I’m the man in the iron cage, the pilgrim with an unrepentant, unyielding heart, the prophet who has regressed into a poet with anguish breaking through bone, and then skin, the tendrils tying my tongue, muting my real howl and creating a soft shriek which they consider beautiful. I’m the Kierkegaardian stereotype, a freak tortured and tormented by his panoramic paranoia, a twisted, fucked up birds eye view of skulls and enemies, of corpses punching keys and hate, and I can’t see a horizon. I’m the label of everyone’s disgust, an animal in an asylum which sensibly speaks, but in alliteration—the zookeeper’s delight. “Look now, here’s Mr. Bipolar. Hysterically jump or flat line, it’s your prerogative, but make sure you entertain, because they’ve paid with their time and energy. Be Quick!” But the more I rattle, the more they rile. The more I lie, the more they cry, until I met you, unlike them, with a heart: Not expecting a trick or a treat, but submerging me with true love, and that wealth of emotion that I only projected, I now ingest, and sure, this isn’t an archetypal love poem, or even one entirely avant-garde, but this is a me slowly catching slivers of you, finding their way, and placing themselves in the aridity within, and piece by piece, the jigsaw rises, and we both don’t know what the final picture will be, but I wait patiently, although long-suffering is my weakness. I endure, although I want to fight. I stay still even though it’s a terrible itch and I don’t have an Avil to soothe it, and put me in a low high. I reason with impulse, and my mind is a yin-yang of darkness and light. And this isn’t balance. Whoever said it was is wrong. And I bite a piece of wood to soothe my self-destructive tendencies like nicotine cravings. I will not protest. I will not give in, and I’ll break the figurative here, and say that I deleted my hate poetry, and only kept ones that tackle ideas or convey a personal belief, and those beliefs evolve by the day, from romanticism to hard ground to anti-virtual romance and anti-cyber bullying to anti-transcendentalism to anti-religion to a positive nihilism, but that’s just a part of me that I’ve explored, the rest I leave to you. You were there this morning, and I’ll meet you come eventide, and I don’t expect anything surreal or mystical, anything that’s beyond or esoteric. I just expect you to place another piece, as the puzzle slowly moves to its solution.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)