Prison Cell Paranoia (Part 2)

Some bolt of madness comes from a demonic source,
and I’m swirling and swirling in inner chaos.
‘He wrote this because he hates my writing.’
‘Did she call me a narcissist using subtle, vague imagery?’
‘Does she want me to suffer because she’s never forgiven me?’
and then this amicable, passionate man is possessed
by fear, self-loathing and an extremely raw pain
and he lashes and lashes out
and becomes an egotistical, violent, atonal cacophony
of screeching and off-tune violin notes and glass breaking,
‘Fucker, I’ll show you!’ He screams in silence while
his fingers race across the keyboard like a blade across a neck,
‘Bitch! Whore! Harlot! Die! Die! Die!’
And with dopamine levels flaring up like pyrotechnics
and anger spreading from viscera to lungs to head
like pain after you’ve climbed a steep slope
and a double-forked tongue of bitterness and hate
scraping the computer screen
until its scars hide the alphabets
and eyes with needles in them
blurring vision and causing seething agony
he lashes and lashes some more.
He then pops antihistamines and anxiolytics,
but the pills don’t work and only heighten distress
making him feel like Charles Manson in that rare prison interview
or the devil himself shivering with rage
in the depths of hell
and the aftermath is a wicked hush
like the sight of brambles
in which a rat lies impaled
or the sight of a coffin
in which a once cocaine-addicted
now looking like Barbie blonde lies
and then the guilt roars
like a pit bull snarling at the gate
or the sound of a chainsaw
and submerged in aquamarine torment
drowning, flailing but failing
he weeps, but the tears don’t fall,
he squeezes his pain
like a stockbroker his stress ball
or a teenager the pustule on his face
but it doesn’t explode, doesn’t shatter
and left feeling ugly and vile
like the sinner outside the Temple
beating his chest
and crying for mercy
he silently sobs
looking catatonic the whole time
and he thinks a dry apology will fix things
but souls lie six feet under.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Originally published in The Literati Mafia 

The sojourner’s haibun

I’m trapped in my old sedan like the Sicilian Bull, the fires of trauma roasting me, and in agony I pound the steering wheel and incessantly press the horn, though the hairpin bends as sharp as glinting scythes stay deserted, except for the hard rain, the water like blood sluicing, the wipers like metal claws scraping the glass in desperation. On either side tea plantations like incisions on a masochist’s wrist haunt. The mist envelopes like white pus, and I can’t see the dying light circumscribed by the mutinous night with her soldiers with onyx spears and her crescent moon—her war horn with pitted symbols of anarchy. A solitary hooded man passes like the reaper in flesh. My shrieks echo, and the car burns the wet asphalt leaving tire marks like another layer of infection on a gangrenous wound. The rage from my headlights clamp the air like crocodile shears, tearing its appendages of oxygen and nitrogen. The fume from my exhaust pipe settles on crushed empty paper cups, like acid poured on a battered, torture victim’s face. I ascend, yanked by some invisible force, like a mongrel tied to the back of motorcycle and then dragged across winding curve after winding curve because it bit the driver, sunk its teeth into his flesh. I’m the dog and Fate is the driver. I should have never rebelled. I should have never played with his dice, tossed it like a chewed off mutton bone. The car has a few dents like keloids that eventually form if one keeps itching scabs. It’s running low on fuel like a terminally ill patient in the ICU slowly losing his life-force. The tires pass over a thin trunk with spindly branches – stripped away by the howling wind like a demoniac’s scream – like a spine yanked out with thoracic nerves attached. I don’t see it and it pierces one like a rusty nail impales a big toe. The air fizzles out like the entrails of a sacrificed goat. A loud pop like a gunshot to the head. I lose control and spin like vertigo before a faint. The car careens like bloody vomit and smashes a signboard saying, ‘12/24.’ Glass shatters like foot bones cracking when stepped on by football studs. My head hits the dashboard like a plate thrown, smashing a wall. I gradually drift in and out of consciousness like a man after a snake bite…

You’ll never reach the end of this long walk –
Because fate to man is no two-edged coin –
So, rush to meet life, the gods they enjoin –
you – fight, attend with silent, muted talk –

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Originally published in Morality Park

Tossed in the void

There’s a void within me, slowly expanding, engulfing and eating me, bit by bit until I’m a cadaver, a hollow man, devoid of emotion, catatonic, a doggerel scribbled in the void — meaningless, useless, purposeless.

I’ve ambled along potholed roads with a ditch on either side, passed the ramshackle huts in India where the poor shit in the open, I’ve smoked the cheapest cigarettes with no filter and gazed at this crude, godforsaken land, asking the gods for a revolution, a pacifistic one of change and beauty, but then a stone fist smashed my nose in, rebuking me for my idealism.

I’ve sought a mystical union with the Lord, and for a while, I knew love and peace, but my Quixotism deconstructed me again. Perhaps I should have bowed at the Gibranian altar of swords and crucifixes and love laying you bare, stripping you and chastising you that you may know her and yourself and not the Corinthian one of blinding white light.

I’ve sought women, and embodying A.D.I.D.A.S (the Korn song, not the shoe) gave me epicurean pleasure. The hedonistic thrill of smoking pot with her and then unhooking her bra before placing breathy kisses down her neck and spine and then undoing her jeans and pulling them off. I was my god in those actualities with girlfriends or fantasies with women who caught my attention. I still hook up with someone from my past from time to time, but something’s missing. Maybe it’s a higher, superlunary greedy orgasm that I seek, and hell, I verge on blasphemy when I speak about seraph and seed, but the self-loathing brews within and I need a release. The pot feels shitty too.

I’ve sought mindfulness, and the four noble truths and the eightfold path but it’s too dogmatic and legalistic, just like every religion (even those that don’t claim to be) is. Not thinking and breathing I cannot do when seven streams of thought juxtapose, creating something like avant-garde jazz in my addled mind. I crave a minimalistic gentle uni-directional blue stream, but I get river rapids and steep waterfalls and floods of thought branching into every area of my consciousness and its antipodes. I’m drowning, the waters bursting my psychic lungs and there is no Dolphin coming to my rescue or seamen pulling me on deck.

I’ve sought the authoritarian and the existential psychiatrists. The former, yelling at me for being a 30-year-old Caulfield, urging me to come out of unemployment and ‘snap’ out of depression and find the conformists’ path of a ‘steady job’, a ‘steady income’, a steady fucking wife’, and ‘steady fucking kids’. The latter, wrestling with my deep-seated hurt like a patient in the ICU wrestling with death, trying to ‘purge’ my demons before prescribing a blue, white and red pill.

So, here I am in the throes of my dying youth, hoping, just hoping that it will never come to justifying a sacrificed passion like art for the sake of a castrated life.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Originally published in The Creative Cafe 


I think I’m too daft to comprehend e.e.cummings’s
style of writing, lines projecting out like horizontal
stalagmites, spaces, words meshed together
like they’re thrown in the blender, an i outside
the parenthesis probably symbolizing a loneliness
and an I within probably embodying wholeness
with another. Experimental fiction was never my
forte, and maybe that’s because fate’s experimented
with me a little too much, using me like its lab rat –
made to run a wheel sometimes, injected with the
black ichor of despair sometimes, caged sometimes,
I could go on and on, but this isn’t about e.e.cummings
or me or even poetry; it’s in its truest form, a piece
written using stream of consciousness about the
paradox between free-will and determinism. If there’s
absolute freedom of choice, then God is indeed dead
and further yet man is God, if there is no freedom
of choice then you’re a puppet or worse yet a muppet,
a smelly sock regardless of what your branding is
(Nike, Adidas or Reebok) and finally, if there’s both then
let’s rejoice! You bring the whiskey and I
the cigarettes and we’ll sing of the mysteries of the universe
and the experiments we play when we choose or the experiments
played on us when we don’t and once we’re done we can
weep, feeling like lonely i’s meshed together in this spiderweb
of chaos (yes, I’ve noted that the preceding
metaphor is an oxymoron)
and finally, we can hug it out, fully closing
the spaces between us
and achieving a fucking transcendent We or I. Fuck me!

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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Punk Rock Sonnet

I’m leaving…leaving this favela
These homes will stay; these streets will rot
I’m finding…finding more than gala
And ostentatious, showy nought

Keep your clicks and perfect sunsets
Keep your clichéd fantasies
Trap the naïve in false hope (nets)
You’ll forever hug lies (fancies)

I have no use for dear society
I have no use for pens and ink
I’m done with keeping my propriety
So, let me in abysses sink

I’m leaving this coming week to mists
And peaks and to shred all civil cysts.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)


In dreams, I sink to the depths of the ocean,
deranged and green, the swirl in my lungs
asphyxiating me and the floor
decayed with rot and barnacles:
a beckoning – a call to the core;
the heart that leaks of putrid ichor –
spreadeagled like women after
bad sex or men after winning
a Pyrrhic victory – limbs stretched
out, ever reaching for so much more
but denied seraphic grace or a choir
to rouse the blood and add flesh and bone:
Ezekiel’s prognosis thwarted.
In dreams, I sink to the depths of the ocean –
with a millstone around my neck –
by this pull, this yank, this drowning,
And stranger still in day I hope
the same takes place, that dark brings soon
a rest in that green unclean void
devoid of passion’s throes and feelings,
an end to a search for life’s meanings.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Spirit animal

The spirit of the woods beckons, and I don’t know what my spirit animal is. Maybe I’m a wolf, tearing, torturing, destroying everything in my path, or maybe I’m a sheep, loving, caressing, obeying the right path and the right view. Maybe I’m a mixture of both – a wolf in sheep’s clothing or a sheep in wolf’s clothing. I might be an hypocritical pseudo-humble deceiver or an aggressive, try to push me motherfucker, teeth-baring, tender-hearted soul looking for that final shrine where I can rest after this tiresome pilgrimage.

I’ve broken the hearts of the women in my life, and they’ve broken my heart too – torn it into pieces, and I, scrounged and scrambled looking for the pieces, hoping I’ll fix myself. But regardless of who or what I am, I’ve realized that there’s no Messiah, no Cherubim or Seraphim singing, ‘Holy! Holy! Holy!’ I’m here – an anomaly, an idiosyncratic oddity getting by, never hoping on a miracle or the august canopy of dawn, but dodging knife throws each fucking day.

I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter what you are in these bleak, ashen woods riddled with debris and phlegm. All you need to learn is to survive, and if it means being a wolf, preying on the naïve, you do what you must, and if it means being a sheep, adhering to a strict code of legalism, you do what you must. God is dead, and the woods have no meaning. They’re just bark, branches, withered leaves, and engulfed by smog and you’re your entity.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)