Chris Tse

The compulsive liar's autobiography

He was born in a cave that you won’t find on a map, where whales
sew their songs into stretches of beach and the tide unpicks their work.

My first word was ‘truth’.

At eleven, he tap-danced the length of the country. The media branded
his backstory ‘unauthorised to the edge of belief’. (Calls not returned.)

I staged the moon landing in my garage.

During the war, he murdered a one-eyed man whose name no one
remembers, though it’s always on the tips of tongues, ready to leap.

I was New Zealand’s first openly bisexual violinist.

He chanted daily into a charmed mirror—I will be loved, I will be loved.
The mirror looked back at him and could never believe what it saw.

I had three wives and one husband.

He fathered twenty children over eight industrious years. When asked
whether he knew any of their names, he started naming things in the room.

I know my first name is Steven.

He was questioned by police re: an incident at the zoo (animals broke in and
vandalised an enclosure). The evidence was allegedly destroyed in a fire.

I sold the cure for cancer to an African tribe.

The royalties from a sample in a hip-hop track funded a life-long passion
project: a musical about the disappearance of Lionel from Shortland Street.

I invented water.

He died in the arms of his lover, a man raised by wolves and fluent
in equations, the sort tipped to break through to the mainstream.

My cryogenically frozen body is hidden somewhere in Lower Hutt.

Chris Tse’s poetry has been widely published and anthologised in New Zealand and abroad. Chris is the author of two collections of poetry published by Auckland University: How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes (winner of the Jessie Mackay Prize for Best First Book of Poetry and finalist at the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards), and He’s So MASC. His non-fiction writing and book reviews have appeared in Capital, FishHead, Landfall and The Dominion Post. In 2018, he was LitCrawl’s inaugural guest curator and guest-edited issue 7 of Starling.

​Poem source details >

Chris’s website
Auckland University Press: He’s So MASC