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Four Poems on Food - #DearAdultWorld

Honey on My Chicken Nuggets

Kalia Morris, 19, she/her/hers

The Milk Jar

Justin, 14, they/them

Honey on my chicken nuggets

An incomplete happy meal

Dry, synthetic skin fortunate to evade the trash bin

Forgiven because of golden syrup

Bright, white smiles made possible by

Honey on my chicken nuggets.

The labor of buzzing creatures

Renders the experience

Non-perishable.

A priceless bargain, a fragile feast

Artist’s Statement:

This piece represents the impact of the relationship between my father and by using a meal we used to often share together as a metaphor. I shared a few years of visitation with him before he passed away when I was seven. My time with him was short, but the memories I have are dear to me and have formed me to be the person I am. My identity as a black woman is influenced by my experiences with him.

We bought a jar to hold the milk.

The milk is far too much for the jar to hold.

It can only contain about half, but we don’t care.

Eventually, we pour out as much as possible into it. It’s about to spill over, but we don’t stop.

We can’t stop.

No one can stop us.

Inevitably, we end up spilling out most of our milk.

Yet, we don’t feel bad about it. We fault the jar for being too small when the issue really stems from our faults.

So, we drink up what milk we got in there, but that only holds us off for so long.

We get more milk.

No one can stop us.

No one.

In Conversation with a Sandwich

Nikhil Barnes, 18, he/him/his

Untitled

Ellie Kim, 17, she/her/hers

Hark, the ripples and waves upon the surface of the wheat
Like the waves on the beach of a foreign shore
Or white bread
like cotton picked by the rich brown hands
A stark contrast against the tawny color of the spread
Vibrant peanut butter legs
chained to hands
chained to feet
chained to arms
Strung along the bottom of this sea-faring jar
Pulverized ingredients
Beaten and battered until digestible
Stripped of the remnants of the shells
Stirred to remove the oil and inconsistencies
And served,
ready-made
to America,
waiting patiently for the product
Improving the bread
only through the peanut butter’s interference
It would be stupid to ask for the commodity’s consent
The sandwich passed from Jim to Jiff,
with time enough for crow’s feet to develop
Smooth unlike the battle ahead
Or behind
Where the leaves were brown and crunchy
like the brand you hate,
but your mother buys anyways,
beneath the feet of the fleet of foot
Crack the nut to expose a truth so blunt it must be sugared, or spiced to correct
Edited
Changed so that that the flavor is not so hard to take
Cracked shells like cracked clubs over sitting still
Sitting blackly
Sitting darkly
Cracked shells like cracked hearts
Over dollar bills
Taken gladly
Or never paid in the first place
But the butter exemplifies the flavor
The texture enhances and lays bare the true taste of the peanut
A taste that
even altered
is strong
A paste both ingenious and ignorant in its creation
Triumph in flavor from the sheer fact that it must
It exists, why not improve
George Washington said
“The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph”
One hundred years later
George Washington
Now black
Conflicted with the inherent nature of peanuts
To create something that has spread
Throughout the world
Like the people who share its tint
And cut borders like crusts
from a peanut-butter sandwich

 

Follow Nikhil on IG @butwhytho.__ (that’s two underscores :))

i used to know how to cook rice
in the traditional sense, with
wide-rimmed clay pots and
chipped blue china plates
bought at the local fish market
for five thousand won.

to begin, measure out
a cup and a half of white rice,
granules like snow
tumbling into the pot.
fill it halfway with water—
scrub vigorously.
watch as your fingers prune,
the surface clouding with starch.
when the water is clear, place the pot
on medium heat. take care
not to scald yourself.
stir until the rice turns fluffy,
sticky, but not gummy—
traditional.

that’s how my grandma taught me.
her house always smelled of
jasmine tea and dried persimmons,
the latter of which she’d
push into my mouth as a treat,
even when i’d been misbehaving
and my hands smarted from her
wooden spoon.
on the days of summer solstice
i would swing my legs on the
crumbling back porch
and watch the cherry blossom trees
kowtow under the weight of their petals,
the twisted bark reminiscent of grandma’s
own lovingly arthritis-gnarled hands.

but that was before she misplaced me
somewhere at the bottom of the drawer,
the shadow of footsteps looming
under the crack of a door left ajar
by the unswept room that overlooks the
waterlogged rice paddies,
where the earth cleaves itself in two—
bamboo hats and charcoal smeared
like oil for the unction under eyes
that droop in the heat of monsoon season.

i used to know how to cook rice—
now, i hate persimmons:
hate their leathery texture,
the brittle sweetness that blooms
a measure and a half too late;
the way they unfurl on my tongue
like a family secret i am not privy to.
the memory of my grandmother
is scattered alongside her ashes,
somewhere in the pacific between
french indochina and the rising sun;
and if we visit, i don’t bother to bow.
the cherry blossoms are wilted now—
there are no goodbyes for the dead.

Visual Art: “Antibiotics”

Judah X. Pimentel, 18, he/him/his

Artist’s Statement: This piece is called ‘Antibiotics’, inspired by the abuse and cruelty that occurs in factory farms to the animals. This piece shows an example, where hens are injected with many different toxins and antibiotics to make them gain more weight, to the point where they can’t walk. This isn’t to condemn anyone who eats meat (there are organic meat farms who don’t do this), but condemn the individuals in the main meat farms who hurt and poison the animals, which can affect us as well.

Find Judah on IG @elysiumstar.art or at his website https://elysiumsstarart.wixsite.com/elysiumstarart