30

18. I kissed a girl for the first time. I know
it’s late, compared to what you post-millennial,
prematurely hanging by the noose, post-children do.
But it was an experience worth savoring. I remember
closing my eyes instinctively, my mind riddled with
chimeras of growing old together, gnarled hand holding,
arthritic, disease laden, ‘Till death do us apart.’
She dumped me two days later. 19. My first serious
relationship. We made out everywhere—parks, autos,
classrooms. I felt her up while the teacher droned on
like a cricket—a monotonous lecture on phonetics and
stress. I guess I should have left it there, and not fingered
her. I should have absorbed the ashes and dying embers
the old man gave us because I’m a writer today, and
I’ve had to teach myself to tattoo the pentameter with
a kitchen knife—a small cut, and then a dig, a small cut,
and then a dig, the blood ensuing. Oh, the thrill of poetry!
I snuck her into my house while my mother slept
downstairs, poured a little lemon vodka on her body,
and gently drank her in. The irony is that we never got
down to doing it, though my fingers like the first five
syllables of a haiku, slowly felt each part of her, though
my calloused palm gripped her. I even had an almost
ménage à trois with her and her best friend
with whom she attempted a lesbian connection.
The chemistry and synergy were dead
though we kissed to the charlatan’s parade.
Jesters trying hard to be monarchs.
20. I called it off. She was
into corporate cults and I was an angry young man
who’d suppressed so much, thinking I was a martyr
in a selfless relationship. Well, my core burst, and each
iota of bitterness, shot up like an ashen plant with
withered branches. I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’
and deleted her pictures on my phone, and quit
masturbating to the thought of her. 22. I finally lost
this cherished thing we call a virginity. It was a fling
with a friend’s girlfriend, and we were both
inebriated, talking dirty, and then saying mushy
things like the clichéd three words. I’m sure we meant it.
It was bad sex, and I looked at her afterwards
and saw the guilt in her eyes, enveloping her cornea with
a downer haze. It shook me, and I got dressed and slept
feeling like a doggerel if you must compare me to poetry.
She called me again for another session, but I just
couldn’t. She loved the bastard, and though I disliked him,
he was a friend. An epic paradox.
24. I got really high—out of body experience
high, and watched myself lying on a hard cot on an acquaintance’s
house. A surreal thrill! A phoenix rising from bone and blood
and skin, only to return and not haunt or avenge. 24-29. Years
best not talked about. Years of madness, dropping out
of college, and a slow and steady,
blotched execution of my innocence. I’m
not gullible anymore. Yay! 29. My best friend came to me
after ten years, and periods of losing touch,
and I loved her. Each feel was ever so alluring,
each glance made something glint within, even
if it was a broken shard. But I’m far gone. Alcohol,
addiction, and walking the mean streets alone, made
her rightly quit on me. 30. A few days ago, I reached
this milestone, and oh, wow the epiphany. I drink
myself to sleep now, after binge popping both prescribed
meds and downers. I’m dull like a crushed autumn leaf
carried by winds of misfortune to a place I don’t know,
to a scenario that will trap me in a prison maze, my
screams echoing, but not heard. ‘Help! Help! Help!’ An
alcoholic me will shriek, before a nihilistic me
says, ‘Oh, just leave me the fuck alone,’ and knock-
knock-knocks on heaven’s door.

P.S. Inspired partly by Knocking on Heaven’s door by Bob Dylan

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Protected by Copyscape

20 responses

  1. This took me back to My first kiss at 13 set up by a friend, a red freckle face boy. We banged teeth. It was bad. Nitin, this is an amazing piece of writing. Speechless…well it’s too late for that but damn, this is good.

    • Okay I think I’ve banged teeth too somewhere down the line! And thank you so much Holly. It wasn’t easy writing this, because it’s a confessional. I’m so glad you appreciated and resonated with it. I wrote it under the influence of Indian Rum to be honest, because I can’t dig that deep unless I’m not sober.

      • Thank you Holly. Wait Bukowski was a drunk more than a stoner, so that leaves him. Who then? Coleridge? Huxley? Burroughs? No, it’s probably someone I haven’t read. And I’m humbled by your kind words.

      • No one famous and unless he joins the dead poet society won’t be. He drank himself to death but was a fine writer. You’re writing is always outstanding and exhilarating.

      • That’s sad. You don’t have to answer this question, but four years ago, when my work hadn’t found its voice yet, I stumbled upon a WP blog. The writer must have been in his thirties and clearly suffered a lot. Now I don’t know anything about him, but he had this knack for conveying emotion. He could put gut-wrenching emotion in his pieces. One day he suddenly quit after a poem that talked about a fresh start. I’m the last commenter on his blog. I wrote asking if he’ll write again because his writing inspired me. But I doubt I’ll get a reply. I think he was an alcoholic. But I doubt we’re referring to the same person. Thank you so much Holly. It means a lot because I’m going through a tough period now myself.

      • I don’t think that is my friend Nitin, but there many very creative artist and writers who are facing very challenging issues. The poet I am referring to is Robert using the pseudonym Serge Gurkski, mainly to protect his family. His blog is at Dithyrambs and Ditties. He left his blog to me and I am keeping is words alive by bringing them to my own blog now and then. He was a brilliant linguist and initially his writing is amazing but deteriorates and becomes very erratic as his addiction took over his life. He once told me without the booze he didn’t think he could write but he paid a very high price. Take care my friend.

      • No, then it’s not the same person. I struggle with substance abuse myself and so I can relate to what he went through (though not entirely). For me I need a stimulant to make my stream of consciousness take its shape. The poet I was referring to is called po3tic. He suffered a lot judging from what I read, and being a victim of childhood abuse myself, I could relate. I didn’t get him four years ago, but thinking now, he shaped my writing just as much as as Olds, McCarthy, Tracy K.Smith and Keats did. People don’t realise that their art is actually making an impact and quit writing. His last post was written four years ago. I commented there and on another blogger’s post called Cynthia who stopped three years ago. But I think they’ve all moved on. Yeah alcoholism takes it toll. Trust me, I know. I just hope I don’t have to pay a heavy price too. And thanks Holly. For all the support.

    • Thank you! And when you’re my (real) age you’ll remember it child. Now go back to studying Plato, or wait was it the other fellow-Kierkegaard? I’ve prepared a test by the way? What’s the difference between an ethical hero and a tragic one? And use Jephthah’s story to illustrate further while I finish my scotch and cigar.

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