Jenifer Sang Eun Park
Seen on these playlists
A frenetic tour of a splayed self writing through an equine obsession, Autobiography of Horse documents Park’s obsessive and parasitic relationship with the horse. At one point a muse, the horse is transformed into a vessel used to travel the volatile hollows of memory, selfhood, and loss. To make this journey, the horse mutates from an image into a companion, a projection, and a reflection that, as Wallace Stevens wrote in “The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words,” injects imagination with “the strength of reality.”View playlist
from Autobiography of HorseAccording to Korean superstition, a “weak” person is more likely to be inhabited by a spirit than a person of “stronger character.” And in Korean, 말, pronounced mahl, means “horse.” 말 also means “word,” “speech,” and “utterance.” This is some kind of destiny. / I crushed hard in the beginning. The horse was an answer to each prompt. In the horse’s body, I saw the possibilities of my own body. In the horse’s past, I saw my own past. The horse understood me and I wanted to share this oblivion. There was no human to share it with. I shared a mirror with the horse. / Some explanations:
from Autobiography of HorseI ate the horse years ago and it still hasn’t left my body. A serving of horse is 28g of protein, 6g of fat, 5mg of iron, 55mg of sodium, 65mg of cholesterol, and a total of 175 calories. A serving of horse has 25% less fat, 27% less sodium, and 30% less cholesterol than ground beef. Horsemeat is low in saturated fats, rich in polyunsaturated fats, and proven to lower cholesterol. I watch the next horse butcher itself. And the next. The horse lives as a forever-cadaver. / Though previously endangered, the horse of Jeju-do, an island located in the Korea Strait, is still considered a delicacy. Due to its lean profile, the Jeju horse is more tender and flavorful when eaten raw. Once the meat is pulled from the stocky rectangular frame, it’s tossed in sesame oil for a light tartare, placed on a nub of rice, or positioned in a ring of thick slices on a decorated plate. Horsemeat, however, isn’t the only use of the Jeju horse: its soul is extracted and manufactured into creams and oils for beauty products and its bones are ground up and sold as pills for the treatment of arthritis and bone diseases. / Ancient Patagonian Indians extract the stomach of a mare to hold a baby. Once the soft packet of human flesh enters the sinewy stomach, a spiritual osmosis occurs. Encased in the wet and still-warm envelope of her stomach, the child is imbued with the qualities of the horse. Under a more vigorous procedure, the neck, body, and legs of the horse are lassoed. Members of the tribe distribute themselves across each end of the lasso to upturn and steady the horse. As soon as the horse slows her breathing, the father of the child slits the mare from the neck down. After the heart and innards are removed, the baby is placed in the cavity. The goal is to keep the animal stuttering until the child is placed inside his secondary womb. If achieved, the Patagonian Indians believe they ensure the child’s destiny as a superior horseman. The remainder of the mare is prepared for a feast and the community joins to savor the sum. A 150g bottle of Jeju Horse Bone Pills sells for $48.32. A 50ml container of Jeju Horse Oil Cream sells for $47.90. The Horse Oil Soothing Gel Cream is $12.84. And the luxurious Jeju Horse Placenta & Oil Natural Facial Cream is an even $124.00. Some of us are ingenious cannibals.
from Autobiography of HorseEquine self-mutilation syndrome is a condition involving a repetitive and seemingly dysfunctional sequence of movements. An otherwise normal horse could develop a habit of biting herself from flank to shoulder to chest. Another otherwise normal horse could start shaking her head repeatedly, as if to say no no no to whatever distresses her. Though self-injurious, “the performance of a stereotypy, no matter what the initial precipitating cause, is self- rewarding.” Stereotypies have been associated with a variety of factors, such as excitement, stress, boredom, and the scent of poop or piss. / A few years ago I developed the habit of grinding my teeth. A committee would call it bruxism. My mom noticed this when we shared a hotel room in Colma. “You grind your teeth,” she said as we ate breakfast. I stopped eating and looked at her. I didn’t know what it sounded like, so I looked it up. A woman recorded her husband grinding his teeth in his sleep. It is the worst sound a human can make. / I sit in front of a building and watch who opens the door for strangers. “She is nice,” I say, when she extends her arm to keep the door pried open. She is not a horse. “He is nice,” I say, when he opens the door for others before he walks in. He is not a horse. I can’t stop.