No Guilt Free Meal

Feed us guilt free food
Flavored with freedom and freshness
Textured with truth and taste
Full of daily recommendations
Of fulfillment, nutrition, not worry
Or grams of woes and wrongs
As most fares take to get right to us

Mouthfuls of meat replete with hormones, antibiotics
Fiddling with tissues, breeding superior bugs
Besides these selfish worries (though worry for us all)
There is the life of cattle that’s small and tight
Fed on nothing they chose, kept out of sun sight
Even those grass fed, with freedom roaming
Is that right to consume their flesh?

The softer flaky flesh of fish we pull from seas
Warmblooded thousand pound tunas
With lifespans, lifesizes, life like protected whales
Hooked for millions and millions of salmon
Dredged up for food as poverty starves locals
As we bomb the sea bass, commit cod genocide
Just the top of the ocean food chain massacre

The soft texture white blocks that claim their place
Don’t feel completely clean as they fry or sauté
This packed and processed protein may mean
Thousands of trees pulled out for farmland
To sow the rows of monoculture soybeans
Not even reaped by local self-sustained hands
For corporations to create some food alien

And the corn should be questioned
Golden waves of single crops pesticide dusted
Drying out the soil of the Midwest plains
Subsidized for ethanol, high fructose corn syrup
Both filling us up and running these lives
While wasting land and bodies and cattle
Slowing metabolize yet hyping minds

Poisons produce more by saving crops
Sprayed or genetically introduced
Devastating beautiful free pollinators
Seeping into soil, into waters, into us
Yet oil fuels cross country avocados
Only eighty percent organics for a steep price
Which carbon footprint is less, poisons us less?

A guilt free meal seems out of reach
Perhaps five percent guilt is the best to eat
Venison from a would-be winter starvling
With wild, carefully picked, mushrooms
Backyard tomatoes, spice plant on sill
All the waste in a compost bucket
An (almost) innocent, not ignorant, nutrition

Wrote this today after getting to thinking (for not the first time) about food during my marine microbiology class where we watched a movie called A Sea Change. I thought about how I love seafood but I can never feel like I’m completely enjoying my meal knowing how much trouble the oceans are in with not just overfishing but changing chemical compositions that could affect the basis of food chains. This is all I had the creative juices to write tonight but I am planning to look back at it, to add more since I didn’t even touch upon how we can eat so much so often here but some near poverty cannot and those in many other worlds either don’t have much access to food or go day to day carefully capturing their food (and honoring it). This poem or whatever it may be is far from over but is a start to organizing and emitting some of my ideas on the subject of food ethics.

Creative Commons License
This work by Sarah Holmes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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