The Teatime Tarzan
Blithely oblivious, as a child, to the dodgy
cultural politics of the source material
with the white man as noble savage
and secret peer of the realm, I
simply watched “Tarzan” for adventure.
And I’m the kid in the grey flannel
school shorts and white aertex vest
aping that 5 note ululation
and banging my scrawny chest –
but not too hard, for fear of cavities
There’s always quicksand.
No hanging liana vines in Finchley
with which to swing my way through
the suburban jungle, just a few horse
chestnut trees on the common,
their bases prone to dog mess. But
at least they’re in colour;
Tarzan’s jungle was always black and white
and not just because of the monochrome TV.
Now I think: How is he so toned
and are those Y-fronts beneath the loincloth?
And why does he never show dirt or sweat
from the exertion of beating the bad guy?
Even back then, I found it annoying
that he called his Chimpanzee “Cheta”.
I had one called “Jacko”. A toy.
All adventures ended by
“Come in now, it’s time
for tea. And your programme’s on.”
Leave riding the lions and trapping the trappers
to another day. Wipe your feet
on the doormat. Or maybe step over it
with exaggerated care. It might be
quicksand. There’s always