Chris Tse

Artist’s impression of the poet is not drawn to scale

This is the poet behind the mask
                      of a matinée idol
who has no emergency contact
and whose love songs are built
with gender-neutral pronouns.
Many are surprised that the poet is shorter
in real life, yet is still as susceptible
to mythology as the rest of us.
*
There are points
in the poet’s life that cannot be accurately
rendered by any artist
or the poet himself.
Well, you’re obviously a crap painter,
said the art teacher to the poet.
What stress, if any, to place
on the young poet’s arm
caught in a clothing recycling bin
or his hand thrown
through the glass of his front door?
*
This is the poet masquerading
          as a rock star
          as a local celebrity
and in this piece:
          as a rugby player
          as a straight man
cutting through the pack
to score the winning try
while the crowd cheers
                     PO-ET! PO-ET!
He doesn’t bother looking out
towards the stands for that special someone
or something. The mud caking his face
gives way to tear-tracks and a flash of guilt:
to play this championship game
he left a poem to walk home alone.
This is the poet as neglectful father.

___________
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