Deliverance / After Fruit / Supermarket Prayer

Floris Claesz. van Dijck, Still Life with Cheese (c. 1615)

DELIVERANCE

It is a miracle that you were brought to me from a dusty field in Salinas, California. How did you think your life would be, growing up next to the American entertainment industry on some hill facing China's ocean?

Pharmaceuticals in your drinking water at birth, the air laced with stimulants, a sour earth burning beneath you. Destiny: to be ripped away from your home an adolescent, pale and pimply, and incarcerated like the rest of your progenitors in a sheet-metal prison. You were lucky to be born with your looks.

In the silence of night, a rumble, then sound and light. All of a sudden you’re trapped in a poorly-ventilated crate with 12 other strangers—some more dead than alive—and slammed into a pitch-black cargo trailer, ice cold.

Movement. Speed. Turning. Stopping. Stillness, chatter: all in the frosty dark.

On the airport tarmac you stole the sun's warmth in the whirling smells of fuel, rubber, pavement, and the rot of your peers. Weightless for a split-second as the jet plane reached its zenith, only to have one of your cell-mates shift onto your lap.

Another refrigerated truck. Shivering, persevering. With every careless bump the gasps and moans of your neighbours echo your own, hundreds of prisoners, a convoy of slaves on a blind passage to the auction block. 

You prayed. You replayed your memory until it lost all meaning. Your identity, once unquestionable, had eroded. A faceless one among the many; a weighed commodity. You accepted your fate the only way you could.

City traffic roars as you’re carted into fresh but foreign air, bewildered and numb from the transit. Dizzy. A constant spray of mist-drips reflects florescent light.

This is where I saw you.

I was combing through the displays of the Fruiterie Mile-End on du Parc in Montréal. To find strawberries this late in the year was a surprise, so I picked your bunch, a treat.

At my kitchen sink, I couldn’t help but notice how ideal you were in shape, colour, and firmness. Youthful, taut. It was a privilege to run my fingers over your soft skin—did they paint you red? Such mouth-watering promise, supple contours. Cute dimples, too.

The blood rushed out of my brain. You tickled my tongue with golden stubble (don’t be embarrassed), as I penetrated through the dull resistance of your flesh. A ripple of full-body pleasure confirmed your perfect ripeness—did they inject you with sugar-water? How, after all of your suffering, could you give me nourishment? 


AFTER FRUIT

after fruit
the mouth tastes like:

pesticide
suicide
insecticide
genocide
city-side
country-side

you decide
whose side you're on


SUPERMARKET PRAYER

here I wander
the towering aisle:
my cathedral 
of desire

it’s late
awake, I prowl
for pleasure
binding me
to mortal hell

O, 
ever-present craving 
of my heart to rest in unity
seek not that which changes
but delight in splendour 
from within


I was on the phone with my mother last week, talking about the Roman Catholic church we went to when I was a kid. We’ve both been out of the game for a long time, and were reminiscing about our former affiliation, hers voluntary, mine enforced.

I said something along the lines of “Catholicism teaches its followers to find and cultivate their own particular guilt as a path to holiness. The nature of it may change over time, but having a principal guilt is a must. Even after you leave the church, clinging to guilt can be hard habit to break.”

For a while, mine was food.

IV