Poetic text as part of Odes (PART OF A LARGER QUEST) book of poems and series of performance installations, 2019.
Humic densities (Earth)
I love the smell – and taste – of pavements after rain.
I find it intoxifying; want to eat the earth.
As a teenager I would hurry home after storms, after school
to eat at an arc of the garden where the concrete had been badly laid,
the taste of cement and soil mixing in my mouth,
reanimated by rain.
Something about having the earth inside me.
Before this, as a child, growing up a hippie,
my sister forcefed me soil from the garden until the spoon hit the back of my throat.
I’d steal green unripe tomatoes from the vegetable patch -
unwashed, traces of dirt on the skin.
I couldn’t get close enough somehow,
pressing my face voluntarily into its surface, breathing in.
Later my mum removed the plaster from the bathroom wall,
it left raw brick exposed
and I’d sit on the loo and knaw chunks of brick,
enjoying how it broke off in pieces straight into my mouth,
the grit between my teeth.
Even though I had always hated eating sand accidentally on the beach -
It might sound masochistic
and I know my mother was concerned for a while.
I soon discovered my friend Alison collected sand in tiny jars
(meant for hotel jam)
I divulged and confessed my new obsession and she became my supplier:
French beaches and Cornish coasts were soon guzzled down.
I’ve heard similar stories on the internet
citing vitamin deficiency, hormones, pregnancy -
mine was a different kind of birth.
I watched The Cement Garden on repeat
Ian McEwan’s tale of a too-hot summer (I suspect ‘76)
sexuality ripening in the heat.
I don’t know if it was all an attempt at grounding -
at burying myself in the earth.
I’ve asked past boyfriends to lie on me face down and squash me.
Wanting their weight to press me further into being,
pressing up against,
maybe I become aware of where I end
as well as where something else begins.
The contact soothes, reassures.
not just a body though,
as the desire remained, relationship or not.
Something of a universal body
inside my singular,
something of connecting to the whole.