Mazzoli SALT libretto by Erin Cressida-Wilson

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SALT 8/19/11 Words by Erin Cressida Wilson Music by Missy Mazzoli PART 1 – intro/overture I sang Of looking Back At a city That held The iron frames Of our mattress That I pounded every night As he lifted my robe and Twisted my hair from behind While my girls slept I’d bite my sleeve So they would not hear me cry out NOT IN PLEASURE BUT IN HATRED PART 2 Midday sun, Vultures dancing On the salty marsh, Two months pregnant, He photographed me Cause we were bored And hot And open-legged Lolling on the edges of the desert Slugging beer This was a long time ago Before Phonographs and Morse Code Before Bibles and I phones Before the end of the world When we waited for the angels to appear Copyright © 2012 G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP), New York, NY International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved.


PART 3 & 4 Our front door was pried open As my morning cereal And grief caught in my throat, I grabbed the silver baby spoon As it fell to the floor And stuffed it in my sandal As my daughters and I Were thrown out of our home‌ They said I looked back out of curiosity, They said I looked back in anger, But I looked back recalling The first painting our girl ever drew Forgotten and still-taped above the kitchen sink And with that look, My scapula turned to dust Tugged my heart into bone Struck me harder than coal I smiled motionless As my hair caught fire And God clayed me Shuddering my lungs Halting my blood, I became the frozen sea My breasts for all to see For Eternity White Immortal A statue in time My flesh, A salted jail


PART 5: A Dialogue Across time. Lot’s Wife and a Journalist from 2011.

J: What did you do in prison? LW: Sang to my daughters of the birds and the bees Mourned for my girls who would never know love. J: What did you do in prison? LW: Tried not to scream And to not scream you do this: You put together the woman in the next cell J: What did you do in prison? LW: Recalled the fingers The women’s fingers They held all ten fingers in my face Then closed their fists and Opened them again To show ten more men who had died Tearing through freshly dug graves Identifying their loved ones By a scrap of fabric That they themselves had sewn J: What did you do in prison? LW: (I) tried to turn the violence into songs And even myself, I would become a song But all I thought of was you. J: Who am I? LW: You are the woman in the next cell. You are the woman I made up to keep me alive. You are the cry inside my throat that says remember me, remember me, remember Lot’s Wife…


A MOMENT. J: I heard you A MOMENT. LW: You heard me? J: I heard you singing… TO AUDIENCE J & LW: If you can hear her/me LW: Scratch your name Scratch your story Scratch your song J & LW: Into the stone Into the salt LW: Into my body J & LW: If you hear her/me… Scratch your name Scratch your story Scratch your song LW: I’ll arrange them Like tea leaves Like puzzles and operas I’ll touch your bones Your pain Your story And put you back together – The woman in the next cell


PART 6, CODA: A lot Of things Conspired That morning In the dust Red, hot Between my toes My morning Cereal And grief in my throat When we were thrown out of our home….


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