The Teatime Tarzan by Allen Ashley



Allen Ashley is co-editor with Sarah Doyle of the anthology Humanagerie (Eibonvale Press, UK, 2018). He has work due soon in publications from Black Hare Press, NewCon Press and the British Fantasy Society. He has previously appeared twice on the Words for the Wild website. His next book will be as editor of The Once and Future Moon (Eibonvale Press) – due late 2019.





























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

and quicksand.

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

Mother’s ululation:

“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




Allen Ashley


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