I’m listening to Look on Down from the Bridge by Mazzy Star and there’s something about the concept of finding freedom by abandoning everything I’ve known that appeals to me. I’m sick of it all honestly. The women and the sex. The cigarettes and the booze. And this isn’t some ephemeral disease of the soul like heartbreak or failure. No, this is a deeper cry that resounds through my very core beating any millennial petulance. When I was younger, I dreamt and dreamt of things I thought will materialize, coalesce and take shape, carrying me to objects of affection and wreaths of adoration. Now, I’m older, writing bawdy, perverted, shitty poetry on Google Hangouts to people who get me (or don’t) but the truth is I’m in this ramshackle bar of my depravity. The puke of consciousness staining everything, and in this nasty Tophet I’m shaking the bartender by the collar. ‘Give me something stronger! Or break this fucking place down!’ I scream, but he’s mute and does nothing. The only light I know seeps in through the gaps in the roof boards like gaps in a lecher’s teeth. The frosted window looks like an ugly splotch of curd. I need an escape. I fall to my knees and look down because I’ve stopped praying or can’t remember how to. The wooden flooring with its nails sticking out and splinters screams back at me. ‘You’re a failure!’ It shrieks, and I want to take one of those nails and gouge my eyes out, or just collapse and let the splinters split flesh and embed themselves in me. I get up and stumble in a hazy state to the bathroom and look in the cracked mirror. I have nicotine stained lips and eyes with natural mascara. I don’t know when I last slept. And when I try, I’m always in this state between sleep and wakefulness. A horrifying purgatory between the Abraham’s Bosom of deep sleep and the hell of nightmares. I try lucid dreaming and succeed for a while, and I guess they’ll eventually find me like this, obscure and lost to oblivion, lost between dreams and actuality with spittle running down my mouth.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)