the seven ages of (a) man

When I was seven I saw the elephant's grave. In love with Florence Moule. And she with me. We lived happily never after.

At fourteen, my nipples swelled painfully and sometimes expressed a milky fluid. Judy Singer was my good friend. Her breasts were hardly larger than mine. I never told her. Never told anyone.

Woke up on my twenty-first in a cow paddock east of Murapara. Hitching to Wellington with Vic Filmer. Had left university to become a writer. Disastrously. Too young.

Twenty-eight. L.A. Red Mole's Numbered Days in Paradise at The Odyssey Theatre in Santa Monica. Lorraine, their secretary, gave me flowers. I didn't really know her.

Thirty-five. Kawau Island. Coming down from an acid trip. A beautiful swim in the gulf. Then a terrible yacht ride back to the Sandspit with a family friend. Ken Lawn. He died ten days later.

Cannot really remember turning forty-two. In Darlinghurst. Drug haze perhaps. Or a party. Or both.

Seven sevens are forty-nine. Pearl Beach, out on the deck. Drank too much port, there was a bad fight between my girlfriend and my friend. We split not long after. I think we're doing ok with the kids.

Fifty-six ...

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