Aitken, Adam

Australia, (b. 1960)

Year of the Pig

  1. The Phoenix yawns, painfully,
  2. makes her bed,
  3. prepares for work.
  4. Steam escapes the cafe air
  5. so filthy tourists pass it by.
  6. Pimps, stroppy, blame her
  7. and the economic situation.
  8.  
  9. In this city no beauty is
  10. strictly legal.
  11.  
  12. She dips her face in baby powder
  13. and hums the Beatles
  14. to a sun that smites from afar.
  15.  
  16. Fish hang in the window, dried bows and arrows.
  17.  
  18. Fifty businessmen consume
  19. three course pork breakfasts.
  20. The menu is a poem
  21. including everything,
  22. nothing wasted, no time
  23. for the personal, the fickle or the queasy
  24. white men.
  25.  
  26. Why should she suggest
  27. pain, to me
  28. who is not
  29. in pain?
  30.  
  31. No one speaks English but
  32. her T-shirt says
  33. I AM TAKING IT EASY
  34. chopping pigs’ ears for the soup.

Adam Aitken. Letter to Marco Polo. Sydney, NSW: Island Press (1985).

About the Poet:

Adam Aitken (b. 1960), is an Australian poet, memoirist, academic and editor. Aitken spent his early childhood in London, then Thailand and Malaysia before migrating to Australia where he graduated from the University of Sydney in 1982, majoring in English and Art Film History.

As well as numerous reviews, articles on poetry, and works of creative non-fiction, he is the author of six collections of poetry. Romeo and Juliet in Subtitles (2000) was shortlisted for the Age Poetry Book Award and the John Bray South Australian Writers Festival Award.

He has traveled widely, visiting Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia; his experiences overseas continue to inform his poetry. Aitken’s poems and short fiction have also been published widely in anthologies and literary journals. Aitken lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Technology, Sydney. His most recent work includes a Doctorate in Creative Arts thesis on hybridity in Australian literature. [DES-04/15]

Additional information:

A random image of a pig, hog, boar or swine from the collection at Porkopolis.