Aryan Kaganof


tu m'envoûtes avec tes mots

i wrote the book of thoth
the book of hermes too
in fifty tongues they
called me marduk
aah babe, but
that was
your glasses
off and lay down
next to me. i sculpted
time slow motionally. i carved
a great wall of poetry in front of
a crowd of 47 hostile mutants armed
with buns, but that was all before you
took the band out of your hair and lay down next to me. so here we are on a tiny little planet we're both re-inventing. i'm talking to your toes - they talk in colours back to me. i can feel you and it's been so long since i could feel


my death

i've got a fantastic library of penguin paperbacks that i keep promising myself i'll read one day.
but meanwhile i pin my dwindling hopes on merlot and shiraz to keep the blues away.
the skies have been black for years.
nuclear fallout or soot or gene-
tically modified clouds, i'm
not sure which, i don't
watch tv. i'm running
low on bottles, got
hardly any food,
the last time i
listened to
music bob
dylan had
just turned
sixty. then the
lights went out.
i thank the big guy
every day for giving me
this bunker and all the tins
of olives. most days i don't get
out of bed unless i have to. i rarely
ever have to. the label on my wine bottle is most all the reading i can muster up enthusiasm for. i've
got a fantastic library of penguin classics. One day i know i'm gonna get round to read them. here in my bunker the days can be a drag, but it's the night time that is killing.

and the
bottle came
vacuum packed
factory sealed for my
protection. it wasn't long
before the bottle was opened
and god was lying drunk on the
floor. i searched through his pockets,
couldn't find no small change, checked
his wallet – interesting – a faded photograph of me! taken about a fortnight after i died.
but by now the bottle was empty so i
simply melted back into the night
and grabbed a bus to the moon.

i travelled extensively after my death.
it didn't matter where, the effect of
changing scenery nourished me.
the more different the world
appeared the more i re-
alised how well
matched i was
to myself.
one day
that i didn't
belong anywhere,
i belonged everywhere.
now that i was dead i saw
how futile my life had been. its
entire meaning seemed to hinge around
the absurdity of earning a living. the extraordinary advantage of being dead was that one was liberated from worrying about how to live and when to die! i have never felt happier. i spend a lot of time in my garden listening to the trees, wrestling with the birds and climbing up the rays of sunshine that tickle my skin. it strikes me as most peculiar that i never felt this alive when i was alive! Life begins when you're dead. Surely it does.

i came home,
soaked my bloody
clothes in water, and
went to bed. i dreamed
that my death had a moral.
but when i awoke the
next morning i could
not remember
the moral.


Return to South African Writing
Introduction and Contents Page