the one formed by the two hands. It's a stunning header!

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  13. I have felt so terribly artless, but you always cure me.(I actually made an Artist's Date yesterday and made a Windows Movie of favorite photos....and actually wrote a post! OMG!!)
    Hope you are having a wonderful
    Saint Valentine's Day!

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  14. Tough Love, well-expressed. Clever word-pictures.

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  15. love the new header. I want to know more about the picture.

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  16. I *heart* everything about this post! Love the new look. I especially like the poem--I have always been fond of both salt and Mercurochrome. I wish Mercurochrome worked for wounds to the spirit--hey, that's a good book title: Mercurochrome for the Spirit.

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  17. Totally cool portrait! It is fun. (but I will miss the Manor photo) This prompt has elicited another "I can't do this one" but I hope to rise to the challenge. ...

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  18. Beautiful header art and the poem is also perfect for Valentine day!

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  19. Dr. L, hop to it. "Mercurochrome for the Spirit" is begging to be written by you, my friend.

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  20. Oh that is so much more than I ever bargained for and yet I want more than ever a small portion. Salt of the earth what I admire the most in others but have yet to achieve in myself. It seems so effortless for those folks and yet when I try it seems contrived. I don't mean it that way but someone once called my niceness fake and my honest feelings bitchy. Perhaps it is my unknowing tone. I guess I can't hear myself. I have never gotten over that but I can tell you I try to deal in honesty as much as humanly possible.

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  21. Ode to sodium Chloride, reminding
    us that we slosh around with salt water
    holding together our carbon atoms,
    and your poem leaps like a catamount
    from past to present; love the line
    /rubbed in war wounds/. I guess
    the Bush administration must have
    used salt profusely for years.
    Which remedy stung more,
    mercurochrome or methialade ?
    Salt has been both seasoning and
    commodity for centuries, and the
    biblical references, including
    Christ's "sermon on the mount"
    are profuse; one of my favorites is,
    "let your conversation be always full
    of grace, seasoned with salt."
    Colossians 4:6.
    Your macro image is frightening,
    like a Celtic glass demon.

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  22. The face in the salt shaker jumped right out and and grabbed me. Yes, a Celtic glass demon!

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  23. The new look is fantastic... and 'Akali'... well, words don't do your poetic sense justice. It is the feeling created when reading something amazing, left with words unworthy to describe how you touch the heart.

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  24. Fabulous! And wonderful new header here--is that your work, Tess?? Love it!

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  25. ps
    Oh, jeeeeez, I'm a bit slow--I just now caught the hands making the heart, too. Wonderful!

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  26. Nicely done -- salt is so basic... and so universal.

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  27. There's a face in everything if you're looking for it. Sometimes this is not good.

    A poem as fine as a grain of salt.

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  28. Ahhh...near speechless.

    Alkali made beautiful. This pulled at my blood, like the sea.

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  29. Tess -- Great words -- Great Header -- barbara

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  30. tess this is awesome...probably best piece of poetry i read all day...no joke...and the header is frickin awesome...

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  31. blown away.

    love your new image too.

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  32. just a pinch will do-
    Your poem is brilliant.
    Your new look ....stellar.

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  33. Perfection. Happy Valentine's Day Tess. That blog header is just out of this world!

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  34. Oh, doesn't it feel good? To wear feathers and paint. To write a spectacular poem. Beautiful!!

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  35. all things are possible if taken in small portions... beautiful!

    i too, totally love your new look!

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  36. Your new header picture pulls no punches. It reaches out and grabs. Congrats.

    I always thought that Mercurochrome was a French thing. It gave me quite a buzz to see it here.

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  37. Of course I looked up Mercurochrome...
    I loved the 'roll like Jujitsu' and the line about trading in certainties.
    Love the new header. Gorgeous!

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  38. Love the poem. And, that's a stunning image in the header.

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  39. I really like this, though its meaning eludes me tantalizingly — just like life I guess. As with the best poetry, just when I think I have wrapped my head around a meaning, it dissolves like salt, and goes off to flavor another possible one. May all your wounds be kissable scratches, Tess.

    Great new look, by the way(and great old look, by the bygone way)

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  40. Indeed great work salt shakers, are not known for their bedside manner..loved that

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  41. Nice, Tess, very nice! Your language and images are always surprising and fresh. It's one of the things I love about your poetry -- the unexpected.

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  42. Every line in this poem is a killer! Fantastic.

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  43. the simplest care. not about kindness and all about healing. steven

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  44. This really soars! And I'll join you with that little drinkypoo..2 olives, please!!!

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  45. Wicked header picture - I see you! Also - I do not see a salt shaker, I see a triangular, pointed-chinned demon face. Do you see him?

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  46. Sorry, I just read back through the comments and saw that I'm not the first one to notice the demon. How disappointing! Or validating.

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  47. Wow, definitely a different head for you girl, and I like it. Love the poem too but I'm a salt fanatic so a little bit never does for me.

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  48. Salt of the Earth... so elemental. So vital to each,. Universal yet completely individual. Just like us.

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  49. 'The salt of the earth is not known for its bedside manner' - what a perfect introduction :-)

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  50. First things first:

    COOL header.

    And I see you didn't ignore the menacing face on that salt shaker...

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  51. Fine work, friend! Salt is in our blood and tears in the exact proportion to the womb and the sea -- our oldest most intimate element. Yet rub in the raw of the real and the pain is, well, awakening, maybe like a birth. I like my salt in pinches too, enough to make a poem squeal a little, like humbucker pickups. (some drunk always shouted "Play 'Salty Dog'!" from the back of the bar when I played in bands -- maybe I'm still doing that, on paper...)

    "'Minutiae: In the first stanza, "it" I think should be "they"; "alkali" as a title was a little abstract for the potent lines you then deliver.

    Yeah, and I like the new illustration too. Weird and playful and more inside. The Mistress of Willow Manor? :) -- Brendan

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  52. Blue, "its" in the opening line has been bothering me all morning. Glad you noticed it, too, my friend.

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  53. I love the poem. And the title. Profound wording....

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  54. Salt of the earth and vodka martini's. Killer combination. It's why I love your writing.

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  55. What a fantastic ending! I like how the voice becomes edged with sarcasm. And I really like the image of "war wounds, blood-red Mercurochrome." Looking forward to following and reading more of your offerings!

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  56. What an interesting header photo. You do have such a unique blog. Salt in wounds is hurtful and so are many of the remedies for injuries. Why must the remedy cause even more pain?

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  57. Woman you have outdone yourself both with the poem and that new savage look!!!

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  58. I'll take that little kiss over mercurochrome any day! Definitely over merthiolate and iodine!

    Your blog is looking spectacular, Ms. Tess!

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  59. The soft art of well-tempered words might also purge the acid spewed by another and, to some degree, the emotional inflammation it caused in oneself.

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  60. Oh, Ann, I couldn't agree more.

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  61. My dear, I love the new look, is it MAC or Bobbie Brown? Channel or Lancôme? Or is it all of the above?

    They say to paint with all the colors in the crayon box...you've done that in spades, both with your image and your words.

    Brava!

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  62. I was so moved I threw some over my left shoulder. Beautiful...

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  63. Very nice, Willow, and the reading is excellent. :-)

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  64. Oops! That last one was me. I forgot to put my name in the box. lolol

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  65. This is a love poem. It forces out the salt of the beauty and pain which is our common lot.

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  66. Love this! And your header picture is breathtaking...literally. It took my breath away. Amazing!!!

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  67. wow!!! great new masthead - spectacular.

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  68. This is gorgeous Tess. Every word matters. Exquisite.

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  69. Beautiful writing...and awesome header...and kissing any wound makes it better...bkm

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  70. Seriously digging your new header. Nice poem too!

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  71. Why trade in such certainties?
    Let them roll like Jujitsu, tumble
    easy, as water off a duck’s back,
    salting icy roads instead of tears.


    LOve that section...why indeed? nothing is certain...let it all roll into sweet surrender.

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  72. Great! To me the bottle was reminiscent of a perfume one.

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  73. Willow,
    Salt, so basic to life and to love (like tongue to skin, to tears of joy and sorrow too) Without it life would be so bland.
    rel

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  74. Nice poetry! Salt, in any form is an important part of life and the world we live in.

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  75. Dear Tess

    Its wonderful work.. I enjoyed it so much .. thanks for sharing...

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com/2011/02/whispers-night-along-sea.html
    Twitter @VerseEveryDay

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  76. Nice! I really like this! Also, I love the new look for your blog! :o)

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  77. Love the juxtaposition of serious and playful. Your writing always gives me something to think about. Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  78. Whoaa..that was intense, Tess!! Loved the varied roles you have attached to this little grain.. and then the way you gave it the beautiful end it so deserved...
    Superb!

    And yes, I ADORE the new look of Magpie Tales!!! It's just plain yummmmmyyyyy

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  79. lovely header,
    fabulous poem...

    keep beaming like a queen.

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  80. This is a rouch and powerful poem Tess!....And love the new header to its Awesome! :-)

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)