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 

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)

A double-edged insight

I cannot fix the past, and myriad horrors await me, but I still haunt my castle of delusion, unwilling to change things. Each chamber in this monstrosity that my mind has created over years of maladaptive dreaming contains either an illusion of the future or fabricated memories. In one, I’m an accomplished writer, in another I’m bedding a beautiful woman, in the third I’m an accomplished musician, and these are just the fantastical tomorrows. The chambers of false pasts ignore the hate, the abuse, the bullying and see me lying on green pastures where a lilting wind caresses my features or replace yesterday’s whiskey with a pen and a finished sonnet.

I don’t know what’s worse: the imagined realities themselves or the insight that tells me I’m trapped in a chimera but gives me no hope.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

For What Pegman Saw

Release me

Release me from the grip of violence and sorrow,
they’ve trapped me in a nutshell –
the toxic hardened brown enclosing me,
layers and layers of nuanced acrimony containing me.
I flail and fail, I fail and flail, I flail, fail and flayed by fate
can’t escape, I’m pecking on my soul’s depravity,
there’s nothing left except a darkened kernel with
wooly lesions embodying the rottenness of all the times
I brawled with my father, overpowering him and unleashing
like a bruised, brainless pugilist who uses unmitigated aggression
never caring about a counter punch, the time I
almost OD’d on twenty Valiums and slapped my mother
when she tried stopping me from ending this meaningless
monstrosity we call something clichéd like ‘moving forward,’
all the times I’ve cut myself within with the sharpest edges
regardless of if addiction, self-ostracism, hate or drawing
from poisonous memory and loathing the world and myself
is the blade I’ve used; the lights in this room flicker and
the floorboards creak, the pain of falling, fading, failing,
flailing feels like the Biblical gnaw and burn, the everlasting,
eternal fire which these lines will meet one day,
thrashing and threshing with me, but maybe you I’ve never met
can release me, breathe love into me and look into my bloodshot eyes
and caress me with the graze of redemption.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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Drowning

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)

Difference makers

My brother, you were a
to-the-bone, raw expressionist,
and you could articulate each iota of emotion
that coursed through you like river rapids,
the deluge, the storm and the breeze,
I felt it all as I read line after line,
your fury, your deep-seated pain and
the love you had for the women in your life,
a symphony of pure, unmitigated feeling,
leaving minds reeling, thoughts flooding,
writing with blood and fire, pouring
your heart out and leaving the ring
on your feet regardless of if you won or lost
every time you fought using your lines as gloves.
Now, I’ve read the greats, the rich symbolism
of Eliot, the metaphysical Donne, the
off-putting imagery of Olds, the celestial,
futuristic, Bowie loving Tracy K. Smith,
the proverbial Gibran, the mystical Rumi,
the eloquent, sensual Neruda and the
violent, experimental Ocean Vuong,
but they only made me think, helped me tap
into metaphor and weave a spider web
of consciousness, the spider my fears,
the trapped and tortured insect me,
but you taught me to feel these lines
I write, to scream in silence when my
thoughts slip, moods flip and I completely
lose my grip of this ramshackle sanity,
the smashed glass of insanity,
splintering, splitting, severing,
and I’m looking at a shattered mirror,
fractured reflection of myself
with a bottle in my hand,
and I know how hard it is,
how frightening it is.
I remember your poem Jumper
and I have those urges too,
to defy gravity with one final act
of expression, and break my skull
and spine on a car below, but
I also remember you wishing to
leave the scars behind and find
light because the residual pain was
gradually declining, dwindling, diminishing,
and that was your last poem,
among the few you didn’t delete
that you left and walked away,
and it’s been 3 years. Now I don’t know
what happened to you or where you are
and I only call you my brother not because
I knew you well – in fact I hardly knew you –
but because you shaped
my themes and taught me to dig deep
and draw and draw until I fall face down
on my lines, the syllables gently grazing me,
saying, ‘Rest. Enough.’ Thank you, my friend.
We often don’t know the difference we make
in another’s life and here’s letting you know
that you made a difference in mine.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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