A Wisteria now gnarled

At the edge in a small favela,
a maculate shelf with unclean tomes
you knew that there was no redemption
in that machine gun, gaudy, bland town,
and so you moved to the Elysian
Sierra with its minty peaks and
breeze that enlivens and white-rose sky
and there you knew true beauty, stillness,
but only for a day, a short time
and now you wish to rest again, sleep
but sadly walk afresh on the stain
at the edge in a small favela.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

For Poets United

Trading yesterday

I’ll trade all my exhausting yesterdays
and give up hushes of winds blowing by
I’ll kneel, once I’ve said my enfeebled says
and let my spirit leave, my body lie
but only after I’ve told you again
that you were the touch, the soft healing rain
that gave me more than I dreamt, pondered, thought
and helped me win all these tough battles fought.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

When even nature fails to invigorate

When even nature fails to invigorate,
When forests seem bleak and mountains heave a sigh,
When things just fall apart like a reprobate

Whose worn existence and stale cigarette
Makes me – a twisted catcher in the rye
Whose broken nature fails to invigorate.

When gnarly trees do threaten, castigate
With haunting browns, dead leaves – a sore to the eye,
When things just fall apart like a reprobate,

I look at you and set apart all hate
And embracing love with its low and soaring high
I look past, ‘Nature fails to invigorate,’

And such sayings that just sear, eviscerate
The little strength I cherish and hold nigh
When things just fall apart like a reprobate.

I cannot deny the existence of fate
Because it brought me you, beyond the ‘Why?’
When even nature fails to invigorate,
When things just fall apart like a reprobate.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

An ode to the now

One day when this long fight is over and
I stand before the throne, asked if I ran
The good run, or pushed that aesthetic hand
Away and chose to be a reckless man –
So self-indulgent, will I say, ‘Oh Lord!
I tried and tried but some scars never heal.’
Or will I say, ‘Though I was this harsh chord
Your grace kept me through and you held, did seal
This sinner who forsook you and said, No!
How you reached out and pulled him from below
The filth and grime of his depravity
And gave him wealth beyond insanity!’
I don’t know what that golden day will bring
But now, despite my pain, I’ll simply sing
A song of thankfulness for the now, here
A song of joy that slowly brings me near
Redemption’s gold or the strength to rise, move
And paints my day with a soft, strong blue hue.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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Coming back home

I see the little boy, insouciant –
on a worn swing, so carefree, full of heart –
not bothered if the ground splits; set apart –
in worlds devoid of fate – nirvana sent –
the football’s in the corner, reverie –

begs, urges him to Neverland, to life –
to youth forever lived, and hope held strong –
like amulets that right all treason, wrong –
then layering trees with gold – autumn rife –
all while he swings, not looking more than he –

should see. Oh, how I long for youth’s glint, glow –
to burn within, an inner clarity –
eyes blazing – deep refining purity –
a turn – beatification: soft, slow –
a coming back that helps me just unsee –

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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Yes, I’m an alcoholic and a chain smoker,
I drink to feel because within I’m parched,
arid, airless and if I don’t I’m the archetypal
modern man, constantly downloading Facebook
comments and Instagram likes to my heart,
incessantly uploading lines as bland as
the soup served in a homeless shelter,
forever falsely reinforcing myself by seeking
a vicious circle validation from popular
people who don’t care,
always lost in emotional transition and
translating my core to hate poetry.
I’ve judged people, I’ve left spiteful, malicious
comments on their blog posts, I’ve let paranoia
seize me and transform me into a psychotic,
poetic boogeyman of sorts, with crimson eyes
without irises, a face tattooed with blade marks
like absent-spirits, and devilish horns splitting my skull
and giving me a demoniac’s anti-halo. But I’m done
using hate to fight hate, using anger to fight ostracism,
using rage to fight cruelty. I’m losing my Messiah
complex because I’m no holy man or savior for the
broken. And these lines echo my repentance and remorse
from a soul that I thought a black hole completely replaced.
And if you take them, thank you. But if
you wish to still propagate vehement rhetoric
I can’t stop you and I won’t. I’ll just write about
the people who matter and express myself
positively. There’s no war here friend and I apologize
for starting one. There are two sides to a coin
but I don’t expect you to perceive that. So, flip it
and let it land on your palm and do whatever you must
depending on your call. It’s your prerogative to hate, your
entitlement to destroy, but what’s said on a computer
screen just stays there, and I’ve learned that now
the hard way and I plan on finding the light because
I’m finally calm, controlled and cool. I’ve discarded negative
energy – both people and lines written, and I can only say
that if my lines or messages which are often presented as half-truths
provoke people so much, then I can alter them and touch people
just as much.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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Home (Part 5)

What is sin? Kierkegaard initially says that it’s defying the will of God, but then goes further and terrifies you by saying that it’s not just things you commit, but a state. So, sin is essentially a state of despair. So, before salvation everything you do is sin, because you’re living in a sinful state. And after, you’re justified by faith in Christ.

Jude and Samantha have decided to live separately. She loves him and says she’ll support him financially, until he can get back on his feet. Jude’s grown cold. Nothing affects him anymore. He’s dead and spiritless. He hardly showers, doesn’t shave and just exists. He thinks he’ll never be forgiven though some hope resides deep within him. A hope that resurfaces for a minute before he’s back to being cold again. He doesn’t yell or abuse Samantha anymore. He’s given up on pretty much everything and if not for that hope that shows itself now and then, he’s just a walking corpse.

In his anger, Jude wrote blasphemous things against God, embraced Nihilism and even proclaimed that God is dead. He’s now on medication for Bipolar Disorder and loathes everything he does. But this loathing isn’t an active loathing, but a passive one. It’s a mute, whispered, submissive loathing. He’s done with active loathing and I guess that’s because somewhere deep inside he still has a conscience. And maybe this moral compass is the hope within him that appears before vanishing.

Man isn’t free. Crime and Punishment is the best novel that explains this concept in tremendous detail. You’re not free to do whatever you want to, which is why a drug addict goes back to his needle, the alcoholic to his drink, the sex addict to his women, the tortured artist to his art, and Raskolnikov to his sordid streets with his head bowed down. It’s guilt. Heavy, intense guilt that torments, plagues and crushes and man in his desperate need to be free from it goes back to an ephemeral cure that’s only destroying him. He cannot find God and so, he seeks substitutes, until they destroy him completely. And Jude’s like every other guilt-ridden man. He hates writing, but writes because it’s his fix. He hates alcohol but drinks because it’s his fix. He knows drug-addiction is affecting him physically, making his hands tremble and giving him blurred vision, but he needs his fix.

So where does Jude stand before God? The truth is that he doesn’t know. He believes there’s still hope but he’s hopeless to do anything at this point and so he waits. God is often silent making man wonder if he exists at all, but those are the times that he’s working the most to restore an individual to him through some mysterious way. This much Jude believes, and I guess that’s all he can do at this point.

Jude has decided to not talk about God anymore. He’ll just keep quiet and try getting his life together. Reconciliation with Samantha is impossible, but reconciliation with Christ is possible. There are times when he doubts this and plunges into extreme despair, but he gets through each day by just existing, by just breathing.

And what about Samantha? Well, all of us serve God’s purpose, and I’d like to believe that God has a beautiful plan for her life because he knows how much she loved Jude. Sure, she’s corrupt, just like everyone else, but somewhere God who led her this far, will not forsake her. And that belief, whether it’s faith or not, keeps her going.

Maybe this story will end with Jude dying this way, or maybe he’ll be restored. He’s deep in sin and loves it, but also fears God. He’s a paradox of a man and perhaps he’ll stay this way. And then there’s mental illness. The Church is often quick to dismiss it. They say, ‘It’s a battle in the mind, or it’s something you conquer through faith,’ but they forget that we live in a fallen world. This world is already a post-apocalyptic one that is only getting worse. And in a world of disease, death and corruption, mental illness exists. So, perhaps like Jude’s loving mother always told him, ‘God understands.’

P.S. I originally planned to write more, but I’ve decided that this is a fitting conclusion to this series. Thank you for reading.

(Inspired by The Sickness unto Death by Søren Aabye Kierkegaard and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky)

The End.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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