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)

20 responses

  1. Nitin, this is truly grand.
    The veil of separation
    torn asunder the the top
    down to the ground
    for those willing to be
    stripped down and fully found …
    “And but for the sky
    there are no fences facing”
    ~ Bob Dylan

  2. It’s hard to over-state the beauty of your imagery here, Nitin. Obviously, you’re quite the craftsman. As for your message, I love it because it’s balanced, good and bad.

    One line gave me pause: “I wish to peel the onion, layer after layer until I reach the core”. So far as I know, onions don’t have cores. In fact, they are famous in Japan as a metaphor for a popular notion of the self there — layer after layer, until you reach nothingness.

    The poem is worth a few re-reads. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words Paul. They are much appreciated. Reaching nothingness after peeling layer after layer gives a new dimension to my piece. One I hadn’t thought of before. I used figurative language, but I’m glad you pointed that out. Makes me think now.

  3. Holy shit. My brain can’t comprehend how you can so easily weave this magic about me. I can see that I am a worm, a mere wretch, a boney-ribbed dog seeking crumbs below her master’s table hoping for a little piece of him for herself. This is perfect.

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