August

This to me is a beautiful picture of August. I used it even though the narrator in my poem hates his life and August, having lost his privilege.

I no longer like the August rain,

gone are the days when

I sat in my apartment

and made the monsoon

my muse, going on and on

about silvery streaks like

the tears of benevolent providence

coating the cobblestones,

and flooding us with eunoia,

making us pursue our passions

with meraki, the song of the stars

and wind’s whopping cadence

bringing out our inner pluviophile.

That utopianism died when I

squandered my inheritance,

turning the whispery wisteria

with its purple transcendence into

ashes. I flip burgers at McDonald’s now

in a country with no dignity of

labour. I wear a red shirt, black

pant and a silly red hat and

stand across Bozo or Ronald

McDonald or Binky or whatever

they call him, with his gaudy orange

robes and hair that makes him

look like a twisted, serial killer,

a sick smile plastered on his face.

I listen to the tragic stories of my

co-workers like the time some

guy spent 5000 rupees on burgers

which is our monthly salary.

I was that guy once. I cringe at

that thought. I got fat on chorizo

and bacon, pursued knowledge like

a prophet heeding the Lord’s call,

read books about anti-natalism,

nihilism, divine darkness as expounded on

by Meister Eckhart or some other

theologian or philosopher,

half-agreeing with what they said,

wearing ideas on my sleeve like a hypocrite,

devoured John Updike with his lyrical

take on the amorous, quotidian

realities of protestant America,

listened to post-rock, jazz, trip-hop,

indie pop, rock and psychedelia,

offering my two cents on every

bloody thing with sesquipedalian

loquaciousness like a bratty, snooty,

verbose know-all, and what was the

point of it all? I ended up becoming

the ‘purple poseur’ or the ‘lit-bro,’

a caricature of a learned man who

spoke of Thomas Hardy’s poetic

maturity when asked about the

August weather. An intellectual troll,

a knowledgeable bastard with no

acumen, a fool with his hot takes

and histrionics. Look at me! I still

can’t stop! I couldn’t get a white

collar job because I had no work

experience, and did nothing except

smoke cigarettes and read for

eleven years. So here I am, looking at

Jinky, Linky, Winky, IT or whatever

they call him, hoping and praying that

no one I know from college

comes up to the counter,

making me suppress my shame,

plaster a grin on my face

and say, “Welcome to McDonald’s.

What can I get you, sir?”

Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

For dVerse

32 responses to “August”

    • Thank you so much for your kind offer, but I’m afraid I’ll have to decline. I prefer keeping my work on my site, at this stage of my writing career. I’m glad you liked the poem 🙂 I removed your email id from your comment because there are some weirdos who stalk people once they get their email ids. I’ve had such terrible experiences, and I wouldn’t want anyone else going through the same. Hope you don’t mind. You have a great day too!

    • Thank you so much Sarah. Yeah he’s a bit of a poseur who’s self-aware but tragically caught in his pretensions. It’s a weird reality but it’s common today strangely.

  1. I feel this so much. Wonderfully written, I loved being swept along with your thoughts and I loved your honesty most of all. So relatable. Sometimes we have to do a job we hate when needs must. Sometimes we have to give up everything to do nothing but read books and smoke for 11 years. This truly resonated with me and I feel you <3.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. Yeah sometimes hardship makes us do what we don’t want to and sometimes we’re allowed respite. You’ve captured life pretty much in its entirety with your comment. I’m so glad you could relate.

  2. Flows like the rain. The plague of so many graduates with only their culture to wave about to impress. Nobody cares. What counts is making money, for oneself and/or for someone else. Working for MacDo is the pits, no two ways about it, but sometimes there’s no choice. The trick is to be able to see what’s real. The rain falls for everyone, however much you earn and there’s beauty in it, that not everyone sees through the windows of their expensive cars. I can relate to this poem. It crosses continents.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words Jane. That you could relate to this poem means so much to me. Yeah, some of us come out of grad school with nothing but knowledge and no way of using it to make a living in the real world. It’s tragic. And I loved your quote about seeing what’s real. Earlier today, I was watching some YouTube video about some aggressive ‘alpha male’ who prattled on and on about the cars he’s got and the girls he gets, and I shook my head. Like you said the rain falls for everyone and there’s beauty in it. To hell with high, social standing or ultra rich cliques, I’ll enjoy it from the balcony of my apartment.

      • Good for you 🙂 Like so many things, success, contentment, is all in the head. My parents just wanted us to be happy and encouraged us to develop the ‘useless’ talents we had rather than urging us into professions. Consequently all of us went into literary or arts fields and our children have all gone the same way. None of us has any money but we can all draw, paint, write. We all have a social conscience, we’re all activists about something, and we’re all able to see what’s really there. Keep your eye on what matters. One thing I do hope for you is that find a soul mate who sees things the same way. Life is always easier in a couple.

      • Growing up, I had a really abusive, controlling father who wanted me to be an engineer or CEO and make tons of money. My mother was the opposite though, but she was put down by the old man. He didn’t even allow her to work though she was a trained ophthalmologist. So I grew up timid, broken and shy. When I was seventeen, I started rebelling and did whatever I wanted. I ultimately controlled myself and did a bachelor’s in journalism, literature and psychology. My father hated that, but my parents had separated and my mom encouraged me. After I finished my bachelors, I spent two years, just drinking and playing football. My ‘friends’ then were software engineers who kept bragging about the money they made, and insisted that I make money too. I caved in a little and decided to do a masters in clinical psychology. The course was taxing, my classmates weird and the teachers had biases. After a year I had a breakdown and was diagnosed with BPAD and OCD. I quit the course and then years went by with me suffering from the serious side effects of medication and unable to cope. Finally I started writing. Initially all my work was very obscure and then cheesy. I quit after a while and tried religion. I got caught up in Calvinistic circles and attended church for a while. During this time, I had a conversation experience and from what I remember it was genuine. But it didn’t last. I also found Calvinism harsh with respect to some of its doctrines. And the Christians I met had no empathy whatsoever. They didn’t consider mental illness as something real, raged and condemned you when you questioned them. Finally I gave up and went back to writing. During this period I had breakdowns, was institutionalised, and my mom helped me whenever I needed aid. Ultimately I wrote, gave up and came back to writing so many times. I got a poem published in a minor magazine in NY. My only published poem to this day. I made my peace with my dad. He’d sobered with age, and his anger had left him. He was still neurotic though. After a lot of soul-searching, I finally decided to take writing seriously. So I started this blog, and worked on a novella which I sent to some agents. The problem is that my novella had Calvinistic themes, and was so disconnected from Indian culture. It was riddled with dubious preachers, religious fears, etc. That sort of thing might sell in the American south but here they want something very Indian, rooted in culture and I can’t seem to write that way because all my influences are Western. All the music I listen to is English music, and I speak English with my parents and friends. I have an extremely poor command over the two regional languages I understand to a certain degree. I don’t say any of this to brag, but I’m just expressing how disconnected I am from my culture. I also don’t support the Fascism and the majoritarian politics here. I know nothing about Hindu tradition too. So, it’s tough. I often wonder if I should give up on literary fiction and write a mystery thriller or a best seller. That’s where the money is, I think. Literary fiction writers get terrible advances even from the big publishing houses here. So yeah. That’s my life, and your parents’ and you and your partner’s views on raising children appeals to me a lot. If I had children, I’d want them to pursue whatever interests them and I’d support them. Being an activist has appealed to me, but it’s a scary job here because of right wing totalitarianism encroaching. In the end you’re right, I’m starting to keep my eyes on what matters. And you’re very kind to hope for a partner for me. I’m very introverted, and the antithesis of the party going crowd. I’ve had girlfriends in the past but we weren’t compatible because like you I believe in the concept of a soul mate. Someone who gets you in every way. No relationship is perfect, but with someone who sees things the same way, you can inch towards joy. Let’s hope things work out. Thank you for such a kind comment Jane and for sharing 🙂

      • Thank goodness for your mother. It sounds as though she’s kept you more or less together. I wish you were closer. I could check up on you from time to time.
        Don’t get your hopes up about making money from writing though. Unless India is very different to the rest of the world, publishers take what they think will be a best seller and unknowns aren’t worth their time. Keep writing, different styles however the ideas come, but I wouldn’t try to get anything published until you have written several full length novels/novellas and you’ve found your voice. Join writing groups, make writer friends and get them to read it over. Listen to criticism, and only when you’ve got something you’re really proud of,send it off. Short stories and poetry are good things to send to magazines so you can build up a CV, but most of all, so you teach yourself how to write.
        I really wish you the best. You sound as though you deserve it xxx

  3. Your journey through flowing and finding self makes for is interesting. I find your poem though to be more soliloquy than narrative.

    Happy you dropped by to read mine

    Much💚love

  4. This wonderful poem brought to mind TS Eliot:

    Between the idea
    And the reality
    Between the motion
    And the act
    Falls the Shadow

    and I haven’t the slightest clue why! (or what the quot. means for that matter)

  5. This is such a powerful rendition here, Nitin! I especially like; “silvery streaks like the tears of benevolent providence coating the cobblestones.” Thank you so much for writing to the prompt ❤❤

  6. I enjoyed this story unfolding very much. I guess we learn the hard way when we squander our time, wealth and talents and act like a know it all brat. I also like the realistic approach of what life can be, working at McDonalds after all that. Thanks for joining in!!!

    • True. We do learn some lessons in life the hard way. Every moment in life is precious. Thank you for your comment Grace. I enjoyed joining in!

  7. The American dream coming to a naught…such a melancholic write, Nitin. Seems to fit the month so well. It makes my heart ache for the narrator. The flow is seamless and the pain so real.

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