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By Oba Adebayo-Begun


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Author Note:  I am a young African Writer who delights in exploring
the frontiers of imagination in presenting a
subjectively distinctive African World view.

I read Dramatic Arts at Obafemi Awolowo University,
Ile-Ife, Nigeria and currently am observing the
National Youth Service Compulsory Year.


I give the secret allusion of my apotheosis to a night of the evocation of a certain death, for it was inevitable that she should die. I imagine her warmly festooned in a dark temple, litter of dazzling jewels, of warm forest flowers strewn at her feet. I imagine her deep within the waters well laid out amidst gaudy blandishments. I imagine her playing the silent hostage to wailings and sighs, euphoria and happiness; and all the fleeting passions of time buried in the catacombs of the innumerable planets of all humans. I imagine her as the supreme goddess of memory. . . . That I, with my perturbable imperfections, should be the only partaker of the labyrinthine empire of her dominion, that I should be the sole priest lighting a torch to the endless cavern of her divinity comes to me with little surprise. I take for granted the solitude of my task, and even an mortal premonition that its grandeur, its exquisite profundity will ultimately be a forgotten track on the sands of time. I continue to embellish a myth, write a hymn and exert the languorous discipline of dream, on her behalf. On behalf of nothingness. The paradox of restoration demands that everything dissolve into nothing. A crack in the hitherto flawless mosaic and there is harmatia, humanity is restored! But it is not for cathartic evocation that I outline my fragile steps on the gyratory shrine of life. It is for a perversely pleasurable egotism, which permits me to see myself in the light of a gnomic dreamer whose ephemeral syntax sustains the tremulous hinges of a luminous universe – to see myself as a secret God! Now I shall outline the dance as I take on the undulating geometry of memory and unravel its sinuous knots…

It was a blue and cheery night on the sixteenth of December 1998. I had just come into town after an ostentatious stay of seven years in Europe, and the sweltering harmattan haze of languid Ijebu-Ode town was taking its toll. In the soft purl of an anaemic bulb masquerading as electricity I watched the staggering symmetry of ants as they transported the fallen body of a king cockroach into their scrupulous hole. I weighed my chances of seeing Feyisola, however tenuous. The last I had of her was when four years ago she mailed me a long unwieldy poem filled with blood, wails, dazzling copulation and the irreparable, irreversible torment of time. I replied her then, casually adding that I would forever treasure the verse, a warm reminder of home in the freezing sterility of wintry Europe. She wrote back with an admonishment on the word "forever", saying I should not again use it for I can never tell how short it is. The exchange of letters continued for a while and then she stopped. I was delirious with infantile passion. I wrote her twenty-five letters before I could finally convince myself of her loss. And it took a passionate letter from my widowed mum to rescind the decision of abandoning my studies abroad and coming back home. I later heard of her marriage proposal which was cancelled because her father lost the nomination to the gubernatorial seat to the Groom’s father. I also heard about her flourish in the national papers as the brave Queen defending the rights of hapless women condemned on the curious basis of adultery, in a country lulled on the perpetual tyranny over the womenfolk. And I heard no more of her. I guessed she must have forgotten about me, forgotten about the gutter Poet who treated her to passionate verses in English and Yoruba and on whose accounts her father occasioned the sack of a disciplined Old Principal for refusing to expel his prize student. Those were the heady days, days of bold blindness when I could risk the unleashment of sabre-toothed dogs, gun-toting guards and three nights in a stink hole for a chance meeting with my beloved. A pervasive idea came upon my mind as the moon, hanging comfortably, made a mockery of the sickly bulb oozing yellow, in the illumination of the dense chaos of books, clothes and cigarette packs playing itself out in my room. I was thinking of how to bring about the heady days of blind boldness when I heard a gentle knock on the door.

"Good Evening Sir."

Starched and stiff suits, shoes gleaming and a curious familiarity.

"Evening May I help you?"

"I was told a certain Jide Begun resides here."

I regard him with a slightly hidden bemusement.

"Yes May I help you still?"

"I am from Feyisola Omotade."

My heart leapt. I looked carefully and began to see the convergence of hauteur and an irrepressibly brown handsomeness of Feyi, darkened by seven years and a distant imitation standing before me.

"How nice please do come in."

He gave a sign to the Chauffeur of a shining black hulk of a jeep parked a good distance away, dusted his shoes by the footmat and entered. He looked about fleetingly and refused to sit.

"So How is Feyisola?"

A brief pause and a sigh

"She is late."

I felt eerily light and floating in space. In a whiff of dream my mind played over the thousand pictures of Feyi I had convoked. Images of Feyi playing the Queen of the hive, images of Feyi in another man’s bed, images of Feyi and I rolling under a distant moon in coitus of passion… These were jealous, beautiful images. None captured her dead. A tiny wail let itself out from the recesses of my belly.

"Late? How late? How is she late?"

I asked puerilely, thoroughly soaked in sweat and befuddlement.


"I certainly do not understand."

Sternly, he sat down on the edge of a seat and regarded me briefly, as if in doubt whether to speak. My pleading, anxious eyes assured him. He proceeded.

"I shall tell you briefly for in doing so I fulfill the dead’s wish."

And he went on to narrate how his sister contracted AIDS in circumstances he needed not reveal, how this came as no mean blow to his father’s prestige and time-honoured name and position as a Federal Minister. Her father insisted that she go abroad for a proper anti-retroviral treatment. Feyisola, believing that she could get all the treatment she needed and still lead her normal life in Nigeria and who also did not see a correlation between her unfortunate state and her father’s career, refused to travel. She was consequently abandoned by her parents and went to a village where she embraced silence, concentrated on writing and refused to see anyone for a year. Afterwards, her brother got a medium-sized envelope from the courier and a letter describing an inconsequential river in a serene village. When they got there, they found her swollen body lying by the shore with a suicide note saying "I have gone to where there is perpetual sunlight…" In the letter by courier she requested that the sealed envelope be given to me. And she was buried hastily and probably forgotten hastily by parents who weren’t too eager to stain their political linen with the crimson scandal of AIDS.

"Have you got the envelope here?"

I asked.

"That is the reason for my coming."

He replied curtly and handed over a sealed, slightly dirtied envelope to me from the inner reaches of his silk suits.

He continued.

"My father insisted on burning the envelope you have in your hands but I hid it till I was told you were in town. He has not forgotten you or your intransigence several years ago. Any noise from you will inflame that memory." He stood up and said ever so lightly.

"And I myself will personally handle you in the eventuality."

I glared at him but he was looking straight ahead of me into space, like I was not there. After a long sigh of somebody suddenly unburdened of a heavy load of metaphysical proportions, he approached the door.

"Good night. You may forget ever seeing me."

I did not reply. He walked two or three steps, took a pause and turned back, bringing out a slim package, another envelope.

"These were the letters you wrote her after her death. I guess I need not keep them again."

He dropped it on the table and stepped into darkness, into the oily luxury of his Chauffeured Jeep. And it sped off. In that instant, I saw Feyisola’s brother transformed in space, hovering like a serene gnome and muttering ancient deprecations. A battered, swollen image of Feyisola appeared in the emptiness formerly occupied by the car. She was tethered firmly to a thoroughbred. On it was her Dad, galloping spastically; a perpetual organism. Her mother was mild and sable. She oozed milk of kindness from her mouth. Her heart was scarlet like her horse. And I began to see horses: white, black, brown, green, blue, golden, glorious horses, lean horses, strong horses. Hostile horses. Horsemen, horsekind of the end of days. Power like religion is an ancient instinct in the violent vision of men.

Feyi! Feyi! Feyisola!

I screamed, lit a cigarette, took a drag, extinguished it and lit another one. My hands were fluttering wildly. The clock struck 8.0 clock. My eyes traced the undulating collage of brown on the room’s ceilings. Silent grief manifests itself in series of images and motions: half trigonometry, fine reticules of spiderweb, unwritten ancient hieroglyphs and a thousand and one memorious passages of Feyisola…. An accident occurred on the highest point of a mountain and dazed with terror I kept falling. My eyes were clammy, my heart was stricken and soon I began to enjoy the eternity of vertigo. I saw blood. My eyes spewed blood in subaqueous luminousity. Blood, crimson and hot! Blood brewing with volcanic gloom.

Tired blood. Wasted blood. Ocean of blood. Tiny, shiny droplets, of blood and in that vertiginous reality I thought of mining the rich precious blood. A variation… another world, trees rose toweringly into the skies from the insemination of the rich dark ground, protuberant from shrubby groins firmly rooted in verdant sapphire. A beautiful reminiscence of heady days of giants, they formed a bridge between the burdensome serenity of the impersonal skies and the throbbing vitality of the daemonic earth. I was an eagle with the heart of a woman and the cryptic solemnity of a mermaid. I glistened like a pearl, like a mythical lore. A fair wind mobilized the trees and I flew. Swift in my stride, noble in my ethereality; I soared in all the vanity reserved for the strong. But I got nowhere. The dream kept changing coat, a chameleon. I fell, I kept falling. I soared, I kept flying… the spirit is an endless, eternal flute playing the adagio of nothingness. The wind suddenly roared, lightning flash on a tempestuous storm. There was a knock. More fervent knocks. I was aghast. The temporal fabric of my dreams or of variant motifs in the dream was rent. A thunderstrike hit the eagle. A wing was clipped. Folding my damaged member gingerly, I fell inchoately into time. I was aghast. A tremulous delicacy had been shattered. The flow of blood stopped. My clammy eyes brittled out an apparition with the irradiating head of a grinning moon. It materialized into a solid shape. Man. Tall. Heavy with a certain cringing politeness. He knocked on a table. He rattled the rattle of a garish masquerade with empty beer bottles. Time lost its sinuous meaning, loosened its tyranny. I was in a bar.


The man before me was putting on cassock, white as fleece of lamb.

"What? What immortality?"

"That was what you screamed before you literally swooned off. I have been trying to make you come to for the past ten minutes."

I looked around. The haze in the bar was accentuated by cigarette smoke, adding texture to the somnolent tapestry of Agidigbo music weaving ceaselessly from a three-man band, ten paces away.

"You should not be swooning off like this. You are a fine young man, brilliant. We were discussing before you went off."

"I know."

The thread of our discourse strung on clearly with the astonishment of a previous existence. I was back from a lurid catacomb and about to regain the poignant ambience of that blue and cheery night. I lit a stick. The man before me was a Reverend gentleman, a well-known acquaintance who I fell on a long discourse with in a passionate craving to shed my mind of the savagery of grief. He, thinking I was finally yielding to his intellectual Christianity, generously bought me beer. Not forgetting to take one or two himself. It was a discreet bar and he was a discreet Priest. The discussion inevitably led to unwieldy labyrinths and fed surreptitiously on my suppressed anguish.

"Immortality is the ultimate metaphysical achievement of flesh on earth."

"Soul, I take soul."

He said, happy that I was back on track.

"It is long, Reverend, it is long. For starters, I always suggest one should drink a carton of beer as a toast to the health of God, and then you gallop away in a glorious horse to world ever after. Amen!"

The Priest groaned silently and quietened. The music by then had stopped. I watched as the air remained so still to the lascivious caress of a fertile moon. A distant god played his lyre to a tree, pulling out silk of luscious wind from a head of laurels. Up there! Up there! Everything happens up out there and I am down in here. In the depths of my soul where anything deserving to be called drama happens anyway, I watched the histrionics of moon as she rendered the history of dead souls and dead civilizations to a bemused sky in a daze of lunatic afflatus. She bears the face of a sad woman, Feyisola:

"Night black Night

Your shrill sufferable garment

Weaves my soul

Into lyrics of pain!"

We rested languidly under a shady Iroko tree in the thick of a grove, bodies glistening after a brief but intense lovemaking, our passion fed by elongated starvation. The moon was tearing angrily through the skies with the unselfconsciousness of a naked mad woman tearing through the market, upsetting the fruits of the earth. She rolled over on me and gently circled my nipple with an index finger.

"Have you ever felt

The idyll of the moon cascading

The heavens in the elixir of silver

And shimmering chrysoberyls?"

I did not answer.

"Then your soul is dead

To the dainty aesthetics

Of the gods, not like mine!"

And the picture vanished into nothingness. I was overtly satiated with a sorrow almost three-dimensional in form. I stood up, rendered farewell niceties and occlusions and stumbled out of the bar in semi-drunken illumination, leaving a surprised Priest. The night infinitely trudged on like a patient chronicler counting grains of sand in a beach. When I arrived home I slowly picked up the envelope containing my letters to her – ten of them – and a cursory glance at the first two convinced me of the utter necessity of burning them all. I went backyard and made a brief flame. Petty things, they danced lewdly to the suggestions of fire. I got inside and carefully tore the second envelope. There were neat sheets with careful, fragile calligraphy. Her smell wafted to my soul from the cruelty of an evergreen nose till aroused memory sprouted in the heart a virginal elemental flowery of faith on the belated wake of a stillborn love. I had a premonition I would treasure those sheets forever! Gently I began to read on that blue and cheery night. After reading the first page, terror brushed its vertiginous tail in the hollow of my cranium. I felt a delightful numb sensation at the base of my neck. An enchanting personality dished out a universe. I proceeded with a well-defined feeling of lightheadedness. The clock struck 12.0 clock.

… There is no beginning. There is no end. All earthly manifestations are an ego statement against nothingness. I wake up from an imprecise monument. I wake up into an inchoately condensed existence; throbbing, weaving, bobbing, a mere whiff, a petty slime in the wondrous entrails of the universe… I am a quiescent hourglass accommodating monumental drops on the penumbra of cosmos. I am a dream. I am the dream. I am that universal word on which rests the illusion of existence and eternity. Aeons ago I roamed the cosmos seeking fire and faith and order. But I find none. I find darkness rich as the hollow of my palm. I find a black hole as momentous as the universal hiatus. I read the books and am narrated the catechism of a distant creation, an opaque creation where poetry alone sires a whole race of Men. Where black lakes are eternally scorched by the magnificent order of a fierce sun. And a subtle vermin sows a monstrous myth in the dark soil of humanity. Very well then. Let my words engender that madness, let my words rein in on the infinite chaos deep inside the mirror reflection that is our world. Let my words create a grain of sand, illumine the recesses of geometry, engender a giant, form a scholar, kill a witch and extinguish the murderous glint of civilization. The orgiastic urge of creation, of taming wild, irresponsible motifs into a pattern, a coordinated series, a definitive cosmos, – the task of filling a void, painting on a fresh, eerie canvas, teeming it with life, with tangible, intangible deeds and the whole surrealistic gamut pried open to insidious perception; the task of becoming God! – that is the gist of my credo. That is the basic fundament of my most illustrious universe. An elaboration will only make an imminent possibility into an apparent reality. I become God! Let’s say for example from viscous innards of a whim there was Sinmidele. I see her on the other side of the shore, about to embark on a small, inconsequential river bounding Ira village with the ancient city of Osogbo. She had the sparkle of jasmine trapped in a dark luminous net of eyelashes. She was finely woven, a delicate tripping sculpture by a patient Yemoja-gifted Artist. With the gait of a cavorting doe she strode graciously among the traders. Her fair portion of goods firmly balanced on a head whose inspired likeness is the Ife bronze figurine. She chattered ebulliently with her fellow traders, thinking of the lover waiting for her at the other side of the shore. They quarrelled last night and parted with angry words. But she secretly hoped that would not deter him from waiting for her as he always did weekly, as the traders having to peddle their wares to and from the great Osogbo Market must cross the docile river whose name and myth is synonymous with the village.

Many young men had wooed her hands in marriage and she had refused them all. The village Belle felt her beauty to be superabundant above the standard requisite of the unassuming village and patiently waited for the annunciation of wonderful tidings. Ira village was a virgin, a temperamental land with its maidenhead intact but full of turbulent psychology. Sinmidele’s man would have to pay the price of beauty with fame. None of the suitors in the land was famous, so they gave up. Except one man from nowhere. This young man always waited for her at the shores of the river where the traders rested after an exhausting day at Osogbo. Since no one knew his father or where he came from, they assumed he was from a neighbouring village or in cosmogonic magnanimity, from the tiny shell of a forest snail. The Belle at first had rejected the stranger. But soon her radiant smile, the distinctive jingling of her waist beads and her prudent jocularity whenever he happened along, gave out her inner craving. He had his enigma: his luscious manners, and a voice that is the song of a thousand corals. She surrendered to the passionate desire of the free and beautiful. They turned the simple shoreside to an edenic universe.

Come! Come! Come my love!

I fear the consummation of gold in your eyes, it shall burn.

Come my love. The gold you see is a gift of love.

I fear your voice, a thunder!

My voice, the proud harbinger of gentle tidings

I fear your enigma, your slippery ways.

It is but a child of its origins, an indelible stamp of ancient mysteries

I hate mysteries, I run!

Do not run. Love doesn’t run.

I hide my throbbing heart; I conceal my belief, my absence, my gold!

You do not conceal your eyes, pathways to the treasures of heart.

Where are you from?

The World.

A mighty place, no meaning, no definition, no place.

Ah! You get it wrong, a small place, small place indeed!

I want a defined Origin; I want a love from city and with gold

Come into my arms and you shall have it.

I am afraid, I twitch.

Come you shall be calm!

She would sing of great things: wealth, fame and gold for her mother always wanted that. He would sing of simple things: the beautiful cry of Aparo bird ushering golden sunrise, the refreshing cool of twilight, the tearful laughter of a tickled child and a painless longing for death.

They played their little games on riverside shore; they played their love under the chaperon of moonbeams. They played in all the telluric clover symbolized by the minute village. This went on languidly for a year. Women had begun to make fun of the Belle for shunning the bright suitors of her clan and dallying with a nobody. The men made songs about a stranger who delights in roasting antelopes he could never eat, until her widowed mother under the pain of disownment made her swear by the maternal goddesses to stop seeing the Stranger. She met him at the shore under the dark carpet of the night and told him of her verdict. He simply laughed and told her to enjoy the details of her maidenhood for he would soon put an end to it. She took offence at the crazy prognosis and stormed away, ostensibly never to see him again. Now she knew that was impossible. She longed to see him at the other side of the shore. And as they began to ford the lazy currents she dreamt up his appearance quiveringly by the shore side. Then something happened. The docile river went mad with sheer mendacity of loneliness and heaved a chest. All the merchants were submerged. With a shock of horror and surprise they flailed wildly in the suddenly quarrelsome tides shouting a din to their gods amid gulps of warm liquid desert. No sooner had they began with their ubiquitous wares to form a salient motif on the enigmatic canvas of villainous waters than the river got bored and the tides receded calmly. They floundered their goods ashore, destroying that enchanting humanoid palette on the backdrop of brown, oscillating chalcedony. The traders counted their losses, which were trifle, as the upsurge had barely lasted two minutes. They trekked the remaining distance home chattering like weaverbirds. But Sinmidele was not among them. Now I can see her deep inside the waters struggling to free herself from the subterrestial tyranny and break into the airy surface. A cloud of water enveloped her and fettered her limbs. She ceased struggling. Three men materialized from the cloud. They were dressed in an aquamarine garment that seemed seamless.

Their eyes were shining like diamond pebbles. They bowed reverently before her and touched her forehead. She immediately fell asleep. In her sleep she dreamt of ambulant lymphatic forms. She dreamt of golden sylphs playing exquisite wordless music with the skulls of half-formed babies. She realized with amazement that the dream was clearer than reality, lucid like the breast of a dolphin. She realized when the skulls began to materialize into deformed monsters and shrivelling the virtuosic musicians that she was one of them. She ran and the dream vanished. On waking up she saw herself in an expensive gallery. She was lying on a mighty bed and three women were floating above her. She sneezed and they were on firm ground. The gallery turned to a room with no mirrors. On the walls were arabesque motifs of luminous legends. The door opened and a young man walked in with a certain unmistakeable regal bearing. She realized with shock that he was the strange man. She quivered. He touched her benignly and in his beryl eyes she could see he was the spirit of the river. But it was not really a river. It was a teeming advanced planet that moved on wordlessly beneath the earth, masquerading its destiny under the deceptive fašade of a shallow river. And this strange young man formerly of a neighbouring village or the small snailshell of the forests was the supreme lord. When he touched her lips her spirit became calm with assurances of well-being and glory. Indeed she was now to become a Queen. Her body was renewed. She felt energetic. Soon the young man left. And she found herself in a mighty open space filled with resplendent beings. The grounds were paved with red diamonds. She was clad in a soothing moon, which was snugly fitted on her body. The king was seated beside her. And the beings were paying their homage. There were Priests, Scholars, Scientists and Technicians. There were the noble class and the teeming underwater hoi polloi. The dead sent a delegation. Sinmidele noticed from their bright lapis lazuli eyes and their frozen topaz feet that they were the privileged and it was considered a rare feat to permanently die for life was intolerably abundant in that universe without language. Then music began to waft breezily, enhancing the illusion of eternity in space. She could recollect that it was the same sibilant music of half-formed skulls. Their dance was an impeccable introduction of their universe. In it she began to glimpse their wordless existence, the stark unreality of their lives, the painted glory of their civilizations. She saw different metamorphoses of the planet: once a tree, a forest gnome, a mortal desert, a glorious emperor; now a shallow river. She left the gathering and wandered in the open spaces. She saw transparent trees, dead-weights who yet were glorious dictators on earth. She saw a Painter trying to capture the still-life of the God of a distant planet. She saw state farmers sowing secret grains and reaping massive deaths on earth. With this they were experimenting on how to increase their mortality rate. She met a dog which was once a popular philosophy on earth. The dog boasted with its tail that this was the best of all possible worlds and proceeded to show her around. It took her to a pellucid grove which was in its glorious days the first quilt in a pyramidal patchwork. It is now a patina of dubious origins on earth. In this grove the dog explained in careful, terse barks that all their knowledge existed in a dangerous black lake. And the black lake would only open its numinous treasures to an uncomprehending stranger who will live forever after glimpsing it. It went on to explain the origins of the lake, how it was the beginning of all possible worlds and how having been thoroughly pillaged by fierce, cold suns it receded to the painful shrouds of mythology, its sapient waters claimed by underserving civilizations, each blaming the other for the pillage. When they got to the lake Sinmidele became possessed of the knowledge of her pregnancy. The secret touch of the king had sealed the passion between river and woman. She waxed parturient and gave birth to a future, key alphabet of the imminent solar civilization. It was the answer to the riddle of a lake and a tattered sphinx tiredly crumble to death. She peered into the mirror-like surface of the lake. The scholarly dog in its excitement wagged her ceaselessly for the universal answer. But she saw nothing. She peered again and saw herself. Distraught, she peered hard and she began to observe that she was just a picture, a mirage on the lake of nothingness. She was the only real thing on the fabled lake of all knowledge in all worlds. The only worthy knowledge there is. She realized she was no longer Sinmidele and was identical with the infinity of all men and that that infinity will continue forever with the sacred knowledge glimpsed precariously on the prophetic black lake of nothingness. With bated breath she explained to the Philosopher dog that the universe can only get better once humans realize the infinity of the mind, the indestructibility of knowledge and the need to cultivate that exclusive faith in all men irrespective of race and creed. The dog could not understand that we were all bound to one destiny and the garment of wisdom is an infinite space covering all men. The dog could not apprehend the universal truth that every phenomenon including man, beast, sea, sibyl, past, future, plant, atom, unborn seas, unformed thoughts, fire, physics; is one irreversible pull towards the endless orbits of creativity. It could not understand that which is the only real knowledge etched tremulously on vanishing surface of the black lake. And in anger Sinmidele resolved to invent language in that underwater surreality. In the lake she heard agonizing cries of her mother. Life could stretch extensively without any colour and the mind possesses a most forgiving memory. Events subject themselves to the tyranny of time and lose their potency. They become limpid, floating gently on the threnody of collective amnesia. That is why what is forgotten and consequently unknown will forever remain the abode of suppressed anguish and occasional illumination. In the first detail of her invention she breathed in the fire of speech into the dog and watched its irreversible, inevitable fatality. The philosophical dog in raspy, arrogant language opined that without forgetfulness which is the voice of nothingness, there can really be no progress, no existence. Histories get interesting because we forget they are mere duplications of one another. Pain gets shocking because we forget its destiny is for it to be permanently perpetuated. Even extinct species pay the price of forgetfulness. They are the alternative cost of existence. And it went on to propound that some human race on earth be wiped out and forgotten. Sinmidele shut it up and it vanished into the mystery of the lake. Things started happening in a swirl. The widow’s cry became a bitter reality on the universal dream of that infinite dreamer. Her cry grew the wings of eagle and talons of jaguar. Her cry travelled on the magic wand of light to and from the cosmogonic extremes and disturbed the tremulous balance of things. From the elongated kinesis of a woman’s pain, a secret answer was summoned. Sinmidele knew her time in the new-found world was numbered and proceeded to infinitely sow language like the tooth of a serpent. We build our monstrous bridges on the sandy edge of precipice and watch as the sea consumes them all. Our fabled knowledge is like soft, hollow whimperings crooned against the deafening din of time. And so shall we be swallowed. So shall we pass into the gluttonous womb of time. I watch Sinmidele bent on teaching the chief human achievement to the dumb presences of the river. I see her in her strife and I give her strength. I, the ubiquitous dreamer spinning wondrous realities in my dream. The creator of kings and men, sybils and docile rivers, dogs and a grain of sand. Language created a new reality. Words broke loose on the world, things fell apart. Out came metaphysics, literature and psychology; to replace the simple beauty of stones and caves, wood and canvas and exquisite music dancing flagrantly at the temple of the mind. And with language came superfluity. Sinmidele the village Belle turned Queen insisted that they chronicle every jot of passion and knowledge. Soon there were words for geography, love, sadness, scake and sex. Their philosophy passed from being an elementary gesture to an infinite labyrinth. There was excitement. There was malice. Ancient scores started to settle. There was a murder and a new claimant to the throne. Language recorded all. All could be explained away in language. They started burning the frontal edges of their civilization. Soon all were guilty and language was there to stir the tyranny of conscience. Prophets of doom sprang up. Sinmidele was no longer fascinated and one day it entered her mind to fashion an infinite depository for all the faults of language, the storehouse for the sadder passions of men, an entity to forgive and exhort, a being to freely release the memory in the ambrosia of forgetfulness. It entered into the mind of Sinmidele - a mere entrail of the viscious air, a mirage form on the abyss of nothingness - to create a living god!

Ten master sculptors which included plants, dolphins and the exacting rectitude of logic were commissioned. Temples were designed and Priests were sought. But it remained the spirit. Sinmidele had learnt from the excruciating mirror of the black lake that the exquisite symbols of pervasive ethereality – solemn temples, gangling cathechrals, masterpieces of gifted Artists – are not exemplars of Beauty as Truth or as the infinitely serial Godhead. They are rather true exemplars of the fantastic mechanism of mind to fashion tokens, magnificent tokens simulating man’s fantasy of the infinite and the divine. Products of ornamentation of the most superior and functionalistic ornament –Divinity. After this comes the deluge of nothingness, always after; for it is only in this that infinite consciousness can be glimpsed. And all the existing gods with their cupidity and lust, hypocrisy and wantonness, ignorance and terrors, suddenly seemed trite to her. Even the new god of science and numbers, pogrom and pandemic; the new god with its curious machines, slangy habits and prying ways seemed uninteresting.

In a revolutionary chaotic move of free will, Sinmidele began to dream a dreamer. A lone muttering genius cocooned in another world. Probably a fugitive, a rogue spinning these motifs, drawing infinitely on shadows and whiff of smoke. Or grain of sand. She had known the fatality of dream and reckoned that no other divine would be worthy of worship as the supreme being of memory than that crazy demiurge, the unknown spider. She outlined her needs, pleaded and entreated, curse and sighed, prayed and wailed. Until I begin to see a beautiful woman with the eyes of jasmine and doe’s gait on a stormy back sea commanding me to come, assuring of mutative transmogrification. She mustered me- a petty figment, viscuous entrail of air - and I of solid flesh and blood, creation of indefatigable matter or fatigable God, I grow weak at heart. Now I am the dreamed. She ornamented my sleep with weeping sprites. On the roads I see crying statues begging for spirit, spilling towers of blood. I cease speaking and no longer pursue worldly ends. I consecrate myself in the catalepsy of silence, solemnly intuiting my new tasks. Then one day I hear a dolorous song on the storm of the sea, a lone voice wailing the melancholy of the world, I proceed irrevocably to my destiny as the extant goddess of a cryptic civilization: the Alpha in their pantheon of worship, the I am that I am, the first God on their propitiative imagination. But my one fear though: who shall dream the dream when the dreamer gets sucked into her own vain illusions…

Sinmidele with her task completed, swam resolutely towards the gleaming surface. All the merchants were submerged. With a shock of horror and surprise they flailed wildly in the suddenly quarrelsome tides shouting a din to their gods amid gulps of warm liquid desert. No sooner had they began with their ubiquitous wares to form a salient motif on the enigmatic canvas of villainous waters than the river got bored and the tides receded calmly. They floundered their goods ashore, destroying that enchanting humanoid palette on the backdrop of brown, oscillating chalcedony. Sinmidele emerged dripping with them. The traders counted their losses which were trifle as the upsurge had barely lasted two minutes. Sinmidele had an inspiration to propitiate a certain sea goddess. With the traders she trekked the remaining distance home chattering like weaverbirds, into the heads of her waiting lover, into the hands of an ignorant mother, into nothingness….

…. Now I dream the dream. For Feyisola I became the dreamer, the lone muttering genius. Probably a fugitive, probably a rogue. I dream it every night on abandoned, desolate tracks. I dream it on hazy afternoons wailing the loss of light. I dream it on sandy seashores where if I stare hard at the sea I begin to see myself on the lustrous surface of nothingness. In that fleeting monument I am Feyisola. I am immortal, delirious in the cavern of my imagination. I exert the languorous discipline of dream. I imagine her playing hostage to wailings and sighs, euphoria and happiness; and all the fleeting passions of time buried in the catacombs of joyless humans. I imagine her as the queen-goddess of memory. I imagine her warmly festooned in a dark temple, litter of dazzling jewels, of warm forest flowers strewn at her feet. It was inevitable that she should die. I give the secret allusion of my apotheosis to a night of the evocation of her certain death….

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