Life finds provenance and meets Death cradling Grief

‘Will things get better Ma?’ I’d ask her, once a fractured identity, found its cast of maternal iron and grit, determined to see the boy through shoves that split ears open – red drops of anguish finding an emotionally ramshackled Gethsemane – though he was too young to pray, to plead and to say sorrowfully, ‘If it’s your will, take this cup,’ and desperate to see him uphold integrity and become the antithesis of the man, who – when she had an early hysterectomy because blood and nearing death finds its provenance in sorrow and ashes: the grime of you’ll never be good enough as a wife, lover and a person – beat the boy on the way to the hospital for leaving a textbook in school. ‘God! God! You and your mother chant! Where is your God!’ He screamed trying to smash his face against the car’s dashboard. ‘You’ll fail your bloody exams, and even if you were to find your textbook don’t you dare tell me that you said so, you little bastard.’

‘Will things get better Ma?’ I’d ask her after they’d finally separated and she took the gamble and said, ‘I’d rather be on the streets with my son than watch him grow, wearing his father’s skin.’ She’d seen the rebellion, the blows delivered in the parking lot, but some shared idealism of knowing worse kept them. He’d pinned her to a bed when the boy was still five and tried killing her, and as innocence slowly left the boy’s soul and he let out a primal scream, he slapped the boy. ‘Shut up!’ He countered with feral ferocity and slapped the ground and shouted, ‘See I’m hurting myself too!’

‘Will things get better Ma?’ I’d ask her after disappointments on the football field and the wrong woman, who was never the yin to my yang, never the destiny, the truth or true love because these things find their birth in collective pain and strength to both wear and bear it. The girl had known pain but she suppressed it and marched to Hypocrisy’s parade: a salute and a stand at ease when Society barked on his platform held together by man’s strained, crooked limbs and knock-kneed stance. ‘Rip the veil and see,’ I’d tell her, but the traumatized often either worsen or slam the iron maiden shut on others like them, or swing, unsteadily somewhere between, where there isn’t darkness or light; just the false lull of addiction.

‘Will things get better Ma?’ I asked her, holding her frail limbs and bellowing, a sudden car crash of recollection. ‘Stay! Tell me! Please!’ And after years of separation and my relationships with worse women and flings with alcohol, she smiled a smile of togetherness, but it wasn’t a bittersweet ending for me; just a spear cracking skin, breaking arteries, piercing my organic core and rushing out from the other side.

‘Will things get better?’ I ask myself in this small town where the petrichor supposedly enlivens, the birds chirp, and Autumn tosses orange scarves as she drifts slowly in her gown of bristles and thorns, with ripened halitosis – a dethroned Empress, and she stares at me, never knowing where I’m heading, bleeding from the rocks of Reality thrown, and says, ‘Godspeed. I hope things get better,’ with a sad idealistic smile.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Originally published in Morality Park 

Wait for it!

Why should I care about the ramblings of a poetaster who suffers from acute schizophrenia?

Every line he writes reflects the disorder. There is poetic catatonia or the complete lack of depth, authenticity, and emotion. Dull and moth-eaten; leprous, and bland as insipid coffee.

There is the clinging and clanging, and neologisms when he says I serenade Siobhan.

There is a misconstrued, twisted paranoia that shrieks, ‘Oh! A love poem! How can it possibly engender originality! It’s a mutton bone I must feed to my pet dragon who appears on the 7th page of the 7th book in my series of 777 books! Hallelujah! Jehovah Jireh! Yes, it’s Catholic and shares a similar world with the brute, masculine, (hackneyed, overrated, devoid of intricate metaphor, empty) imagery of Tolkien!’ Yeah, I’m sure the deacon will be pleased while he’s defrocking the cantor and taking sacramental joy in his shrieks which are songs of joy to the presbyterate.

There is a false superiority, clearly evident in his rag-and-bone satire that he thinks, says, ‘I’m on par with George R.R. Martin!’ I’m sure you are, and Sansa loved it when you rode up to her on your unicorn dressed in nothing but a thong made out of hyacinths.

There is thought broadcast that makes him prattle on and on about myth and lore and keeps him warm at night thinking he dodged Zeus’s bolts with impunity while Aphrodite’s dove formed an unholy union with his cock bettering the union between Jacob and Rebekah, only because it’s sealed with white blood.

There is thought echo which takes him to strange metaphysics in which the Egyptian pyramid symbolizes the stages to self-actualization, and Kierkegaardian stages of despair are actually seeds of consciousness watered by the bad energy that comes from the obscure chanting of the people stuck in Plato’s cave.

Well, why should I care about this weirdo who treasures the opinion of a bunch of shallow (but pretending to be deep) giggly girls, or a self-proclaimed 21-year-old (now 34 or 35) lanky drug kingpin who shot at the police in the middle east of all places and lived to tell the tale!

I honestly don’t know why. I think I’m doing him a favor.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

The Emperor’s Demise

So, after Darth Vader threw Emperor Palpatine into that vortex, he found himself on this side of the universe. He looked at a Star Wars poster of the latest movie and grinned at the words ‘The Last Jedi’ written in red. He then walked up to a woman on a lonely street. He stretched his pale arms out in his uncanny way and tried mind control and asked her to join the dark side.

“Get away from me, you freak!” she screamed and ran away.

Disillusioned by his lack of strength, he succumbed to alcoholism and in a ramshackle bar met a former rock star now broken because of his fall from grace. They talked, and both ranted about unrealistic dreams: One wanting power and the other fame. But somehow, they managed to come up with an idea despite all the slurring and the occasional puking.

They decided to start a band.

Palpatine walked up to the mike stand and stood there while the band played heavy distortion and the drummer used his double bass pedal like a maniac.

Palpatine was unsure but decided to give it a try anyway. He softly said, “Dark side,” and the crowd roared. There was something about his voice that made it so distinct and raw.

Palpatine grinned, and his band soon achieved fame. All he did was walk up to the mike stand in his black robe and talk about wistful dreams of destroying the Jedi and ruling the universe.

Then Palpatine suddenly realized that it was possible to control human beings without a superpower, and he soon eliminated tinges of nostalgia in his rhetoric. He labeled the genre he invented Sith rock, called his fans Stormtroopers, and urged them to dress appropriately during concerts. The band attained astronomical fame. The critics loved Palpatine’s new approach. They called it progressive and reactionary.

All went well until some Stormtroopers took off their masks during a concert and decided to change things. They formed an instrumental band which was rooted in Sith rock but eliminated Palpatine’s rhetoric.

Palpatine derided them for not being true to the roots of the movement, but that only gave them attention. Fans and critics loved this new genre called post-Sith rock and left Palpatine. They called them inventive.

Disillusioned, Palpatine found a woman on a lonely street and stretched his pale arms out and asked her to join the dark side.

She filed a sexual harassment case, and Palpatine lost most of his money. He returned to the ramshackle bar and watched the trailer of The Last Jedi.

“Rey. Where was she when I needed her?” he slurred and puked.

(Inspired by Star Wars)

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

There are only dead ends here, friend

Well, firstly there aren’t any woods where I live, just ramshackle houses strangely painted using vibrant hues. What most of us don’t realize is that this weird flamboyance only emphasizes our poor, misery-stricken state, and our desperate need to keep up with the Kardashians (the Joneses are dead by the way). Anyway, I digress. So I’m standing before these two pot-holed, waterlogged paths, and yes, it did rain yesterday, but we must remember the raw sewage too. I looked down one sordid path and then took the other. I reasoned that this route didn’t stink much, but held my nose while I walked. And it wasn’t morning, but night, and these broken street-lamps with their muffled light were the only oracles given. Did I leave the other for another day? Sure, don’t we all? I’m sure some famous evolutionary biologists despite all their cherry-picking from postmodernism will say the same when the moral zeitgeist shifts tomorrow and we all pick up machetes and kill each other. Hell, they’ll even bawl inwardly before rationalizing that they’re doing the right thing and butcher someone. Wasn’t Hitler right after all? I damn well know by now that one filthy path leads to another. Hell, I’m an obscure writer who lives in a city where some women counselors ask me to get an Arts degree for the sake of it because that’s what ‘girls’ do. Some Protestants with their wet dreams aren’t very different. They tape record my sessions and then ask me to work in a coffee shop because I’m unstable and it’s a ‘noble’ thing to do. They know jolly well that in this place people who work in coffee shops don’t do it out of a sense of service. They do it because they don’t have an alternative. One must never do something because it’s noble when one’s heart isn’t in it. Take a look at some Cardinals, and you’ll get what I’m saying. Oh, they’re wearing red all right. And please notice the use of the determiner. They’ll fry you using a skillet of fundamentalism if you use language without precision. Anyway, I digress again. It’s this stupid habit of introspection you see. Some contemplate and find ‘enlightenment’ or something. For me, it’s a head put in the Guillotine. I say that because the noose is overused, the electric chair won’t convey it properly, and I’ve never really understood the lethal injection. Only the fellow who we think sleeps but is writhing inside probably does. I know, I know, I’m digressing again, and so, I’ll end this quickly. I know I’m never coming back, and one day after just a year or two considering the number of cigarettes I smoke, I’ll say this with a wheeze, a cough, and a death-rattle: I took the road less sordid, and now I’m dying alone, goodbye!

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Freak

You said, ‘I’m glad I let you go, and dissolved our friendship,’ but what’s strange is that you’re the one stalking me; reading my posts and injecting yourself between my lines, thinking I write about you. The earth doesn’t spin on its axis for your post-millennial theatrics, and the stars don’t glint like fireflies in the sky for your drama. I put you out of my system a long time ago, but you creep up now and then like a lizard on a wall, showing your horrendous face and I can’t help but be mad. I’m giving you too much attention by writing this, but it’s better to cough up acidic bile using words than soaking yourself – like a sponge – in the green ditch-water of bitterness. You’re an archetypal narcissist hiding behind distorted feminism, false Me Too banners  and blame games. You cannot humble yourself and apologize for the hurt you’ve caused, but whine and bitch when you’re hurt, pointing at everything in your vicinity, saying, ‘He’s responsible; she’s responsible; they’re responsible.’ Now I’m a fault-ridden man who has made his share of mistakes and paid dearly for them, and though my attempts to get my shit together crumbles to shattered idealism, I’ll admit that I’m responsible for throwing my life away.

It’s strange that you contact me after telling me that you’re doing everything in your power to avoid me, and that you don’t want me around. So, I wisely did the right thing then and fucked off. Now, you’re in some deep pit, and you want my hand pulling you out of it, but I’m sorry, you closed that chapter a long time ago. I hate giving people advise, but please don’t use people after you’ve hurt them. It’s selfish and reckless, just like you cutting yourself and not seeking professional help for your depression is. You’re sadly all about me, myself and I with a universe of self-pity revolving around that core, and maybe you’ll have an epiphany or maybe not, but regardless of where you end up or what you do, push me out of that head of yours and leave me the fuck alone.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Dear Melissa

When you read this, I won’t know if you’ll be shocked or just subdued. I won’t know if you’ll think I took the coward’s way out or had the courage to do something most people only dream or talk about. Life is filled with tragic curves and barely guarded hairpin bends and there’s only so much I could climb. You’ll ask yourself if what I did was the most selfish, cowardly act someone can commit or if I said what I needed to, did what I needed to, left behind both rapture and devastation and left on my terms. Each day felt like an inner concentration camp, gripping my soul and squeezing hard, crushing my will and slowly and steadily I became a slave to forces within beyond my control. I tried explaining this to you and if one person got me, it will always be you. But words are both spoken and unspoken and the latter always resides even after you think you’ve purged it all out. I felt like I was being a burden, a curse and a shame; thriving on my self-pity like a leech on blood; growing fat, drinking the blood of sorrow, and by and by I needed freedom and though I smashed the trapdoor with my fists, clawed at it even; it refused to open, and day became night and night became day and I lost sense of purpose like a walking cadaver doing his duty. But I kept at it, until fate wrung me dry of emotion, and apathy kills darling, but also gives a man courage. I didn’t want to fake love, to fake sorrow, to fake that you meant something long after my heart grew cold. I wanted you to mean something always because nobody else gave a damn, nobody else fucking cared. I’ll remember your touches and kisses if there’s an afterlife where sorrow lies defeated and we drink from the waters of beauty and rest on the shores of inner quietude. Now, I don’t expect you to understand. And even if you did, I don’t expect you to forgive me. I love you and though they’ll say, ‘He never meant it because love translates into action,’ and they’re right, I just want you to move on, to exorcise yourself of me, if necessary. If what I did is selfish, then use it against me, but let me go right there. If what I did is difficult, don’t try solving that puzzle. If what I did is cowardly, then remember me for being yellow and nothing else. I wish I could explain more but I can’t. I write this with dry tears and a dead soul and if that sounds harsh, remember me for being cruel and for not walking hand in hand with you, and breaking ‘forever and always,’ even though paradoxically you are forever and always.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Originally published in The Literati Mafia 

Requiem

Funerals are difficult but delivering a sermon at a murderer’s wake is excruciating. I see just five of you seated here. His mother, his three sisters and one friend who could bring himself to come. Now, I don’t mean to insult the bereaved in any way, but if I didn’t speak my mind, even if it’s for an audience of five who knew this man better than me, I might as well resign from shepherding my church and find another vocation.

What this man did was heinous. He was a teacher in a school, a man meant to educate, and facilitate intellectual and moral growth, but he broke bad and losing his grip on sanity, murdered thirteen precious young lives before taking his own. His wife has denounced him and isn’t here and that’s her prerogative, but the one person I wanted to see was his father.

When I spoke to you, I realized that he came from a troubled home and had a tortured past. His father took discipline to extremes which slowly deteriorated into both physical and verbal abuse. He never once said that he was proud of him, and rarely said that he loved him and when he did, it was in a flat, emotionless tone. His father asked him to ‘man up’ when he was severely bullied in school and disregarded every cry for solace. And now the man has the audacity to say that he took a ‘dark path’ and ‘chose’ to destroy himself. So, I’d like to address that man even though he’s not present and is busy giving interviews on news channels to purge himself of his guilt.

What you did sir, is just as heinous because you emotionally starved someone until his soul died. You’re guilty of murder too. In this age, we either don’t talk about feelings at all or we talk too much about them. But to live healthily is to feel healthily. And I don’t mean cheap thrills or ephemeral highs that drugs give you, which this man struggled with, before quitting completely, and tragically did what he did before he could celebrate his redemption. I mean a deeper, more profound connection to someone or something noble and dignified. Emotion is always two-dimensional. There is the object and the protagonist. Now this man was a protagonist when he was young. He was a young man, full of ambitions and dreams. Today, and as long as this world lives he’ll be denounced and degraded, and treated like a vile antagonist, but there was a time when he longed for something of quality and substance. If only you’d just nourished that need, my dear sir, instead of quenching it and indoctrinating him. A dogma becomes a snake in the mind which bites, poisons, and eventually devours, unless it’s given and received with love. You exasperated your child and today you aren’t even here. It’s tragic that you didn’t stop what you could have.

Having said that, I’d also like to address society. If we continue allowing our children – especially in this millennial or post-millennial age when technology which isn’t inherently bad but used abominably by men, spews all sorts of venomous ideas into their already addled heads – to emulate what we see or hear, in schools, to create cliques and enforce stereotypes at a young age because that’s how drama presents adolescence, then we’ll have to reap such consequences. There is more to life than a click-bait carousel on which digital avatars revolve. It’s a box within a box within a box. That’s how shallow and superficial we’ve become. That’s how bland and tasteless we’ve become and I’m just as guilty as everyone else. So, let’s make a change and get a hold of our broken, disjointed lives by knowing how to live in solitude, by finding simple pleasures, or by just taking a stroll in the park.

Returning to the deceased, God is merciful, but He is also just. And sadly, we’ve lost him forever if you believe in the Christian faith. He will suffer for his crimes and I can only hope it’s in the fires of an intense purgatory which enables him to finally know everlasting love.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)