satirical image from galleryhip.com
“ You have been fooled by a simple olfactory misdirection,
like ventriloquism of the nose--elementary in certain parts
of the galaxy.”--the tenth Doctor Who.
The inception of scent memory
begins with your mother, her thick milky
odor cues create our first conscious
memory of something/one, helping us
to recognize our mother amongst others,
& at that infantile moment we become aware
that not just any pair of breasts will suffice;
that comes later after prolonged exposure.
Scent memory creates data that will influence
taste, setting into motion love of food, living to
eat, not eating to live--sad that for smokers
taste is dulled & bludgeoned & sustenance becomes
a banal exercise in pasty blandness, robotic
mastication without pleasure or a happy ending.
We learn that the olfactory bulb is
located in the frontal lobe, as counterpoint
to vision located in the cortical back rooms, &
the bulb contains the glomeruli and mitral cells,
allowing smells to become encoded. One’s odor rec-
ognition can be manifested by the left hemisphere when
implicit memories are triggered by verbal discussions, or
they can rise out of the right hemisphere as explicit, need-
ing the presence of the actual odor to trigger the non-
verbal retrieval. Lots of emotional baggage is
included amongst the cataloged smells,
& sexual arousal perpetuated by
pixel pheromones or genital juices
can catapult us to the absolute apex
of colossally pleasurable coitus.
For each of us, what imagery a scent memory leads to can differ, &
thank the lords of smell that the olfactory triggers vary per person.
For me, walking into a barn or corral, smelling horse shit & fresh
hay takes me back to 1955 when I shoveled out stables--humid
dripping tropical plants transport me to the South Pacific, to my
first morning on the Hilo side of the big island of Hawaii--sagebrush
kicks in my fear of rattlesnakes & ticks & my love for the desert--
cow shit slides memory to diary farms & feed lots--chicken
scat makes me crave the colonel’s secret recipe & be wary
of the dust-borne parasites that can lead to blindness--kelp
& dead crabs & clams, their broken shells picked over by
gulls & crows, conjures up oceanside ions & pounding waves
--grease & used oil smells puts me in that garage in Burien
where my stepfather & I rebuilt the motor of a 1947 Buick--
wet pavement after a rain projects me to the Fall of 1953
during my walks to elementary school, all red rubber boots
& piles of maple leaves--& damn, the odor of cooking meat
activates my carnivorous instincts, making my canine teeth
pulsate & my juggler veins throb.
Perhaps one’s history
could all be written by therecall of odors.
Posted over at dVerse Poets Pub Poetics