Just a chase after the breeze

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)

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  1. Nothing new under the Sun
    Unanswered questions
    blowing in the wind
    Scoundrels and martyrs
    on the run
    No exits
    Exist on
    Sooner or later
    everybody must get stoned
    … till Kingdom come

    there is something
    beyond inspiration
    in your writing
    that leads me to imbibe
    the Bob Dylan
    A diatribe dancing
    the quadrillion of desolation

    1. Thank you very much David. Connecting Bob Dylan to Ecclesiastes. I loved that and only you could come up with that. And if my writing inspired that, I’m humbled.

  2. People who claim they are knowledgeable don’t know shit. I’d stick to those who are always learning. What we can be certain of is that we really don’t know anything, or not enough.
    Profound. You’re a magician with words.

    1. That’s true. There’s never a limit to learning, but from personal experience I’ve found that more learning creates a depth that creates sorrow. Thank you so much for your kind words. They mean a lot to me.

  3. I was actually thinking about some of this recently, some thoughts I had in a message I was going to send you! I will still do that when I have the chance.

    I love that you take the time and care to articulate these things so beautifully.

  4. Only read the first line – you’re a fucking coward IF YOU (OR ANYONE TAKES THEIR LIFE. Period. Don’t TAMPER WITH IT. Those WHO COMMIT SUICIDE take the selfish option. No discussion. Don’t know (and frankly don’t want to know Nitin) what the rest of your posting said – but I’m finished with it…

    1. I won’t Bruce. And thank you. I write because I’m sorrowed often. I wrote this because I’m weary. I’ve seen too much. If you read the poem, you’ll find a jadedness. That’s only what I wanted to convey. Sometimes it’s better to write it all out: The angst, the hurt and the pain that doesn’t heal. Thank you again, my friend. You help me see things in a different light and sometimes a stern rebuke is what I need.

      1. I guess your poem work if it got me in a frenzy – sorry about that… I’ve buried that many suicide victims – and almost every time someone at the funeral says “I wouldn’t have the guts to do what N. did” – like they did something heroic – and it brings on more kids who want to do something heroic as well. The only way to stop the chain is to flatly say at the funeral – “This kid was wrong”. Anyway – sorry about the outburst….

        1. Yeah I remember when 13 reasons why came out. Pretty soon there were people emulating the whole sick sequence of making tapes and killing themselves. I get it now. You’re right. I express myself but sometimes I dig too deep in places best left untouched, so, no offence taken at all.

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