In a quest for freedom, I opened the dusty black book of floods and lepers and nail-pierced wounds, but all I saw were Luciferin apparitions terrorizing, haunting and controlling me, making me walk under the sliced moonlight, stepping on thorns and attempting to gouge my eyes out — a penance for the apostate.
In a quest for freedom, I declared, ‘God is dead,’ and ensconced myself in free-spirited nihilism: The absolute freedom of a mote of dust in a universe with no dogmatic, wrathful Sovereign, but I still felt shallow, my bones hollow, devoid of a rich marrow, and I, a fragile, fickle-minded, breakable man journeyed on asphalt while my skin slowly melted because of the existential radiation and all they saw was a skeleton nearing an Ozymandian end in a desert with an epitaph saying, ‘Here lies one who succumbed to the illusion of absolute freedom and the inanity of life. He thought he’d walk like a Sartrean entity spooning purposelessness, but instead, the void within devoured him and he became a Dostoevskian cliché, riddled with doubts and forever confined.’
In a quest for freedom, I sought the black carriage with horses on fire. I swallowed thirty anxiolytics and hoped the dark would embrace me, but the dread of not knowing what comes after made me induce vomiting, the pills floating in the commode like pearls in brown ditch-water and I, numbed and nauseated feared a complete psychic breakdown of the senses or a retardation.
In a quest for freedom, I sought lovers and friends, bedding women and smoking pot with men, but guilt-plagued, I wandered corridor after corridor in my dusty apartment, my thoughts like maggots feeding on decaying flesh — condemning, infuriating and chastising me. I tried justifying my beatnik hedonism, but a deluge of self-loathing bathed me in putrid crimson. Woe to a man who says good is evil and evil good. O, Isaiah! Must you torment me so? Placing my soul in a Sicilian Bull and roasting me until I shriek, mutilated with charred flesh and vesicles.
In a quest for freedom, I wrote and wrote on Facebook seeking cyber reinforcement and validation. ‘Heed my lines,’ I bellowed like an archetypal Jeremiah, but postmodern virtual Israel like the real one didn’t listen and only mocked and bullied. ‘He’s a madman, best avoid him,’ they whispered, and sadly will find no wrath for their taunts which only makes me a false prophet. I immolated myself writing dark confessionals or let raw satire scald the page, but the eyes that read them had no irises, or misinterpreted my lines and made me the killer. O Society! Must you buttfuck me without Vaseline so!
In a quest for freedom, I expanded my mental horizons reading book after book, I purged out my naïvety, but I learned that ecclesiastical adages speak truth: More knowledge brings more sorrow and what happens will happen again and the dead stay dead. The sun rises and sets, the moon’s cadence changes with each fortnight, the living toil and labor. Benighted arrogance leads to acceptance in a world of suits and glory hounds and fame whores, but it’s too late for me. I can’t undo what I searched and found.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)
Originally published in The Junction