Marni Borek


  1. There it is on the countertop again. So beautiful and carefully positioned on white Mikasa. Still bleeding even after a death I imagine was quick, but messy nonetheless. The flies are dancing on our porch in anticipation and I am ready to join them, dreaming of red morsels in my mouth. And I am ready to join them, dreaming of red morsels in my mouth. A taste for carpaccio at age seven before knowing the delicacy by name. The tongue greets them the way you might a distant family member at a holiday event Slight recognition and a brief affectionate gesture. Then it passes.
  2. This is what it is to be raw you say putting your tongue in my mouth to feel my tongue but there is something in between that is missing. You said my writing was once raw but isn't anymore and this is like the meat I now eat, overdone and tough because its natural state could kill.
  3. My mother told me not to eat raw meat because parasites would eat me in return. And then I'd be carefully placed on perfect china and disappear upon slight recognition by strangers who declared me familiar enough to consume.
  4. We ate raw hamburger meat as children, you and I. You told me this the first night we talked. A strange exchange of explicit memories desires and doubts. What was not suspicious was too pure to be true and this is what it meant to be raw then. But raw is in the past and raw is dead. We lie to each other now.
  5. There are few things besides meat that I have seen dead. A dead squirrel. A dead father. A dead cat. The dead father didn’t look raw the way the squirrel and cat did—a mix of glistening pink and red on tar pathways. A dead father still looks cooked. Skin still secreting oils and growing chin stubble even beyond the last breath. Raw is what it felt like placing my nose to his chest to smell him. To have that last moment of recognition.
  6. You have a friend who was in charge of the kill. She works in a town where screams no longer travel. She brought us her apron as evidence of raw acts she performs every Tuesday afternoon after one last feeding. It smells like an icebox and looks like the sky rained raw.
  7. Different degrees of raw are possible, and precede such categories as rare and medium rare. You against me is raw. When you chafe my skin and make me burn the way childhood friends would when they twisted my wrists back and forth. An Indian burn they called it.
  8. The taste is what I love best about raw. Thick and slow and ambiguous. You can chew it thoroughly or let it slide past your epiglottis into your alimentary canal where other forces wait for the chance to indulge.
  9. Sometimes raw has different textures. I prefer it mostly smooth—with whatever striations made apparent. Each parallel line implies a border, which then implies limits. I only eat between borders. This keeps greed in check. Too much raw can make so you sick and I'm proud of my restraint. Raw in small pieces (or ground) is sinful. It never lets you know when you've had enough.
  10. I want to be raw. Because raw is most honest. But to be true raw, I must be dead (or close to it). Everyday I search for signs of raw. But my sweat still smells of something else. Of you. Of my mother. Of the dead squirrel. Of the dead cat. Of my dead father. The borders and the in-between.


This is a study of the disaffected. About legitimizing feeling through the misuse of metaphor (and—at times—post-structuralist theory). How we easily take complex memories and derive from them some sort of signifier which isolates us from the emotion. Everything becomes matter-of-fact. Simple. Logical. Theoretical. The result is the constant frustration of not being able to get back to that state where senses can rule.