“Once he reached for something golden, hanging from a tree, and his hand came down empty.” (Carole King, ‘Tapestry’)
This is the way it ends for the broken kind,
Missing in a maze of trimmed hedge cul-de-sacs,
A victim of a simplified minefield that is my mincemeat mind,
With the colours of my culture multiplied and maximised -
White on white but never quite optimised -
Every melanoma scar scaped like scabs on my scared skin,
But pristine compared to the wounds of the suicide within.
The Africans called me a Cambridge wash-up;
But I'd never ever been up there marching to the mighty drums;
The Asians said I looked like an old footballer,
A rugby type, thick-necked from too many scrums,
Yet striving to be amongst the thinkers,
While the locals saw me as one who belonged with the drinkers -
Soon to become a rejected son of Australia.
And so I steered the years of quest and failure,
'Til my hand came down empty, though I’d climbed the trees
To reach for the branch where the fleece fizzled in the breeze.
Now I'm just an ageing face in the audience,
Eyes bloodshot red and yellow with jaundice,
Straining to see beyond my reading spectacles,
Each lens reflecting the specious spectacular,
Restricted to thoughts riddled with speculation,
A wasted brain that somehow became
A mere receptacle for others' brilliant exceptionals.