Gangrene

I

I am an enigmatic man

who lets his troubled past,

chock-full of paternal blows

dictate him while ironically allowing

the languor of the present lull

him into a false sense of security.

I also incongruously

live in make-believe future Mays replete with

bountiful harvests, cider, and red

amaranths in bloom like little

Cardinals. I am a stream of

motifs – the bitter leper

who scowls, the

vengeful, long-haired ruffian with

a red halo symbolising a raging messiah

complex, the unfaithful Don Juan

or the seed-spilling Don Jon,

the itinerant mad prophet who

flagellates himself, the cowardly

but callous monarch who sits on

a throne of ice, the chain

smoker on the

balcony who implores Monsieur Nicotine

to send him drops of inspiration,

the cognoscente of jazz and

melancholy, the bibliolater who

kneels at an altar of tomes and also

rejects the figurative Word, the

Patrick Bateman of fictional harlequins,

the culture-hating, Indian Alexander Portnoy,

the infuriating trainspotter,

the antihistamine popping

malade imaginaire,

the 34-year-old infant stuck in the

Phallic stage, the manic trumpet

who screeches, the fat, self-deprecating

burrito-lover who viciously shoots a fairy, the

sophisticated, bearded bum who loves

MMORPGs and lyrical prose, the sanctimonious

scoundrel who quotes

a loving Martyn Lloyd-Jones

during bouts of Christian fundamentalist

fury.

II

I look around me and see apartments

like Lego bricks with people made of plastic

in them, I watch the scintillating will-o’-the-wisp

drift away from me while I sit inert

with bloodshot eyes that refuse

to tear up even though catching it

is all I’ve ever wanted,

I enjoy my Epicureanism but cannot

be cured of Hadephobia,

I despise the elephant man

in my mind, and cannot see past his deformity.

When will I learn that there is

beauty in brokenness and wholeness in imperfection?

The fading sun grazes the sidewalk with his

fingers of dying light, resembling a lover’s

parting touch, but this act of goodbye

doesn’t shelter my

soul under an umbrella of romanticism,

the dark boogeyman in my unconscious mind

obstructs the caregiver and the artist, blocking

their red and golden light partially now

and creating antumbras in my consciousness,

but hope loses his vigour, and the abomination

will grow, leaving me with penumbras before

there is total darkness or the umbra.

III

I’ve already died several deaths –

when I struck my now-aged father,

when I screamed and hit my mother

and my friend said, “You’ve become the embodiment

of turpitude!”

When I judged like I was on the Great White Throne

though I’m just an inconspicuous mote

flitting through attics of diminutive experience,

when I swallowed that strip of valium and

then induced vomiting,

when I burnt myself with a cigarette lighter to

get a taste of hell,

when I tried gouging my eyes out with a branch,

when I betrayed my closest friends,

when I broke it off with a girl for no reason,

when I encountered an angel or demon 

and screamed for help while I shivered,

when they diagnosed me with madness,

when they put me on many pills –

blue, red and white, giving me highs and lows,

treating me like a lab rat,

when they regarded me as a pariah

and shunned me because I was clinically insane,

when they put me in the asylum

and injected me with sedatives,

and watched my every move,

studying and discussing me

like I was an object and not a person.

IV

I wish an eagle would cover me with its large wing,

I want to wear divine armour and fight the hounds from hell,

I hope for an Ox’s strength,

I crave for a Lion to fight my wars for me,

I yearn for her to love me again and know she’s loved.

V

Every novel only gives you a simulacrum of the truth. There are experiences that even the strangest fiction cannot express. What are we but ashen snowflakes trapped in paperweights of determinism? You cannot change your fate; some of us only find kismet hammering us on anvils of sorrow. You can hope, but desires like truth, love, and faith are heavenly gifts. They aren’t innate. You can try changing, but how many people succeed? I hate throwing you in nadirs of pessimism, but the death of naïveté is the birth of fervid scepticism. The mountains don’t whisper to me anymore. No one sweetly sings to me in a winsome voice (if you’d permit me to speak alliteratively). In the end, I do not know if some bubble of optimism will suddenly burst in my unconscious mind and make me burn as incandescently as a possi of fireflies or if a bleak, wintry crimson is the reality that will overwhelm my senses until I’m one with the gore and ice.

I grow darker by the day. It’s as if even the chemiluminescence in my soul is dying (permit me to speak a little abstractly here). I manufacture inspiration these days by oppressing myself with copious amounts of caffeine, and although I wish to write something positive of depth and calibre, I seem to only reach into the sordid trenches of my mind and pluck out limbs of images that sphacelate quickly.

Perhaps all this reeks of self-absorption, and I must look at anything other than myself. Still, what do you get when an ostracised, self-destructive man spends all his time sharpening his mind using the blades of prose and poetry because he cannot cope? He isn’t fit for the nine to five, and his footprint is a string of blog posts. He mooches off his parents, and trial after harrowing trial has left him disturbed, distraught and defeated. He waits for his work to pierce a publisher with a cupid’s arrow but doesn’t understand the industry. That and the fact that he’s continually walking on the jagged edges of spiritual nihilism and nearing psychical annihilation isn’t helping him.

Perhaps some of you will say, “Push! Try harder!” But there is too much reuptake of serotonin in the synapses that prevents me from doing so. Some might opine, “You’re lazy and full of self-loathing! Yuck!” Try being a man who finds every shade of emotion colouring his essence, murmuring in his blood, and gnawing on his marrow each day, and then we’ll talk more. Some might scream, “Try God! Before it’s too late!” Trust me! I’ve tried! I’ve deleted innumerable blogs because I felt they weren’t in line with the potpourri of Calvinistic doctrine and a hodgepodge of religious fervour that assailed me then. 

Anyhow, life isn’t a cornucopia of blessings. Perhaps it is for some. But I stand on the railway platform at night underneath a pitch-black canopy devoid of cosmic dust and watch as a thuggish locomotive muscles brightly lit carriages with the power of a bodybuilder dragging a skinny man. The machine churns and spits smoke like the Leviathan. And as its headlights light up everything around me, I feel as unobtrusive as a mosquito in the corner of a bedroom. The people in the carriages are going somewhere. They carry their aspirations with them. But I stay as the sparks fly and the conductor shouts, “All aboard!” I look ahead with a thousand-yard stare of a weary soldier as the brute moves away with his luggage, and his howl becomes a whimper and then a whisper before the darkness engulfs it like the whale swallowing Jonah. I stay in that very place for years and slowly find my skin becoming obsidian. Then my eyes sink back into my skull, and I take the form of a pillar, embellishing the station. This is my legacy – for men to gaze and not even think of Shelley’s ‘Ozymandias.’ For women to stare but not notice because they’re all in a rush to catch the next beast.

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