Monday, April 7, 2008


When I was young
I was driven to a birthday party,
the birthday party of a young boy
my own age.

This encourages social interaction,
I heard my step father say in the car.
It's good for him, toughen him up,
allow him to make friends,
play sport with fellows his own age,
get a taste of the real world.

He's only five,
my mother said.

From the back seat
I reached over
between the seats and
gently touched her hand.
It's okay, I said.
I'm five and a half now.
I can take care of myself.
I was glad that even though
I did not yet consider myself a man,
I was able to reassure
the woman in my life.

She smiled
as we pulled to the kerb
and as I adjusted the crease in my trousers
I was careful to lean out of sight
to receive my goodbye kiss
lest it mark me a scar
for the day's festivities.

When you are five
and you don't know anyone,
it's a lot easier to arrive
and to allow yourself to
be gently

What's he doing here?
I heard the birthday cake shriek.
I hate him.

And the sound of the chair
holding the birthday boy
scraped across the linoleum
and aborted my feeble greetings
and he raced to his room
(I wished for the womb)
as I stood still amongst
the silent stares
of his invited guests
until an adult close by
reluctantly attached
themselves to me,
blushing they were
for fear of
what I had brought
with me.


I had bought a Han Solo Figurine.
Hoth Edition.
I placed it amongst the other presents.

Some time later
when my entrance and attendance
had long since been forgotten,
The Magician arrived

and he said,
let there be quiet
and there was quiet.

I watched him carefully
from my place at the back of the room
observing his tricks,
following the ball,
the ribbon,
the balloons,
the hoops,

observing the squalid sneer
of the petulant prince
who greedily groped
for attention and sat savage
and snide when The Magician
cast him aside
to play with another child
for one moment.

My father paid for you,
I heard him say.

And then it was over
and one by one the other children
left and as I waited for my mother
I just stared at the piano
in the lounge room and
listened to the boy squeal to his father,

I lifted the lid,
saw the dust settled on
the keys as bones of a forgotten dreamer
and I began to play.

Not to drown out the boy,

but to make magic
all of my own.

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