I’m a coward because I can’t take my life.
They say, ‘Knowledge is power,’ but they’re mistaken
because the more you know, the more you see and
with great insight comes great sorrow and deep-seated rage.
If someone were to show you the glowing, windowed
apartments, hazy, under a black canopy of stars,
you’ll lyrically say that it’s like loneliness that holds
you like a false-warmth giving strong arm while the
stars like people stay so far away, and weary road
leads to road, and tough path leads to path.
But say they were to show you the lives of people
who lived there, and teach you about society’s grip,
and speak of who held the stars in place, and gave you
such deep emotion with insight like Jacob’s ladder
climbing to the heavens, all your lyricism will fade
to tears, and you’ll wish to throw the pen, smash
the laptop and tear down the walls of the musty
room you’re in. You’ll want to smash mirrors and
find people you don’t know, shake them and scream,
‘You’re not free! We’re not free! And that’s all you need
to know!’ Like a madman, and you’ll be labelled so,
yes, you’ll be labelled so.
I know that human love isn’t unconditional.
I know that fame means losing yourself in the process.
I know that money gives you false opulence.
I know that despair is innate, just like a conscience
now seared is.
I know that there isn’t anyone innately good.
I know that society places itself on hierarchies
of power and position; name and recognition.
I know that even the most beautiful people in
my life are fundamentally flawed.
And finally, I know that I’m the chief of scoundrels.
And I ask you. No, I beg you. No, I implore you.
Tell me if knowledge is worth it?
Cyber-criminals, terrorists, schemers, lovers, cliques,
friends, they all have enough knowledge
to cause degrees of harm.
I’m tired and jaded of knowing so much, but
still unable to do the right thing because of a will
that’s twisted. I’m also sick of doing the right thing
because nobody wants that.
Sinners love sinners. Scoundrels love scoundrels.
Thieves love thieves. Lust-driven perverts love
lust-driven perverts. And love’s a joke because
what’s seen is emulated, what’s stereotyped is
tossed around more.
But say I had love like streams of living water,
overflowing, overrunning and occupying my soul,
they’ll stone me.
And so here I stand echoing Solomon’s nihilism
or better, screaming it to the world on my rooftop,
though they pass, snigger and say, ‘Ha! Idiot!’
Everything is meaningless, just a chase after the breeze.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)