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(SPAM Cuts) 'Pigs Foot' by Maria Vouis

Photo of stacked raw pink meat in packages in supermarket.

In this SPAM Cut, Torkel Tennberg considers the consumerist world through a child's eyes within the poem 'Pigs Foot' by Maria Vouis, published in 2020 in Scum magazine and available to read here.

> Maria’s poem is anostalgia-filled feast for the modern day, carnivorous, second generation children of migrant families in Australia. As a vegan I am naturally quite disturbed by the descriptions of redolent air and magic bowls of soupy jelly - yet I am immersed into another world reading this piece, a supermarket pocket dimension which I quite enjoy visually. I assume that the scene presented is a true memory, the detail is really impressive, it is peculiar how we hold onto such seemingly random events from our childhood, but it helps build a very strong story in such a short space.

> The descriptive language used from the beginning creates an innocent child’s awe of a mundane section of the grocery store, and the addition of the meat counter attendee character adds almost a fantasy element, with her description as a: “Viking-blonde meat-maiden”. Until the point where “carnal Valhalla” is mentioned, there was a fascination and a beauty for the fluorescent, consumerist world, through the eyes of a five year old - now morphs a new tone of reality and death.

> The final verse of the poem takes a bit of a turn into a darker and perhaps more reflective viewpoint, my plant based brain likes to think of it as an anti-meat message, but it is more likely a consideration of morals vs tradition. There is something to be said about the flow of this narrative, it reads like a passing of the torch, from one generation to the next, with injected thought bubbles of past family meals and former homes, through a single event setting Maria reaches into her mind and reveals a beautiful peek into a family dynamic - as pink and raw as the wet meat described so tenderly.


Text: Torkel Tennberg

Published 15/8/20


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