Decay

Spring lost its luster
I stare at forlorn Autumn
My life ebbs away

I don’t know when I changed for the worse. Maybe it happened when paranoia gripped me, or when I tussled with fits of rage and madness. But now, there’s a beast within me, threatening to break rib-cage and tear flesh and destroy when provoked. I try suppressing him; I try bottling the raw pain like flayed skin, but I never succeed. He eventually consumes me and everybody around him, and then the guilt of hurting the people who love me the most breaks me like that picture of Spurgeon smoking a cigar broke him and forced repentance (or so they say).

I then resort to self-medicating and drinking and chain-smoking. A false euphoria envelops me as the antihistamines hit, the alcohol goes to my head, and nicotine rushes to my brain like soldiers rushing on a battlefield. But soon, that touch from a false god loses its potency and defeated, deranged, and damaged; I look at the wall opposite me and spend hours practicing a twisted anti-mindfulness.

Then comes the craving for more codeine or antispasmodics. I beg mother for money; I say, ‘Just this one time Mom. I promise I’ll never ask you again.’ But we both know that this redundant ruse, this scene on repeat is just a way for me to always get what I want. Nowadays, this charade leads to confrontation, which eventually unleashes the beast within. A vicious cycle has me trapped; I know I’ve lost sight of Spring and Autumn’s decay personifies me, but I refuse to change because it demands excruciating effort, and so I stay as the crimson refuse slowly envelopes me and my blood, spittle, and shit rupture even a semblance of beauty.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

For dVerse 

55 responses

  1. Okay…..for the record….you are an extremely talented writer! And if you are writing of a truth that envelops you, then I for one wish I could shake you out of this….to let you know the light your words radiate and how they can and will help you and others to find the Spring. There is a cycle to the seasons…..sometimes there is a slog that catches at our heels and we cannot lift our feet, get out of the depth of fallen leaves and muck — or at least it seems we cannot. My hope is that, if you are writing from a truth here, that you can somehow grab onto a reed, a pole, an extended hand, a piece of faith, a candle lit in a window, a glimmer of hope and trust and faith….and allow yourself to heal within your words and find your roots to know you are an amazing and wondrous person, with possibilities simply waiting to be claimed. Your emotions are so keenly written in this post – hoping you and others represented within these words, can find their way to bloom.

    • Thank you so much for your beautiful comment Lillian. I wish I could shake myself out of this but it’s often very hard. I lost my faith in everything and just gave into a terrible, all consuming nihilism at some point in my life. It’s just that I’ve seen a lot of suffering. But you’re right. Letting myself soak in self-pity isn’t the answer. There is beauty. There has to be. And writing is a way to attain it. I’m starting to see that now.

  2. This personal sense of decay can be so overpowering — you depict it so well through this range of knowledge and recognition of both its symptoms and impacts. The life ebbing away can be such a redundant act and we become habitual to it and it becomes really really difficult to break out of the mold.

    • Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, we often get addicted to just letting despondency take over. And it is extremely hard when you reach rock bottom. You’ve put it so well.

      • I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but your story reminded me of an interview I heard a few years ago with the mother of a couple of boys who had started dabbling in alcohol then drugs from their early teens. By the time they were eighteen they were onto heroin and were shooting up at home. Neither of them got jobs. One lived with his girlfriend until she threw him out, then moved back in with his parents. The parents tried everything, psychiatrists, counseling, rehab (several times) but their kids just went back onto the stuff as soon as they came out. Parents started buying the drugs for their kids because they had no money of their own and had been picked up too often by the police. The crisis came when the father was arrested and it all came out. The police psychologist said chuck them out. As long as they could sponge on their parents they’d never quit the habit. It worked.

      • Man, that is a tragic story. Reminds me a little of the book Skagboys. My story is different. I was actually doing very well until I was twenty five. I played football regularly and I was doing my masters in clinical psychology. I had no vices except the occasional smoke. But in the middle of the second seminar I fell ill and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and OCD with psychotic features. That and the side effects of medication ruined me. I took to writing and managed to get published in a few literary magazines but I haven’t earned anything. I spent some time living with my friends but I returned to living with my mom. I guess it’s time to sort my shit out.

      • I think your story is the more tragic, because it has a medical condition as the background, and you can’t do anything about that. Those two boys sounded like a pair of slack-arsed spongers with over-indulgent, guilt-ridden parents. I hope you get it together. You sound as though you could. I’ve never made any money writing either and I have three novels with a ‘real’ publisher. If you want something that concentrates the mind wonderfully, get onto the writing and querying train. It’s endless. There are always more agents to query, more publishers to try, no matter how often you get rejected. Keep at it. If you have a talent and you don’t use it, you’ll regret it forever.

      • Thank you so much for that. I think I’ll start doing just that. I’ll write short stories and query agents. Yeah, that might give me a sense of direction. And yes, I’ll try hard to get my shit together. But like you said, I can’t do anything about the mental illness.

      • Try magazines with your stories first. Collections of short stories are a hard sell, but there are lots of good magazines around. Best of luck and just keep writing :)

  3. May you reach a point when you find you are worth the “excruciating effort” toward a meaningful life. You’re a talented writer, and your life experiences might be put to good use helping others who are facing similar battles.

  4. How beautifully you write of the depths of despair – addiction overriding sensibility, “life ebb(ing) away”. It takes courage to be so brutally honest – a point of hope. Yes, it takes effort to change, and acknowledging the problem is part of the solution – at least according to Dr. Phil. Take care.

    • I agree that the first step towards any change is acknowledging that you have a problem. I hope I can use writing as a tool to beat my addiction. Replace a vice with a virtue or something like that. Thank you so much for your beautiful comment,

  5. I wrote about inner demons and health issues too. It took a spiritual epiphany to show me the light. I would like to think that this sharing is more literary than personal; as others noted, your writing skills are impressive.If you still living at home, and you are young, you have time to journey through the darkness of addiction; good luck.

    • Thank you so much. Yes I am at home and I hope that I’ll be able to break through using writing as a tool. And I agree, sometimes a spiritual epiphany is needed to make that drastic change.

  6. Your writing is intense, powerful and gripping. I have not experienced such beast or demons within me so I can only imagine the struggles and challenges you have to face. It is not easy to change course, and it takes a lot of effort to even try. I pray that you will find your peace, and see that spring season soon.

      • Also wanted to share that it is appreciated if you visit and comment back on the poems/poets that have commented on yours. This is how we build a community at dVerse. Welcome again.

      • I apologise for not commenting earlier Grace. I did comment on a few blogs today. I do read all the pieces though, and sometimes they’re so good that a ‘beautiful’ won’t suffice, but I don’t know what else to say. I’ll try harder though.

  7. Such an honest, powerful haibun, Nitin! I’m glad you started with the haiku, which seems to reflect current feelings, while the well-written prose unpicks them and has shades of hope, There is recognition of the cycle of paranoia and pain, which means it can be broken. By writing it down, it becomes breakable.

    • Yeah insight definitely helps one make that excruciating change. Thank you so much for such a beautiful, thought provoking comment that looks at both the structure and the meaning of the piece. Let’s hope writing helps me carry on like you said.

  8. Writing is essential therapy to you. I am amazed at how beautifully, honestly, torrentially and catharctically you do it. I am pasting your words here, which are a part of a response you have given to a comment: “Replace a vice with a virtue or something like that”. Yea, that’s it! Isn’t that what Indian philosophy tells us? Perhaps yoga and meditation would also help you all along. You would come into contact with your inner samskaras: https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/5748/samskara

    • Firstly, you leave such beautiful comments Marta. Thank you so much for them. They brighten my day. I’ve tried yoga, but it never worked for me, but mindfulness on the other hand has worked to some extent. The fanatic Hindus here put me away from the religion. I prefer Buddhism but I dislike the fact that they justify the class system.

      • Agree with the issue of class system. I do not justify it either. I just take the good side of everything and leave the negative. I am like a shoe polisher, always look at the bright side of life. Every one of us can shine in this world through love and kindness, the only things that save us. Otherwise we are only cruel and predatory. Mindfulness sounds great. Wish you all the best and we will continue in touch.

  9. By the way, forgot to say I also love the autumn picture of your writing. It is no spring, but so beautiful with an incredible light touching the two tree leaves. May this light be with you, Nitin.

  10. A seering, stark and honest write! I relate to your beast within, for I struggle with my own. I remember Churchill’s expression when I experience the worst moments: “If you’re going through hell, keep going!” For what it’s worth, I respect your honesty and authenticity in writing. Keep doing so!

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