I like the taste of meat
that blood kissing fire
in that not quite
the civilized call Maillard

but I’m not civilized

& maybe
if I thought
of cows instead of beef
& those birds I named
instead of chicken

before navigating aisles
of neatly sliced protein (note
I do not say animals here–
that’s too personal
too primal

& acknowledges nerve-endings
& fear before the blade)

we are all meat
for the grinder
& fresh grist
for the mill

something’s bread
to be broken

does not correct imbalance

any more than calling myself out
as predator
eases the guilt

just because
I didn’t kill it
doesn’t make my teeth
any less murder

in owning an appetite for flesh


About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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17 Responses to meat

  1. unfetteredbs says:

    carried me quite well through your carnage…appetite for flesh. Enjoyed this Susan.

  2. Green Speck says:

    So true … this is well reasoned !!!

  3. Chenayimoyo says:

    Makes me feel guilty, almost nauseating when going through the meat section in a supermarket …. but I love the taste of meat …

  4. ruleofstupid says:

    While I’ve cut back almost entirely on red meat – look at a chicken’s eyes and tell me they aren’t an evil that needs eating!

    • It has been a while since I looked into a chicken’s eyes–years, in fact, but at one point I named all of our chickens we kept for egg-laying, in hopes my parents would not kill any. It worked…Evil or not, they are yummy!

  5. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine the other day about this very thing. She told me about someone she knew who did dog and cat rescue work as a volunteer while working in a slaughter house as her full time job.

    I have known people who love dogs and would do anything for them but actually dislike most other animals (even hate them). It seems that we (humans) can compartmentalize our feelings very easily. After all, the smell of cooking meat is far more enticing than that of boiled cabbage (at least to me).

    I think refraining from eating meat is another type of religious act, an act of self-abnegation. It isn’t that vegetarians and vegans are superior people -and not every vegetarian eats a plant-based diet because of animal welfare- but the choice itself, I think, is one of spirit. I deny myself something that is highly appetizing because I am choosing to engage in an act of spirit; I let spirit guide my diet. My cousin has told me that her Yoga is making her give up more and more animal-based products. I found that many things led me in that same direction and I don’t practice Yoga.

    • Jeremy–this is so true. The decision not to eat meat makes no one superior to another–it just illustrates in a practical way a respect for life, which is a choice of spirit, as you put it. I just have to somehow decide that my respect for life is larger than my cravings (if I choose to do so, which is a decision part of myself is dragging the other along with, kicking and screaming all the way).

      • Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

        I find it to be a rewarding decision for many reasons: perhaps one of the most compelling is my discomfort with killing in order to consume. I have a good friend who was uncomfortable with this too but loves his meat so he became an organic butcher. He now takes part in the butchering ritual and does so with reverence. He has become a trained executor and the skills he has honed are part of a long tradition necessary for sustaining life. I see this on so many levels and respect, above all, his direct witness of and participation in the kill. Like me, he is very environmentally conscious but feels that his part in the carnivorous chain should be honored, so he participates in this way. I respect this. I have chosen to take part in a different set of rituals, which is why I find my consistent refusal to eat meat rewarding. I experience the world in a different way; vegetarianism cum veganism is one way I see certain secrets revealed.

  6. nelle says:

    I’ve always felt conflicted over this, and curse that life would be constructed in such a way that we destroy one another.

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