I never asked for controversy,
some unseen hand thrust it on me
just like some unseen hand scribbled the
Ten Commandments on tablets
and thrust it on early Israel

but controversy begets art
who slaps you when he’s one,
hits you with uppercuts when he’s two,
head kicks you when he’s three,
anaconda chokes you when he’s four

and I guess I’ve seen enough to know
that love poems are sermons and those
‘awws’ are paws, and an emoticon screams,
that nature reaches orgasms using
clever subtle analogy, that esoteric
verse romanticizes, and romantics
are cryptic Batemans

so, I’ll stay tortured, reaching, searching,
yearning, longing while poetic fundamentalists
misconstrue my lines, write scathing remarks
seething with hatred,
and I’ll let all the flooding, sweeping, overwhelming,
overrunning piss of malice sweep me away,
and crash against the rocks on which a make-shift,
shabby Lorelei who screams, ‘you wronged me!’ and
can’t do anything other than playing the blame game sits.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

I need a glimpse of Glory

I hate writing. It makes me miserable, but I keep at it because I’ve made it my idol. I’ve replaced God with art, and worship at an altar of futility. I’m a hypocrite, a liar, a sinner and a vainglorious worm like William Cowper puts it. I write blasphemous things, proclaim that God is dead though I know he’s very much alive, I use language and imagery that goes against my conscience, and I do it for validation, the likes and the comments.

Self-pity courses through my veins and what is it but bruised pride? Me feeling sorry for myself because I don’t get what I want. I am a narcissist, but then again, who isn’t? You have the arrogant, sitting-on-a-pedestal, feelingless narcissist and the low-self-esteem fueled one, and then you have those in the middle with moderate self-esteem, but selfish to the core, and I guess I fit into that last bracket.

Humanity is totally depraved. There isn’t a single soul who’s good at heart. We may not be out there murdering people, but we’re as murderous as that death-row inmate inside. We fail to see this though because our self-righteous hearts deceive us into thinking we’re sweet and innocent.

I hate when I lash out at people using writing, but I do it anyway. I hate when I check, check and check some more if someone has liked or commented on my posts, but I do it anyway. I hate when my writing and comments are filled with lies, but I do it anyway. I hate being miserable but I do the very things that cause me the deepest misery. The truth is that I’m not addicted to the things of the world as much as I’m addicted to myself. Sin is eating me alive, and there isn’t anything I can do about it, except wait for a miracle of grace.

But will God redeem me? Me, the chief of sinners who has lost all direction. Will he abandon the 99 to find this black sheep? Will he restore me, and thaw this hard heart? Or is darkness my only friend?

I remember when I once walked with God, and he loved me and me, him. I remember having faith and knowing in my heart that Christ lived the life I never did and died in my place. I remember tears of repentance not for the things I’d done, but the man I was. I remember a picture of glory in my mind’s eye and chasing after that infinitely precious glory with my heart and mind. I remember how God found me and delighted in making me his own, despite who I was.

But here I am today, unsure of my election or worse yet, knowing I’m this reprobate heading straight to eternal perdition, and not being able to do anything about it.

Calvinism is one hundred percent right, and there’s so such thing as free-will. Having said that God works in mysterious ways and maybe one day I’ll know why he took away all the affection I had for him. Yes, I mean affection; overwhelming emotion for Christ which includes love, joy, peace, Godly grief, and even righteous hate. Without that, you’re a cold Christian or perhaps not one at all. I’ll end by saying, ‘Man, I need a glimpse of the glory of Christ again!’ Because despite how hard I try to do the right things, I’ll either only fail or pretend to be virtuous when I’m so full of vice.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

Home (Part 2)

Samantha loved contentment. She loved the temporal now, but disdained the eternal now, and what’s tragic is that she was completely oblivious to this fact. A bourgeois existence pleased her, and gatherings, social events, people and nature thrilled and exhilarated her. She never investigated her true spiritual condition, although she professed to be in Christendom. She was spiritless, but longed for rich aesthetic experiences, and when she received them believed that they were signs of her union with God.

In this world we have hedonists and thrill seekers, introspective quiet people, lovers and quarrellers, but irrespective if you’re rich or poor, logical or creative, impassioned or bitter, you’re in despair, and the worst despair is the ignorance of despair. The false peace that lulls a deceitful heart, telling a terminally ill spiritual you that you’re rosy cheeked and healthy. And this false peace is found in chiefly two kinds of people: The hedonists and the embittered. The former live in a continuous state of pleasure and try satisfying all their desires and lusts. They live a life of wild, reckless abandonment and they’re happy, but here’s the mystery they’re secretly unaware of: If you peeled the layers of the onion, you’ll find that they’re just as sick as people who’re self-conscious and despondent. The latter have seen so much hurt, loneliness and bone-crushing pain, and develop a self-righteousness. You’ll find some of them in the realm of professing Christendom; others in other religions—monotheistic and polytheistic, and still others in even atheism. Their pain sadly gives them a false sense of entitlement and their motto becomes, ‘we’re good people,’ and this shroud of false gold envelopes them and when confronted, they become indignant. And this in one sense creates the self-righteous elder son in that famous parable in the Gospel.

Samantha had seen so much pain in her life; she’d endured many trials, and this gave her a false sense of entitlement. Jude wasn’t a good husband. He’d both verbally and physically abused Samantha so many times, but his veneration for her made her love him and accept him each time he came back guilt-ridden and wept and apologized. ‘You’re my angel,’ he’d say, and this kept the wheels of a rocky relationship moving, until the day Jude found God, and confronted Samantha with tears in his eyes, begging her to see that she was lost. This tilted their world upside down and suddenly the roles changed, and Jude found himself backed against a wall while Samantha hurled abuses and screamed and shouted.

Oh, the mystery of God’s ways! Who can fathom him? He gives the degenerate an introspective, self-conscious mind and the polite a mind that refuses to dig deep because it’s terrified. Jude needed to break the cycle of abuse and so he didn’t seek Samantha and sought God and found him in repentance and knew that another died in his place, that another took his sickness unto death upon himself.

But Jude’s conversion didn’t last because he returned to venerating Samantha, and then backslid. The intense love in his heart for Christ faded and he slowly stopped feeling altogether. Jude succumbed to fatalism. He was intensely aware of his despair, but couldn’t see God as a possibility anymore, just a necessity and this in many ways is a demon’s despair. And Jude slowly became twice the demon he once was, and the vicious cycle emerged again. But something was different this time. Jude both hated and venerated Samantha, and his veneration now was more of a conscious effort, and Samantha saw through this and couldn’t forgive Jude like she once did anymore. So while the old pattern continued, a new one of distrust paralleled it.

(Inspired by The Sickness unto Death by Søren Aabye Kierkegaard and The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller)

Part 1

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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When the jury pronounced me ‘Guilty of first degree murder,’ I felt like the good Lord burdened me with all the crosses everyone carried—each burden, each iota of sorrow on my shoulder. The feeling was like being burnt at Calvin’s stake, but worse, because I was more innocent than Servetus. There was a fool writhing for blasphemy, and here I was, a Bible believing churchgoer being punched in the gut by an unfair fist. ‘Why Lord?’ I cried out, and then some idealism that kept me through my youth, and when I was with her—before some sick, twisted individual muted her chirp, and made sure the evidence pointed to me, like the fingers of a disgruntled society wanting someone to blame—falsely glowed within.

‘Motherfucking sand-nigger! You think you can get away with stripping our women of their integrity and blood!’ They screamed while they brutally beat me, and handcuffed me, though I was the one who made the 911 call, screaming, ‘Help me! My wife…’ unable to complete my sentence.

Did my brown skin make them easily pin me to the board of guilt, throwing me like a dart though I knew nothing, and found her in that state, breathing her last? Or is this justice for petty sins committed like lustful thoughts or bitterness? I’d like to believe the former is true, because if God is just, he wouldn’t have thrown me in a cell, where I couldn’t survive, because the very first day, they pounced on me, and soon passed me like a pizza slice calling me Cynthia, Luella and Sharon, and bought me for half-smoked cigarettes and sour tasting cheap booze brewed from ingredients best unmentioned.

But I ironed clothes and played the ‘bitch’ because there was no other way out. And soon, they transferred me to another prison where the rules were relaxed but the predators remained. But I didn’t want to spend fifty-years being a ‘prag’ and I decided to strike back. I made a shank and stuck it into the first inmate who made a pass at me. I dug it deep into his skin and he barely survived. Soon, I needed a gang to survive, and since the ‘Christians’ were self-righteous hypocrites, I joined a gang that embodied my race. And I grew with blood spilt and made it to the top.

Today, I’m back in another maximum-security penitentiary and I look at Clara who does my bidding, and bark orders when needed. I guess I’m well and truly rehabilitated!

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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Innocence within the femme fatale

There’s something about her writing that brings me back. It isn’t a Fitzgerladean crescendo, slowly building up in the tender night, tugging at your heartstrings eloquently and ethereally. No, it’s sprinkled with sawdust, and rusty nails, but once you dig deeper – at the risk of getting injured – you’ll find a hidden gem with so much depth and candor: multifaceted and transparent. But I’m sure a lot of people don’t dig enough: either from the fear of reciprocation, or because their superficiality and walking canes make them tragically stereotype themselves. We’re quick to label writing as coarse, or cantankerous, when we have our own periods of vulgarity during the day, which the Sauvignon never solves. An artificial faux-elitist conservativeness is what I call it. And I’m guilty too, but I’ve moved beyond it. An indelible keloid or a permanent tattoo both cut through skin, and just because the latter seems attractive, it doesn’t mean the former doesn’t bring with it the pain of experience. But I go back to her, and I like the diamond in the dust – if you’ll permit me to use a cliché – or the eccentric frequency like Miles Davis’ Paraphernalia submerged beneath layers of Grindcore, and who’s to say I don’t like both? I can listen to Meshuggah bringing individual units together to form a polyrhythmic machine, before finding another swirl of life in Chet Baker and Paul Desmond playing a standard like Autumn leaves: The latter’s unique alto tone evoking more than feelings; almost literally placing me in another space and time. There’s so much beauty in art, but it lies in perception, and never in battles for superiority, or petty feud – counter feud poetry. We’re just individuals, and from a bird’s eye view, we’re one with the earth we walk on, shaped and molded by it, and what we create should facilitate growth, and nurture a collective artistic consciousness. Irrespective of the approach: confessional, descriptive, satirical, or a separation between the writer and his work, or pure stream of thought, this journey is beautiful.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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On Meditations by Aurelius

I like Aurelius. I like his notion of withdrawing into yourself irrespective of the space and time you’re in, his idea of mortality and fatalism, and a few of his thoughts when it comes to controlling impulse with reason. I love his philosophy of the present, and never adding more to an unfortunate circumstance. But I disagree with his concept of this being the best of all possible worlds, or the Whole, or the absolute Reason. This world we live in, is often more absurd than fiction, and it doesn’t take rocket science to figure that out. Things go unexplained and you’re never going to find answers or that quaint room with its beautiful symmetry and archaic charm. No, you’ll often find yourself in a space that’s disjointed and fractured from your convictions: a room with yellow wallpaper, and yes, please catch the allusion, or a frightening, unnerving blurred mass enveloping you with zombies and tricksters breaking free, threatening to bite through flesh, and chew on your bones. And this isn’t paranoia. Just one panoramic glance with keen insight and you’ll see it: the horror, the miasma of living decay that’s abominable choking you, making you want to retch. And I also dislike his insistence on man being social. Being social comes with both its flaws and its breakthroughs. Sure, it’s good to meet people, but finding yourself in a clique that stereotypes, or a group that hates with an unwarranted agenda makes void the entire notion of socializing being something always productive. He says it’s terrible to fracture yourself from society, but you find artists who’re are complete misfits or loners, giving you masterpieces. I think this is related to his notion of the divinity of man, or looking within to find the light. Now, I always interpret the latter in a very general way, and never make mystical or spiritual connections to it. You have to look within to change, but that’s pretty much it. I don’t believe in human divinity because when I see the world I see a swirling mass of darkened grey. I use this color because humanity is prone to wickedness although it’s capable of good. The notion of humanity’s inherent nature is a subject that’s hotly debated ever since the first man and woman came into existence. Some say Adam’s fall led to a shift in balance and total depravity; others say we’ve not connected with our innate goodness, but I think both views fail. We’re not totally depraved, and we have the freedom to choose, but we’re not innately good either. Just one glance at the holocaust tells you enough of the anti-divinity that’s present in man, unless you say that divinity itself is evil. I think man has no divinity, but I agree with Aurelius on the concept of a soul. But his overemphasis on morality puts me off. It’s preachy and becomes self-righteous. But then again he’s addressing himself. Also, is it humanly possible to exist with absolute mastery over impulse and emotion? Still, all said and done, concepts like embracing death without fear, knowing that you’ll be forgotten one day, and that it’s pointless weeping for the dead since they aren’t coming back makes sense. But the idea of us being recycled by the universe, and just being reduced to mere atoms is only partially true, in my opinion. Sure we’ll all die and go back to dust or ashes, but that’s only the body. I believe that the soul lives on, not one with the Whole,  but in another dimension. You can call it heaven, hell or purgatory, but the soul is immortal, but definitely not divine. But I’ll contradict myself here and say that it’s possible that complete soul-annihilation takes place. Hell, I’m open to change.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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A day in my life

I get stoned these days; not an intentional, ‘I need to get high,’ stoned, but I struggle with migraines, skin rashes and cold, and I’m on cough syrups and antihistamines. Maybe I take an extra swig of the syrup because I’m tired, and just want the day to get over. But I’m not really sure. I went to the departmental store to pick up an energy drink, and found myself staring at the woman behind the counter. It wasn’t because she’s hot or anything, I basically looked right through her with dilated pupils, while she kept asking me for some details. I liked standing there, while people rushed in and out, surrounding me, but then I couldn’t do the catatonic thing forever, and so I snapped out of it, paid her, and left. I then went to a small tea shop and bought some cigarettes, and drank my lemon tea, and suddenly that whole light, euphoric buzz started becoming something ugly, just like the sickening feeling you get when you smoke too much bad weed. And so I didn’t finish my tea, paid the guy quickly and walked home. It’s like certain places give me this cool solitude and gentle atmosphere when I’m high, but other places just make me feel sick and nauseated. But I don’t really need to get high. I’m usually a total recluse who loves solitude, and when I get it, my mood and being shifts into something ethereal, and I feel like I’m floating, suspended in mid-air, or defeating gravity. I had a friend preach to me today while I was catching up on blog posts. He basically judged me and said that I’m doing nothing with my life. I guess he’s both right and wrong. He’s right in a superficial sense, but in a deeper sense, I don’t want to lead his life: Working as a software engineer, drinking like a fish, gambling and then preaching the prosperity gospel in some hysterical charismatic church. He takes a half-day vacation, and then gets up and goes to work. Fuck. If you’re taking a break at least make it four days is my motto. But hell, who am I to judge? Live and let live, I guess. The problem with him is that he won’t stop arguing until he has the last say, and so, I just blocked him. Let him think he won the argument and ‘humbled’ me, or whatever. I guess I’ll read a little Fitzgerald tonight and then hit the sack. I’m sort of nonchalant now, and I like that too. Anything’s better than paranoia or neurosis. But as I dig deeper I’ve realized that my subconscious and conscious mind got merged at some point in my life. So regardless of if I’m writing or talking, I’m passively spilling words out. And when I’m walking, I’m mechanically crossing the street. All my actions are passive. Even my strength is a passive strength. It’s never an active grit. Maybe it’s a good thing, or maybe not, but I’m past caring.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)

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