Eternal

This is a picture of Autumn. My collaboration with Emily revolves around heartbreak and rebirth which can be found in Autumn's colors.

I pass winding curve after winding curve with Ray LaMontagne’s Jolene playing; one hand on the steering wheel and another holding a half-smoked cigarette. It’s Autumn and the road’s barren except for some false gold leaves glittering, symbolizing the facade we’ve become. I still can’t find beauty in this season of aged whiskey trees and rum breath air. Maybe I don’t look hard enough, just like I didn’t try hard enough for us, but I sure did bleed hard enough to watch crimson sluice over our Spring and enthusiasm. I still carry a picture of you. I crushed it the other day but couldn’t make myself trample it with my mud-caked boots. I hate to admit it, but I’m still in love with you.

Driving the same old roads, in the same dim town, heart burning as I think of us, who we were, who we are now, apart within the same cold world. Ray sings of being Empty now, tears sting my eyes behind my shades, knowing what we had is gone, feeling the depth of what we made, locked in our tortured minds and souls, afraid of love in its whole form, all hues and shades accepted; you weren’t accepted as you are, I tried and was rejected. I drive and think of words to say, to bring you back into my realm, then quickly push the thought away, as tears within me drown.

They say love edifies and enriches, but that’s just one facet. It’s not always incandescent, flaring souls with dashes of color, nor is it always luminescent: hands clasped through the bluish chill, finding in each other all that’s needed when we despair. Sometimes love destroys, and sitting in this ramshackle bar, I’m worn with wistful reverie, and the raw whiskey doesn’t soothe or alleviate. It only elevates the feeling of separateness, making me feel trapped in a maze of a blurred what once was. I grope, try, but can’t find my way out. You broke my heart and I guess I ripped yours too. You’re not here anymore, having moved to another town and I’m crushed by a landslide of emotion. Speaking of landslides, I hear Stevie Nicks in my head, asking me if I can handle the seasons of my life, because I did build my life around you, but drunk patrons and vagabonds perhaps living a different shade of the same story are all I see now.

Now in my darkened room, head under cover from the sun, rejecting its brightness and warmth, it doesn’t compare to when we were Yellow, as Coldplay sings in the background; it’s like all the songs I’m hearing are meant to remind me of you. Sometimes I wonder if I should’ve stayed, waiting patiently for the days to end, waking with some newfound meaning, say the words upon my tongue, that I need you. I need you, now and then, maybe always. I drink this blood red wine, aware of the daily communion without you, heart bleeding with each beat and breath. What we had isn’t gone, just lost in mazes of thoughts that drain ceaselessly from the depths of past lives and current hopes and hopelessness.

I wake up in a dusty motel room, dank and dusty. I’m hungover. I throw on something I picked up in a thrift shop. I bought a Bible too, hoping that it’ll ease the pain of heartbreak. I flip through a few pages and put it down. A maelstrom of thoughts leave my mind in disarray: Why this broken world? Why the sorrow of loving someone only to find them walk away and leave you limping unsteadily between hope and hopelessness – the twilight of not knowing if they’ll come back or utterly abandon you? I must move on, I tell myself, but you never get over that special someone who sees past your guilt and mistakes, and makes a numb, callous heart feel again. And you were that person, that woman who made each heartbeat, each simple thing worth it. I part the worn chintz curtains and let the red dawn envelop me. It’s always that color now – the color of loss, passion and a Pyrrhic victory.

Remembering when we first met, the bliss I felt in your presence, couldn’t contain the heart on my sleeve, didn’t follow the rules of when to say what, didn’t wait for a space to contact you again, I was in heaven, after being in a muted hell. On that first day, I pulled you close to me, slowly, steadily moving past your walls, shyly grabbing your hands, easing into embrace, then kissing your cheek on that beautiful face, time tested and painted with disappointment, failure, abandonment. I made a pact with myself right then, I would never abandon you. I would see past the running away as a test willingly taken because I saw you. You, in all your majesty and grace, not just as the scars you so willingly wore. I wanted your pain, your burdens to bear, to become “us” unafraid together, to believe I was sincere, never dreaming of playing a game with your fragile, kind heart; I couldn’t convince you and we grew apart. Come back, we’ll reset, on The Edge of Desire, just like John Mayer says; flip your mattress on its axis and find me on yours, we’ll hang onto each other, stay closer this time, not having to live in what we’ve created. Come back, I forgive us. Will you? Please?

I’ve often wondered if my insecurities, bitterness and jealousy is in my blood or if it’ll wash out in the water just like that Mayer song, which was art to us. How could I have ever let you go? Is drinking myself to an end on sordid streets, littered with the debris of bad memories like crushed paper cups worth it, when all it takes is acknowledging responsibility? I guess I’ve made myself an archetypal anti-hero, a charlatan straight out of a comic book and it’s just my pride that’s keeping me from driving to where you are, and telling you that I need you – all of you, every inch of your soul and body, each iota of you that gave me a baptism of sorts: a rebirth in this world full of broken places where cacophony strikes people down with harsh drumbeats and the clanging of cymbals filled with hate. And I’ve seen enough and heard enough, and I guess it’s time to humble myself and just break down, look you in the eye and tell you that I can’t fucking live without you.

I’m calling you in desperation, dialing the numbers ingrained in my mind, I couldn’t forget even if I wanted to, can’t block you, I’ve tried in perpetual vain. Surrendering to possibilities of rejection, you may not answer, ignore my attempt, my heart not just on my sleeve, laid bare in my hands, bloody, wounded, full, aching, alive at the thought of our pride forsaking, envisioning a reunion where we shed our past skins and become reborn, us, again. Us, again and always. I’m hoping the sheer power of my needing you will create lightning bolts, somehow as a signal from silent heavens, that I’m ready for reckless abandon, not reckless at all when it comes to our twin flames. My anxiety creeps to crippling heights, as I hear the sound of unanswering silence, dreading hearing your voice only on a greeting, jovial and inviting, a mockery of my pain. I keep saying please with each eternal ring, “Answer, Answer, it’s me.”

I look at my phone, hoping you’d call, and then walk street after street, like I’m doing penance, hoping that once when I’m knock-kneed and engulfed by the raw pain that follows circumstance, you’ll call and give me catharsis. I guess I’m hoping on a miracle. I guess I’ve retreated into some golden shell of youth’s idealism, unwilling to come out, like a snail protecting himself, unaware that all it takes is one stomp to crush and kill. I can call you, but I’m teetering between red and blue: the red of a harsh hurt which I can no longer bear and the blue of hope. And then as I stroll aimlessly, past litter, potholes and ramshackle bars, cigarette shops and hotdog stands, I feel my phone vibrate and looking at your picture brings back so much that I’m tempted to not answer, but I decide to brave it all, take this last chance and say, “Hello.”

Your voice is live, electricity through phone lines, makes my head light, I lose my breath. “Hello?”, you say another time, and I respond in an almost whisper: “I’m not sure what to say, you know it’s me, this time away, unbearable. I can’t explain myself fully, make you understand, just want to be together again.” You respond, as if thinking of the next words is the most difficult task in a situation so fragile, then slowly say, in a tone almost defeated, “None of it matters, the past is gone, I’ve been thinking of driving to where you are, wordless, we’ll feel what words can’t tell, mend pieces still broken in embraces eternal”. Eternal, a word often heard in scripture or musings on life after this, now just us, the love I almost lost, a culmination of words said and unspoken, “I’m coming”, we speak in unison, and love handles the rest.

© Nitin Lalit Murali and Emily C. Poésie (2019)

This is a collaboration between me and Emily. You’ll find her at the Melancholy Spitfire. She’s a very talented writer who writes very honest, evocative and beautiful poetry, and she’s also a good friend. Do follow her blog. 

Writers

This is a picture of two funny faces. To me it depicts hypocrisy which is a central theme in my essay.

If you’re a miserable, depressed bastard who spends his time hating himself, the last thing you need is a blank page and a pen. Trust me, writing is the most exhausting and humiliating profession a person can take up. It drains you and drills in you an insatiable need for validation. You want people to hear you, to cry your name out in the streets, to sing praises, and if you get it, you’re only left wanting more.

Writing devours you, bit by bit. It eats you slowly like cancer. It robs you of your identity, your sense of self, and your fucking life. You wait for inspiration and then wring it dry when it comes; cutting yourself open in the process and pouring your entrails on a page. And then, you hastily stitch your wounds, before repeating the process. You become a serpent biting its tail. You go nowhere and only delude yourself into thinking that it’ll all come to a fruitful end one day.

Writers are liars. They contradict themselves all the time and then justify their viewpoints by saying things like: “My ideas were still evolving then.” Writers are thieves because they only redesign what their predecessors have said for centuries. Putting it figuratively, they capture a mansion that has stood for decades using a Polaroid and then paint all over the picture and say, “Here! Look at my surreal image! It’s unique, and I designed everything!” Writers are madmen who live out their twisted fetishes in their art. From incest to coulrophilia, you’ll find everything. You only need to look for it. Writers are moody fuckers who can get extremely jealous, bitter, proud, or angry. Writers are perverts. The blogosphere is full of hardcore sex poems that are deemed ‘sensual.’ Writers are paranoid. Somebody writes something on an obscure blog, and some other lunatic thinks it’s about him and starts a war. Writers are lazy. A lot of them don’t have jobs, and since it’s difficult to break into the publishing industry, they sit and write for morsels of gratitude in the form of likes or comments. Writers are narcissists. They’re either arrogant pricks or sorrowed narcissists who’re bitter, self-righteous preachers posing as mendicant monks of depression.

And when I say writers, don’t get me wrong, I’m as guilty as my peers. I’m guilty of creating a house of horrors, complete with stage, lighting, and actors with red and blue paint. Now, my father physically abused me when I was young, and today, I’m unemployed, bipolar, and on medication. That’s the hard truth the looks me in the eye and asks me to move on with my damn life. But that’s not how I portray it. If asked to write about it again, I’ll probably start by saying: “What do you know? Have you seen your mother almost dying at the hands of a feral man you still can’t call your father? You sit at home with your picture-perfect family, and you’re given everything on a platter. You don’t even have to dance for John’s head. Just ask, and it’ll be brought, neatly arranged with a cup of jus, and slices of the holy garlic bread, and old wine in a goblet from daddy’s cellar. And still, you whine and complain.” And I’ll then say: “I wept in classroom corners, and begged the bullies to leave me alone. I felt my spirit castrated each time I brought home my marks card because one rank short of Papa’s standard meant he’d beat me black and blue. I had my phone conversations monitored, and he’d feel free to abuse any friend with the filthiest words. I went to an all-boys school where each day was a palimpsest of the last – an unending, unyielding scrape of the mind, the grate leading to a now fattened, balding, medicated shell of a man who hopes that the voices in his head will stop echoing, and the episodes of grandeur, making him one of the two witnesses, turning water into blood, and standing transfigured like an archetypal Elijah will leave. I hope for hope because that’s the ashen ground with rasping withered grass I stand on. I numb the pain, stringing pills like the pentameter: the small blue sertraline, the white big Amisulpride, the small white valium, the big blue Valproate…and drink it down with hard Indian Rum, never caring about fame, fortune, prestige, or even life or death.”

So, you get it. Every writer is guilty. And here are a few more hypocritical lines from me in case you didn’t get it: “In this postmodern digital, millennial age filled with 16-year-olds going through drastic, dramatic identity crises, and writhing in angst like a person who’s smoked too much bad weed that hits the lungs hard, you have these adolescents blogging about catastrophic relationship failures – the size of a 8.0 scale earthquake – and making the entire universe revolve around them. It’s such a despicable quest for identity and validation from strangers across the globe. The smiley (with its numerous devious forms) has replaced the hug, the like has replaced the warmth of a handshake, and browsing through blog after blog, hunting down followers is now a walk in Eden. Even the paperback or hardcover finds annihilation, because of the e-reader or iPad, which only makes you skip lines, and not even visualize properly. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not just the young; it’s also time-traveling oldies which this post-apocalyptic wasteland called the ‘internet for acceptance’ has ensnared. And I’ve been there myself, trapped, crying for solace, watching the like button on Facebook or WordPress light up with the attention of a guard at the gate on duty during war, and fuck, I wasted time – years honestly, because if you put the hours together, you’ll get a clusterfuck of ages, which will stab you right in the stomach because you’re fucking responsible. But suffering shapes you, and it made me stop caring about likes or followers. I think too much time on the internet leads to disassociation and a completely fragmented identity that can’t root itself on solid ground anymore. Soon, we’ll find ourselves talking using ‘lols’ in the real world. We’ll become bat shit crazy and not in a good way. These days writing is about marketing too. Your content doesn’t have to be great, or hell, even good, if you know how to promote yourself. I find blogs about how to blog better, and I wonder if these people are writers or marketing professionals – zero imagery, zero analogy usage, zero storytelling, and just points like moles on parched skin: Do this, do this and do this. And then there are posts on blogging etiquette. Oh, for fucks sake! We aren’t at dinner at a Three Michelin Star restaurant.” Now, that’s me ranting about blogging in general, and making myself a flawed hero. But hypocrisy taints every sentence because I still love attention and get envious of popular blogs, and also because I love my Kindle!

Finally, I’ll end this by saying that I need a break. I need to go to the mountains, and breathe in the petrichor and feel the chill in my bones. Yes, I know I’ve said this so many times, but I’m considering giving all this up. What’s the point of it anyway? We write for praise, but we disdain it when it’s offered. We love being flattered, even though we know how superficial it is. We scratch each other’s backs like monkeys. We writers are a lousy, miserable, twisted, fucked up bunch.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

Everybody seems so far away

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 anguish 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. 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 (2019)

Shades of the same song

Meeting you, at that Indie concert, where a local band covered Marc Broussard, and being enveloped in the blue haze of the lighting, while looking at the dark beige of the cocktail in your hands gave me freedom from a society full of obscurantism, suspicions and superstitions. We were young, rebellious and carefree, so disintegrated and yet held together by our individual and collective red bands of anarchism. I think of then now, and though age has made me nuanced and more eloquent, toning down my Rabelaisian wit, and raw hunger for independence, making me want to give and take, forgive and respect, and no longer dismiss convention with a flip of the finger like I’d have done then, a part of me still wants the thrill of existing with you in motel rooms, making our own music – while some band performs downstairs – with each gentle bite of the lip, with me unhooking your bra, and you gently unbuttoning me. You always liked that scar on my stomach. A part of me wants us studying every inch of each other, while skin grazes skin, and whispers and echoes of something primal, something medieval, give us the pleasure and pain of becoming one, and our synergy gives us this heightened sense of both awareness and dissociation – the apex of our union. But this is just one facet of our relationship that I crave for. I also long for the subtle, spontaneous kisses, when you look at me with a faint lascivious smile, and I draw you closer and hold you. I long for impromptu dances in the slice of the moonlight, in closed parks, after we climb the locked gates and find in each other the courage and strength to dare to dream for more. And, I long to just see you again, because I know that who we’ve become won’t matter. There’ll always be an outpouring of laughter and tears and we’ll still love each other like we did then.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

Grunge

This is a picture of a man smoking. The image represents a hedonistic attitude towards life which is one of the central themes my poem revolves around.

I had one too many yesterday, popped pills like I was
scattering dimes on the dinner table, laying them bare,
I smoked a pack of Marlboro Red like I usually do,
flicking the half-smoked cigarettes into the rotten,
weed-strewn patch of land that haunts the left side
of my cracked wallpaper, slightly jaded house.

I stood on a balcony that’s barely holding up like
an oxygenated man needing tubes and needles,
I watched the honeydew sunset with dilated
pupils, drifting in and out of a lazy reverie –
a blurred door in the distance with misty vines
creeping over it, the cobbled path like fish scales,
coalescing now and then. I was half-running, half-stumbling,
but without fear, I tried
getting to the door but suddenly woke up
only to find myself beginning again.

I stood in my thrift store shirt
and track pants, unwashed, unclean
and unattended to. I guess there’s a sense
of freedom in a slightly reckless abandonment
or a partial hedonism.

I didn’t need you at that moment and
I don’t need you now.
I didn’t love you at that moment and
I don’t love you now.
I didn’t feel you at that moment and
I don’t feel you now.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

For whatever it’s worth

This is a picture of raindrops coating a window. It depicts sorrow and struggle which are central themes in my poem.

I’m just living my life reading books, with angst
killing off whatever remains of my will,
disorienting an already hazy mind: a despairing ugly
nebula. I look everywhere, and I see hate,
and then look within and see nothing different,
and I can’t help but ask why I soldier on when
I’m a waste of space, a postgraduate dropout,
third wheeling with apathy and darkness,
sitting in an empty, forsaken theater
of black chimera,
a bipolar, fucked up, shell of a man,
a chain smoker
with bluing lips and a tongue with nicotine
patches like a carpet with grotesque stains;
mooching off my parents, sending
Facebook friend requests to a hundred
people and ending up with
a dozen who don’t care
plastered on the damn wall, unable to live
with a past of intense trial, tribulation, and
trepidation—
nights spent roaming the streets
in ‘penance’, enduring the downpour, stepping on
thorns, and trying to gouge my eyes out.
They think I’m a lunatic, and
they’re right, but I can’t shake off my neurosis
or psychosis, or my panoramic delusions, so
far-reaching that I need prescription to
survive, to get up and start a day, let alone
live, and I’m often catatonic,
and so, yes, in that sense, “Dieu est mort,”
because it’s pointless when you’re hung,
drawn and quartered, outside the gates of
sanity, while a choir
of angry demons watch, waiting to devour you
each time you go near
faith, and so, I can’t give anyone anything except these
lines, and though no one listens, or hears my
cry, they’re here, etched, so that one day when
I’m gone someone will them read for whatever it’s worth.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

Unfinished

This is a picture of a man silhouetted against a bright window. He's in a dark room and to me this image symbolizes both despair and hope and complements my piece.

I found you in a desolate place riddled with black mildew covered leaves and whirlwinds of dust.

I found you after I’d gambled away my years, chasing the will-o’-the-wisp.

I found you after all the women in my life walked out on me, and I was starting to wonder if their love was just a ruse.

I found you in a catacomb of distress — a broken tomb where the past echoes and there is no stairwell to carry us out into the future.

I found you, just as broken as I was, in the throes of heartbreak and depression, wanting more, hoping to leave your burdens at an altar of resurrection and walk out with the belfry behind you and dawn in front.

I loved you with all my heart, and remember kissing you in the moonlight while it drizzled, and little puddles snaked their way around our feet, and cars climbed winding curve after winding curve, briefly illuminating us with their headlights, before leaving us to the soft, ethereal glow of the moonlight.

I loved you because you stood by me when I found myself in an abandoned room with broken walls and smashed windows — the shards of madness embedding themselves in my flesh and resisting removal.

I loved you because you loved me despite my vagaries and my disposition; despite my eccentricities and hate. You never let me go despite time or season. You laughed with me during the buoyant Summer. You helped me create evocative poetry to rival Spring’s expressionism. You held me close and wept with me when our lives saw Autumn’s rust. You helped me see meaning when a bleak Winter enveloped us.

I lost you, and now I walk corridor after corridor screaming your name, hoping you’ll hear me again. I walk on the shore, and the spindrift pierces me like a thousand needles, and a part of me wants to lose myself in the waves.

I lost you, and my symphony lies unfinished without a coda, and there isn’t anyone else who can help me with it. The piano lies dusty and the guitar untuned. I’ve broken the mouthpiece of the clarinet, and I doubt I’ll ever play again.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

Silence

When you walked into that coffee shop, with its rustic strength:
the beige tables, the blotchy wooden benches, unadorned
and homely, you brought with you the allure of a Japanese
Maple: both a wild, orange liveliness, and a lacy stream of
thought, and yes, the side-swept medium length hair, the
rare hazel eyes, the blue dress, and the tattoo, curving down
the side of your neck but stopping in the middle of your
forearm, not overdone, made me call you again,
what transpired was a relationship
of strained passion, and cold reasoning,
you were so attached to the culture you left, and
I moved because I wanted no part of it, we called each
other hypocrites, but want kept us alive, you said that
I turned against everything that made me, and I hated
your blind faith in the imposters ruling home, we gave
up, you left, and it relieved me, I travelled for a
few years after that, finding joy in nature:
a simple Flag of Bavaria sky, hillsides painted in purple,
green, and fading red with a winsome flourish, parks
where you heard the sweet aubade of love birds
complementing the slow rise of the sun, and I knew I had
happiness that would sustain me until I met someone
who wasn’t you, but coming back to my apartment that
cold night, after a few beers, elated, made me want
to watch the news at home, to scoff at the inane
political debates, but when I saw the face of a young journalist
who was killed because she stood up against
intolerance and the strain of fascism, all
sense of beauty left me, the worn chintz curtain,
the threadbare couch, the motes of dust suspended
in the dim light of the bulb threatened to engulf me,
my thoughts were a swirling mass of chaos trapped
in a paperweight of dying restraint: I wished I had never called
you back, I wished that the silence between my words
didn’t say more than it should have, I wished I had
never let you go, but my thoughts have taken shape now
and my bloodshot eyes reflect the gun pointed at my
head that urges me to throw lead.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

On writing

This is a picture of glowing embers. To me, it represents perseverance which is a prominent theme in my post.

He’s like a hawk, waiting for me to impulsively write a bad blog post, or a trite love poem, lacking depth. And the moment I do, he’ll come swooping down with those fierce talons and say, “Well done! This is one of your best posts!” while he chuckles behind my back. He doesn’t realize that I see through all his deceptive schemes, and that I have no time for games.

There was a time when my writing was obscure and shaded what I really wanted to convey like the smog hides the locomotive. There was a time when I imitated the poets I admired, and my uttering probably made them writhe in their graves. There was a time when I forced writing out like a bulimic induces vomiting. I did it because I walked on some dreamy shore then, basking in the sunrise as waves of romanticism washed my feet. But I’m both my biggest admirer and biggest critic. And so, I deleted my work myriad times, and came back after having suffered and having gained more experience. And experience produces perspective that replaces a bird’s-eye-view of reality with unique vantage points that reflect a writer’s idiosyncrasies, pain and love. It helps a writer imbue his work with a wealth of emotion that was previously missing. It helps a writer express his deepest longings and his wildest angst.

Some call me a ‘misfit,’ but if I didn’t walk lonely, weather-worn streets, I’d never know a harrowing reality where the church-bells don’t chime, and the hearse is the only vehicle seen. Others call me a ‘madman,’ but without madness, I’d never understand the minds of those who conform, and those other hypocrites who pretend to. Madness helps me understand the terrifying false light that illuminates so many paths; eventually leading people to a pit with worms and snakes. Madness helps me see through facades of optimism with their garish colors and helps me understand just how petty we all are. It helps me strive to be more honest.

At least I’m open about my faults and misgivings. I am often proud and malicious, and I elevate my grief and self-loathing to astronomical proportions by doing foolish things. But all said and done, I’m not some 45-year-old, married, cyber-stalking chickenshit posting under a false name and trying to seduce women half his age with stories about dead lovers. An initiator of online feuds who uses self-pity and an imagined penis size to try and start relationships with people he’s never met, before blackmailing them when they reject him. Have some self-respect!

Today, I’m far from a perfect writer, and I’m not a perfect person, but I try and try some more, and I don’t give up. Call me a tragic optimist, or a foolish idealist but if I didn’t try, my life would be deprived of even ephemeral meaning.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

Ghosts

This is a picture of a man walking alone with a suitcase during sunset. I've used it to portray the loneliness that comes from having the closest people in your life abandon you.

I once thought you loved me or at least cared, but watching you drift away from my life so effortlessly made me revalue my convictions. I now realize that it’s a waste of time pining over someone who only pretended to cherish me, who only professed that she respected my way of life and my art; who only simulated affection as long as her friends were my friends, and they admired me in their circle.

Where are you are now when I barely have a grip on this pathetic waste of time, we call an existence?

Where are you now when my feelings inundate me with ferocity, and I’m left helpless, groping for my glasses in this dimly lit, blurry room?

Where are you now when madness taints everything I fucking do, and I can’t tell the world that there’s a different side of me – a lucid, coherent, thoughtful side that embodies what it is to be a pilgrim just like everyone else, journeying through the wastelands of life?

I guess I was foolish to think you were ever there in the first place. If I could go back, I’d hack my naivete into two with a scythe, and ghost you before you got a chance to know how vulnerable I am, because parading my weaknesses and being raw and honest is what destroyed me.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)