Kaho, Simone

New Zealand, (b. 1978)

Pretty

  1. Some people say
  2.  
  3. You’re too pretty to be Tongan
  4. which is funny because
  5. it’s usually Tongans who say it.
  6.  
  7. It is a short-cut to make a big distance between us
  8. and casually call me Palagi at the same time.
  9. I can hardly see if they are still waving
  10. from that
  11. long shore
  12. far away
  13.  
  14. where they are having an umu with family.
  15.  
  16. Feasting and belonging together
  17. but this time
  18. the umu is too deep
  19. in the ground.
  20. The food takes on the flavour of dirt.
  21.  
  22. I see them
  23. eating pink gashes into the pig,
  24. which is the same colour
  25. as flesh-coloured dolls.
  26.  
  27. Deep-breathing-eating-praying
  28.  
  29. We thank you for our daily bread.
  30.  
  31. Pig juice to the roots of their fingers
  32. so now they can be forced into tight holes
  33. or slipped out of rings.
  34.  
  35. Mmm boaka mmm
  36. – you don’t eat meat do you?
  37.  
  38. No but some Palagis do
  39.  
  40. My mother
  41. another Palagi,
  42. she eats bacon with her flesh-coloured mouth.
  43.  
  44. She said she heard the pigs crying     once
  45. before they were killed
  46. by the Tongans.
  47.  
  48. She said
  49.  
  50. They sounded like women.

 Simone Kaho. Lucky Punch. Auckland, Aotearoa NZ: Anahera Press (2016).

About the Poet:

Simone Kaho, New Zealand, (b. 1978), is a poet with Tongan ancestry, part of a new generation of Pasifika voices. She was awarded a Masters in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington in 2011. Anahera Press published her first book of verse, Lucky Punch in August 2016.

Kaho resides in Auckland where she is well-known in for her dynamic poetry performances. She also loves working with musicians and crafting rock-n-roll poetry experiences for iconic venues including The Basement, The Mercury Theatre and Galatos. [DES-03/18]

Additional information:

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