Sabor a Carne

Creative writing featured in the exhibition. 

2022. Cornell Migrations and the Mellon Just Futures Arts & Creative Writing Award

wall text

"Each was a hostage of relentless poverty debted to a place indiscriminate of flesh."


"There were pieces of them, caught between the rotating paddle blades and the interior wall of the chiller- in the feather picking machine, stunner, scalders, and conveyors. They were arranged, operating, inspected, hung, and opened. He told me that before their eventual bagging, they lived in an ecosystem of disfigurement. A landscape of metal frames charged by pierced eclectic cords that sear ammonia-soaked skin. An atmosphere of peracetic acid inheriting all life with chronic asthma. Unrelenting production shifted space-time and encouraged an evolutionary response of beings who only navigated their place by bird. But no less than 40 per minute and the unavoidable loss of a favored appendage. Of what remained became welded into organic mechanics by carpal tunnel, tendonitis, and epicondylitis. So that the body could only belong to what had shaped it and foreign to everything else." 


Chilled nerves slow microbial growth, yes, yes- but could you feel your ligaments tear and bones break? When you rotated 180 degrees, did your toes greet your pelvis? How many times can you sew the same finger back on?


And when did you first taste yourself in the Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs Family Pack? 

*Freshness guaranteed* 


"I can only recite the generational rumors- 


‘Arroz con pollo, sancocho, paella, chicarrón de pollo, mofongo de pollo, asopao de pollo, caserola de pollo, combinado con cerveza Presidente y bachata, nos reuníamos en estos platos. Eran nuestros. Pero aquí todo sabe a carne.’


"It all tastes like flesh.'"


"Forced pure cannibalism of the rumored 'gente.' -physical traces of oneself mechanically separated. Concern was expressed. An ecological disaster. Pandemic. Ford's descendants refused exudative inflammation in their reserves. They demanded sterilization but quickly justified the taste. Tongues continued to push lost limbs, damaged nerves, and sanity from cheek to cheek. He could only afford to chew his elbow until finally choking on his brain." 


And what happened to you next? 


"The subsequent iteration had ballpoint joints. Our latex and steel heritage."