The lives we lead

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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