On my 8th birthday, just after the 1976 release of King Kong
Aunt Sarah gave me a creature – a rubber toy
the size of a two litre bottle of Coca-Cola, as fake as the story,
all the stories she used to tell me
about justice and democracy
punishment and freedom
the sins of men and women.
Aunt Sarah was a lawyer so she set conditions:
the King Kong doll must never sleep with me.
My skin might not tolerate his artificial fur.
Fatal diseases, she warned.
His silence was as deep as her lies.
My present came wrapped in a iron coloured paper
with a rusty ribbon. There’s a smile on my face.
But that gorilla was in a cage.
Child and ape together – partners in evolution.
My little monkey monster, a doll in my arms.
Where fantasies live their destinies.
My boyish arms, bigger than King Kong,
catching my dreams.
when my home was in darkness
the only sound we could hear was our hearts beating together like a gong
my pent-up scream.
Never forgetting my Aunt
and the final fall scene.
Albeniz Clayton is a Poetry School student. The image of the cover of the Poetry School’s Spring 2014 programme, designed by Jack Hudson, is inspired this poem, which Albeniz submitted responding to our call for poems on the theme of ‘memory’. We’ve already featured an extract from this poem, and we’re delighted to now be able to publish it in full.