I always wondered at a man who had utter contempt of his mortality,

Until I met him that preached by the river.

He was ever in the company of his little goblins,

Kind creatures and slaves to his whim.

When I met him, he looked at me as if I was a burst of air,

Nothing more than a passing wind.

His eyes scraped at my skin,

Made me feel like unrefined Kapok straight from the rainforest.

He welcomed me into his arms,

I ran to him seeking meaning and a cause to be remembered by.

Long did I serve him, for a long time I fell in love with him;

He was everything a girl could want and everything a man could ever be.

I persisted in my obsession and took him like a drug every other time I felt sick.

I have seen on the telly many like me, mad, obsessed, in love and unaware,

I loathed them.

Soon I forgot about them,

Soon I felt no pity for them for they were the enemy.

With their foreign gods and foreign cultures and foreign filth.

The preacher assured me that they were all very necessary

He told me that I should not think of ways of getting rid of them.

Singularity is not natural, complacency is degeneration.

Focus on not being like them, focus on hating them, he urged.

I fought their spirit and out of my spirit became the spirit of hate.

Not to kill the ideal but to kill the poor souls attached to it.

To make them afraid.

To make them suffer and whimper at my sight with dread.

To make them die and wish for death more than the starved wish for food.

One day he had a meeting to attend that he said would change everything.

He left me in charge of the river and the goblins.

‘What is this meeting?’ I asked.

‘A conclave.’

‘Are they making you Pope?’

‘Sweet Child, no…not that kind of conclave, but do stay here. Things will be much different afterwards.’

I took care of the goblins and the lukewarm worshippers of the Preacher as they came in trickles.

Soon, they started coming in floods that I had to stand on a rock to address them.

‘Mend your ways,’ I pleaded with them

‘Can’t you see that you have been misled.’

Some listened and came back week after week. I parried on, spewing hate

At times I was overcome with emotion and,

Out of my little mouth came outbursts of affection for the damned souls not there with us.

At night I would roll back in my cave and wait for the Preacher.

I would pray to him for a miracle,

That he would be there in the morning when I woke up.

He was never there, ever, but I did not feel the slightest loss of faith in him.

I waited,

I grew up.

I wrote books and,

I made love to a few people.

I was getting used to be Lord and Master of my surrounding.

I was stepping into the shoes I once worshipped and kissed,

When one cloudy morning during the rainy season,

When the river banks had burst and,

The Goblins and I were sheltering in a cave together with a few of my followers,

The Preacher, fatter than before came back.

‘It has been too long.’ I cried when I ran to embrace him.


The Preacher stood there motionless as our Mother embraced him.

He looked around coldly that you could feel the warmth run out of your body.

He sighed loudly and wrapped his arms around Mother.

Mother feeling relieved, held him even tighter and we all sighed loudly.

The Preacher in return squeezed even harder,

But nothing could prepare us for the symphony of bones cracking and the escape of the soul.




I picked my bike and in a hurried way that is rather my own made my hurried way to Loon’s house,

I got in through the window and I got in through the door,

I knocked over her precious window vases and rather displaced her door mats.

Loon did not mind, it is Oxford you see.


I spoke quietly to Loon as she likes,

Then I shouted at her a little bit because she is somewhat deaf,

I bled her ears and rather made wet her face,

Loon was unfazed, she is the loon of oxford you see.


When time came for tea, she did not brew it,

In a rather conceited way, she threw two bags into my cup.

‘What a strange thing to do Loon!’

I was  not surprised, she is a loon you see.


I spoke to her of her mother and her father and her siblings,

She spoke back at me dispassionately in terms of logic and reasonings,

‘Reasoning’ she corrected, I stared ever amazed.

Loon then took a huge swig from her bottle of gin; she always has one you see.


When it was time to say goodbye, she rose up rather too quickly,

Extended a dry yet warm handshake and a hug a squeeze too tight,

Said she would write and think of me as often as she did rub her eyes,

She is the Loon of Oxford, she often rubs her eyes you see.

Clara and Ben



Ben: it is refreshing to put a face to the words. You are fairer than the words that have strung at my heart.
Clara : ( Blushes) it is nice to know that you think that way. For a moment I was worried that you would hate me for my story, but I am not the woman I am without them
Ben: and you are not the woman raised among pink roses talking of God and ball dresses. That would be rather ordinary; you have captivated my curiosity Clara.
Clara: the subject of God is without curiosity, which is what the fathers say. I tried getting to Him but He keeps me bound here on this sullen earth with pink roses. All I want to do is walk in the star light and sing the song of the earth, of all that is beautiful sprouting from it.
Ben: And I would sing it with you, every line except when you don’t want me to. You are beautiful Clara; I could look at you every waking hour and listen to you even when my mind grows old. Would you sing it to me then? This song of the earth and all that is beautiful sprouting from it.
Clara: Will you sing it with me? It is not complete yet.
Ben: I shall do my best.
Clara: Soul mystic of the night
Come to life in the dark light
Light the life of my soul and mind and fright,
Colour me with the mask of might
When I sway in the wind rolling against the dirt
When I stand defiant and frightened under the angry skies of the gods of the night
Let me not as a child be frightened,
Let me as the mountains grow old and never die,
Let me as the termites never hunger,
Cover me with a mound of fright and might,
To run after the children when the night shadows get a tad tired…
Ben: (Clearing his throat)
I should not have to beg soul of the night,
I am one with you and you are me from the day that we met
Don’t take your song I shall be left abashed
Come with me mystic soul full of dread
Don’t run when we can rest
Right here in the beautiful mound of fright and might.
Clara: are we just two corpses waiting to be taken away?
Ben: Better that we are two than alone, lest the termites would hunger. We are the beautiful mound of fright and might.
Clara: and after the thunder has rolled its roll, after the trees have finished swaying, there shall be a pink rose blooming from the termites dead with fill. It is all cyclic Ben. It never stops.
Ben: that is quite the truth, when we are done with our love story, my story then it shall end and then there would be a pretty pink rose sprouting from your left breast. I would wait to see that day. Not the end of our love, but when the pink rose sprouts. I would be so gladdened and you shall feel it too.
Clara: your enthusiasm brings a shade of red upon my lips. If you go Ben, when you decide to leave, I fear that there would be no pink rose sprouting from my left breast, just a purple rose and a beautiful monkshood that shall cover my head. (Ben turns to leave) it is as I feared, as I have always feared.
Ben: My beautiful Clara, if you frighten at the thought of love, you will never realise the art behind it. It is, I have discovered, true what they say, life imitates art. Love is an art; it covers that plainness and that darkness that masked the canvas that is our souls.
Clara: Don’t leave just yet. Stay here with me or not. We could study each other, learn each other and build memories of each other, together or not. Perhaps the looming darkness and the dull plainness will not leave, that does not mean we cannot relish the times when we are not frightened as children. Because truly Ben, very few things frighten me. Let us not thin the paint because we are hesitant. Let us paint our canvases with true paint as we are because it would be a shame to paint as we have already seen.
Ben: Your words are full of some eroticism that I can’t rid my mind of. I will stay with you or not, here painting canvases and singing songs sang in lands beyond that can never capture the attention of men as your beauty has captured my life. Tell me Clara, who made you the way you are?
Clara: the priest told me it was God. I did not believe him so I opened my eyes, all three of them and the fourth that I was told not to even though it had a pink cornea and lacked an iris. When I opened them I saw what I was told not to see, what ordinary men could not see.
Ben: (In almost a whisper) what was it that you saw that ordinary men could not see?
Clara: A gay little maiden who is a maiden no more. She was skidding through the trees, racing across the skies, diving in the earth and out again to catch her breath. She was beautiful and she was unruly. She comes to me to laugh and taunt me when she feels like it, but she is not unkind, she just loves to laugh. When I hope she crashes that hope, when I fear she dispels that fear; when I dread a misfortune, fortune comes and when I dream, she smugly steals away my dreams and then she laughs at me because I am powerless behind my mask of might.
Ben: Have you tried to talk to her?
Clara: I tried once and she punished me for it. I have tried to not see her again, but she is always there, a whisper away, comforting me, taunting me and letting me be me and letting me know her.
Ben: She made you this way?
Clara: she taught me to think, she is the most wonderful teacher and the most horrifying, and I hope you don’t meet her soon.
Ben: (Frowning) I would think that rather selfish of you.
Clara: I like you Ben, and for all the love I bear you in this world, there is no part of it greater than the love I have for your bright eyes and for your laughing teeth. When you meet her, she will make you solemn and destroy the beauty in you.
Ben: Flattery does not negate selfishness.
Clara: Nothing negates selfishness. You haven’t moved an inch since I asked you not to leave, tell me you will stay Ben, I would love that more than anything, to learn from you and to drink from your cup of wisdom and foolishness.
Ben: I have been struck by the lighting of Zeus held in the hands of his daughter Aphrodite. Clara, beat of my heart and warmth of my mind, I shall stay here with you, and drink this summer wine laced with cinnamon then I shall kiss your red lips, perhaps I can bask in the radiance of your soul. (Kisses her hand)

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