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
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
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)