Neil Coppen

writings/ plays/ poetry/musings/travel journals and newspaper columns

A post apocalyptic love story for these dark ages


Imagine a South African suburb without electricity- it’s easy if you try. Now imagine it without water. No fuel to sate the now stagnant Land Cruisers and stand-by generators. A not so distant future, where escalating inflation and galloping food costs will mean only Cabinet ministers can ever afford to stop off at Woolies. Imagine two beleaguered couples in this affluent suburb, the Dlaminis and the Goldbergs say, living on opposite sides of the formerly electrified picket fence. Shacked up, waiting in their three-storey mansions, for their numbers to be called on the overcrowded emigration list for Aus!

Pity Madame Dlamini, who in the absence of her microwave and electric grill, has resorted to cooking on her show- piece fireplace in the dining room, its synthetic rock embers replaced by wood salvaged from last season’s Weatherly’s lounge suite. Certainly, the wood- smoke redolence of a Transkei hut would take a little getting used to, as would doing her daily dishes and laundry in the now fizzless Jacuzzi. Read the rest of this entry »

Notes on a Collage (pt 1)


A cat’s eyes feral and luminous crowns this carnival of cut-outs. A badly drawn man, erratic in ink and clutching a baton stands amidst swathes of suited businessmen.

Hands make wings, ears and antlers, eyes make mouths, agape and colgate toothy.

Mutilated fashion models, moisturised men with designer stubble wince through wrinkled cynical eyes. A Korean film actress with diaphanous (glass and a half) skin and purple angel wings is rendered speechless by pair of ill fitting lips. Read the rest of this entry »

Lung full of Fir Trees and Bellyfull of Butterflies


I recently read a newspaper article about a man named Artyom Sidorkin who two Sundays ago woke with terrible pain in his chest– a scratching, stabbing sensation just below his left nipple. Hours later, hacking clumps of blood and matter into a basin, his irate wife telephoned the local doc who suggested he be rushed to the hospital immediately.


Considering the symptoms :smoker, respiratory difficulty, vomiting blood, the doc correctly presumed it to be lung cancer.

There are, after all, no case studies or medical journals to assist one in diagnosing, let alone supposing, flora of and in the lung. Raising up Mr Sidorkins x- ray to the light, the elderly Doc set startled spectacles on a minute Christmas tree ,a jagged green star, nestled and nettled in the sanctuary of his patients lung.

Read the rest of this entry »

Eden College Prize Giving Speech


I am by no means a wise man or best-selling writer, in fact if you ask me what of my dreams I have achieved thus far, I would have to say none. By this, I mean I have not yet come close to being the writer or story- teller I long to be. That is of course a lifetime’s work. So in many senses I am just beginning. Sadly this evening, I can’t necessarily share with you the secrets of success but I can talk about the journey, the journey I am currently on. The journey that leads one on that often long and relentless but never dull road, the road we must all travel to discover and fulfil our true purpose. Read the rest of this entry »

The llama Spits, therefore the Waitress is a Llama (Peru)


The waitress in Lima is rude

like the llama that spits

cocks its cheeks with a skunk like brew

and projectiles it in my direction


and i wonder

What wars were won, territories marked, turf fended, young saved

by flying balls of Llama pleghm?

Sad then is the beast whose very survival depends on such a laughable device

A fault in creation to not have granted them teeth, or claws, a roar of genuine terror or ferocity

Alas even the Ass, as absurd as he might seem, has been noted on the odd occasion to serve a fatal kick. But spit disapprovingly in ones direction? Not on your life- the bearer of Christ might be heard to bray.

The waitress is rude

like the long suffering llama, tugged about the alleys of Cusco on a leash

by a stubborn faced Peruvian kid in search of a paid photo op


Like the llama that lives its existence

with an inkling of the industry it serves

Burial on a Pervuvians steak house plate, or woolly cap adorning the head of gormless Gringo.

The waitress is rude

and now there are no more llama comparisons to justify it

Newer Entries »