Hope in desert places

This is a picture of a desert. I've chosen it because my post is about sorrow , pain and finding hope in desert places.

You and I amble past collapsing brownstones – circumscribed by decaying barks and withered grass – hand in hand, looking for a place where the common denominator is madness and the ecstasy that both pain and pleasure bring.

You and I see through ostentatious facades lacking depth and semantic: pretty, insipid Instagram photos and Facebook status updates, designed to impress.

You and I know the unknown and see the unseen, and that breaks us each day but ties us together with a fabric of blood that murmurs of a togetherness that transcends even the sweetest aubade of the songbird at dawn.

You and I haunt decrepit, tumbledown places, looking for solace, a place to sheath our swords until we fall to our knees and with red droplets of anguish creating our Gethsemane, we look at each other and know that the only way of battling the void is to embrace each other in that beautiful, twisted way that only we can.

Eden & Chernobyl, the Puppeteer & the puppet, the Wasteland & the Crucifix, the Glory & the Passion – these things we know intimately.

We’ve seen the horror that unhinges minds, alters personality and chokes with its paranormal tentacles, but we’ve come out both defeated and victorious.

We’ve felt the sorrow that kills, that feels like a spear in the side while the executioner hammers nail after nail, tearing skin and breaking bone, but we’ve come out both weeping and with renewed grit.

I look around me sitting on ruined pillars with broken gargoyles atop them and see the starless sky, the smog, the industry, but the thought of you making your way somewhere along these winding roads in a different space and time makes me think that there’s hope in desert places.

For Mia 

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

Emma

This is an image of a lonely park bench surrounded by withered trees. I've chosen it because my poem is about heartbreak and sorrow.

I visited mother yesterday, my eyes like backgammon pieces,
just as sharp as the black keys on that old piano
with its chipped corner that she still keeps,
I wonder why, I guess some miasma of sentiment rises from it
and clouds her vision of now, maybe it saves, I don’t know,
she’s frailer with wispy grey hair and a semblance of a smile
gives her integrity and keeps the clock ticking, I guess,
she asked about you. “How’s Emma?” and I said, “I don’t know,”
nonchalantly, I drank a cup of coffee and left with
a half-hearted hug, I wonder why mother remembers you,
only you, always you, I didn’t tell her about last year
when I visited the ashen cul-de-sacs and crevices of the internet
looking for your poetry, I didn’t tell her about how it
only made sense two years ago, when I found myself
in that white hall of hell, where demons masquerading
as angels in pristine gowns with spotless teeth sedated me,
I didn’t tell her about how my father fake-wept
like a statued cherub after sending me straight to
white chintz perdition because I foolishly wanted closure,
I didn’t tell her about the absent-spirit
that seeps through bone and bleaches marrow
these days, but worst of all, I didn’t tell her about
reading your verse and laughing after I left you in college,
you knew these broken truths of life well before I did,
I suppressed things, but you dealt with them using art,
I looked for you using that phone that now looks like
plastic, but couldn’t find anything except chalky screens
with monochrome search results, I guess I took fate’s gambit
when I naïvely thought I’d mastered
the game and now the queen of black judgment, and the
rook of dark circumstance pushes this dethroned
monarch into hopelessness, a double checkmate, and
I’ll just have to let myself be knocked off the board
after saying that I fucking love you.

© 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

Well, if you’re really into unrequited love (Part 2)

This is an image of a prisoner. I've used it because my satirical post talks about unrequited love.

I would skin off a car tire for you, and eat it however you wish: Raw, medium or well done. He calls you, “Bae,” and you blush, but I call you my sweetest fragrance that exhilarates the scent of the morning dew to astronomical proportions and you don’t even smile. I have died twice. My first death, when you said that flat, “No,” and the second when you ‘friend zoned’ me. The second is the lake of fire, and here I am spiraling in a vortex of flames; my anguish you’ll never know, because it makes me a corpse on fire, though I still walk with my head bowed, and eyes averting the light of the moon. Oh, wash away this angst with the sparkling showers of your tender honeyed love! Oh, pull me out of this pit of maggots and soothe me with the balm of your essence! Oh, don’t you see, my sweet? Oh, don’t you fathom, my Blue Jay? Oh, don’t you hear, my everlasting sonnet? You’ve throttled me with rejection, while he throttles his shaft: First gear, second, third, fourth and fifth. That is all he’ll give you: white droplets on a dusty floor, while I’ll give you the deepest red. I’ll cut my heart out and serve it on a platter if you’d devour it. Oh, my divine! Oh, my definition! Will you forever leave me with the miasma of eventide forming a noose around my neck? I’ve fasted for your delight, and now emaciated and with soiled pants, I lie in my disgust, while my hands still caress a pen and write you odes. You say, “I might marry him,” and if that materializes, my skin will fade, and the bones will show! Oh, songbird of the celestial! Oh, my muse! Oh, my heart! Must I writhe forever in this lowest rung of hell, while your hands wear the ring of a man who is not aesthetically inclined? An architect who can only draw squares, while I can personify the placid blue and make her the goddess that you are. Oh, I long for you like a caravanserai! Will you not permit me that rapture, even if I’m old? Oh, this is Love in the Time of Cholera indeed, but unlike that pervert, and other secret Lotharios who preach morality and abstinence, only because they’re sexually frustrated, I have kept myself pure for you! Oh, I would abstain even if I had you, because it is your love I seek, my princess! Know, my sweetest carnation that there is no fire in my loins, but I only have the purest soul, rid of all worldliness and lust, which wishes to hear your sublime song, calming me. So please, my jaggery of the sweetest cane, reciprocate, before I die withered and forgotten, outside the gates of your kingdom, a beggar without a cause.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

Part 1

Well, if you’re really into unrequited love

This is an image of a person trying to escape confinement. My post is a darkly humorous satirical one about unrequited love and hence the image.

His writing possesses no soul, is neither incandescent or luminescent; it is not a fiery stream of emotion that radicalizes you, that makes inspiration within burn brightly like quark-gluon soup, melting away that writer’s block, and filling you with an enraged muse, a thermal weapon of ideas, rhyme and scalding imagery, nor is it cold radiation that makes you introspect, connects you with all metaphysical verse, and slowly and steadily helps you construct that tour de force, that poetic igloo of frosty beauty. You still idolize it though, and that wounds me. I’ve given you everything: made you my muse, poured out my love for you in the form of sonnets, quatrains, or just pure uninhibited free verse. My affection for you borders on manic delusion, and yet it remains unrequited. I said, “I love you,” the other day, and you responded with an “I know,” and I still haven’t managed to decipher whether this is some sort of trial you’re putting me through, some darkness before light that will finally lead to catharsis in the form of grazes, caresses and kisses. Post tenebras lux is my motto now. I hope and wait and drool like some starved mongrel hoping for a morsel, a piece of meat. I meditate upon Gibran’s words of love, but even then, my thoughts only focus on the wounding, the shattering of dreams and the crucifying he talked about, and not on the crowning, the caressing of my tenderest branches, and the ecstasy. The pursuit of happiness, the bettering of self: both spiritually and physically—these things I’ve rendered useless in my struggle to woo you. Why him? I often ask, and ask even now while I write this. He lives his life in a closet: that same wardrobe of mainstreamness that society confines itself too. He hasn’t experienced the ache of being a pariah, an outcast like Gregor Samsa (after his metamorphosis). He has no apple embedded in his back while he scuttles around, and has not reached towards anything outside of a so-called ‘identity’: the same traditional waltz that most people embody. I have lived outside the gates of ‘paradise’—like a beggar—and yet have seen the light of the sun. It blinded me, but in my pain I learnt how to feel, love and carry burdens. How long? How long will you torment me this way? Your affection for him—as beautiful as it might look—is not lucid. I can see that, and that gives me hope, but your indecisiveness, your teetering between us only creates a darkened psalm in my soul: 88 that ends on that tragic, atonal, anticlimactic note. Perhaps I’ve willingly gone and blinded myself; gouged out my eyes so that I may not perceive reality: a cruel one in which you’re a monster who loves this game. Perhaps I’m just a pawn, and I’m about to be sacrificed because your thoughts and ambitions are of some other fabric I’ve never felt. If that is true, and you’re about to play a gambit, let me know; save me the misery of longing, of hoping for a beautiful union of our souls.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

November

This is a picture of Autumn. I've chosen it because my piece revolves around the season and the colors grey and orange. My piece is symbolic and erotic.

I wake up at six, walk out of the faint orange apartment complex, breathing in the fragrance of the grey mist, letting it empower me, not comminatory, but swirling and swirling like a breathtaking vortex of tranquility, while I walk, without an edge, but an ease to my gait, my grey sweatshirt and skullcap complementing both the day and the season. I walk outside the gate, and the tone of the climate, which once felt nostalgic or lonely, now caresses me with the sweet anxiousness of anticipation. I hail a cab, and as I sit in the backseat and drift past grey road after road, occasionally looking at the Flame of the forest dancing vivaciously to the rhythm of the weather, I think of a better allure, a deeper spell that she possesses. I let the window slide down half way, not only to let my senses dance to the cadence of the morning, the sun slowly skimming over the horizon like anticipation rising to excitement. I reach the Airport, and though a part of me wants to smoke, I settle for Grey Tea, embracing the slow chill that still resides. I watch as the sky turns fiery, and watch as a throng of people arrive, a grey mass, indistinguishable, and look for her. My eyes meet hers, an orange whirlpool of depth beneath all that complements the greyish-orange twilight. She walks up to me, throws herself into my arms, and at that moment we’re one with the morning, the season, and separate from it all: our scent, our peace, our caress, our end to excitement, our beginning to something more surreal than this season of exhilarating, intriguing, beguiling beauty. We spend the day walking each grey-tinged street, looking at the dancing wild foliage juxtaposing the chipped off buildings like a city of mirrors reflecting all our intricacies, nonchalance, excitement, abstractness. We settle for lunch in this beige café, somewhere in middle of this city, the color giving us a balance, and after, we visit a lounge bar, the waiter bringing us a flaming martini and placing it on the grey table, while we gaze at the flames: darting, skipping, speculating, knowing, seeing, and the music has this slightly offbeat, cool vibe to it, the rhythm distracting us and then bringing us back to each other. We light our cigarettes, the smoke quickly cascading upwards, the grey ash speckling the tray, the orange glow, spellbinding, mysterious, and enticing. We leave to the hotel, the orange light drifting over the pale grey water of the heated swimming pool, and open the mute orange door of our room, and shut it behind us, the velvety gray aura of what’s unsaid, enveloping, covering, teasing and taunting us, as I plant kisses on her neck, and she tilts her neck up, her eyes betraying both orange and grey, and excitement turns to something deeper, profound, not just titillating and tantalizing, but both totalizing and unraveling sense and color; tender and revitalizing, smooth and energizing, as each mote of passion melts skin and hue, and there is no win or blue, but a mutual infatuation beyond just adoration, and this is a song of whispers and sighs, or more fervent, and she rests her head on my shoulder, while the curtains turn grey, and then a misty orange, and we kiss, and I drop her off at the airport, still stuck in November, and dreaming and waiting for another season while she does the same.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

Being and not-being

This is an image of a grey background. I've chosen it because it symbolizes apathy which is central theme around which my post revolves.

He wakes up at one in the afternoon these days, walks to the dinner table, pops his prescription, nonchalantly, not caring anymore about bubblegum skin, sawed off hair, or bloodshot eyes that itch. Having said that, he does look perfectly fine. His gait is a little knock-kneed, perhaps it’s another side effect or it’s just this self-imposed malnutrition. He picks up his iPod and plays an EP called Re-Traced by Cynic. They’re this progressive rock band with eclectic influences, a little jazzy, a little groovy, with passages that are a little metal sounding and others that are a little mellow. He prefers them to Dream Theater though most will win an argument about which band is better. He doesn’t care about petty squabbles or disputes anymore though. I’m not sure he cares about anything anymore. They say everyone worships something, and it’s often either something materialistic or another person, or themselves, but he begs to differ. Perhaps he worships solitude, or apathy, but then again he stopped giving that thought any room a long time ago. Thoughts often turn into equations that need balancing, or puzzles that need solving, and so he just lets a non-linear sequence of ideas or the lack of them place themselves in those alleys of his mind, now neglected. He walks to the kitchen and uses a sharp knife to cut open a packet of milk. He can’t be bothered about finding the scissors anymore. A bit spills on the floor, which he can’t be bothered cleaning up. He pours the milk into a large glass, pours some coffee into it, mixes it, and goes to his balcony and drinks it while he puffs on a cigarette. Once he’s done, he grabs whichever book he can find and reads at a stretch, losing his identity and sense of self, and then some inner clock makes him go to the shower, strip and let the lukewarm water wash away yesterday’s grime. He does this without concentrating, and then brushes his teeth, which are slightly ashen now. He wears a shirt and a jean and it’s already seven in the evening. He goes to a pub, and dances with a girl who’s very attractive and alluring: her slightly cascading hair, her somewhat lean frame and her top and jean entices him. She gives him his number after a few drinks and he tells her that he’ll call her tomorrow. He keeps his promise and she arrives at his apartment the next day and they make love. She’s great in bed and it’s a treat, and there is a part of her that is attracted to him. Perhaps she wants more than an evening spent together, but he’s too jaded for a relationship or even a fling. He politely shifts the conversation to something else until she leaves a little frustrated. A lot of women are attracted to him, and he doesn’t know why, and can’t really spend time reasoning and figuring out the solution. In this millennial age, they’d probably call it no game-game, but he doesn’t give dating that much thought. He moves from woman to woman, each possessing their unique charm, their unique vibe that he senses, though not thoroughly, and perhaps his disregard for existence makes him an enigma to them. But in the end, he prefers the wall of his bathroom, his cigarette, and his own space and time, which exists both within and outside the clock. Some might call this sort of thing nihilism with a slight bent to degeneracy, but labels don’t define him, and that’s the freedom that divides him from the romance that spills from a screen into life. Even the books he loses himself in don’t really shape him, and that’s the emancipation from syllables, vowels or nouns: the stream of thought that does not run parallel to lines of poetry with meter. He rests now at three in the night, and as he shuts his eye, a sense of closure unlike love, belief or the need to work envelops him. He does work and often changes jobs, but he distances himself from the grit and yet functions just fine. I guess this is a different transcendence without the need for self-actualization. And I don’t judge the man or his lifestyle.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)