The same reflection

This is an image of a person trudging through the mist. It represents the hard road we walk on, which is a central theme in my piece.

I don’t know if I’m a saint or a sinner or if I’ve somehow transcended those notions through a nihilism that followed a dark night of the soul.

I’ve looked in the mirror a thousand times and I never find the same reflection. I’m like a song who can’t be played the same way twice, and once the musician discards me, I’ll fade into obscurity and oblivion, like a train entering an endless dark tunnel. Who am I? Where will I find myself after the apocalypse – on a barren land with a bloody moon, or some small redemptive corner where the Church bell still chimes and visions, gifts and prophecy endure?

The last time I looked in the mirror, I saw a disgruntled bearded man, having come to terms with the loss of youth’s vanity. No longer attractive, no longer possessing allure or personality, no longer finding solace in women. I never envisioned this man when I lived separated from reality in a city of romanticism, but bit by bit, the jade and sapphire turned into brick and rust, the smell of the earth gave way to a miasma of decay that singed my eyes and left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

I then spat and vomited, knowing things will never be the same. I ran on roads coated with ash and blood under a dying sky and on some crag spotted Tennyson’s eagle waiting to swoop down like a majestic golden-brown monarch. I reached up hoping he’d land on my arm and guide me, but I was denied providential grace. The buildings looked like putrefied flesh and I ran on to find my house lying in ruins and I was left with two choices: To cling to shattered idealism or to forge the new out of what remained and I still don’t know what I’ve done.

I feel strongly and don’t feel at all. I love strongly and hate bitterly. I call myself out for my duplicity, but I can’t repair myself. I don’t possess the tools and the wheel of my existence is losing a new spoke each day, which I stick haphazardly with duct tape and glue, never knowing if tomorrow it’ll still run and there’ll be freedom symbolizing the now clichéd, ‘This too has passed.’

And hence, all I can offer you is abstract expression. I sit now in a coffee shop, smoking my last cigarette, and see faces pass me, some mute, some saying something like, ‘hello,’ and I know they’ve got it sorted out, and with each tick of the clock, they’ll progress while I’ll stay like the ash in the tray, never knowing what’ll happen next, until they clean the tray.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

Well, if you’re really into unrequited love (Part 3)

This is a picture of a city in ruin because of a flood. It captures the end of the idealism of the protagonist in my series whose love for a woman is not reciprocated.

So you’ve gone ahead and done it my angel of rapturous delight! You have married a man with no taste, no elegance and no divine passion: an ardor unmitigated that only I who licked the flames of purgatory, while I longed for that beautiful union of our souls, that only I who licked the dust of the floor like a mongrel hungry for the absolute perfection that is you, that only I who suffered sleepless nights, bed-wetting and waking up in the agony of my own discharge, my clothes stinking, my integrity castrated could have given you. But you still prostituted yourself to a hedonistic bridegroom with elephantine gonads and a serpent that stings with white venom. Oh, my precious! Oh, my beloved! How could you possibly make your caravanserai a whorehouse! Oh, my sweet delight! My bones show, but there is doubt that sinks in. Were you really the goddess of muses or just a Lorelei: a harlot in disguise? Yes, though my heart is pierced with a three-pronged spear, and I never doubted your sublime divinity that transcends the boundaries of space and time, I do now. Oh did I spend all these years, in the stench of my excrement, rolling in penance, seeking your enlightenment, only to realize that you’re a Cleopatra: a woman of unmitigated lust, and an insatiable hunger for white blood! Perhaps you never wanted the crimson I’d have given you each time I trailed, when you walked with him to movie theaters, and sat in the back row with tears as he planted kisses and coarse bites on your neck. Perhaps you never longed for the tour de force I’d have written you, or the Oval Portrait I’d have painted while you sat in an alluring white gown, your seraphic beauty engulfing my soul. Perhaps you were a raven who now pecks at a worm, and that disgusts me. I have renounced you! I tried my best when I interrupted your wedding and screamed, “No!” But you had the security guards drag me without concern for my splintered heart. They treated me like a vagabond and threw me on the streets, when I came with love, while his shaft bulged out of his pants, and you walked down the aisle in a skimpy costume. Oh! How could you have degraded yourself so much! The truth is never ‘kinky’ or whatever they call it in this semen-ridden world. But I will rise, because for each Helen of Troy there is an antithesis: A beautiful woman of innocence with rosy cheeks and lips elegant, and a soul that touches the stars, and I will find her, and even if she asks me to emasculate myself for her, I will.

The end.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

Part 1
Part 2