Prayer

This is a black and white picture of nature. I've chosen it because it augments the bleak, nihilistic tone of my poem. But I specifically chose nature since the poem ends on a hopeful petition.

I

As the mist sheathes the mountainside
like a scabbard its sword,
and the only sound heard is the
distant allegro of a street dog barking,
as the musty odor of half-smoked cigarettes
bleeds from the ashtray,
as the cold lingers outside this antediluvian
cottage, knocking, knocking and knocking
some more on the discolored door,
as the stars in the sky lower their choruses
to mere whispers,
as we lie under separate quilts
divided by oceans of guilt with their
white gushing waves of sorrow,
I ask you, is it fate or chance that
turned us on each other?
Our stories don’t have happy endings
and knowing that it’s bleak ash and brimstone
that meets us, while we flail and weep,
thrash and never sleep
in abysses of tomorrow only
augments the very substance of this pain
we hold, enmeshed with our soul,
scattered through our selves
like the lights in a kaleidoscope.

II

God, I pray that somehow our souls you’ll keep
and though we’ve wandered far from grace, your keep
you’ll spare us the rod, the ever-restless sleep
holding us through fear in blissful sleep.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Dear Jessica

This is an image of a beautiful wood. I've used it to represent positive change that a lover brings. Sometimes all we need is that one person who invigorates us and gives us hope and shows us love.

I used to wake up in a tumbledown room,
riddled with dust, the floorboards cracked,
nails coated with rust piercing through bone
and marrow, and I’d limp outside to a wasteland:
arid, full of decaying hyacinths like clusters of
rufuos rot and plagued with smog that caustically
hindered vision, I’d given up on life and death,
and morning and eve meant nothing to me,
but you came like a surreal storm magically
lighting up those dark corridors, giving
them a winsome flourish, fixing broken
tables and giving me more than hackneyed images,
you changed these sordid, littered, potholed streets
to beautiful asphalt that looked like a million
grey raindrops coming together under a blushing
sunset, you whitewashed the somber colors of
grief, giving me a fresh start, I’d sit and brood,
but you made me dream again, engraving each
wish with the will to try even if it seemed like chasing
the will-o’-the-wisp, you created new blueprints
which became strong foundations and I slowly
changed from being a passive-aggressive reckless
ne’er-do-well to someone less selfish, more
willing to give than take, more empathetic, letting
kinder emotion drift through those steep gorges
of the pain of others, I wake up
now with you sitting against the curtain, naked,
your petite frame silhouetted by waves of sunlight,
you’re looking at me, and I can’t help but faintly smile
and let a little of that wealth of emotion inside trickle out
because though we’ve had our share of ups and downs,
though we’ve sometimes felt like giving up on each
other, we never will, will we, because what’s
built with substance and honesty stands strong and
graceful, unlike something prosaic built with redundant
cliché.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Dear Rebecca

This is an image of a walkway shrouded in mist. I've used it to signify carrying on despite the season, and moving forward despite a terrible past .

It’s funny how interest becomes repulsion
as an amber dying sun becomes the ugly
grey twilight augmented by croaking frogs;
when I was somebody, inching towards a career
with good looks and a ‘healthy’ personality,
you stood there transfixed like a wood-nymph,
stunned by the sight of an enigmatic wayfarer
and you wouldn’t go away though I was more
interested in the honeyed leaves and the green
velvety moss covering the barks, though my gaze
drifted from you to the reddish-brown earth,
broken here and there, and the soft drizzle that
the sunlight sliced with a sickle of
mild wrath, the mounds that peaked like statued
ogres with rough edges meant to split skin and
crack the bones of those who dared climb them;
it’s funny how you loathed the sight of me later,
after months of prescription gave me
false peace like the tranquility of an almost convert
to Christianity, it’s funny how my still healing skin,
having fought rash and pain, my ungainly walk,
my paunch and my drug-induced lisp
made me the right candidate for you to heap all the hatred
that you’d bottled up inside,
made me the perfect person to tear asunder with
a knife of bitterness, breaking jugular notch and then
turning sideways to split clavicle, before returning
to split the entire system by making a vertical
laceration right through the rib-body,
and I took it all, wondering why,
but time and wearing the roughest fabric of
the outcast, vagabond, and the idiot has taught me
more than a few adages –
the weak prey on the weaker because they lack the
courage to defy those stronger who wounded them,
the strong don’t like the weak standing up to them
because the last thing they want is a dagger
gutting their bellies of insecurities,
the vagabond doesn’t want to care, but society forces
him into this shitstorm,
but trust me, though I’ve suffered,
though I’ve spent six years battling a slow
deterioration of my will and senses,
though a cruel Sovereign places me in
situations of the angriest grief,
I’ll find a way.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Here’s to us

I can’t remember when I fell in love with you,
I don’t know if it happened gradually while I
spent hours mulling over my tortured past,
the angst, anger, and agony possessing me like a
million demons enslaving Legion,
or if it happened suddenly,
filling me with joy like a song on the radio
suddenly lifts boredom,
but I’m thankful I did because I know
now that in this world where everything’s
transient and even art has limits to
the aesthetic pleasure it gives you
and the thought of oblivion which once
fills you with dread and apprehension
when the innocence of kicking a football
in your backyard is still something tangible
turns into a twisted solace of sorts,
a broken prayer to just cease to exist,
there’s just one thing worth fighting over
and it’s this moment when some inner waltz
of emotion creates a beautiful synergy
and unleashes a creative energy that
doesn’t necessarily need to be spilled on a page,
but can instead be used to create a together
actualization or better yet a together transcendence,
and so, what’s there to write about anymore?
My lines have breathed their last,
and I couldn’t wish for a better ending.

© 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)

A peddler of dishonest lines

I doubt I’ll be able to write an, ‘Oh that’s beautiful!’ Love poem again because grandiose delusions and ideas shaped and molded all my relationships and the idealistic vulnerability of my youth now sees Autumn. I’ve grown cynical and skeptical though I maintain a veneer of a man-child. If you really knew me, you’ll know that despite my obnoxious mannerisms and acutely harrowing impishness, I’m a bleak, nihilistic, distraught bastard and if given a chance to regain my innocence I’d never take it because I’d throw it away and plumb the depths of depravity in minutes. When in a somber mood I trace the path that brought me here, the regression from a maladaptive daydreamer to a hopeless romantic to a sour-faced pessimist to an utterly tortured nihilist. I can’t even look at nature without adding an ingredient of sardonicism to the broth of appreciation in my head. I guess you’ve wondered about that cry for freedom that tears through the poetry I write. Well, honestly, it’s a sham. I’ve grown comfortably uncomfortable knowing that freedom in my case is an illusion, and so, you can discard all those raw, boiling hot metaphors I use and just look me in the eye using my lines and call me a peddler of dishonesty. Go on. I know you want to throw that tomato and boo me off the stage. I’ll go quietly. I promise. I’ll just walk away with the red stains all over my shirt and hair, and the overwhelming stench possessing me. I’m so far from hope that I won’t even puke in the dustbin backstage.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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Some Season

Hey you. Don’t these woods have this strange, dreamy, whimsical allure? The season between Spring and Autumn has an odd eccentricity to it. This strange electricity permeates, and the roots, leaves, and branches ask us to lose ourselves but hold back like the ripeness which isn’t fully ripe yet, like the air that’s pungent but still crisp, raw and fresh. This season has both nymphs and demons; this season has both Leprechauns and Goblins; this season both pushes us into muddy paths and enables us to choose our well-tarred roads; this season stands between the coming nihilism and the fighting idealism; this season gives us shelter in caves where belief is the only defense against the downpour – rat ta tat rat tat rat, Crack! Help me, God! But also makes faith transform all that we see into something mystical and surreal – not gaudy landscapes, but a New Jerusalem beautiful. This season gives us a philosophical, introspective impressionistic landscape in the eyes of a mad Van Gogh, and a rough, raw, raving but ravishing expressionism in the eyes of a tortured Romantic. Hey, you, this season is a Bipolar Mixed Episode; it’s ugly-beautiful like a pug, and don’t we feel like giving up on it because it’s so infuriatingly, infectiously, pretty prepossessing? But also cling on because of some caffeinated lust for life; some, ‘Until I finish this can of Monster and read The Catcher in the Rye in one go!’ Slightly uppity, sickeningly bubbly, fickle-minded fidgety thing psychologically askew psycho-therapists call ‘sanity’? Hey, you, this season stands between a petty predisposition to a panicky Plunk! And a soft, sweetly given scent that makes us smoochy. Hey, you, this season is life, and hell, it’s filled with seemingly ceaseless strife, but also touching-you-tenderly soft guy or tussling-with-you tough guy ardor to strive. So, hey you, let’s give this crazy season a chance. Whaddya say?

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)