He walks a boulevard of wistful reverie
I watch him smoking, reading pensive books
With eyes that dart but strangely cannot see

He’s lost his hope, but yearns to calm the sea:
Capricious, wild — it rages in those looks
He walks a boulevard of wistful reverie

He blames his fate and tumult won’t let be
Such men are not redeemed from scars and hooks
With eyes that dart but strangely cannot see

He frets and moves, I’m just glad he’s not me
The lines he reads are anchors: broken rooks
He walks a boulevard of wistful reverie

He’s lost his smile; he’s paid his life a fee
Of fractured promises and selfish nooks
With eyes that dart but strangely cannot see

He lives alone, does not know unity
I know he thinks we’re time bound, hopeless mooks
He walks a boulevard of wistful reverie
With eyes that dart but strangely cannot see

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2017)

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We’re fallen and the compass still points south
when we forsake aubade, hear dusk’s slain song
when we forsake discretion, use our mouth
to slander, wound, embrace that which is wrong

We’re broken: guilty with corrupt face, eye
and still a voice reminds us of our hate
the hardest hearts can break, lament this sigh
because we know how the fall sealed our fate

But you were good, created to see light
to know the truth that most cannot grasp, find
and you still left, surrendered to torn scheme
and now we’re tied to sin, to grief and night
with manacles and chains; we fight our bind
what made you darken finitude’s bright theme?

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2017)

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Well, firstly there aren’t any woods where I live, just ramshackle houses strangely painted using vibrant hues. What most of us don’t realize is that this weird flamboyance only emphasizes our poor, misery-stricken state, and our desperate need to keep up with the Kardashians (the Joneses are dead by the way). Anyway, I digress. So I’m standing before these two pot-holed, waterlogged paths, and yes, it did rain yesterday, but we must remember the raw sewage too. I looked down one sordid path and then took the other. I reasoned that this route didn’t stink much, but held my nose while I walked. And it wasn’t morning, but night, and these broken street-lamps with their muffled light were the only oracles given. Did I leave the other for another day? Sure, don’t we all? I’m sure some famous evolutionary biologists despite all their cherry-picking from postmodernism will say the same when the moral zeitgeist shifts tomorrow and we all pick up machetes and kill each other. Hell, they’ll even bawl inwardly before rationalizing that they’re doing the right thing and butcher someone. Wasn’t Hitler right after all? I damn well know by now that one filthy path leads to another. Hell, I’m an obscure writer who lives in a city where some women counselors ask me to get an Arts degree for the sake of it because that’s what ‘girls’ do. Some legalistic Protestants aren’t very different. They tape record my sessions and then ask me to work in a coffee shop because I’m unstable and it’s a ‘noble’ thing to do. They know jolly well that in this place people who work in coffee shops don’t do it out of a sense of service. They do it because they don’t have an alternative. One must never do something because it’s noble when one’s heart isn’t in it. Take a look at some Cardinals, and you’ll get what I’m saying. Oh, they’re wearing red all right. And please notice the use of the determiner. They’ll fry you using a skillet of fundamentalism if you use language without precision. Anyway, I digress again. It’s this stupid habit of introspection you see. Some contemplate and find ‘enlightenment’ or something. For me, it’s a head put in the Guillotine. I say that because the noose is overused, the electric chair won’t convey it properly, and I’ve never really understood the lethal injection. Only the fellow who we think sleeps but is writhing inside probably does. I know, I know, I’m digressing again, and so, I’ll end this quickly. I know I’m never coming back, and one day after just a year or two considering the number of cigarettes I smoke, I’ll say this with a wheeze, a cough, and a death-rattle: I took the road less sordid, and now I’m dying alone, goodbye!

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2017)

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I’m sure, some man watches me
from his office window next door:
hunched and spent, programming
both his work and life, he disdains me
as he watches me light my Marlboro,
sip my cup of black coffee, and read my
books, he’s trapped in a simulacrum of
reality: a life of script and code,
he’s repulsed by my freedom, his anger
courses through his veins like tungsten
needles, piercing him from the inside,
he’s in his cubicle, and thinks he’s
locked out of Eden, but doesn’t notice
the closed glass door behind me that
locks me out of a fractured fibula family
he never knew. This isn’t escape or
an idyllic cadence, stilling me with a
Liebesträume of soft moon light my friend,
this isn’t an odd time signature:
an acquired taste, a juxtaposition
of improvised smooth alto
saxophone and slightly harsher piano
with soft touch drumming,
this isn’t nostalgic modernism:
the bands moved on, I don’t listen to
Candlebox anymore, this isn’t
minimalist post-jazz: no GoGo
Penguin, this is a life spent tearing the
fabric of language, and stitching it together,
both in work and life: a poetic aporia,
a mind riddled with expression asphyxiating
reason: phrases spoken with
design burning at the stake
of emotion, and now icicle
structure that you can admire at a distance
but won’t dare touch, this is a loss of
a muse and a loss of an appetite.
I’m sure the same man will watch me
when he packs his wife and kids
with his luggage into a moving cubicle
and clicks through his one day vacation
when I’m older and bearded, and living
in the mountains, smoking my Marlboro
and sipping my black coffee after he blares
his way through lonely streets with his
glaring headlights on, he won’t remember
me but he’ll look at me with
disdain for polluting something serene,
but it’s a moment’s gaze, he’ll speed away
and I’ll look at my neighbor, smile, and
finish my book.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2017)

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I saw a house once standing tall and strong
but we received no quietude and peace
now walls decrepit, and deprived seats wrong
have made deranged thoughts, and unclean strife cease

I knew a house once stoic: potent; tough
but voices screeched, and rhythm lost her charm
now broken stones wail, mourn; they’ve had enough
but we sing near the cold hearth: cozy, warm

I felt a house once sturdy with no fault
but father fought his son, and mother turned
and with no eulogy, truth’s in the vault
but we say grace, hold hands, no lesson learned

The problem didn’t lie in the house or song:
just fools who won’t admit that they’re all wrong

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2017)

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I walked beneath a Maple tree arch
and knew appeal and something crimson:
the Painter’s flourish still surviving
despite the architect’s fierce madness
returning I saw trees hacked: corpses
and gave up hoping for love and peace

They stood with candles wanting some peace
below a gaudy, dazzling false arch
and now we see the terror; corpses
the earth weeps since it’s not Fall’s crimson
it’s finitude’s severe sheer madness
until no life is left surviving

I thought she loved me: we’re surviving
thought life will give us solace and peace
we just tore everything in madness
we now live under a subdued arch
love is soft, never something crimson
these rings we wear now look like corpses

My friends are now remote, just corpses
I thought we’ll walk this path, surviving
these tests and pains that just seem crimson
perhaps I trusted in devout peace:
felt we’ll all race beneath a strong arch
those cotton candy dreams are madness

I trusted my will till the madness
attacked it, left poetic corpses
I stood beneath a perilous arch
and only thought I was surviving
until it dawned without intense peace
the sky had turned a wintry crimson

My fate is sealed and only crimson
I try but cannot fight this madness
a mind cast down by war and not peace
thoughts in the mud: they look like corpses
I’m tired of fighting and surviving
I only stood beneath a lost arch

I walked beneath a Maple tree arch
the painter’s flourish still surviving
returning I saw trees hacked: corpses

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2017)

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A simple man

I saw a blazing sign in bloodless skies!
And so I must obey! The shields they paint!
We won the war! I must erase the taint!
Both foolish men, and dirty pagan lies!
I fight for truth, and justice never cries
About men who hate blood and swoon and faint!
These idiots and their undue complaint!
But my son’s grief! That look! His sorrowed eyes!

No, I’ll not let inane fact govern me
And Licinius? Didn’t he warrant death?
They cheated Truth, they only claimed they’re mine
Now Jordan begs and I won’t let it be!
I must hear her and then that final breath!
I made the bloody sky and put my sign.

A simple law

I said he is immortal and I’m wrong
But didn’t he rescue us from tyranny?
If truth were told, he doesn’t need praise from me
But certainly, requires some potent song
And only fools attend the pagan’s throng!
The world is clearer now, can’t they all see!
But murder haunts my law and won’t let be!
I often wonder if he’s truly strong

My errors taught me I cannot revolt
Against raw power, all that does is kill
Poor Crispus, rebelling against the light
But look at him now hanging like a dolt!
Just for a horrid, thoughtless, carnal thrill
I said he is immortal and I’m right.

A simple truth

Is life a blessing or an awful curse?
I find a law in that inane, small phrase
As some say it is with each passing phase
when friends forsake, and painful wounds I nurse
I could allude, say that a hidden hearse
Awaits me; it was never truth that stays
That lifts anemic men to realms of praise
My name wasn’t written in ecstatic verse

I’ve tried to rage but dropped my fight to peace
I thought of love and looked at sparkling stars
I’m Crispus at the Emperor’s behest
What justice, fact is this? These thoughts don’t cease
And nothing changes that I’ve lost my wars
But no one answers the need for this test.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2017)

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