Benefit of Doubts

 play in 6 acts. My latest play.

it’s laughable for Nana and her minions all to agree that no man has a right to resist their solicitations. I don’t share her fears nor her appeal to the jealousy of the men folk against ultimate sanction of morality. Besides men and women have perennially had difficulty getting on with one another, and this difficulty have been compounded by women’s movement. So that the only thing we can do to keep our sanity is to imagine playful solutions to this eternal problem.

A play dealing with temptation and importunities of women, opening the grosser side of a woman’s passion. A comedy of propriety woven with threads of studies of prudery. A tyranny of conventional propriety looking into the flaws of both the moral and judicial system in the so-called high society. A play of morality and integrity, carnal love and true love, honour and dignity.

Description.
Solicitations of Abbou, a young servant by a married woman, Nana her master’s wife. He’s tempted but all the more striking is his consciousness of the ultimate sanction of morality. His persisting integrity exemplifies higher power-a world’s influence might invade but would not touch the upright. He does not falter; he rejects her innuendoes and solicitations willy-nilly.

But she takes her revenge-doesn’t take his rejection lying down. The covetous wife turns the tables on him by asserting the opposite of the truth. Makes a covert appeal to the jealousy of the men-servants against the hated Abbou, and to the fears of the society women, whom she represents as unsafe from insults. The women all agree that no man has a right to resist their solicitations. Beauty is spurned. Her distorted account of facts has the desired effect on her husband. And there is the threat of prison for Abbou, and the company of the vilest of men, instead of the caresses of beauty in high places.

The Judge, her husband, can read through their solicitations, and have been busy all along with another similar strange death-row case, a perfect parallel to the false accusation by his Wife to his own servant. Where two brothers living together and the wife of the Elder Brother, accuses the Younger Brother falsely. The Elder seeks to murder the Younger. But being at last convinced of his innocence, he slays his Wife instead.

All these happens against a background of the domineering presence of Big Mama, the Judge’s mother, and who is not only in bad books with Nana, but also is soliciting lobbying, and helping a covetous lass, Minnie, to get married to her son.

Excerpts from the play Benefits of Doubts

 

A2S4—The Native Return

 

[Minnie spreads a dark duvet in her king-sized bed which lies strategically in the middle of a room that’s devoid of modern convenience. Draperies and Swahili kangas hang precariously on racks. Smoke from jasmine incense fills the room. An old African mat, faded carpet, etc are adorned by unpacked pastries, snacks, drinks, etc. Minnie’s beaming smile splashes in approval. Enter Big Brother]

 

  Big Brother: [Holding the drinks] Jameson? Amarula? What a sumptuous waste! Who are you indulging this time? [Teasing] One of your classy gigolos?

Minnie: No. I’m not Minnie-coddling anyone tonight. It’s just the justice…

Big Brother: [Anxiously] Say what?

Minnie: What now, are you deaf? I said Justice the just. I’ve prepared for him tilapia stew and marinated chicken tikka-mous-tikka. Feel free and invite yourself to celebrate and share in this auspicious occasion.

Big Brother: [Nonplussed] Excuse you? Who asked you to? Is this the latest overcooked Soap-Opera tactic to snatch the husband of Nana?

Minnie: Stop being ridiculous! You sound so surprised. Well, I don’t see anything about it that goes beyond the bounds of the ordinary.

Big Brother: Then remind me, what would a married man want in our house?

Minnie: [Nodding] Mmh! Indeed! Want or desire; you catch up real quick, bro. real quick. What if his wife can no longer satisfy this need; or want; or desire. But stop judging me now! Tonight I host the Judge. Next, it is the minister himself! [Gyrating her waist] And you say-say Minnie-Minnie Mo has small means! Is it shocking?

Big Brother: [Correcting] Not shocking or even impossible a feat for someone with a bottom like two stale buns! But I’m warning you sister and your itchy groin; to think harder than shaking it to make Nana share her husband…

Minnie: [Teasing] Are you serious right now…

Big Brother: [Firmly] Listen to me you silly goose…

Minnie: Why should I listen?

Big Brother: This is no time for more childish gibberish.

Minnie: Seriously? Only when you want me to listen, it’s THAT serious…

Big Brother: [Sternly] I’m very, very serious, sister-girl. Who says he can just come here and amuse himself? Don’t you realise this is only trouble if you are just his side dish of marinated ‘tikka-mous-tika ?’ Besides, this scheming escapade can only compromise our court case and cause a scandal.

Minnie: I know that, but you too should appreciate the countless times I’ve argued, holding deep debates within my mind but losing all arguments. I’ve told my heart; but it won’t listen—not one bit! What can a damsel in distress do when blissful fortune fastens as a magnet his muscular spirit to her heart? Such a resolve is only a pawn for hopes and a means to her desire…

Big Brother: [Adamantly] You must stop these solicitations. Honour demands it. How shall I to save my face, as his close friend, if he Minnie-coddled and then booted you? This shall be a gross transgression…

Minnie: Objection overruled, my lord! Talking of honour, what’s more nobly honourable than a judge embodying an ideal union? For once in my bosom lies the only man worthy of my virginity, honourably guarded for the white bed sheet on our nuptial night, [longingly] for the ululations of the old maids exulting the honourable stain the morning after…

Big Brother: Virgin? [Laughing] You? Then why do you broadcast yourself on the market as ‘single-and-ready-to-mingle’?

Minnie: My marital status is just a scheme to sample my suitors and test how suitable my caprice is in my amorous adventures. I may only be a little boat looking for a harbour but until today, I have sailed cruising past the assailing sea of desire. And now, as a respite, after anchoring in the apogee of my journey, providing proof of my honour, no one, not even Big Brother can delay my romantic voyager any longer.

Big Brother: Unbelievable! Will you keep too your local gigolos as playthings?

Minnie: I’ve summoned them too, to share in my banquet—all the homeboys—already the maids are in the kitchen.

Big Brother: No doubt to deliver a press statement to your gigolo billy-goats sniffing round you.

Minnie: You and your foul mouth! Is this about your Kiki that I turned down?

Big Brother: I’m just saying little sister. If you indulge the judge and instead of elevating you into a pedestal, degrades you as his footstool, our family will be an object of disgrace, and you will put me in a very awkward situation!

 Minnie: I am a woman gifted in untying knotty love chords of any man, seducing him long enough to share in my dream. So stop patronising me with lectures about virtue and respect. [Snapping] Why should I even worry about your honour or your cherished friendship when love spread ahead of me in endless dreams of ecstasy? I’m shrewd; I’ll lay all my cards, not just my little cleavage! The sages say ‘blessed is the hand that gives’ but today I declare, hallowed be the hand that gives a lot… [Noise from without, ululation] and there comes my prince. [To Big Brother] Don’t just stand! Can you usher him. [Bustle outside, offstage voices] Welcome our son! Our loving son!

Big Brother: Why would I welcome him when you no longer listen to me?

Minne: [Desperately] Don’t stand here! I don’t want him to know we are arguing about him. Get out! Get busy, pleee-ase! [Both laugh knowingly as he exits].

Old Woman: [The compound stirs] Welcome my son. They are excited because they have never seen such a big car!

Minnie: That’s what I’m talking about.

Old Man: Park the car near the umbrella tree!

Big Brother: Let me park it for you, my brother!

Old Man: You are most welcome, my son.

Young Man: There you are! A new shining banknote for me!

Judge: And for you, mama, an island Kitenge, my wife wears a similar fabric.

Old Woman: Ooh! Thank you, my son. I will always pray for you to have everything you desire. [With emphasis] Everything, my son!

Judge: And this papa, is all for you. Rolex watch, see? Exactly like mine, we are now a family. [With emphasis] One big family!

Young Girl: Ooh my! All these wads and bundles! What a full-size briefcase!

 Old Man: Hallowed be the hand that gives a lot! [Laughing] You always gave a listening ear to the needs of your mama! Mother is supreme. [Laughter and general mirth as the judge comes into the room]

Judge: Oh my dear [Hugging Minnie] Look at you? Like the queen of Sheba!

Minnie: Is why a gracious reception to welcome my kingly Solomon.

Judge: The spiralling incense is already making me feel at home [Sitting on the bed, trying it] and my throne is floating with the whirling uud!

Old Woman: [Aside] Did you see that? Sinking into her bed with no invitation?

Old Man: [Aside] Audacious gesture! Signal his meaning better than words…

Old Woman: [Aside] Spelling his intention… Continue reading

Ararat is Fallen

Until yesterday

morality was a monument,

A noble massive mountain

An unshakable rock of ages

created by tectonic entities

And boulders like ethics

rising to a concordant peak,

Consonant all the way up

And down to its firm base,

 

Until yesterday

This moral institution

reinforced by solid rocks

Kept the structure standing:

a kind of a marking scheme

that weighed and measured

and gauged our performance.

 

Today atop our molehill,

the moral mountain is flat

An Olympus lain in ruin.

No longer does it state

We honour our father,

‘that thy days may be

long upon the land the Lord

thy God giveth thee’,

But upon a much lower

and a lesser Sinai law

 

Today upon our molehill

Shall children of the land

Obey laws of our fathers

Who lost and dully forgot

Moral fatherhood vestiges

These beasts that feast

And feed upon their blood

As hyenas who scavenge

The gangsters of nature!

 

©Roundsquare

For the Reign IS Falling

 

Grand mufti of Tehran’s terror

Hajj Errorist Al-Goatee Imam

Imagineers an opium podium

Of guiless mass sloganeers

To rehearse his Mahdi reign

And pray for latter-day rain

 

He counts golden beads

From a majestic minaret

But obscure his azure skies

With the colossal contempt

Of Ilyaas to the rainmakers

Until an entombed Isis

Stirs up in cold coitus

For virgin fertility figures

 

Lo! A messiah he behold

In the shape of a crescent

Of a salaam-saluting cloud

Floating into a dry terrain

‘O this nimbus so pregnant

Seeds a peace sovereign!’

His racing spirit thirst

 

Alas! It’s not.

Nastaghfirullah!

Rain brewed in hell

Dropped as Hades hail

Drone in as a dead Godot!

Continue reading

Mechanics of Mathematics

 

Poor Anna an Austrian mummy

Heavy again with an Aryan baby

Not an Immaculate Conception

This seed; this ejaculated tare—

From the loins of the devil himself

Unlike cousin Mary found with child

— Assaulting her frail female form

In death-defying morning sickness

Wears her womb as an ill-fitting gown

Her belly struggling to bring to term

And free this sinister spirit within

Kicking in there like the sea sprite

In a bottle found by the fisherman

 

Poor Anna not Karenina of Tolstoy

Her spouse pushes for pro-choice

Conjures up a jagged Joseph of yore

Forced to marry a pregnant virgin

Her parish priest turns a left cheek

Her doctor is Jekyll and Hyde embodied

Playing hide and seek with morality

Squander sacred eyes—Oedipus eyes

So when her Gabriel makes visitation

Would see him as a blurred parousia

 

Onward Kristina Anna soldiers on

Marching as to her trimester wars

Bears a planted time bomb in her belly

That kept ticking quietly in eternity

Deaf to phony talks of right to life

Poor Anna not Jokasta of Thebes

Unto her manger Der Fuhrer is born

Named of course Adolf Schickelgraber

Later undersigned a surname Hitler

No wise men grace this king of terrors

Only plague; the first born of death

A motley offspring of kings is this infant

Continue reading

Bangui; a Poetic Coup ~ VIII. History not Our-Story

A man’s monster is another’s hero

A loud tolling from a historical echo

 

All life is worthless: all that matter is history

Cynic verse of fallen heroes with invincibility

 

Tragic truths trailing annals of history

Its biggest lies; its record credibility

 

History being depraved knows monsters

Are heroes most compelling as characters

 

In real-life a monster myth rises to power

Loudly hailed as a cuddly revolution father

 

Yet in frenzied zealotry the monsters contend

To take no prisoners but to eat their wounded

 

Confirming a regurgitation of historical adages

Vomiting vile bile into their bloody Fruitcakes

 

Exposing horrors stirring up the African bowels

Enjoying stabbed whitewash in Ubangi’s navels

 

Morally tolerable to wipe a minority enemy

A justified sacrifice as routine part of policy

 

Easily to dismiss the soaring eagles as insane

Simply to excuse their depraved deeds to a hen

 

Still today’s history is a little more than the record

Of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind

 

Our-story is a creative play of truth with fifth estate

Teetering in tattered pages of a Wikipedia footnote

©Roundsquare

Bangui; a Poetic Coup ~ VII. Saving a Dying Navel

Many a time a golden airship often wafted

Across Africa on the wings of poetic dreams

Hereby on imaginary tours peering the unseen

Winding idly past hot theatres of coup d’états

A third eye studying its euphemistic stanzas

Unspoken soliloquy wedged in unsung songs

Chocked coughing the filthy phlegm of strife

A cold contempt to spit on unmarked graves

Homesick recalling McKay’s I Shall Return

To break a tranquil kola in a native Ubangi

 

The piloting poet engage an apogee gear

His roving eye staring in sympathy at a stage

Whose tramedy is a scrap of shabby scenes

And acts renamed to revive ‘a Dying Navel.’

From the broken props of this absurd drama

A Deux ex Machina patching up its backdrop

Garnishing it into jovial verses for jolly actors

In jasmine scents for the city in a million hills

Rightfully rehearsing the reversal of events

For barbarism hovering on edges of genocide

Whose leftist audience perch uneasily in seats

Applauding to tyranny that preys with savagery

Choosing in discounted skepticism to ignore

A crushing evidence of closing stage curtains

And fading light to end all their shocking jokes

 

Let bullets begin flying from poets’ stagecraft

Shooting offstage every future war monger

Sharpened today by files of Ubangi’s conflict

Let poets peer at the iris of Ubangi’s blindness

And at bandits invisible to ICC’s omniscience

Whose horrors obscure the towering shadows

Of Islamic dark knights in Arabian Fruitcakes

Pounding pitilessly with pestle and mortars

Marching rhythms superior to Bangui’s ballads

Continue reading

Bangui; a Poetic Coup ~ VI. We Lost Count of Coup d’états

In a remote-controlled stage like Ubangi

One can make and break historical plots 

In slow motion until it is grinded to a halt

Until its massive rivers reverse to reveal

A betrayed backdrop of crimson upsurge 

Bursting its banks with puerile screams

The cries in the hearts of unborn babies

The war laughter from grapevine radios

Broadcasting stillborn seeds inside ghosts

And wombs of their raped-to-death mothers

Drowning voices floating in flooded Ubangi

Wading to grasp at the straws of resilience

If they can still swim at all

As Seleka and Balaka brigades

The roaming thugs with a tooth for tramedy

Strum to their stainless steel compositions

Scouting the empty streets sniffing as hyenas

Marauding to steal something or rape somebody 

 

Ubangi’s coffers are a zillionth

A size of rotting Fruitcake kiosks

Finding it hard paying for lootocracy

That funded a private ranch for His Majesty

A runway to serve it and a jet to land on it

Wonder not then why this is a hellhole of coups

Real as well as imagined as in a meridian line

A state of siege in theatres of coup détats

Once again ousted in a coup to end all coups

Its fiction grows so that even the coup plotters

Are puzzled at the lost count of coups attempts

Unlike poets of Ubangi but not to panic

Underneath the truth in her brash surface

Are coups crumbling under Pan-African pens

A great writing force for Africas forgotten conflict

To find out what belies below Ubangis Triangle

 

©Roundsquare

Bangui; a Poetic Coup ~ IV. Laughter of Leftists

Poets overheard Papa Bok ran amok

Burning himself with a steaming iron box

While ironing ruffled dissidents of his Fruitcake

Or was it the handiwork of jilted Mama Bok

After he brutally punched her in the face

That her Parisian Mohawk wig flew off

To reveal amulets knitted into a kinky Afro

And underclothes hiding juju waist beads

Unpatriotic thing that desecrated his Fruitcake

Conjuring up the venerated ghost of Leopold

Captured in Gin bottles from his mausoleum

And buried in a tomb beside the Palace Gardens

 

Poets swept away wigs and scalded flesh

Emptying out putrid remains into a trash bin

Throwing Papa Bok through the window,

Thumping and plunging him headfirst

Where garbage maggots gobbled up

His carrion until a fake birthmark came off

As saliva-flecked larva licked it like lollipop

Exposing an impressionist Napoleonic tattoo

The revered pre-emperor version from the grave

An old colonial master crept back under new guise

Now too disquieted in his restive peace of the grave

Continue reading

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