by Chris Cottrell
american processed cheese food
is a two-pound brick
wrapped in foil that comes
in a box marked cheese
you can make sauce
with it and the white
powder that comes in a box
with a picture of a carton
on it and milk written in block
the process for making
cheese food is similar
to making margarine
and napalm
shredded pork comes
in a thirty-two ounce can
with the outline of a pig on it
the meat is shredded
there is a cube of lard
at the center the size
of a stick of butter
the lard is reserved
for beans or melted into the pork
a bottle of ketchup makes flavor
if you are lucky
there will be a bottle
of barbecue
the beans are in a bag
and it takes all day to cook them
potatoes are flakes in a box the size of milk
with a drawing of a potato
the picture helps people
who do not speak the solid blank
language of the box
there is a can of green beans
creamed corn and hominy
reserved for later in the month
eaten alone or with salt
the bag of flour can be mixed with
salt and water and fried in oil
eaten hot is to believe
it may be bread
add food coloring and the dough
is baked into dinosaurs
and christmas ornaments
dip the bread in ketchup
if it is too salty

0 thoughts on “food

  1. The flow is jumpy and I don’t understand the reference to napalm but overall I love the tone of this poem, the kind of flat way in which it represents our flat American foods and our f(l)at American lives.
    Well done!

  2. Oh, I like the napalm reference… It’s just as synthetic as the other unnatural products!
    I like this also because it shows the poverty of our food culture in a country of excess. Cool.

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