From Morton Salt to Domino Sugar

Excerpt from Grammar Rulse, published by Dancing Girl Press & Studio, 2016.

4 min read

From Morton Salt to Domino Sugar.

In 2008 there was an explosion at a refinery in Georgia, Georgia the state. It killed 14 people. Did it rattle you? Its hard to believe that in 2008 I did not know you yet.

I could never see inside you,

Your compounds are so different from mine.

But from here on elston avenue

All white things look the same.

We all wanted to save you

Erected lights spelling your name…

You were still standing by the river when I left

Were you ever working there?

Your sweetness made us rotten.

And now she’s singing about teeth and I wonder about you from time to time

But I haven’t got much of it -

Teeth or time.

My sister thinks you’re lethal.


To Morton Salt from Domino Sugar,

You don’t understand my rhythm, my beautiful rhythm.

“whats with all the biting?” you once said and I knew again I had the wrong animal. Its not fear (alone) that keeps me away from snakes, its that they only bite once.

So I’ll serve as your target to end in the ring at your turn.

-Domino Sugar

From Morton Salt to Domino Sugar.

A snake, really? Is that fair?



I have often thought I saw you


under the carrion glow of my early mornings

I moved the bed

So there is no more corner

And no mistaking

My own quaking shadows for visions of you

You may still cower

But I’ve removed the possibility

That the production of the posture

Is a giantess

Could you have ever seen

That my roar

Was a cry of hunger?

You, in your industry

Have no late-night

So I can be sure this question

Will be read in too bright a light

And should not be sent at all.


Ps. You told me I burned you I thought my gold was honey and you’d stick. Instead, elbow deep I look up shocked. I’ve been joined by the echo of an empty room, the wall yelling back at me, louder. So I was the force and you the human? That’s convenient.

I the skulking Thelma to your lovable Djuna; I, monster and you the protagonist licking your wounds.

From Morton Salt to Domino Sugar,

And here I thought you had unfairly painted me as Thelma, obtuse and cold. While you get to be sharpened D. Higher pitched and finely tuned… It seems we are engaged in a battle of who can be the smallest. This can’t end well; the both of us diminished to nothingness ---?



And what then, after nothingness?


From Morton Salt to Domino Sugar:

I try to picture your everyday life but cannot. Others think we do the same thing, but no longer by the river, what is the status of your working? What, I wonder, is it that you do? I know you are receiving my letters but it feels as though you’ve left New York. How is it that you are able to do both?


From Morton Salt to Domino Sugar:

Dom. I am paranoid I know, but help to alleviate my insane suspicions. I imagine you are here, I feel your eyes on me when I come and go. You are getting my letters because you intercept them at my mailbox. (It is a federal offense, you know.) I joke, but out of anxiety. With no response I am left to these imaginings. Tell me I am wrong and narcissistic - just, write back?


To Morton Salt from Domino Sugar,

A hiccup. An involuntary break in my rhythm. It came back like breathing in and out but like breath, without thought.

I believed this would be enjoyable. I live so much you know through my skin- I thought, if you were unable to touch me-

I’ll take the blame out of the phrasing and say

If we had no potential for physical contact, I felt safe.

But I don’t know Morton, what were your aims in contacting me?

Was it really just a lazy, “whatever happened?” Then why the urgency?

Yes I was away from New York for a few weeks but I have returned now.

Your sensing that disturbed me. Or at least I realized that this was not what I thought it was. I didn’t know what to say.

-Domino S.

From Morton Salt to Domino Sugar:

At the risk of sounding like your parrot, can this not just be what it is, circling toward nothing? It has been a long time since our school day exchanges, when I would not hesitate to quote you out a passage from Roland Barthes. (I won’t.) (but it would have been pleasure of the text.) but maybe I am alone in my experience. Have I been blunt and oblivious? Is this painful for you?



I read your letters twice. Once at night and then in the day, again to try to understand You Who

Sees Things so Clearly. You have focused on me for sport, Morton. Unwittingly, innocently,

sure, but I have tried to puzzle out my unanswered questions- and, If i am gracious I can say

you did not have the pieces to know, for you sent them to me. So I’ll remind you of your “rotten

teeth” and ask again why the concern and accusations? What of yourself are you looking for in me that you can so readily throw up your hands and claim the pleasure of the text? I will be honest, though not for your sake, and say that your perception startled me. But I will not submit my whereabouts and my words to a mutual microscope merely for the pleasure reading of a bored

laborer. I won’t.

Tell me a thing it takes guts to say Morton Salt. Or else spare your 46 cents.


From Morton Salt to Domino Sugar,

Pain is not a currency that can be traded Dom. You dangle the bait but I, as you’ve exceedingly pointed out, will not bite. Perhaps I was seeking something in reaching out to you, and yes I will firmly and again claim the pleasure of the text.

I know you like to hold me as the pitiful puritan, a position I refuse to contest or defend, but I wrote you and I write you, because of the way we play. Have I lost rights to that? If you can honestly say you do not enjoy it, the game only we can build, then I will quit the pages altogether. I am not so plain and you are not so mean as that.

-Morton Salt