Don’t cry for me this December

This is an image of sunlight pouring through a bleak forest and it captures the essence of the poem I've written which is both pessimistic and optimistic

Frank Zappa’s Watermelon in Easter Hay plays softly
As I’m amid fecund vegetation, lush hills;
The songs I’ve written weep with these distorted times
When all around me there is growth and newness and crisp air,
But tears cascade down rough contours and broken edges
My guilt has no bounds; it wells up like a spring of death,
Forever the tortured artist, is there no respite?
The bells of the chapel chime, they’re most uninviting
Through wind and cold and drizzle they cut, beseech, entreat,
But only like a razor slowly splitting the ear
Qui n’avance pas, recule –
This truth I know now in all its fiery vengeance,
I’ve squandered my existence Holy Father, forgive me.
The motel room I’m in is dull and rusty
With stubbed cigarette ends and dirt, and blood-stained sheets,
The cobwebbed ceiling heralds an aubade so dirgy
And in the choking light of the dying bulb, I see
A fly that flits around the dregs of tea in a cup
So pockmarked with the stains of time and brutal age,
The seven-branched old candelabra is a witness
To faith archaic and withered like a gnarled, unclean oak,
The dust beneath the bed induces a bronchial wheeze
And hacking up phlegm so green, I cough and wheeze so fiercely.

‘Is there nothing I can do anymore?’ I ask myself
‘Is my life now reduced to hackneyed statements and pessimistic clichés?’
‘Am I just carrion to be fed on by demons and vultures?’ I ask melodramatically.

And so, I pick up that old guitar I named Lucille
In honor of the late, great B.B.King,
I pour some aging brandy and pop that happy pill
And clear my drying throat and spit before I sing

I think of crime and punishment, the life to come,
I think of death and Hades, the age that’ll be,
I think of misfits and women, the brawls, the drink, the bum,
I think of all the things to still do and thankfully see.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

The seasons of a tragedy

This is an image of eerie woods. I've chosen this piece because it complements my bone-chilling piece about the cycle of violence and abuse.

The conditional lover

Her laughter is gentle and naïve; not wild and capricious. It isn’t prone to vengeful quirks or caustic idiosyncrasies and doesn’t inundate the room like a swarm of buzzing bees. She hides her sorrow when she smiles. Beauty knows her deeply, but she doesn’t realize it as she laughs with jaded eyes. She laughs softly and slowly in a slightly nonchalant way, but underneath it all, there is a wealth of emotion like the richness of classical music. I’ve caused her pain, and don’t deserve her, but the light crescendo of her laughter moves even a hard-hearted man like me to tears.

The murderer

The winter is a season of intemperate red,
The blades of grass are frozen; stumps of trees subdued,
Through bouts of cough and phlegm, I yell, ‘You whore! You bitch!’
Forgetting all about her laughter that was spring.

The almost penitent

Forgive me, Father, for I’ve sinned against you,
Change me, Lord, from a man possessed by hate to a prophet of love,
I hate the man I’ve become, this man of rage and sin,
I knew you once, but I forsook you,
Let me not seek repentance like Esau, but never find it,
Let me be one of your elect,
Keep me, preserve me, love me,
Bless her Lord. She really loved me.
Bless her Lord.

The self-pity soaked mourner

All she wanted was love. All she wanted was her voice to be heard. All she wanted was acceptance. O wretched man who I am! Now, she’s gone! Left me to wander scarred roads with lifeless trees circumscribing them, and the miasma of death emanating from the potholes. Now I’m alone and have no one to turn to, and grief is my only companion, stabbing me when he sees fit.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

The skag-addicted bunny

This is an image of two bunnies with eerie grins on their faces. I've used it to augment my piece which is about an anthropomorphic drug addicted bunny suffering from withdrawal.

The skag-addicted bunny couldn’t find his fix
And Snowflake (his dealer) wasn’t working the usual spot,
He certainly didn’t want withdrawal’s ticks
And so, he rummaged through his damnable rot

He sniffed each corner with deeply addled brains
And ruffled clothing; looked beneath his cot,
But found nothing that would soothe his veins
The place was only littered with turd and snot

Hours later, frantic and in deep despair,
He tore at the grass in the neighbor’s empty plot,
He screamed at God, said, ‘Do you bloody dare!’
Cried, ‘You took everything, even the pot!’

‘I hate you! I hate you!’ The bunny caterwauled,
‘Ah need some skag awright!’ He yelled in Scots
And plucked his hair until he was slightly bald,
Until he lay writhing, seeing colored spots.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Shoeshine Timmy

This is an image of a man pushing a boulder while he's climbing a steep slope. I chose this image to parody optimism and herald realism. My poem does the same.

Shoeshine Timmy lived in a brownstone
near vacant parking lots, and a street lamp
that sputtered measly light on potholes
riddled with garbage and acid rain.

He lived beneath black starless skies;
prayed to a god who’d jilted him
and thought of Carla who’d married his brother
in the summer of ninety-eight.

‘Be thankful for each blessing,’ a thought said
‘Wake up, seize the day!’ Another yelled
‘Fight! It’s a new day!’ A third whooped
And Shoeshine Timmy muffled his cries
And listened to the same encouraging lies
And I doubt he’ll stop until he’s dead.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

A sonnet by two musicians trapped underwater

This is a picture of an underwater wreck. I chose this image because it's surreal, haunting and captures the sense of confinement present in my sonnet.

As we lie in cold aquamarine perdition
with shoals of fish like daggers, glinting by,
as whispers from the ghouls of wrecked ships spy
on our unhealthy shrieks – a trite rendition –

of what was once a soaring orchestration
we wrote with strength, in rush and poetic high
while women held us, softly with a sigh
and satiated our thirst and addiction –

we dream of more than banal, bluish existence,
of what it was to see the sparkling stars,
of running down slopes in the mountain air,
of leaping to grab life with sheer persistence,
of more than barnacle strewn, soundless bars,
of more than this acutely harrowing lair.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Welcome Sheeple, welcome

This is an image of a cracked wall. I've used it to represent nonconformity and a stand against societal norms that cause so many people acute distress.

Welcome Sheeple, welcome to a place where pensive fires forge poet beards, giving them an authenticity that no hipster lounge bar shot can replicate.

Welcome Sheeple, welcome to a place where we delete an, ‘I’m so depressed,’ status message, written for a hundred likes and replace it with a black parade of fury and melancholia that sweeps away charlatans in a vortex of mad poetry and razor-sharp prose.

Welcome Sheeple, welcome to a place where gargoyles mounted on chipped off pillars roar with disgust at any histrionic poser who steps on the debris they face because it’s sacred ground for the loners and misfits who dance artlessly with no reason for treason because they bare their souls and wear emotion like new blue, red or black skin.

Welcome Sheeple, welcome to a place where Layne Staley still lives, pink-haired and skinny, and grunge is the norm, coating cheap motel rooms, smelling of fart and tobacco with the color of reckless, raw angst that screams, ‘Fuck society! End Hierarchy! Find Liberty!’

Welcome Sheeple, welcome to a place where Popularity is the new ‘faggot,’ bullied by Insanity and Idiosyncrasy, and Nonconformity abolishes selfies that don’t look like mugshots because this land is arid, riddled with brambles and despises the tattooed synthetic, AI manufactured flesh-and-bone nanobot who crawls over every surface, incessantly taking pictures and feeding them to the cult of Like.

Welcome Sheeple, welcome to a place where prescription pills and abuse and bullying have created a tragic optimism, a fight till the end though institutions, tyrannical patriarchy, and power whoring have hung, drawn and quartered us, outside the gates of the Temple like Gentile dogs.

Welcome Sheeple, welcome to a place where we castrate already neutered thought that relies on the support of ‘theories’ created by logicians, and rely on off-beat creativity that dances to the rhythm of odd-time signatures and the jazz of craziness.

Welcome Sheeple, welcome to a world distorted by altered perceptions where identity finds its birth in a void, free from religion, gender, ethnicity, caste, and creed.

Welcome Sheeple, welcome to a nation free from the rat race and hackneyed political debates and base sitcom sarcasm, but rich in individuality, solitude and the never aging gold grass of satire.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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