Merchant of Salt

Posted: August 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

CONTEXT: February, 2012

It has been a little while since I posted a poem up here, I think. I wrote this one (the long version) in February of 2012. It just didn’t quite click.

I recently needed a 1-minute poem and I remembered this one. I really like the ‘frame’ of th epiece so I took that, made soem changes here and there and turned it into a short poem. It went over quite well when I debuted it at the CPC Summer Slam this past weekend.

I’ll post the short one first…

Merchant of Salt
(1 minute version)

I am the Merchant of Salt
Travelling from slam to slam
On a flying shaker of bronze
Leaving a trail of granular goodness
In my wake
And as each poet approaches the mic
I sprinkle my oceanic gift
On every listener,
Ensuring that no one
Listens to poetry without
Packing a requisite
Grain of salt.
It is the only defense
Against the unrelenting
Onslaught of oration.
Pretty words can hide
The rat-a-tat attack
Battering unsuspecting defenses,
Giving opinions and calling it TRUTH –
All five letters capitalized –

It is time to realize
That poets… like everybody else,
Are full of shit.

There IS truth in this room,
But no one can claim it.
Listen to all pronouncements critically,
No matter how artistically rendered,
For I am the Merchant of Salt
And with each grain
A monologue
Becomes a dialogue.
And we find a true
Avenue to thought.

““““““““““““

Now here is the longer version. I like the content in it, but it didn’t work the way I would have liked.

Merchant of Salt
(Three Minute version)

I am the Merchant of Salt
Travelling from slam to slam
On a flying shaker of bronze
Leaving a trail of granular goodness
In my wake
And as every poet approaches the mic
I sprinkle my oceanic gift
On every listener,
Ensuring that no one
Listens to poetry without
Packing a requisite
Grain of salt.
It is the only defense
Against the unrelenting
Onslaught of oration.
Pretty words can hide
The rat-a-tat attack
Battering unsuspecting defenses,
Answering questions never asked,
Giving opinion and calling it TRUTH –
All five letters capitalized –
Prophets of princely pronouncements,
Wearing wisdom like a
Cloak of clever chaos.
It is time to realize
That poets…
Are full of shit.

I don’t mean that the
Desire to share thoughts and
Ideas in an artistically
Pleasing manner is anything
To be chided or derided
But rather that there are NO
Innate insights or wisdom
Pouring forth to
Unilaterally enlighten or
Shame, handing out rewards or
Blame,
Solving all of the world’s
Problems –
Or at least identifying them –
Dusting off their hands
And strolling off
Into the sunset,
A revolutionary Roy Rogers,
Trigger happy and
Firing squibs
And calling them cannons,
Never looking back.

They mean well.
They try to act as mental
Squeegie kids –
Trying to make the view
Clearer for me and you –
But don’t mistake wonder for
Insight or ideals for
Ideas.
Example, every time I hear a
Male poet try to teach women how to think or act,
Claiming to free them from
An oppressive societal system
By telling them that they are
Unable to make their own
Decisions, I cringe.
Patronizing platitudes
Preying in poetic paranoia
Priming a plosive popping
Pipebomb, pulping the
Patriarchy by
Creating one of their own.
Telling women what to wear,
Who to sleep with,
What make-up to use,
How to think,
Is like the Government of France
Telling Muslims how to worship.
Do not hide behind good intentions, poets.
Tell me how you feel,
Not how to think.
This pulpit is a privilege.
Don’t become that
Puerile politician or
Sunday morning evangelist
Betraying your audience
By claiming to have the
Answers –
A back-room Buddha
Buying bargain basement
Dimestore diplomas,
Claiming truth in a
Three-minute burst.

There IS truth in this room,
But no one can claim it.
Choose your words carefully,
Poets,
For I am the Merchant of Salt
And with each grain
A monologue
Becomes a dialogue.
Your words are avenues
To thought
So stand by them and
Make them count.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. AAG says:

    I appreciated this line in the long version:
    “They try to act as mental
    Squeegie kids –
    Trying to make the view
    Clearer for me and you –”

    I like the short version overall. Good to read both.

  2. […] back to my book. I had been trying to memorize a new piece that just wasn’t working for me – Merchant of Salt. I rewrote it as a one minute piece and slammed […]

  3. I loved your poetry, your innovative style of expression and eloquent wording. I loved the lines,
    ‘Wearing wisdom like a
    Cloak of clever chaos.’
    Thanks for sharing and kindly find time to read my poetry on my blog, Rain-Chimes~My Poetry Blog, drsmitasriwas280.wordpress.com

  4. […] this year, I wanted to do it. I knew that I had a good one minute poem (Merchant of Salt), and I knew I had good three minute poems, so the challenge was filling the other two […]

  5. […] In my pocket were two poems that I was thinking of memorizing for semi-finals. One was the poem I decided to do, and the other was the full length version of Merchant of Salt. […]

  6. […] I went up and did the full, three-minute version of Merchant of Salt. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s