Meat Packing Plant

Tracey Moffat Meat Packing

The Baying of the Cows:

Hoof and Horn, Hoof and Horn.

All that dies shall be reborn.

 Each week we stand, Monday to Saturday, armed against the spray of blood and gristle, in our stiff little hats and coats, in our helmets and our hairnets, in our bright and bold bandannas. Dodging and grinning we cleave, chop and heave great humps of meat, into boxes onto pallets, onto trucks that whirr, out into the silent blue night. Coming soon, to a supermarket near you. Unpacked, shrink-wrapped, prodded, sniffed and jabbed, ready, raw and bloody, ripe, for your consumption.

Amidst the bounce and splatter of an occasionally hurled eye, we feint left, then right, behind the foreman’s back, dodging gelatinous bites of fat flicked clumsily from rubber-covered thumbs and tips of knives, at uncovered faces and foreheads. We weep with laughter, trimming fat from the raw and bloody bodies of cows, of cows, of cows.

 Warm blood once surged through pulsing veins in the thick and bristly necks of heifers, now clotted, cold and sticky and, blacking silver benches. A tide of pink, a frothy mix, diluted blood and offal, pools and swirls around a drain, a pungent caustic river.  Rotted flesh swept toward waste disposal units where maggots writhe, squirm, and sway; an eyeless, open-mouthed praying.

Pulley hooks shriek, conveyors groan, bodies swing and sway, and beat a hollow thud in time, thumping dully against another. Naked, flayed, skinned and pink, helpless, boneless bodies lay, waiting to be passed through blades, weighed, packaged and labelled; hand-picked, hand-hacked, hand-delivered, fresh from the factory floor, boxes of flesh and bone, wrapped, in candy-coloured coffins.

Fire and Rain, Fire and Rain

All that dies shall rise again.

Hats, hairnets, helmets, and our bright and bold bandannas protect raw and bloodied bodies of cows from our corruption; skin, spittle, saliva, and silken strands of hair, as all the once aliveness of us gravitates toward, the vibrantly red, dead flesh wobbling brightly, on counters, before us.

Image: Tracey Moffat First Jobs, Meat Packing 1978. 


Kadang-kadang kita berjalan sendiri

Minggu lalu, waktu aku tunggu di lampu merah, aku lihat laki-laki mebanten di pelinggih di bundaran di tengah perempatan. Keindahan dan ketenangan dari kebiasaan itu, di antara kekacauan lalu lintas, hampir (hampir) membuatku menangis. Ada banyak momen seperti ini di Bali di mana aku terpaku dalam keindahan disekitar aku.
Kadang kadang kita harus membuka jendela hati kita untuk kekacauan supaya tetap peduli, kadang kadang kita berjalan bersama.   Kadang kadang kita harus tutup jendela hati kita dan balik menuju ketenangan, kadang kadang kita berjalan sendiri.
I don’t know how well this translated but I wrote it a few weeks ago. In English I wanted to say something like this:
Last week,  while I was waiting at the traffic lights, I saw a man placing offerings on a Pelinggih on a roundabout in the middle of an intersection. The beauty and stillness of that act, amongst the chaos of the traffic, almost (almost) made me cry. There are many moments like this in Bali, where I freeze up at the beauty around me.
Sometimes we must open the windows of our heart to chaos in order to stay soft, sometimes we walk together. Sometimes we must close the windows of our heart and turn toward the stillness, sometimes we walk alone.

Snippets: A year in which I was pretty much too lazy/unmotivated/busy to write but just came across this draft.

Time. 6 months. Halfway through. At first I thought I’d never make it but now it’s slipping by. All in a rush, rush, rush. It couldn’t go fast enough but now it’s way too fast.

Rain. Wrapping myself up in a cheap-arse raincoat I bought for a couple of bucks from the local Circle-K. Makes me feel like a fat, green penguin. I keep it in the seat of my motorbike and use it daily. I lost my phone to the rain. Slipped it in the pocket of my jacket on the way home from Muay Thai. Rookie mistake.

Waves. I fly to Bali every other month for a fix. Short skirts, beer, waves, a breath of relief from the stares and the questions. I relax in the green of the waves. Wrecked arms, a satiated heart. A flight back home in the nighttime.

Time. 8 months. Hating it. Can’t get back to the water soon enough. Every spare second I’m planning lessons or teaching. Too. Much. Work. Stressed. Computers breaking. Covering shifts. No fucking paper in the printer. Photocopier dead.

Time. 9 -10 months. Executing well-made plans. Time off. A flight. A pile of resumés. A map. A list of schools. A moto. Work clothes. Interviewed on second day. Now I’ll just go surfing.

Time. 10 months. Happy. Sad. Moto sold (my baaaaaaby). Throwing things. Giving things away. Packing. Planning. Documents. Time flying. Time standing still. Told contract finishes a week earlier than I expected, yusss. Counting down the days; this many days, this many work days, a holiday,  return, this many days, this many work days. Done.

Time. 11 months. A holiday. 11 days of water, salt, and waves. 16 more days. 10 more work days.

Time. 12 months. Aaaaaaand, scene. Bye-Bye, Bangers, good-bye.



Sheep Ship

She glitters. Out on the horizon. Set off by the sun sinking softly. Clouds spitting, a spray of tangelo, ruby-red, and crimson – all thick and fat and fighting; excited and busted, gushing, broken-open, lusting. Biting one another. All over that fuck-off smash of a sky. Ship of death, ship of doom, leaking shit. A lanolin smear. A urine cloud. Hanging hot. Hanging heavy. Smudge of stillness. In the port.


boys with backs that’ll break you apart

photograph of a city at night taken from a plane

iii: You were so cold, he said, that day I saw you. I lay on a mattress on the floor, and watched him dance like a miracle. Taut black back, tattooed and twisting. Hips swiveling.

iv: Speeding through a morning’s dark, sharing sugary coffee. Toward the water we were always hurtling. Hurling ourselves. For  waves. For fish. For life. For the stars. To the stars we span.

v. Surprise visits and soft-lipped kisses from another lautan asmara. Milky chance I stole her dance. Just a boy to go bump in the night with.







Driving all night

I never imagined when I wrote this, that I would one day be living in Indonesia, with a scooter of my own, and that one of the biggest joys in my life would be riding my scooter. I look forward to it every day. The traffic here in Bandung is appalling, yes, but I’m learning to be patient and accept it. And, when I can’t, I scooter up the side of the road or in between lines of cars. I swerve here and there and slowly weave my way home. I bloody love it.