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A happy birthday poem for Sam Hunt by Selina Tusitala Marsh

Happy birthday today, Sam Hunt! To mark the occasion we present a poem by Selina Tusitala Marsh.

 

Orange Crayon Stick Figure Man

(on the occasion of reading “with’”Sam Hunt at the Parnell Rose Gardens, only to discover that “with” was employed euphemistically to describe sharing the same venue, but performing at different times)

 

Sam, Sam

my orange crayon stick figure man

I love you

because you are what you do

and did what you said

back in ’82

I was eleven when you came

to our Avondale school

you looked drunk

but you were nobody’s fool

like the unsung pied piper

you played your own tune

 

and we followed

and we followed

 

in shirt hung like a rolling stone maxim

flung over black exclamation mark jeans

puncturing our poetry rulz 4eva

and I loved you

 

and we followed

and we followed

 

and we followed

your DB Draught words

your hill rolling slurs your breaths your chants your lamentations

your strides your quivers your gesticulations

 

so, I wanna beg your pardon

I know you never promised me a rose garden

but here we are

and I’m doing what you did

and I’m telling

 

Sam, Sam

my orange crayon stick figure man

we’d only just begun

when you coloured in my tongue

waxing oh so lyrical, tragical, comical

Kiwi Shakespeare shearing in our school hall

from one rant to the next

to the other and the one after that and that

 

Sam

you one cool cat

and

I love you.


The poem will appear in Tightrope, an eagerly awaited collection of verse by Selina Tusitala Marsh (Auckland University Press, $27.99), published on August 21.

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