After the curtain is torn

Are prophets and apostles men of love or wrath?
Are the seraph and the cherubim harbingers of good tidings or stern justice?

These paradoxes exist like free will and determinism, choice and destiny, like roads
leading to roads, doubting whether we’ll ever come back, ending with a sigh.

But even if I smoked cigarettes and contemplated divinity
and the mysteries of the universe and got my answers,
I’ll never comprehend you – so tragically beautiful
like a nymph of kindness trapped in a bleak forest
of dust and ashes, swirling and swirling, asphyxiating you,
burning your lungs.

I wish to peel the onion, layer after layer until I reach the core,
I wish to know the secrets you’ve kept and the thoughts
that both liberate you like a Phoenix reborn from the ashes
and keep you caged like a lovesick songbird, chirping, chirping,
chirping, I wish to solve the riddles your inner
Sphinx poses, I wish to see both your inner opulence, furnished
with cushions of catharsis and lush carpets of vivaciousness and
your inner haunted rooms where the apparitions of past trauma
and specters of bitterness roam, devouring and possessing you.

I don’t want this monochromatic mundane togetherness,
so very ostentatious and showy, I wish for you to pierce me
as deep as I pierce you and though the first bell toll harasses complacent
ears, we’ll soon find a rhythm that goes beyond artificial smiles,
the clichéd, how was your day? and pustules and boils hidden by
threadbare rags we wear. I don’t want a forever or even something
that celebrates anniversaries of years of true love with vows resaid. I just wish
to know you and for you to know me after the curtain is torn.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Growing

The old Trek is in the basement, collecting dust,
rust-coated, missing a few spokes and I, like
it punctured and punctuated with painful apostrophes
in the jaded pages of my years, stay still, still, still.

I remember biking on the muddy Indian roads, potholed
and dirty under a canopy of scintillating wrath, the sweat
drenching my face and shirt and the purple flamed Jacarandas
symbolizing ardor or defeat or both.

But that was youth and wither, and weather made a difference
then.

Now I wither – fully aware – by the crackling flame of the hearth,
now the weather within lies defeated and is indifferent to
the weather outside,
now whether I’m inert like an anachronistic monocle placed
on fate’s craggy face, removed and placed on the shelf when
not needed, or crushed with a boot, or worn, or smoking pot
and animated with laughter, eating maniacally, nothing makes a
difference.

Age has crept on me like a bad weed choking the crop,
and it isn’t the age of wheelchairs and sickbeds, but the age
of seeing too much and profound insight that debilitates
consciousness more than it saves.

O, Solomon! How right you were when you said great study
is sorrow! The angst of knowing, the pain of seeing, the despair
of acknowledging – these I know, see and acknowledge,
but like a locomotive with faulty headlights, I careen into
the sidewalk, and the darkness that’s ensuing won’t save.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

The Beef-eating Sadhus

The beef-eating Sadhus, Sundar and Bundar were lynched. – Anonymous

Anonymous’s crisp, concise, lucid, pragmatic style is like petrichor after the boisterous farting of the neo-jazz postmodern novels. No harsh, discordant trombones, no horrisonant screeching trumpets playing that sharp C. The beef-eating Sadhus is just a to the point, in your face micro-novel. – The Guardian

Anonymous’s trial by fire, exploration of culture in saying too little is exactly what this generation of wordy obscure, abstract expression needs. A micro-novel that’s thoroughly objective and birthed in a rough womb of diatribes against meat politics and the sharp rise of nationalism trying to subdue the little voices of the voiceless. Well, the beef-eating Sadhus doesn’t enter this world whispering or sobbing. It screams. A must read – The Huffington Post

Am I the only one who noticed the humor? Sure, they were beef-eating Sadhus, but the lynching is where Anonymous strikes his darkly comical, scythe slash. Anonymous uses his sinister wit to compare lynching with aggressive masturbation. The same ruthlessness and blood spilled. This micro-novel is a tour-de-force in its exploration of modern sexuality. The sexual revolution is here to stay brothers and sisters. Yes, VR porn definitely gives us a sharper sense of perception and enhances the erotic eye’s vantage point, but Anonymous does it here in 9 words. A micro-novel that sets post-sexuality in motion. A magnum opus. A monumental achievement. – The Wire

Raw and uncompromising with a bleaker nihilistic undercurrent. This micro-novel gives no room for closure or hope. Move over Bukowski, and please take a note, Mr. McCarthy. This is the second wave of unadulterated nihilism without Camus’ absurdist ideologies. It places you there, and then we’re done. It’s a gunshot to the head. 9 words giving you a sharp dose of reality. – The Verve

I don’t have a problem letting my kids read this masterpiece. The beef-eating Sadhus might explore sensuality and violent, torture fetishes but people forget that the shallow semantic is also intricate. An all protein meal never works. Eat your veggies kiddies – The Culture

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Descartes

A utilitarian post-Darwinian Descartes: I am, therefore I think
A modernist Descartes: I think, therefore I think I am?
A postmodern millennial Descartes: I think, therefore I’m not
A postmodern post-millennial Descartes: I am, therefore I’m not
A middle-age crisis-ridden, trapped in an existential loophole Descartes: I think to think, I am but am I or not?
A militant Puritanical Descartes: I am, therefore I am
A has been, crack cocaine snorting rockstar Descartes: I think, therefore I think
A UFO observing, alien conspiracy theorist Descartes: I’m not, therefore I think
A low self-esteem plagued, I hate the world Descartes: I’m not, therefore I’m not.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

A non-requiem for purpose

My nonchalant non-mourners,

We’re gathered here not to mourn this corpse now entombed in this black coffin. She’s called purpose, and she led many-a-romantic astray with her asinine delusions of Autumn, which led to Keatsian odes to an inconsequential season where leaves fall, and mud-caked boots crush them. She led many existentialists astray while they fell prey like rotting meat to vultures to Kierkegaardian panaches of absolute grounding in an enigmatic, absolute sovereign. They preached with flair about Abraham reaching abstract faith, but in using that very term ‘abstract’ they lost themselves to vague, petty obscurantisms. She led many-a-tragic comic astray by placing them on a pendulum swinging like a rapid cycling Bipolar Mood swing between epiphany and catastrophe. They cackled while the fire crackled and scuttled like crabs over a need for an esoteric doctrine of vivacious gnosis when the bulbs dimmed and finally shattered. Then they wailed and mourned putting mongrels to shame. She led many-a-clergyman astray by self-deluded prophesies of raptures, or raptures of ecstasy in the seventh heaven where seraphs and cherubim serenade a Yahweh who’s long forgotten us. These men were so enamored and seduced by her magnetism that they stood with spines straight like a ramrod and spat while they gave the masses their puritanical opium. They did not spare the rod because they feared abandoning her, which is why we have drug-addicts, misfits, and lecherous pornographers who are the sons of fire and brimstone. She led many-a-drifter astray casting him in a womb of existential throes and then delivered him, a stillborn. Thus, emotionally castrated the wanderer became a voyeuristic eunuch and in turn – consumed by a mad bloodlust – a pervert, given to coprophilia and absurd, bizarre notions of violent BDSM without substance. So, we bury her without a chant, a litany or a dirge, and we can finally say in cold blood that man is free.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Rambling

I was reading Thich Nhat Hanh this morning because Christianity never worked for me and I can’t grasp the essence of Hinduism.

I was reading his exposition of the four noble truths and the eightfold path. I was reading him because the positive existentialism of Viktor Frankl only gave me a momentary catharsis and nihilism is something I so desperately want to escape from.

So, the four noble truths involve acknowledging your suffering; delving deeper into the cause of your suffering; knowing there’s a path to eliminating your suffering and transforming it into joy using the eightfold path.

I seem to go up to stage three and regress each time I try. I guess there’s a beauty in being fucking miserable because happiness is an overrated clichéd product in this society of greed, hate, and materialism.

I mean look around you. Everything is transient, and purpose is ephemeral. And don’t give me a lecture about absolute and relative truth when all we do is breathe, eat, drink, smoke, work, fuck, shit and die. Maybe I sound like an adult Holden Caulfield, but I stopped giving a damn a while ago.

My friends, there are no Edenesque getaways with trees of life or whatever and even if you were to find one, you’ll find a Cherub with a flaming sword embodying the wrath of Yahweh guarding it.

So here you are, stuck in a Kafkaesque, surreal actuality which actualizes the clichéd, The truth is stranger than fiction, idiom. Here you are where everyone turns on you, or you turn on everyone else.

I could write pages and pages about the women I’ve slept with, giving them an allure; making them my muses or whatever using sonnets (both Petrarchan and Shakespearean) but there will never come a time for those recollections or sensual fabrications of memory.

I’ve measured out my life in coffee spoons, and yeah, I’m a postmodern Prufrock, riddled with angst, sexual tension and never finding solace in anything.

So, I guess I’m just going to write about cigarettes since I’m the fatalist who’s an insipid Bukowski, selling his rhymes for free; addicted to his misery and wallowing in his self-pity and depravity.

I’m smoking 555’s by the way. Don’t you just love smoking? I mean, the rush, the release and the satisfaction are often better than sex.

So, here’s to a life without meaning and one with cancer. Can I get an Amen?

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Poetry

30 years of experience,
that’s where my poetry comes from,
it isn’t research or some form
of mystical guidance, isn’t
books or scripted rhymes telling me
this is how we function and see,
isn’t otherworldly forces
or dreams or snorting crack cocaine
(although I wouldn’t mind my sense
altered while I listen to Green
Day singing Give me Novacaine)
isn’t procedural study
of art, hell, everyone’s in a
hurry, getting a damn degree,
and I’m here being good ol’ me,
and I guess such is life huh? Meh.
Nah, 30 years of mean street walks
and dirty cigarette shops; puke
in the commode; having my rocks
sucked on by women who hate me,
yeah, 30 years of finding me
and all or whatever that means
while I sip on coffee and lose
my beans, before the clock strikes noon,
a great swoon! I hang by the noose,
and then I’m in Hell – Devil’s nuke,
that’s where my poetry comes from.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)