Dear Carla

The more I live out my booze-soaked existence,
trying hard to claw out of a bog of nothingness
and to grasp at meaning, substance,
and identity, the more I question the authenticity
of this thing we call love. Is it real and
palpable emotion that leads to catharsis,
defeating all regret, and never letting go?
Or is it click-bait pretense that’s one gaudy show
of theatrics and emoticons –
something we profess though we’re
cold and dead inside?
I wish I knew the answers to the questions
I ask and with peace cloaking my doubt-riddled
mind could move on,
I wish I knew if I love you sincerely
because if I did, we’d have closure and know
if we’re only attempting to stay together
though that portrait of who we are
lies burning in the fireplace,
or if this home we’ve created
is genuine and each touch
means something more than foolish fabrication
and yearning for what we’ll never have.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Here’s to us

I can’t remember when I fell in love with you,
I don’t know if it happened gradually while I
spent hours mulling over my tortured past,
the angst, anger, and agony possessing me like a
million demons enslaving Legion,
or if it happened suddenly,
filling me with joy like a song on the radio
suddenly lifts boredom,
but I’m thankful I did because I know
now that in this world where everything’s
transient and even art has limits to
the aesthetic pleasure it gives you
and the thought of oblivion which once
fills you with dread and apprehension
when the innocence of kicking a football
in your backyard is still something tangible
turns into a twisted solace of sorts,
a broken prayer to just cease to exist,
there’s just one thing worth fighting over
and it’s this moment when some inner waltz
of emotion creates a beautiful synergy
and unleashes a creative energy that
doesn’t necessarily need to be spilled on a page,
but can instead be used to create a together
actualization or better yet a together transcendence,
and so, what’s there to write about anymore?
My lines have breathed their last,
and I couldn’t wish for a better ending.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

The Eulogy I never delivered

I’m not sure if I ever cared about you
and even if I did, I’ll never admit it,
you were sick and twisted,
mooching off the drama you created,
writing line after line about
how people screwed you over,
unable to get a grip,
suffering’s supposed to create persistence
(or so they say) but in your case
all it created was a virtual zombie,
addicted to the numbers and stats
on your blog,
writing oversexualized, hardcore nonsense
or malodorous, self-pity soaked,
‘He fucked with my life! My heart! O my fucking heart!’
Blame game poetry,
you spent hours on that site feasting on
even semblances of gratification
and in the end, you couldn’t live without it
even though the stress to produce something
of depth was eating you alive – flesh, muscle, and bone,
you wrote and wrote, romanticizing everything
and when people called you out, they
were called, ‘dated narcissists,’ by people
who wanted you to forever be the wilted flower
in that cracked vase, you even wrote suicide
letters and deluded yourself into thinking
it was expression when it was pride and the
need for a like or a comment that fueled you,
they buried you yesterday and the Pastor
read Psalm 23 which is ironic because
nothing about that song of praise
reflected your brusque, impatient
manner of attending to anything
except for your blog,
it wasn’t a romanticized suicide
with you jumping out of a window like
you’d pictured it, but a car careening into you
and severing you permanently from your all
your addictions and tossing you into the void,
I didn’t attend though your mother called me
and asked me to deliver a eulogy, I heard that
a cool breeze wafted over the old pink
Rhododendron in the churchyard where they
lowered you in a black casket into the ground.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

When even nature fails to invigorate

When even nature fails to invigorate,
When forests seem bleak and mountains heave a sigh,
When things just fall apart like a reprobate

Whose worn existence and stale cigarette
Makes me – a twisted catcher in the rye
Whose broken nature fails to invigorate.

When gnarly trees do threaten, castigate
With haunting browns, dead leaves – a sore to the eye,
When things just fall apart like a reprobate,

I look at you and set apart all hate
And embracing love with its low and soaring high
I look past, ‘Nature fails to invigorate,’

And such sayings that just sear, eviscerate
The little strength I cherish and hold nigh
When things just fall apart like a reprobate.

I cannot deny the existence of fate
Because it brought me you, beyond the ‘Why?’
When even nature fails to invigorate,
When things just fall apart like a reprobate.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

When the mountains whisper

I’m in the mountains where the air is cold and crisp and the fog enshrouds this little town like an enigmatic esoteric doctrine obscures a portion of scripture. The layered tea plantations look like layers of a green pyramidal cake; rich in taste and a delight to the senses. I amble down hairpin bends and breathe for a change, and I’m mystified by the power of nature. It has this innate ability to calm and refresh me. I’m no longer surrounded by brutal machinery and vapid super malls. I have no need for cheap wine and even that insatiable urge to write something that reeks of self-loathing is gone. Smoking is no longer something that temporarily releases me from angst but is a pleasure I savor while I fix my gaze on the blue peaks that encircle me like fortress walls. I say fortress but I’m not trapped here. It’s a far cry from some devilish force holding me against my will in a sequestered apartment complex where rage erupts from some wound within causing a catastrophic explosion that leads to an implosion of reason and perception and an animalistic thirst to wreak havoc taking over. Here, freedom beckons with the scent of the Eucalyptus; vivacity beckons with the freshness of the animated sparrows; serenity beckons with the aura that each blade of grass possesses – engulfing me and lifting spells of depression. I like this cottage I’m living in. It’s quaint and archaic and my internet’s limited and I need a fireplace at night; the door is made of teak and doesn’t open easily, but I’m not complaining. The more I look at creation in the eye, the more I want to leave my neon hued, gaudy city behind. I’ve never been one for boisterous laughter and parties and making an utter fool out of myself. Sure, I’ve lived that life but each day felt like giving a piece of me away. Some deep inner piece that cheap hedonistic thrills will never replace. Now, in this place I’m taking those pieces back from the earth, the petrichor, the breeze and the mist and putting them together in those vacant spaces in my heart. There’s something within every person that no amount of materialism will suppress – a deep despair that’s rooted in a need for a higher, more transcendental connection. No amount of wine or people or cigarettes or even art takes that away. Most people don’t project this despair and try their best to deviate other people from getting a glimpse of their inner self with their ostentatious Facebook feeds and Instagram pictures. The few who do are sadly shunned by a society that stereotypes. Then there are a popular few who know how to create drama out of it and thrive on the attention that they get on social media. These cunning few suddenly write about their ‘problems’ and then move back to the mainstream pretentious nonsense. They know how to manipulate the sheep on social media with their sorrowed narcissism. But this post isn’t about them. It’s about confronting the despair within. It’s that very despair that leads to addiction, to incessant posting on social media, to hate, to rage and to a crippled existence. It eats at a person and that person finds temporary respite in temporal things and idolizes them. We forget that things fade away and people can never be our everything, just like we can’t be our everything because we’re finite with limited minds and limited lifespans and limited abilities that wither slowly and just like books collect dust or iron rusts, we deteriorate with age or illness. So, there isn’t any point in finding solace in what’s innately fractured; severed both existentially and eventually literally. So, it ultimately comes down to finding an infinite God. That’s the essence of Christianity. But what happens when we can’t find God or when God is silent or if you’re an apostate who feels cut away from him? There has to be something more than banal materialism or reckless hedonism. I think that’s where the beauty of solitude comes in. I feel lonely in the city, but alone and at peace with myself in the mountains. The neo-cosmopolitan city I live in is a modernist’s lament. It’s a harsh reminder of the things I don’t have. Having said that, there’s also a constant discomfort that nags. It tears my contentment asunder and I’m always looking for answers using technology when technology is the very thing that’s killing me. Now, I’m not saying technology is bad, but I do have a little Luddite in me that screams when there’s too much of it, which is why, I race to the hills when I get a chance. Where will I finally end up? I don’t know. I have an idyllic dream of settling down in the hills and taking long walks and perhaps teaching; shunning my old life and avoiding self-loathing and angst, and mooching off them to write completely; basically killing the narcissist in me using nature. But life with all its practicalities and pragmatism always stands in the way like a huge unclimbable gate with spikes on top. But I’m feeling vaguely optimistic today and hence these lines.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

A letter to someone

Hey you,

I just listened to the recording you sent me last Wednesday. I’m sorry it took me so long. As you already know, I’m a tortured, unemployed artist struggling to both find inner peace and make a dime out of these dishonest lines I peddle. Having said that, I think this is the most honest thing I’ve written. Nevertheless, I digress and forgive me because I’m going to digress again. I think I’ll always remember Wednesdays because it’s supposed to be our curry day. Remember? We talked about it when we talked about idealistic togetherness and shared a dream about fame and not fading into obscurity. I wistfully smiled then because you and I both know that such dreams never mature because life’s a bratty adolescent who loves tossing rocks at already devastated people walking knock-kneed on broken pavements; bruising their already haggard selves. So you wrote a piece in dactylic pentameter? I loved your reading of it. I think that little sniff you had made the reading really cute. But not puppy dog cute. An alluring cute. Yes, such a thing exists, and if it doesn’t, I just made it up. Funny how a cold can alter the tone of a person’s voice and make them seem more entrancing than they already are, and trust me you’re really fascinating. You’re the most enigmatic and enchanting woman I’ve known. Wow! I’m glad I got that off my chest. Now I guess I’ll have to prepare for purgatory in the friend zone. I took a really cheesy video of me smoking and posted it on Instagram by the way. I’ve grown an eighties pornstache, and my hair’s all oily. I got a notification saying that you saw it. Man, does social media really plow into your privacy! It’s fucking ridiculous. We’ll soon have the iCommode. The chamber pot that lets you catch up on the latest post-Kardashian gossip with each shit. Moving on, I didn’t have bacon for breakfast today or beef biryani for lunch. I’m trying to lose a few pounds and look good. Anyhow, I wrote this post because I miss talking to you. Text me tonight. Bye.

P.S. Your poem is amazing and surreal. It’s strange, but your poetry reflects you and brings out more of your mysterious core and that’s a win-win for me!

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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I’d like to think we had some
beautiful moments, rippling through
those trying times when a miasma of despair
coated the flooring, the beds and ourselves
with agony’s dust and though we shook,
washed and clung to hope,
the metal remained rusty,
the windows opaque,
barring any trace of light,
and our spirits ebbed
and the horizon wasn’t an incandescent
force looming over the swashbuckling waves
as they dashed against the rocks, giving them
their momentum and beckoning us to leave
our throes behind and join them,
but a pale, nebulous cadaver unable
to control his children while they rode blue
horses of fury and swept away shore and debris alike,
I’d like to think that despite my inner battles
and your weaknesses, despite finding myself
locked in a white room with a high ceiling and
nurses in pristine white gowns forcing me to
ingest white pills and despite your ambivalence
gnawing at you, making you wonder if you should
leave me or not, we found some peace in the chaos
as clichéd as that sounds,
now, older and without you, aimless, those days
spent weeping, thrashing and threshing for solace
seem like a reverie with wine flowing freely and
drum beats and gala,
I lit my cigarette this morning, and I know
I looked like an archetypal, sorrowed man,
to the passerby with his dog, swimming
against the currents of a middle-life crisis,
the pull threatening to push me over a cliff face,
one I’ll never recover from, but what’s left really,
when the woman who stood by me through
the darkest periods and the piercing nights
of my life, when friends who once seemed seraphic
suddenly turned into demonic bullies, when my popularity
didn’t just wane but disappeared altogether,
when I stood by the street lamp watching everyone
I know, pass me by after looking right through me
can’t be found anymore though I petition and pray,
so, tell me? What’s left to live and die for when
hurt screams through my blood, and I’m just
spin-drift coursing past, looked at once and then

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)