This Poem Is Not About Eating Meat

butcher

Another day, another dollar,
as my blade sinks into the clammy flesh
of the carcass of a creature murdered in an assembly line.
Just grabbing a hunk of pork through my gloved fingers
makes my skin crawl.
The only thing more disgusting than handling this corpse?
Knowing that people will eventually eat of it,
lick their lips, and ask for more.
Such is the plight of the town’s only vegan butcher.

I avoid animal consumption — opting instead for alternatives —
for the simple reason of: garbage in, garbage out.
The only cut I recommend is none

But I wasn’t always the town’s only vegan butcher.
For I once savored this job and was the happiest butcher in the world.
I once loved the taste of meat. The feeling of it between my teeth.
I greedily devoured one cadaver after another,
or as I used to call it, “pleasures of the flesh”.

I grew up eating meat and saw others doing the same
So it never occurred to me to reject what everyone else enjoyed
Until the day I visited a slaughterhouse
and for the first time I saw the murder in the meat.

Unable to express consent, the livestock are shoved into a cage.
They are forced an unnatural diet and a steady regimen of synthetics
with the goal of artificial growth, not the animal’s health in mind.
Until their lives come to a most violent end.

My customers happily consume animals they’d never slaughter on their own
and eat parts of the animal they’d never want to eat if they knew what they really were.
But as long as someone else has committed murder on their behalf, their conscience is clear
They walk into the shop reeking of cognitive dissonance
and walk out with a nicely packaged pound of brutality
I assume some customers are aware of the cruelty behind their meals
and simply do not care.
For them, the end justifies the means.

Despite my convictions, every morning I return to this butcher shop.
because my resignation will not result in the annihilation of the slaughterhouse
nor the demand for its product.
One day I will move on to a less abhorrent occupation,
but until that day, it is here I shall remain
cutting into these corpses for the blissfully ignorant consumption of the masses
But I will never again dine on flesh, for I have witnessed the violence inherent
in the system.

I know how the sausage is made.

Daniel Cuevas
Daniel Cuevas
After nearly a decade as a journalist in New York City, Daniel Cuevas now runs the Manchvegas Press in New Hampshire, and writes poetry for the page as well as the microphone.
  • Too many people don’t know how the sausage is made. Keep reminding us!