I don’t want to place what we’ve built in a shoebox: parading our affection with embellishments like picture perfect Facebook lounge bar shots, or relationship statuses with a hundred likes, giving us reinforcement. No, I’d rather keep our little home, nestled in a reverie that only we know about, where passion echoes, and subtle grazes actually mean something substantial, carrying a depth like lines of well written poetry personifying the muted moon, and its soft reflections on the gentle tide – the ebb and flow stitching the iamb, and steadily building up the pentameter. You and I both know that what matters more than blood poured on a page is the actual give and take off-screen, the real absorbing and reciprocating when you’re sitting across me, and your laughter and your delicate smile giving me inner opulence and helping us both compose this ethereal sonata, notation after notation, bar after bar, and its beauty breaks dawn, makes the songbirds chirp, coats the leaves with dew, and scents the faint drizzle with petrichor. And with each tug of spring, the colors of effervescence bathe us, with each glow of summer, the waves of ecstasy overwhelm us, with each crunch of autumn, august serenity envelops us, with each mist of winter, a solitude of togetherness, keeps us huddled, comforted by blankets, naked but warm, skin against skin. I don’t want to constrain us to just the seasons or color though, because a plethora of underlying semantic makes this thing we call love, and yet when stripped of its bark, it’s vulnerable and simple, and I guess that’s a paradox we’ll never understand, and so, we’ll just keep loving each other, stripping our essences to bare minimums and yet finding in each other maximums.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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Have I told you that you’re my lucidity, the clearest thought that settles somewhere in the back of a shadowed mind, and slowly, gently, inch by inch lights it up, until I’m smiling again though my eyes are bloodshot and I’m staring like someone catatonic, looking through the phases of my life and time? You may not notice the smile, but it’s there, and the clarity your love gives me, even if it’s for a few moments is like a beautiful minimalistic piano piece by Einaudi or Allevi. It’s serene and absorbs me with a faint glow that slowly rises like a crescendo, building up, very steadily and subconsciously, and it’s more than a jaded heart can hope for. I’ve walked the dark alleyways of littered purgatory, hoping for a cleansing from madness that possesses, but I only lose my way, and I’m trapped in a vicious circle, walking the same places over and again, the downpour chastising me, but then with soaked clothes, I remember that’s there more than a frightening, agonizing status quo. I remember you, and your grace and steel-blue strength: a tranquil yet sturdy resolve, your brown eyes possessing an allure that’s both subtly sensual and fiery, your way of handling the most complex situations with the simplest intuition, your beauty that draws me away from every other woman I’ve known, and I make my way home – earthy, with clothes clinging to me, feverish from the cold, and you pull me to you, despite it all, and kiss me ever so gently, and then this house we live in transforms – the muted bulbs become chandeliers, the worn couches become luxurious, the hard bed becomes soft, and the dust and echoes of trauma dissipate, and when we make love, it’s the apex of a together actualization, it’s the epitome of a together transcendence, because it’s deeper than lust. It’s a bond we’ve forged over years of an almost us, to finally taking the step and constructing our architecture that’s standing despite each storm of tribulation, despite each fire of unresolved hurt and bitterness, and I know we’ll heal, not because of the time we spend together, but because of what we share.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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There are these insects buzzing around this ditchwater mind of mine: so full of despondency and a raw stench. Little ramshackle ideas surround it, and the thoughts that live there have grown accustomed to the green miasma of shattered idealism and broken beauty. They’ve regressed, growing paranoid by the day, giving me a distorted mind’s eye view of what’s without, and day after day, I’m sinking in my delusion, feigning strength when I’m tangled up in you, when I’m kissing you at dawn, when I’m held between your thighs, your dew some ephemeral comfort, some transient release, and I know that you love me, but I’m waging war with myself, my angels losing to my demons, slaughtered one by one, and I want to, no, I need to give you more than just the nonchalant now clichéd three words. I need to selflessly shed this scratched skin like a snake, and find something more durable, something that’ll sustain me, but more importantly reach out to you like myriad palms touching your heart, and soothing you, letting you know that this isn’t hypocrisy, but true ardor, just muted by the cries of my inner battlefield. Yesterday when you took me in, and our bodies echoed to the rhythm that writers only try immortalizing, I felt hunger, lust, love and guilt. Guilt because I’m crumbling, praying to imagined crosses, finding no answers, and with bloody tears of anguish, I feel Golgotha nearing, when each self, birthed from violent self-revolutions will tear each other apart, until the strongest, most distasteful, crude, creator of maladies which snipped my naïve charm with a crude pair of scissors, will overwhelm and usurp this weak fighter and I won’t be the man you know anymore. But maybe there’s a miracle and if it’s not you, each second I spent on this wretched planet was never worth it.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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Meet me where the earth cracks and a dying stream breathes its last, where the ashen peaks lose their charm and look tobacco stained, where the asphyxiated grass choked by some sadistic otherworldly force gasps and wheezes, where love meets reprobation and we’re broken, neglected sinners in the hands of a silent sovereign, because when fate fades and we’re watching our lives unfold in hazy sepia, when wheels of fortune lie splintered and there’s nothing left but to weep without tears, and look but not see anything, I’d rather love you in a fucked up way than write or read or fake laughter and merriment. No, I’d rather love you with all the force of my core, breaking out of my rib-cage, splintering skin, and giving you the raw, red blood of affection. No, I’d rather hold you in this oubliette, ignoring the trapdoor and igniting the cell with seething emotion. And I don’t give a damn if they call this hyperbole, it’s all I offer, and even then, it doesn’t compare to what you’ve given me. You gave me your all, accepted me despite my demonic idiosyncrasies: my angst, my raging paranoia, won me over and if I didn’t act, reciprocate, feel and hold, it’ll be cruel. So know that I love your shadow and bliss, your shifting avatars and your true quintessential self, your skin, lips, breath, taste, flavor, balance and imbalance, and I guess we’ll just stay twisted this way.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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You should know by now that I love you, even though I hardly say it. You should know by now that I’ll live and die for you, though my tears are dry. If only trial and circumstance didn’t make me hard, if only a cesspool of madness which fate baptized me in, didn’t make me unpredictable, if only a vortex of apparitions didn’t carry me away and set me on a shore of agony, darkening each particle of my existence, making me unable to distinguish between reality and chimera, light and ink, paranoia and angelic hope, I’d give you so much more, love you with an intensity unparalleled, kiss you tenderly, tantalizingly and tellingly. We’ve woven this story of togetherness and despite each inner window shutting, slowly barring my light, we’re clinging to each other: body to body, mind to mind, soul to soul. But if I’m gone tomorrow: a train wreck of a man, anesthetized to basic survival with an arthritic mind, unable to grasp the simplest picture of you, I want you to move on, because I know you’ll want the same from me. Life gives us hope, despair, recollections to cherish, and echoes of now to clasp, cling to with all passion and ardor, and in this moment, I’m crazy about you.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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What are we but shards of stars, trapped in this paperweight we call existence? A sight to behold, peer into and then placed on the dusty shelf. I’m bruised, and with each uppercut on the verge of being knocked out. I guess I only dreamed I could trade blows with fate with a Hagler chin. I’m tired of these ashes, this sackcloth. I’m jaded and the pills I pop, which once gave me a false transcendence, now toss me in the lowest rung of the Pyramid. Even your touch, the love you’ve given me seems so far away. I’m silent and put on a façade of strength, because I don’t want to burden you with my demons, when you have your own. But beneath appearances, if stripped down, I’m just ashes, drifting away with the slightest breeze. So, hold me, love me more ferociously, until something within sets the withered canopy that envelops my soul ablaze. Make me feel again, help me breathe again, because I’m standing on the ledge, waiting for gravity to be my last muse. I often want my name erased from Fate’s Gazette: the pictures, the pages and the dates. Give me something to hope in again. I know you’re here, sitting beside me, but you still feel so far away, so distant. And it’s not like I don’t love you, I want to feel it more. I want every ounce of the emotion, each iota of the affection, because without it, I’ll never feel like I’m worthy of you. What are we but crushed love letters – the lines now crossed out – tossed in a basket of what was? Something once cherished, but now forgotten. Look into my eyes and let me look into yours and let something drift both between and within us: some song of beauty that’s woven from melancholia’s time and notation. I’m fading…falling…I need you now more than ever. I know it sounds selfish, but I need you, so that I can reciprocate the same love you’ve given me, the same passion you once grounded me in. So, hold me, breathe love into me, make me walk again, hand in hand into the unknown.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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Artists with incredibly high emotional intelligence will quit writing sooner or later. Trust me, it’s a fact. Now, let’s say that hypothetically speaking an ’empath’ did exist. What would he be like? Well, first, you won’t be able to lie to him, and he’ll know if you’re keeping secrets the moment he encounters you. And he’s hardwired to feel that way, he doesn’t need some horrifying deity or sacrifice. He just knows. Second, he won’t call himself an ‘empath’, because something like that is a curse, not a blessing. Imagine soaking up everybody’s emotion and coping. Third he’ll probably resort to alcoholism or addiction to find release. Fourth, he’ll love solitude and hate the annoying crowd, and fifth he’ll absolutely despise predators or emotional vampires and do anything to protect vulnerable people, including self-sacrifice or in a certain terrible scenario force. Why? Well, he senses far deeper than ordinary people do. He feels for the poor, the broken-hearted and the despairing because he’s seen much trial in his own life. And he’ll come across as naïve but there’s another side to him: a side which wants to forsake the other peculiar species called the ‘feeder’. Because for each soul who absorbs and reciprocates love, there’s probably some occultist bastard or bitch who thrives on other people’s misery. And don’t get me wrong, the empath feels anger too, but it’s a righteous anger, a ball of fury that will consume a sick, twisted, sociopathic mind. And he’ll laugh with you when you’re kind, but rub him the wrong way, and he’ll fade from your existence. Rub him some more, and you’ll provoke him. He’ll also look to the light, and fiercely love a few, even if he’s trapped in the darkness, and his tragic optimism will sicken people. Finally, I see so many come along seeking out the broken and miserable, and calling themselves ‘empaths’. Trust me, avoid them. I’d hack a narcissistic, psychopath who feeds off torturing people and wanting them to stay depressed with a machete, if I was god. So, remember that all white-robed prophets come straight from the abyss, and a flurry of emoticons must be deconstructed. And also remember that predators will never face you man to man, without some conniving trick up their sleeve because then they’ll be bitch slapped and weep like Ronda Rousey did. And please don’t forget that I do not believe in a metahuman called an ‘empath’, because we’re as flawed as they come, and I just believe in love and justice.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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