Ascroft, Nick

New Zealand, (b. 1973)

Pig in a Pool

  1. Suddenly into the pig years.
  2. My back-end stretching a little more tightly into my togs,
  3. A plume of essence de vegetarian hangs close
  4. Around me like a pong on a tablecloth.
  5. & I have formed my ape-belly, a little swell,
  6. A slumping that belly-fuzzes, & navel-pouts
  7. Over a 20th Century pair of surf-shorts my mother
  8. Bought new for me, on the distant
  9. Other side of the pig years, that threaten to split –
  10. The pants – & the pig years –
  11. On impact of a belly-flop off the three-metre board.
  12. This is the slower age.
  13. This is the matinée section of the tonal content.
  14. No helicopter accidents into the hydroslide
  15. – Aaaah, chlorine, fuel-burn, body-parts –
  16. No drunk at the check-in desk, all energetic fingers,
  17. No made-up syphilitic hoicking ,into their goggles,
  18. Just this strangely distending, see-through-skinned
  19. Side-stroker, near-thirty & under-dressed.
  20. No one sees you in here, the flash bulb
  21. Of their own personal photo-shoot keeps them in its bubble.
  22. I can float on curing, full of the pig years’ curly-tailed promises
  23. Of an aquatic ham turned bacon, turned into
  24. A lot of noise belly-up, this is the age of a lot of noise
  25. & Not much done. No, suppress, retract, accept it, breath, legs, push, arms, breath
  26. Turn, don’t eye-contact, think plain, Ryvita –
  27. Think necessity, think pastel blue – & salad, undressed,
  28. Salad in togs – breathe, legs, push, think
  29. Bottled water, carbos/no carbos, protein early/minerals late,
  30. Sucaryl – it’s the sound of rotting teeth, think rot, push,
  31. Visualise the rot, change lanes from the three guys with tats,
  32. Turn, lumber, turn, wheeze, a thrash of unmatching limbs for a length,
  33. Then – no, easy on a hamstring cramp.
  34. The cult of diet & aqua-jogging
  35. Isn’t a cult. I can’t get this harness on,
  36. The buckle pops off over our newly-found mid-section.
  37. I will the drama, I urge some twist
  38. On this well-trod path to middle-age poetry
  39. & Knock a knee on the slow-lane sign,
  40. & No one sees me, faking 3 soggy nonchalant
  41. Flailing into the pig years, getting help with
  42. The buckle adjustment, & dipping my hooves into the
  43. Shallow end – swine in a corset – fishing out the sign
  44. & Fumbling it back into position.

 Nick Ascroft. Nonsense. Wellington: Victoria University Press (2003).

The Pig in the Hedge

  1. There are at least
  2. A thousand spines in my back &
  4. I would apologise for each but
  5. Will remain under the hedge
  7. With the thorns, my lookalikes.
  8. I will wear my heart,
  10. Not at my wrist, but
  11. Buried deeply in my chest &
  13. Further buried
  14. In tucking my legs &
  16. Arching my back over
  17. Into a ball of pins.
  19. Like the pig in my name
  20. I will hog my heart.

 Nick Ascroft. Sport, #19: “Lightworks,” Spring (1997).

About the Poet:

Nick Ascroft, New Zealand (b. 1973), is a poet, novelist and reviewer. He was a 2003 Burns Fellow at the University of Otago in Dunedin where he received his Masters in Linguistics.

Ascroft is widely published in magazines such as Sport, Landfall, Takahe, JAAM and Poetry NZ. Ascroft was the founding editor of Glottis, a literary print journal, has been a guest editor of Takahe, and has edited the Otago University Students’ Association literary review.

Long based in Dunedin, Ashcroft has been a regular contributor of reviews, criticism and interviews to various publications. He is also a renowned performance poet who frequently performed his work in Dunedin. Ashcroft has since moved to the UK and now works for Bloomsbury Publishing in London, editing sports books and writing for their blog. [DES-08/15]

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