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)

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

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

A waste of time

This is a picture of nuclear waste. I've chosen it to represent doomed relationships that people cling on to for the sake of not being lonely.

So, I had a girlfriend nine years ago,
and we were the antithesis of ‘soul-mates,’
or ’till death do us apart,’ but we kept the
relationship going, adding layers and layers
of toxicity to a nuclear waste dump.

We’d say, ‘I love you so much!’ though we didn’t mean a word,
and we’d indulge in so much PDA
that made people think we were fucking like rabbits.

But the crazy part of the affair was that we never had sex,
sure, we got naked and explored each other’s bodies,
but we just never got down to the act.

I guess the truth is that I wasn’t physically attracted to her
and she thought I was prude pretending to be a player (which
was true then.)

Anyhow, the question I’m trying to ask is why
do we let ourselves get trapped in Sicilian Bulls of
doomed relationships, heated by the fires
of insecurities or false affection?

All those relationships are, are rose petals covering flick-knives
or a silky velvet drape covering a corpse
or a poorly written book that becomes a bestseller
or a shitty soap opera that manages to run for ten seasons.

It’s bullshit, and after I finally got a hold of myself, I broke up
and slept properly without hearing the phone ring at twelve in
the morning.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)


You and I walk past brownstones, the color of rust, the melancholic artificiality endowing us with Plathian muses, making us wish for something more than facades and magniloquent odes lacking the depth and authenticity that only despair forges in the fires of harrowing experiences using a hammer possessed by death-spirits.

You and I walk beneath amber sunsets on potholed roads where buskers cut their fingers on sad but sharp violin strings, and the music’s an ode to obscurity. The call to oblivion is so strong then, and the waspish ache within makes us rage at tyrannical gods and hate humanity like anti-Bodhisattvas. But then a numbing that even an anti-psychotic can’t provide coats our hearts like the paper leaves of Autumn cover the mossy ground, and yes, there’s beauty in not feeling anything sometimes.

You and I perceive existential angst in ways that leave us devoured by madness, but also empathetic, and it’s this dichotomy within us that makes us unique and sets us apart from the half-baked crowd. It’s a roaring silence and a darkened light, but these hackneyed oxymorons don’t really give it justice. It’s the Big Bang of the all the lines we write, a sudden jolt of the consciousness leading to streams and streams of macabre yet beautiful thoughts like black rivulets under the gentle glow of a crescent moon.

You and I know tragedy intimately like Gnostics directly communicating with their gods through mystical experiences. But, this wealth of pain has taught us, even though it severed us from the magnetic throng – ostentatiously attracted to or bitterly repulsed by one another. We’re freaks and vagabonds, misfits and pilgrims with causes augmented by throes.

You and I connect in ways that supersede the yes, no, and okay though the weight we carry differs not in intensity, but in form. We grasp the deeper semantic that forms the undercurrent of good conversation, and we let it carry us to the shores of honesty, which is why we can pause talk today and restore it three weeks from now with the same ardor, and I’d like to believe that’s something precious.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

For Mia

Real Toads’


I’d like to know each quaver of masked feeling
that lilts past you, as you sit there composing
those measures, with the cadence of grace flowing
through each iota of you, quickly flaring:
creating an allegro of swift longing
for beauty that eludes; but you’re still hoping
though muses fade, and then left with soft yearning:
just an adagio of broken meaning,
I’d like you to find me here, always searching
not for crescendos that wound, but an ending
to your sonata and my lines: our meaning.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)


All day-long I dream about sex. Well, that’s both a Korn song and my anthem every day. I never wanted to become the archetypal perverted, twisted artist with an animalistic libido, a wild, unshaven, unwashed, bearded man with an insatiable desire for the electric thrill that an orgasm gives you – cock and seed and wet cunt, but here I am, and here I stand, twisted with fetishes, mad with lust overwhelming me, like a Tsunami sweeping over a coastal town, possessed with a need for nudes like a raving sex maniac, overcome with an uncontrollable want to fuck the girlfriend until we’re both in some death-ecstasy, some terrifying high that’s both painful and exhilarating.

All day-long I dream about sex. Blood gently dripping as I bite her lips and she bites mine, fingers interlaced as tightly as a bond in the seraphic realm, sweat, and semen and fluid creating a raw togetherness, a bittersweet haven for us – two vagabonds who’re the dregs of a brutal, hierarchical society, two anarchists – man and woman who embody the spirit of grunge, augmenting it with downers and cheap booze, two anti-social, in- your-face, punchy as punk poets who’ve known the side-effects of psychiatric medication, the allergies like countless crimson soldiers rushing on a field of skin, pointing their guns down and shooting, two despondent pilgrims never knowing where they’re going, but ending each day with an intense session of rhythm and improvisation, laughter and sobbing, silence and moaning

All day-long I dream about sex. I do it when I’m not peddling rhymes for free or reading some dog-eared book coated with last month’s grime and dust. I do it when I’m not with her, the videos on the computer screen now accustomed to my chronic masturbation ending in mini-scale cataclysmic explosions, the sight of another in a tank top and jean sending shock waves to my groin and forming still frames in my mind which later become a motion picture of devilish fantasies when she’s not around. But she doesn’t mind because we’re two fucking angst-ridden people and being fundamentally and innately depraved is the way we cope.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)


“Man is sometimes extraordinarily, passionately, in love with suffering…” 
― Fyodor Dostoevsky

There is no life in this place; no vegetation; no predator or prey; just the shrill roar of industry like inaccessible noise rock. We sit, you and I, on the porch of this tumbledown house, smoking and sharing a bottle of rum.

The starless sky and oddly shaped crescent augment the bleakness of it all. Our eyes have grown hard like dull, brown stones and our hearts, harder like a cinder block ensconced in a rib cage.

Motes of dust scratch our faces like tiny razors cutting skin, but not deep enough to draw blood. We buried Mark on this day, last year and since that tragic day, weather and wither have adversely affected us. The weather inside reflects the sudden, drastic change of the weather outside – arid and decaying. And like the trunks of aging oaks, the wrinkles on our faces create folds that embody some nihilistic wisdom – something gained after some remote in our minds switched off sorrow and gave us an apathetic, grainy screen.

Words mean nothing now and silence haunts, and so, we drink to feel something even if it’s self-pity that punctures the very essence of life. We don’t greet each other; we’re like exhausted workhorses, but the irony is that we haven’t found work since our little cherub left us.

We’re living off what we’ve saved, and the money leaks like water from a broken pipe. We don’t love each other anymore, but we still persist because death creates a strange bond. One that makes two people live together though they paradoxically died together a long time ago.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

For Real Toads’ and Poets United