An old friend or one who says he’s one,
tells me he despises ‘high’ metaphor –
as if metaphor were the Tower of Babel,
which one climbs and climbs, until
everything disintegrates into talking in
tongues – but he writes with such verbosity,
that I need a Thesaurus to only figure out that
what’s going on is going on.
And that’s not the point of poetry is it?
Ask me to talk of loneliness, and I’ll
give you a demonic room with crumbling wallpaper,
torn chintz grey curtains, and threadbare couches
with rusty nails sticking out, the dust asphyxiating
you while the television’s grainy screened, but people
around you are paradoxically dancing and reveling in
the same grimy place, smoking their joints, carousing,
cuddling and kissing, perhaps even fucking, oblivious
to glances from dilated pupils.
Ask him to talk of loneliness and he’ll say,
“It’s a cacophonous Tophet where rumination
deliquesces and the recherché panache becomes
quotidian utilitarianism,” which basically means
that it’s a shit hole that deprives you of thought.
Well, he secretly admires me, and I, the size of
his lexicon, and we don’t need to talk about Autumn
or the Riemann hypothesis to figure that out.
I’ll smoke my cigarettes and drink my coffee
and he can sip his sherry while he’s eating caviar.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)