Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Property is no longer theft, it is a fire made of meat not to be consumed by the poor
A woman arrested for theft for taking spoiling food thrown out by Tesco during a power outage.
After her arrest Hall said: "Tesco clearly did not want the food. They dumped it and rather than see it go to waste, I thought I could help feed me and my family for a week or two."
In the case of Hall and Tesco, the shop said the contents of the bin belonged to them.
Tesco, who send thousands of pounds of leftover meat to be burned for electricity, have said they work to "minimise waste and where possible will seek to reuse and recycle it".
Property is thicker than hunger.
And the material fact of having been discarded isn't enough, no.
"One needs to intend to abandon it."
It is owned straight through the process of decomposition, until the ham goes green and begins to liquify, until it pools in a fetid sludge at the bottom of the bin, seeping a bit out into the street. That is a content that still belongs, beyond any transformation of form, barring one: only exchange, an exchange between two parties, can affect this belonging. For it cannot go unowned, even as it goes unvalued, as it goes wet and reeking.
No, there is a tie that binds beyond the binds of sarcomere, beyond the weave of myosin and actin, even as the meat is burned, not charred on a grill, not consumed in the furnace of a body, but burned plain and simple. A caloric expenditure in the name of energy, true, yet without having to route back through living labor and all its complaints and requests, all its days and nights, just straight back into circulation. Into the circuits that keep the lights burning white, to bathe the unbought meat as if in blue milk, waiting to be burned, never to be disowned.
After all, you don't miss your water until your well runs dry. But you still own it, and all the more so when others lay hands and mouths on what must, out of spite, out of the stubborn rage of ownership, be left to evaporate, such that one can begin to stake claims in the clouds, in the air. In the rain that cuts through that air and splatters what grows and dies below with a staining memory of mine. It does not come out, not even in the rain.