Thursday, December 17, 2015

A LIBERAL TERRORIST

The only memories i have of Asim are of his narcissism. Before i deepen the complexity of his personality i find myself switching off the terrorist in me that leaps to judgement, takes implicit moral positions and wreaks emotional violence. The word terrorist may seem an exaggeration with regard to Asim because he is not going around with a gun or dropping bombs. His terrorism is essentially the tortuous catacomb of his distorted mind. And in his own way he has pushed quite a few to the edge. I was one of them and i count myself fortunate in having survived and fashioned a life for myself, though it is a far cry from the life i most intensely craved at one point of time.

Asim taught me at school . He taught english . Though a government school english syllabus in delhi in  2002-2004 was rudimentary and unimaginative he stood out. His dense vocabulary, air of aloofness marked him out. His arrogance , his implicit assumption of intellectual superiority was irksome yet not entirely apocryphal. He had a breath of erudition and an articulation that was dazzling. He never talked down to us at school, keeping up a dense linguistic register , insisting on the value of  learning with depth than meretricious opportunism. Because i was one of the few students who understood his classroom teaching he marked me out as special. His method of inveigling and ensnaring intelligent students was through shared complicity. Though indubitably lonely and choosing to maintain a prim distance from his colleagues he never admitted to his solitariness. He presented his predilection as a gift, a talisman, something he hoped his chosen acolytes would value and cherish , mindful of the privilege of his esoteric munificence.

I always had misgivings about Asim, could never assume a comfortable spontaneity with him. His aloofness, tinged with contempt, made his attentiveness seem patronizing. I did not desire the status of a neophyte though i found his manic gregariousness enlivening. In fact i undoubtedly enjoyed being in his charmed circle, despite my scepticism and my not infrequent self loathing at collusion was deflected , pushed aside. His approval mattered to me even though the beam of his regard would always be penumbral.

I kept in touch with him in my young adulthood. It was after he wrote an angry, rebarbative mail to me accusing me of  lubricious intent towards him that i allowed the ambivalence to become palpable. Hitherto my energies were consumed in concealing my occasional exasperation and being solicitous. In that abusive letter he imputed my effervescence to obsequiousness and it was true that i wrote fulsomely . However i believed i had divined the core of his existential loneliness. His distorted self perception was ignored by me in my empathy for him as a fellow solitary. But now the choices he had made in justifying and rationalizing his grandiose self conception seemed evil.

And this is where his terrorism became palpable. He evinced an expansiveness of mind, could discourse on anything with full knowledge of nuance. So well informed did he seem, as he invigorated his observations with theories and ideas , that he conveyed an impression of profound intelligence. He also believed in the absoluteness of his projections because he had the requisite psychological jargon to corroborate his views. I have seen him thoughtlessly, injudiciously discard people from his charmed circle once he became tired of them. His strategy was to diminish and undermine the other by demonstrating his sense of being betrayed. He was continually slapping pathological labels . And many of us who admired him, drawn to his ebullience and vitality because of our own inadequacies, took his unmerited accusations at face value. I spent years submerged in unendurable melancholia that seemed unremitting.

His belief in inclusiveness, tolerance, broad mindedness, liberalism was a mask for solipsism. The unbridgeable gulf between his putative liberalism and megalomania grew more irreconcilable. He constantly victimized himself through extrojecting his self hatred on his hapless interlocutors. His dissimulation and self deception was so adroit that he could both relish his unimpeachability and demolish other people, break them down. And that's how the dichotomy of mind and consciousness became discernible to me. For all his philosophizing and abstruse deliberations, for all his recondite unraveling of nuance he was singularly lacking self awareness. It seemed as though the force of liberal ideas , articulated with such impassioned fervour became, when his own acts of manipulation were challenged, tools to eviscerate other people. His mind was a reservoir of information from myriad sources that could cohere and transmute into whorls of ratiocination and casuistry but would equally become validations of  emotional depredations, chiefly his.

I did go grovelling back to me and he perfunctorily discarded me when he feared that i had penetrated his heart of darkness. Retrospectively i would like to irradiate my picture of his with polychromatic brushstrokes , intensifying the ineffable enigma that is a fundamental human reality. But all that surfaces are his brutal excoriations and ineffectual defense mechanisms. Ultimately it boils down to choice and he has chosen a convoluted psychological mind game that has led to an emotional deadlock. And his actions speak louder than words. His bouts of vituperation seem now to be overcompensations for an inexpungible inner disquiet. At this distance the carapace of his moral emptiness has become sharper , while his clever machinations seem insipid. There is something bereft there in him and i pity him , with the substratum of reverence for his fine mind, remnants of which persist despite all that has supervened. 

IN THE NAME OF TRUTH

I was to find no continuum between friendship and self preservation in Naveen and i felt angry and confused. On the one hand i believed i had intuited the better side of his being which he constantly undermined by withdrawing. Initially interpreting his withdrawal as reticence i merely strove to reinforce my authentic friendly feelings for him. But this only worsened his neurosis. I am not desirous any longer to make excuses for this conduct. I do not see myself as irreproachable and deplore my own self complacence. But i draw the line at attributing pathology to myself. After rigorous self analysis, having titled the kaleidoscope of my unconscious from myriad angles , i absolve myself of underhand motives. Doubtless this might seem self forgiveness or even self justification. There can be any number of theories expatiating on the strand of pathology underpinning my conclusion. I eschew the indulgence they proffer because either surrendering to the recondite , circumlocutory causality of psychology would subsume me in self hatred or else preoccupy me with its abstruse lineaments. There is something irresistible about the artistry of self analysis , the process itself hints at endless speculation . But i am done with that.

Naveen's conduct is unconscionable because he has misconstrued  his defensiveness as sagacious. I have no desire to plumb his mind and process the experience of past hurts which has transmuted in him as neurotic watchfulness. I am just too tired battling my feelings of inadequacy and  melancholy. Something about his quiet truculence, even if it emanates from his own anxieties , nonetheless disquiets me, inducing a depression very deep seated. I have a rational explanation which is both self serving and explanatory. As well as a retrospective understanding, undertaken with full self awareness , of my uncomplicated motives. While Naveen thinks it behoves me to make concessions for him he refuses to reciprocate with similar realignments. The tenor of his relationship to me is based on imposing a structure that suits his contradictory , schizoid self. My needs, expectations are superfluous or extraneous. I am expendable. When the petals of his solipsism and self loathing close in on themselves i feel an urge to tear away at those petals of self protection, rend  them into shreds . I want to smash his obduracy, inveigle a space for my being and its attendant emotional landscape. While he seeks solace in the monochrome of  withdrawal i seek the polychromatic density of variegation. And in his intransigence i have felt my own colours and flavors of emotional depth bleach, desiccate. It is my petals that are shriveling, withering, falling apart, strand by strand. In his smug neuroses Naveen has managed to keep a tenuous scaffolding while i have fallen apart completely.

I oscillate between telling him what i feel , unleashing my anger or detaching myself, hoping my absence will weigh on him by osmosis. Since he assumes my neurotic attention to himself , its coordinates of inveterate phone calls and messages unresponded to, as a given i desire a moving away. While silence seems expedient it also seems manipulative. And guile is something i both detest and see the necessity of with him. Habituated to candor, transparency, of laying bare the mosaic of my tangled emotions i spurn calculation, stratagems. It is increasingly clear ,however , that my sincerity has compounded the problem. This sincerity, whose probity in myself is a  form of narcissistic complaisance and moral superiority, has caused me to fragment. I cannot conceive of a defensive strategy to counteract Naveen's moving away . Within myself , the primal emotions are churning so precipitously that i fear acting, terrified of some knee jerk response that will destroy everything.

A makeshift restitution is all i can think of . And the moral certainty of my intention i alluded to does me no favor because it exists in a vacuum. In the integument of the honest friendship i offered Naveen there was a compendium of fears and insecurities he brought it that muddied the clear waters, soiled the precarious purity of what i felt. This sense of my good intentionality has to, ultimately, be my sole recompense. I hope Naveen will divine it some day though even that hope, given his continual self absorption , seems inconceivable. But time changes people and the belief that Naveen will come to his senses and penetrate the simplicity of my regard is what i predicate my hope on. Though having arrived at a facsimile of compensation in the face of the hinterland of human darkness, in the full knowledge of its provisionality,discomfits at lonely moments i intend to carry on. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

CATHETER

Veins clog up, refusing to thaw
Cold biting winds sting and jab
The pores plastered with abrasions from
Darts of the needle drawing blood
So a concavity on the chest
A contraption , an extrusion
Something both external yet
Part of the body
Funneled through this tube
Are cells determinant of life or death
While the sickly antiseptic smell
Recalls the pins and needles scent of blood
Sharp, astringent, nauseous
Entropy experienced as white light
Makes out of the exigency of suffering
Metaphysical succor
I carry it around , my dangling foetus
As the unborn me atrophies within.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

SOLITARINESS

It was after months of reclusiveness that i went for a party. I had loosely been a part of the queer circle in my city , a constellation of different individuals with myriad choices and being. At various places in the city i had attended conferences , seminars, protest marches. With many of these individuals separately i had cultivated unique relationships. But my dissociation occurred very quickly. It was a despair borne out of not getting the closeness i sought. Being of a fairly intense nature and prone to importunate exclamations of need and regard i had found myself , perhaps rightly given that much of me was a mystery to the others , a source of contempt , concealed under a generalized conviviality. The slivers of warmth i received were insufficient because they were impersonal. In a group context codes of social propriety were observed , though they manifested in hugs and kisses and cloying , mincing compliments. There were currents of authenticity but my displacement, felt as much within as without, exacerbated my alienation. I had been coming to terms , at this later stage in my young adulthood , with the inconstancy and arbitrariness of love, of both its indiscriminate bestowal and precipitate and unexplained withdrawal. There were conventions , adhered to loosely which concealed a selfishness. I was often struck by, with many gay men, of power politics , indifference. Which is why their saccharine solicitations seemed inauthentic. In this regard gay men are just like human beings, or any man or woman or transgender person. It is neither a mark of specialness nor a pathology, this form of behavior.

In that party i witnessed ebbs and flows of conversations dispersed across smaller sub groups. It is not my intention to claim victimhood or accuse people of selfishness though the observance of social codes seemed restricted only to the temporal jurisdiction of planned events. Many people were genuine friends with each other. My forays now seemed to be increasingly like insinuations and encroachments , of trying to grab some importance , a certain conspicuousness. Some may very well have deemed it narcissistic. One of the ways i have changed is that i no longer perceive many forms of human fallibility as having an undercurrent of pathology. Certain impulses are simply human , deeply human. It is harsh to mock at them though when our simple need for love, affection , our uncomplicated expressions of regard are thwarted or foiled or misunderstood the element of guile becomes noticeable. One begins to doubt one's simplicity, either as being hopelessly naive or overlain by a neediness and attention seeking. The knowledge of this substratum of one's perceived dark nature is transmitted through the elliptical, bitchy rumours that are circulated , of the silent hint, that telephone call ignored repeatedly, of  a real uncaring nature imperfectly concealed. The knowledge not just of my serviceability but also of my unimportance became more painful because i was over sensitively attuned to these parentheses and interstices. Doubtless an element of projection is ineluctable but it is also equally true that there is something sordid about relationships at a certain level, in our fragmented contemporaneity.

At any rate i roamed around desultorily as the party began. I was reticent, fearful of striking up conversations of an unserious nature. Yet a party was a space for small talk and exchange of pleasantries. As i traversed the variously ebullient myriad groups i heard occasional snatches of animated conversations, some theoretical discussions around sexuality , an abidingly fascinating topic and casual conversations. My sense of unreality and distance were sharpened. It wasn't as though my detachment indicated an authenticity amid superficial people. As i had realized my provisional reality was being reaffirmed.

I ran through my head the various blueprints i could embody. I could, by furrowing my brow, bringing an ironic tilt to my observations, become the party wit, entertaining with scurrilous repartee. I could talk about books and art as a bibliophile , i could indulge in confessional intimacy, with that accompanying collusion of something subversive hovering unguessed at but intuited. I had seamlessly played these roles before and ended up feeling great self loathing for such performances. As i enacted these pantomimes of  wit i simultaneously watched myself. My exaggerated gestures , lubricious undertones deepened a sense of unreality. I felt as though i was in the presence of a glittering hall of mirrors where artifice, prevarication and concupiscence refracted and duplicated in varied contexts, diffusing, expending and ultimately burning out. It is here that my solipsism was thrown into relief. What i desired was a propinquity that cut through the integument of these superficialities. I desired a profound interchange where the habitual defenses of reserve and watchfulness could be circumvented and true feeling seep through.

I saw Armaan and , having deemed him perspicacious based on past conversations , tried to chat. I responded to his squirming desire to get away by trying to grab a foothold by monopolizing our conversation. As he wriggled with fake politeness, looking for ways to slink away i became even more intenser in my topic of discourse , which was my experiences with depression. But my heart was not in it. A dismal insipidity crept into my conversation. I was jaded, dispirited , no longer in thrall of dissembling. In fact i feel mortified at how my desperation must have revealed itself , a futile attempt at saving face by fruitlessly seeking some ascendancy.

Within fifteen minutes of the party i left. My heart was heavy and i was close to tears. I felt a great urge to weep copiously. I could feel myself being wracked by unshed tears  accreted through my four years of disenchantment with this group. My reentry after an interlude of self imposed reclusion had failed , had only underscored a profound deracination. Out of sight means out of mind. In order not to make a fool of myself i walked briskly towards the metro station for twenty five minutes, deflecting the energy of primal emotion through strenuous physical activity.

I boarded the cab. The decembral air that night was pungent, the stars gleamed wanly , signalling a defeat i should have accepted but had never. I had a lifetime to do so now.

WITHDRAWAL

I could sense Kirtana's withdrawal. And it was a discovery made through an accumulation of small defections she evinced , the gap between this distance and her claims on probity. I was baffled , bewildered. My initial impulse was to hold her accountable, impute a selfishness i had discerned early on in her and had admired her for. What started the process of this discovery were her laconic, desultory answers to my passionate conversations on people and ideas. I attributed her abstracted air to some inner preoccupation that she refused to talk about. But her manner to my other friends , and because we were a group i noticed therefore, remained studiedly unaffected , unshadowed by conscious misgivings.

Kirtana liked to be the center of attention , like a queen bee. She constantly manouevred conversations to tilt favourably towards  herself. She was not a listener but a solipsist. Her responses to tales of woe were a spontaneous empathy and a circumvention of the depths of the experience her interlocutor sought to articulate. She had an irrepressible optimism, a belief that a drink or a cup of coffee in a cafe or simply shopping would alleviate a distress which she felt was experienced by some with too much intensity. There was, in her own adroit mechanisms of avoiding deep conversation, a certain intensity , the intensity of a hedonist or pleasure seeker , enlivened by a short attention span . Somehow ,in her presence life , liveliness , animation were preponderant. I forgot with her any incipient disquiets and revelled in her uncomplicated self centrality. Her often artless but endearing efforts at self ascendancy were also humored .

She was tall, slim, and beautiful in an equine way. I doubt if she had a depth of interiority though she certainly was capable of strong feeling, specially her own. Her amalgam of practicality and ingenuousness was touching because it masked an inherent selfishness. She disregarded emotional excesses and conveyed an impression of closeness and friendliness that was very deceptive. I know that my own conscious suppression of her essential impersonality was what grated me the most. I was cognizant of it but felt its barbs keenly. And no reasoning could ever obviate that knot of bewilderment at her casual carelessness. Clearly i wanted her to deem me worthy , perceiving in the fitful light of her intermittent moments of approbation, a sense of self i profoundly lacked within myself.

Had i had a more robust disposition i could have met her indifference with disdain. Had i been nuanced in my knowledge of the games people play i would have  engineered my own counter attack of guile and calculation . But because the human condition was so incalculable i miscalculated. Taking a direct , self denigrating , propitiatory approach, making a plea for leniency with my hapless sincerity would only intensify contempt . As also reveal the vulnerability of my neediness. But i did not see this so then. I saw myself as being candid, transparent, authentic. I needed the illusion of  the romance of a self unmediated by dissimulation. Now i realize that in that process i did my own share of dissembling.

Kirtana's withdrawal affected me profoundly and i was conscious that others were witness to it, were perhaps meant to witness my growing embarrassment. Her short replies made me even more expostulatory and i regretted this desperation . I knew , in my heart , that the warm glow she roused in me was febrile, enfeebled by inadequacy but at that time , even that insufficient, indeed artificial warmth was preferable to complete solitude.

I called up Kirtana a week after her withdrawal became an immovable actuality in my inveterately escapist mind. I was completely timid, apologetic, conferring on her the superiority of righteous affront when it was she who had, instead of candor, opted for manipulation. She was willing enough to tell me that my observations on her to another female friend in the group, whom she saw as a rival, had upset her. She relished this account of my betrayal, with inflections alternating between a  searing hurt and incredulity. I could glean that rather than the nature of my criticism of her , on which fact she was notoriously uninformative, it was the fact that it was Preeti with whom she had a condescending rivalry , that hurt her. I apologized fulsomely, with humility. She told me that Preeti had said certain things about me to her which sounded , as she communicated them, harsh and malicious. That night Kirtana insisted on the veracity of her friendship to me and succeeded in inducing guilt which i now see as unmerited. There were layers of awareness and repression and among other things the human mind can be very inventive and ingenious in constructing a narrative that corresponds to how one wants to feel and shape reality. Unnerving facts can be conveniently sidestepped , one's own currents of ingratiation and complicity swept under .

All i knew was that the next day i meted out to Preeti, over the course of three days, the same treatment Kirtana had to me that week. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

INCHOATE

In the beginning was the mirror
Self contained, inviolate, just there
As the glass caught the slant of the sun
Refractions of broken prisms diffused
Looking at the mirror today
With the accretion of time and history
A blurring is what i sense most palpably
Or a blotting, of being and becoming
So wrapped up is being
Shredded by myriad variables
That more than a mosaic
A tattered rag hangs limply
Becoming, meanwhile, embedded
In signs and customs and symbols
Gives form to a nebulous
By closing off , adding a touch of foreclosure
Intersecting forces only repel
As the interstice of ought and is
Attenuate by context but are striated
By predilections of contingency
Meanwhile the mirror has proliferated
Into a recidivist hall of reflections
Spawning, disfiguring, superimposing
Overlaying the essence that never was
Fitful illuminations of probity
Merge with metallic self loathing
Chaos is only ever entombed
In the disinterred heart of nothingness
Gleams of light felt within
Grope , meander and spill out
Flickering tremulously but with belief
Rays of hope and reprieve

TRIO OF METAMORPHOSES

Hieroglyph
At first i couldn't fathom
The depths there were
Because ensconced in the placenta
Being was subsumed
In that amniotic sea
With the tang of salt and blood
An intake of breath
An exhalation of longing
Became the accoutrements around which
The chrysalis of self folded in on itself
PALIMPSEST
Then came the process
Of finding the slate overdetermined
Wherein the more i scratched
The more bloodstained my nails became
Sucking in that coppery pins and nails remnant
Of that which was overlain, like a japanese box
I found the void, the blank slate anterior
That underlay the heart of everything
MOSAIC
Gradually i daubed the landscape
Adding a brushstroke here, tempering there
Making from the flux of the unknown
Patterns that conjoined and ricocheted
Some hues were iridescent, some penumbral
There was no knowing which tint would rise when
But each tint dissolved in polychromatic profusion
Glimmering fitfully in a dense mesh of variegation
It was then that slivers of choices
Extricated from unbidden memory
Deepened with retrospection
Irradiated the inherent depths i sought
Knowing there is much still to plumb
But i had initiated the inner plunge

Sunday, November 29, 2015

PLUNGE UNDER

Siobhan has left , precipitately so. And something in me has cracked up. I think the seeds of disintegration were always latent, felt at unbidden moments with painful intensity, though instantaneously suppressed. I could avoid facing up to things with Siobhan around but now that she's gone i am face to face with reality and my inescapable loneliness. In a sense there is a curious homecoming in this feeling, as though my time with her or with anyone else throughout my life was an interlude and i am now back on terra firma. Occasionally the fear of solitude intensifies and then dissolves because that which is long familiar can only , in my case, be accepted with weary resignation. I do not even have the energy to fight anymore.

Oddly enough memories of Siobhan are fragmentary, mnemonics or set pieces in a tableau being recalled at pivotal points in my dislocation. Her hand on my breast, her deep kiss, her convivial laugh on facing absurd daily things. The fact is that the effort of recalling Siobhan feels more like a reassembling of  disparate aspects of her than a memory of something whole. She never revealed herself even at her most intimate. And part of the reason we got along so well was that she had this reserve of self containment wherein she could revert to whatever she wanted to inhabit unreservedly knowing that her very self sufficiency implied inviolability. I never queried her about her past or sought information of past loves. I intuited a landscape of reserve and withheld pain which irradiated her for me. Her ineffable quality sharpened my love , thickened our passions. Presumably she was grateful to me for not probing or asking unseemly questions. At any rate she wouldn't have answered even if i had and it was none of my business anyway.

In contrast i was fulsome and self revealing. I could have, if it were possible, laid bare my inner being. There were moments when i tried to falteringly express myself but became inhibited by her reticence. I wanted her to understand me in my entirety. Though what i was really doing was imperceptibly superimpose my idea of myself onto her. Though the dimensions of the self i presented to her were not rosy, were rather dark, i still tried to romanticize the dark, emphasize my fundamental transparency in my willing self exposure.

She may have resisted these artless overtures because she liked me to be a mystery too. In this i figured out her prescience in that she was unwilling to impose a structure of preconceptions against which future putative deviations could be measured. Her authenticity lay in her refusal to grasp at definitions or compartments that would foreclose meaning. While i, blunderingly, tried to impress on her the truth of my soul, of my immanent inwardness where , as far as she was concerned, only love prevailed. In a way i was trying to get her to quash any misgivings that might materialize by attesting to my indwelling nobility of feeling. I myself wasn't disingenuous in attempting this because i credited her with percipience , of cutting through the integument of what seemed jumbled to what was underneath.

Whether our wills clashed or i couldn't convince her is uncertain. But she left. And rather than devastation and pain i feel bewildered at the disjunction between the ought to be and is. That may be the lesson Siobhan wished to impart . She may have interpreted my love as appropriation and felt requisitely threatened. She may have made her own interpretations on my conduct which i can neither challenge nor disavow. So much of the other is a mystery and unknowable. I can run through a whole gamut of possibilities and outcomes but her inevitable departure , irrevocable as it seems, puts short shrift to theorising. I will continue to unravel this pattern and unknot this seam knowing i never will fully but hopeful for a glimpse into other apertures. To wrest art from rejection has been universal for many. Such will be my own recompense which, though paltry will assume luminous  proportions and fill the receptacle of my exiguous life with its own intimations of beauty.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

BIG LOVE

Rahman stood shivering in the cold evening . His jacket was insufficient protection. It was pride march day and a few thousand queer , LGBT people throughout the city and some from other parts were marching, singing and dancing along. Rahman had decided to attend the march for ideological reasons though the solidarity he felt, at an emotional level, was deeply authentic. The irascibility of his family regarding his homosexuality had escalated into a heated quarrel during the day. His father's oft repeated and undisguised contempt for what Rahman stood for and who he was, his mother's hapless , non committal  goodwill and his sibling's imperviousness, augmented self loathing. To not 'come out' was a choice he could have availed of but in his desire for acceptance he had opened himself up to his family. It was after this revelation that the contingent nature of love was driven home to him as something intrinsic. He could never attain total acceptance. It was as though he had placed an impassable boulder to his father's ostensibly unconditional love. There were conditions and he knew that while some he could acquiesce to the question of identity and sexuality rendered retraction or pliability inconceivable.

Yet , at this moment, in jantar mantar, where he had travelled to from the metro, a sense of dissociation assailed him. He felt he didn't belong. Being reticent he felt conscious of the celebration and revelry only through the focus point of his self imposed exclusion from it, a segregation heightened by his taciturn temperament. The previous year he had unconvincingly danced a bit himself but this year he felt a profound inertia and disengagement. He was part of the group, believed implicitly in all they stood for and still felt detached, dispassionate. He could also not repress a certain self conscious repugnance at what he perceived to be a bit exhibitionistic. But this thought shamed him and was instantly repressed.

Because he went to , not just protest marches but also lectures , film festivals about and around the queer activities in the city. It was companionship he craved, with people whose choices and predilections accorded somewhat with his. But back at home, amid his father's inveterate petulance was also his hope that Rahman would win that scholarship to cambridge, that a settled job with financial viability would ensure a comfortable existence. Rahman discerned that his father's dislike of his sexual orientation, however deep seated could not dislodge his father's love for him. And yet love, with constraints attached to it felt incompensatory. He loved his father too, respected his intelligence, revered his austerity and believed in it but found a stumbling block for seamless acceptance in this homosexual prejudice . The need for love, felt as an imperative, underscored the lack of the love he sought knowing that such love is never fully possible yet unable to relinquish a remnant of that absoluteness of need, a primeval yearning , unfulfillable but all the more piquant for that.

The pride march, indeed the paraphernalia of the delhi queer calender satiated his ideological expectations but underscored his fundamental deracination. Because he was tormented within, he found gaps in the interstices of a putative wholesomeness. And familial, parental love, the guarentee of unequivocal acceptance, was revealed to be the myth it was. As the division between the inner and outer widened his disquiet thickened.

Today , at this moment he only experienced an intensification of dispossession. There were larger currents around the world that were discomfiting. Paris, Beirut became immovable, undeniable realities of the precariousness of existence. His muslim identity, which he accepted with requisite scepticism and an incontrovertible secular inclusive worldview , would not ensure a smooth passage anywhere. This queer conglomeration of varied people came with their own history . And a certain distrust of groups became increasingly conspicuous to him. To be who he was required a moral certitude which he neither felt within nor could seek validation for  from a compartmentalized wider discourse. He could atomize himself into numerous straitjackets out of expedience but the fictitious nature of dissimulation could never be entirely foregone.

Meanwhile the revelry continued with many hugs and kisses. The reality of his provisionality in the larger scheme of things was something Rahman intuitively knew but couldn't accept with complete clarity. He walked away from the crowd , caught a rickshaw , boarded the metro and came home to prepare for his scholarship. Industriousness , hard work were his passports to worldly success as also a certain necessary self absorption. Meanwhile, constant self awareness would be a momentary reprieve.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

INEVITABILITY

Once i understood that his withdrawal  was imminent i experienced a rare peace. This withdrawal , whose imminence i finally figured out after much denial, was, it seemed clear, immanent. The signs were there. It was just that when i fell in love so precipitately i became thoughtless. I lowered my guard , became artless. Conversely i appropriated myself in my own aegis, in accordance with his idea of how i ought to be, or so i told myself. It never struck me that my incontrovertible being, in itself, was good enough. Continual self doubt and a customary reticence had induced inadequacy that no subsequent effervescence could obviate. I do not believe i was being insincere because in the white heat of fulsomeness, in a fevered , disordered part of my consciousness i believed each word i uttered to him.

Because falling in love with him seemed so arbitrary. If his mind , at one level, seemed so irresistibly attractive then so did his unassertive demeanour. That restfulness, calmness in the face of my importunity is now , to me, a clear sign of a robust egotism, a belief and entitlement he felt about himself. I interpreted it through his continued detachment which, in itself might betoken circumspection but was disconcertingly enlivened by an exaggerated solicitude and ironic smile. Many an hour was spent by me in trying to decipher the unamiability behind that sly smile. I no longer ever pretend that unequivocal clarity is possible. Perhaps my intuitions might themselves be projections though i resist this thought.

The undisguised contempt behind his ironic smile, the rebarbative strand in his jocularity was counterpointed by intermittent moments of authenticity. Then he would admonish my tactlessness and unreasonableness. If his witty barbs hurt me cruelly then his constrained candor lacerated me. Outwardly i managed to be undramatic but within i seethed. My conversations with him mostly took place in my mind , imaginary colloquies where my willed belief in my wit would open up spaces for laconic but sharp repartee. I wished , in moments of reflexiveness, to smash open his self containment. Something in me desired a dissolution of our psychic boundaries, a mingling and mangling of soul and body whose tumultuous intersection, stripped of reserve, would institute a deepening of intimacy.

Sex between us was tempestuous enough but it was mostly passion from my side. I could discern his lubricious intensity but was undermined by its inherent corporeality. Gratification of a desire felt  urgently in the body was his preponderant impulse. There he eschewed reserve and became wild. But while this wildness elicited the requisite erotic rejoinders from me given that he transmuted his heat onto me i never felt fulfilled. Orgasms were strangely unfulfilling because where i sought a coalescence i met with demarcations and lines of resistance in him. His selfishness manifested also in a disengagement of his centres of pleasure, erotic or intellectual . That there was a certain emotional deadlock only grated all the more.

We had many conversations of an intellectual nature , chiefly of our natures and human nature. And here again i witnessed his indulgence of my impassioned self revelations which, though laced with sufficient psychological depth , nevertheless exposed my vulnerable neediness. Whereas his ironic self analysis was always at an emotional distance. Perhaps he needed the scaffolding of jocundity to temper his own fallibility or this was standard conversational fare, with myself as an incidental presence in his scheme of things. Both possibilities distressed me unduly.

In any event i repressed my voracity with my own brand of dispassion though it is too late now. Once a certain barricade, erected out of expedience, is breached then it becomes an aperture for other searing hurts to bludgeon regardless of their arbitrariness or unexceptional nature. I know i will feel this hurt which i deem him capable of inflicting. His solipsism authenticates such sadism. What i would like to prepare myself for is a way of circumventing, at pivotal moments, the piquancy of this pain. Meanwhile my burgeoning misanthropic sardonicism , wrested from human neuroses, is furnishing delectable tidbits of seemly though embittered merriment. He enjoys it. That is all we seem to share  for now. Strangely , it is enough.


Monday, November 23, 2015

DEADLOCK

It was strange , the moment when his companionable presence, largely experienced in my wakeful fantasies, become disruptive. I do not have a particularly lubricious imagination and the kinds of closeness i imagined were quite restful and unaggressive. I have always felt that intellectual and emotional compatibility are as important as physical proximity.

Which is why this shrinking of myself i experienced when i thought of him discomfited me. It wasn't as though he had changed in any perceptible way. Nor was it that i divined a pathology where hitherto i had only seen the sanguine. The world in my head had changed. Certain changes and alterations in self perception prompted a more involved way of understanding what i thought i was. The blueprint of becoming i aspired to, an amalgam of the de rigeur and the infinitely possible, had, for the moment, receded somewhat. As i went about life the substratum of darkness to which i was preternaturally alert became visible in my intersections with other people. I began noticing patterns, without and within, that hinted at unguessed depths . And i was not really interested in grasping at the possibilities those keys held , of something ineffable and  amorphous .

Meanwhile i responded to my diminishing interest in him with a redoubled demonstration of my regard. I shocked myself by locating a propensity towards ingratiation. What i was fighting was my instinctual withdrawal, tinged with repugnance and that disturbed me. Even he, whom i had revered, became a mosaic with his own attendant tenebrous aspects which i was subliminally aware of . But prone to examine my own projections i let the tides of indulgent self analysis capsize me. It translated into an intrinsic self loathing whose latent shafts had always cast a pall on the most joyous days. Battling what i perceived as my own narrow mindedness my protestations of love to him took on an increasing patina of obsequiousness. The irony is that by then the apocryphal nature of my propping up of him had become a conspicuous , immovable reality to me, and no longer a mere misgiving i could quash at will.

I know for a fact that my dissembling must have been ineffectual because the awareness of my baseness tainted the artistry of dissimulation. It did not seem to matter because in a certain dimension of my self clarity i had written off my fanciful love for him as something embarrassing.This drew into a sharper focus the extremity of my conscious prevarication. Somewhere i felt i was being kind in eschewing straightforwardness , the reasonableness of self censoring seeming expedient. But then i could just as well have remained silent, tried to close things off harmoniously, with least rancor and virulence. But i intuited his own vulnerability and self centrality which i gave short shrift to, merely pausing long enough to use them as a bulwark for rationalizing my putative probity. Had i considered these vulnerabilities at length i may have been kinder , considerate or just plain pragmatic.

In any case there has been a reestablishment of closeness, though makeshift. I have enmeshed myself in the moral vacuum of my immobility . And he too, it seems, is ensconced in the warm glow of what he interprets as my my regard, a regard whose ostensible veracity he has crystallized through my reiterations, repetition becoming, in its litany of saccharine, insincere expostulations , its own truth.

I  will carry on dating him , hoping that time, with all its indeterminacy , will spark off love and respect. At any rate, his lovemaking is pleasant enough. A deadlock within created a circumscription of unrealistic expectations but that very deadlock, in the light of its depredations, has now become a hope for something better. I recognize both the irony and rarity of this. And leave the rest to the caprices of destiny.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

GHASTLINESS

Kezia was prone to spurts of joy followed by long spells of depression. When happy she was winsome. And on this day, her birthday, her happiness was conspicuous. The spangles of her birthday skirt glittered iridescently in the sunlight and her silk ribbon, enclosing her wild mane in a loose coiffure , refracted shafts of dazzling color. She jumped, danced , swooped in joy, getting in everyone's way. Her parents responded to her frequent demands for attention with smiles and pats in the head as she raced around the house . Only her grandmother, an embittered old woman, found the joy excessive.

Kezia was turning seven and had some conception of birthdays. Getting up in the morning, warming to the slant of light that filtered through the gap in the curtains she was concerned, not so much that she was now seven but that the day would be devoted wholly to her. Ever since infanthood she felt the onslaughts of solitude keenly. Her memories , though uninformed by reason , recalled a feeling of utter bafflement when her plaintive cries would make her mother rush to her, encircle her in her arms, blow hot ,wet kisses. She never felt reprieved at her mother's presence. Beset by an emptiness she discerned even then but couldn't form into words she learnt early  about how insufficient love is. She had yearned for love, a love beyond any context, vast, formless, all encompassing. A love which floated in space, anchored in its own intensity. She had learnt early enough that expressing this love would only yield frustration. At very young a stage in early childhood she learnt to withhold. And when she did lavish love, the fact  of her invererate taciturnity , enlivened by this irrepressible interlude of emotion, earned her, from adults, copious affection . Her disappointment at having her vast needfulness for love thwarted led to these pantomimes. But she never sulked, was never sullen or irascible. Her self containment was much admired.

Today she was happy because the prickings of that vast love she felt with piquant force every morning was actualized by this day being her birthday. Mother, father, neighbors, even her usually fractious grandmother beamed with goodwill. Waves of love buoyed her, held her aloft. Rushing downstairs she had scraped her knee on the banister and did not even cry at the sight of blood. Her mother kissed her , bandaged the wound . But the band aid had loosened as the day had progressed and was hanging loose when she inspected it in the afternoon. She carefully ripped off the band aid and winced at the astringent raspy scraping of her flesh. And then picked up a scab of flesh that had unloosed itself and chewed it thoughtfully before swallowing it.

There was to be a party and it filled her with unbounded happiness. Centrality to herself was what she had craved throughout these seven years but had constrained expressing with a certain reticence. She knew that love was inconstant that it could be taken away precipitately. Her grandmother , of whose loving ministrations she had such fond memories had grown distant with time. She refused to tell stories, pushed her away when hugged. Kezia discerned a sour, stale smell coming off her grandmother these last few months. She knew gran was ill. But for now, today, these misgivings were put in the back burner and that too very spontaneously, with no effort.

Dusk came and with it guests. Kezia was kissed, hugged, given many gifts. Cake was cut, food was partaken and throughout she evinced an effervescence and brightness that emanated from faith, faith that was essentially an immersion in the present moment and in absorbing the myriad feelings , emotions it engendered which would, she resolved, be lovingly reminisced.

And very soon the party was over and night had fallen. She went to kiss her grandmother and was summarily sent away with a perfunctory pat. Her mother was clearing away the mess in the dining room. Father, as he was wont to do, had ensconced himself behind John grisham. She went to say goodnight to him and he wished her a happy birthday for the last time today , with a bear hug. Her eyes pricked with tears and she felt moved by this gesture of uncomplicated emotion. And then to bed.

In bed the memories of the day , which kezia had hoped to embalm as bulwarks , failed to yield their resultant sweetness. The day had passed in a fugue, a suspension of her habitual self awareness and now, as the strokes of the clock advanced, Time, both symbolically and linearly, reasserted its inexorable hold. She remembered with pleasure all that supervened but with a concurrent wistfulness of the momentousness of it all. Like love , the day too, had been grasped with thoughtless unselfconsciousness and now revealed the insidious power of its transitoriness. Try as she might to hold on to time past, felt and experienced with such intensity, she couldn't relinquish intimations of its passing. She went downstairs to her grandmother to recapture the wholeness life was severing her from this moment. Her grandmother lay asleep , it seemed but was immovable. Kezia could smell her sour body smell as also the sweet breath from her gran's mouth, a scent redolent of timelessness. But there seemed to be no breathing. Kezia touched her grandmother's pulseless hand, the utter stillness of the body and knew that what she was witnessing was death. But her grandmother's tranquil face disallowed tears. She climbed into bed with her grandmother, laid her head on her ample bosom and drifted off to sleep , secure in the awareness that she was in the midst of the only thing permanent in life .

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

BENEATH

Appearances transfixed me . They palliated my melancholy ruminations which usually led nowhere. Or rather they led me into swamps and hinterland shoals that presented me with a prospect of my self that distressed me. It was not so much the ignoble impulses which i have found to be universal. It is just that human beings are unpredictable. Candor, which i rather artlessly demonstrated, concealing underneath a need for vindication , often landed me in trouble. It was not the sordid mnemonics of the interior which distanced my interlocutors from me but those overtures of affection and regard. Having divined their inwardness i was only too happy to offer propinquity, though of a serious and intense nature. Since then the virtue of lightness has revealed itself to me. Where a certain frivolity prevails, a lightness of touch is interspersed lavishly amid recondite interchanges, intimacy, in all forms, is intensified. It is imperative to retain a sense of  casualness, a sense of communication, through that casualness, of untapped reserves of one's own inner life. Where need, regard, expectation are guilelessly laid bare to the other , a diminution of excitement occurs. And in the long run constancy, however salutary , is overridden by a taste for the maverick. Which is why infusions of incongruity, of some objectionable but enlivening insouciance, keeps the flame alight. 

I am not very good in showing that lightness of touch. I find it a strain to conjure up a flurry of scurrilous, chatty small talk. I tend to veer and steer the dialogue onto more serious ground and it is there that an indulgent exasperation, imperfectly concealed , by a friend, induces wordlessness. Its alternative is an unleashing of astringent bitter experiences of humanity which , by their very dispiriting inspidity , cast a pall. I avoid social functions and seek comfort in solitude. Very prepossessing is the processing of experience, of examining myriad possibilities. It fills up time. I am not presumptuous enough to impute veracity to my meanderings because psychological analysis,with its own presuppositions,tends to circumscribe complexity. And i am not a psychoanalyst who can find patterns and feel smug about having understood something. Patterns can be overwhelmingly obvious as also quite limiting. It is dangerous to grasp at certainty . It is dangerous too,in a collusive conversation of a certain unserious nature, to betray one's desire to penetrate the truth. The rewards of such intense desire for apprehending something are withdrawal and a certain dissociation. An irrevocable breach is easier to handle, simply due to a certain closure one can force on things, amid much that is unarticulated on both sides. But a modicum of closeness seems like  a simulacrum because one treads tenuous ground and thinks more often than communicates. 

All of this is discernible to me as an intrinsic part of human consciousness. The currents of the unconscious have existed for very long but there is, in the age i find myself in , a certain complicated process of rationalization and self exoneration from which i am not unexempt either. Even the process of choosing self preservation is imbued with a reaffirmation of self worth. A certain obliviousness to ramifications outside of oneself is an expedience that is necessary . A certain willed disavowal of the very human implications confers the analgesia of forgetfulness which is a willed repression. The unbidden memories , depressing as they are, can usually be tweaked into a narrative of grievance, a misanthropy that is indulged by the self. Artistry is as much a bulwark for the solitary as it is for the exhibitionist. That such artistry is unwitnessed, except by oneself , is very cold comfort but rendered ebullient by a forceful self examination of the substratum underpinning this. 

I am aware of long, cold nights where such introspection ameliorates lonesomeness. I never quite push away my misgivings to the peripheries as much as divest them of emotional overtones through exegesis. It is a self consciousness that seems excessive, solipsistic. But i cogitate on the human predicament through the piquancy of my own experience which i see, rather dismayingly yet with anodyne comfort, as part of the human lot. Fear of losing love, keeping an incessantly flagging interest propped with entertaining performances may be an engaging existential pastime but is also a relational necessity. Prevarication may exasperate me, dissembling may frustrate me , the very tawdriness of the performance, with its accompaniment of insincere effusiveness , fill me with self loathing. But i have seen the dangers of transparency. And frankly , guarding my inner life, even if its inwardness is a collective force of consciousness, despite its galling inadequacy, furnishes interesting vignettes of becoming, disembodied remnants of neuroses one observes and writes down. If this anxiety is fodder for deliberation and insight , with only one's lone testimony of one's perspicacity, then it is enough for now.

Friday, November 13, 2015

AGORAPHOBIA

The world frightens me mainly because it doesn't make sense. And my fear is worsened by how limited my own knowledge of anything or anyone is. After countless plunges into relationships in good faith, fortified by what i perceived as my probity i have had to retract, having witnessed indifference and  anger from a few others, rather more than not. If i have chosen to circumscribe my life within these four walls it is because i am exhausted with the incessant struggle, both without and within. It is not , to me, resignation or submergence . I see this withdrawal as expedient . It is fruitless to plan for the future and though prolonged disillusion necessitates a protracted self protection the duration remains uncertain.

The internet remains a useful source of information and entertainment. I oscillate between the glut of escapism and a horrified acknowledgement of the unutterable horrors that assail the world. Some forms of violence are so inexplicable and primal as to suffuse me with atavistic, nameless apprehensions. Once i was wont to examine ill conduct, in myself and in others, with rigorous thoroughness but now much of human nature seems monumentally inchoate. Disquiets such as this affirm the wisdom of  self enclosure.

My own propensity towards melancholia is unhelpful nor does understanding help. If i do unravel the patterns underpinning my despair, as i have inveterately done , in the absence of a larger structure to buoy me then my understanding caves in on itself, collapses inwards , becoming a bone chilling enervation and transmuting into striations of dread that foreclose any possibility i may formulate. My mind preempts disaster and catastrophe and the recent spate of events around charlie hebdo , peshawar and nigeria underscore the precariousness of the world i live in. It is not a cocoon or the desire for an oasis, however inadequate, that is preponderant in me . What has prompted this willed withdrawal is dignity, the dignity of having my own patch of ground to be annihilated in, should the possibility arise. Obliteration on terra firma, in both a symbolic and a real sense, a homecoming in the face of imminent disintegration.

This house, this room i inhabit is only ostensibly a truncated space for detachment. In point of fact this temporal fulcrum, which has always felt provisional and contemporary global events exacerbate that tenuousness, is a repository of the alterations of my consciousness, of the constellation of possibilities i have traversed and negotiated, largely unsuccessfully. It seems a perverse egotism, this imputation of the threat of violence in this block of flats i live in and amid, given the unexceptional lives lived here by thoroughly unremarkable people. The lives lived here by many, and i have dissociated from them, are an amalgam of insecurity and self righteousness. Everything is repressed and conversations tend to be platitudinous. In point of fact the provincialism and parochialism in my neighbourhood is more of a reason for my self containment than the world. Because the severity of repression engenders a censoriousness and intractable certainty which gets enforced through psychic violence. Moments of contretemps and mortification i myself have faced have outstripped me in this community. Agoraphobia is something that seems to be ineluctable.

My melancholia, or clinical depression grants me exemption from partaking in quotidian social life. I cultivate a certain dispassion and often respond to my neighbours solicitude, tinged with concern and pity, with rebarbative reminders of their own hypocrisy. This sharp tongue, itself a defensive weapon of survival, has intensified my alienation. I do not belong and am content to let my incontestable otherness, incontrovertibly deserving of respect though having that desire thwarted, exist in a vacuum of moral rightness. My own irreproachibility is palpable to me , a certainty wrested by tremendous self questioning and ostracization. I am not a victim or else everyone is a victim . The world is victimized by its potentiality for darkness. A bottle of sleeping pills lies at hand near my bed . The choice of an ending, self propelled seems more salutary than being shot dead by some fanatic. Meanwhile my disenchantment keeps me alive. My very existence is a reproach to many around me, a reminder of their own unconscionable proclivities and no gentleness will ever deflect them from the spectre of their shittiness . I will ensure that they are reminded of it . Agoraphobia is its own statement of defiance and it is the tumult of fury than the haplessness of resignation that motivates me. Thus from my own small corner , i protest and thrive.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A SELF CONSCIOUS SELFIE- A NARRATIVE EXPERIMENT

I tilt my mobile camera, trying to take a shot that reveals the self i present in a manner that i seek to present it in, something spontaneous and effervescent yet something definite, an aspect of myself that has been mediated by a vestigial sense of who i feel i am. A selfie is, after all, both performance and veracious in that it functions chiefly, to my mind, as an aspect of my i choose to represent then, with all the zest and fun contained in it
Knowing somewhere that a selfie would be inadequate, would need a panoply of other selfies, captured and held at varying points of time, representing my myriad hues. But the problem is that even as my finger prepares to click my posture freezes with self consciousness, a consciousness not only of my unknowability to myself but of its funneling through a lens of imperceptible inner metamorphoses which emerge in a simpler form
Though even if i were to just take a snap of myself in complete unselfconsciousness i would have, unconsciously, chosen the form this naturalness of pose would evoke, in that split second before i click the picture and prepare the self that would be captured. The more i seek self control over which aspect of myself to present the more i am beset by a cavalcade of complexities within me , churning, roiling, necessitating a certain patterning that would resolve their precarious bulwark of self sufficiency amid undiscerned chaos. Even alacrity is no certitude for authenticity
As the very act of choosing which face to face the world with involves a certain defacement, with the fear that my selfie face, a symbol of my momentary self certainty might itself become indistinct and nugatory in the larger facelessness of facebook, of its vast anonymity , wherein , in order not to face up to the impulses of vulnerabilities i locate in myself , i seek comfort in facepalms and emoticons
Because words are shrinking into images which are funneling from the mosaic of untapped landscapes of the mind certain predetermined forms that are necessary to obviate, propitiate, circumvent the possibility of offending someone though what offends is being misapprehended or blocked and that is really an augmentation of being faceless nameless symbolically as though obliteration from the gaze of the other pushes into such existential anxiety that another set of selfies become necessary
Wherein what i am, on the wall which is supposed to be me, is a constellation of irreconcilable fragments and moods and beings,a distillation of splittings that does not cohere, that reveals guile, dissembling , neediness, fear, neuroses , love, all the paraphernalia of my unresolved identity. But there is still a me that has attenuated so, in me these vastnesses interlock and enmesh and then spawn, spiral, twist, distort, reconstitute.
Becoming on the fast track or being that which i can only be in the selfie instant.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

INNER FULCRUM

Reality has never fazed me although by reality i refer to the sense of a putative real in accordance to which i shape the self i present the world. It is insufficient to see this as dissembling because somewhere what is also involved is a practicality and artistry. However much ,in moments of mortification, self hatred may insinuate i feel comforted in the knowledge that i performed well .

When i first knew him i experienced an onrush of desire. The visceral response became the conduit for our future intersections. It was at a queer conference and his physicality imprinted itself in my consciousness. As far as the argument he was propounding in his research paper was concerned there wasn't great subtlety or nuance. His ideological position took comfort in abstractions, abstractions which seemed to possess an imprimatur of veracity and of being self evident. But any conception of the 'ideal' , unless mediated by an awareness of human complexity, can become parochial no matter how meritorious it might seem. His argument for 'commitment', 'a united stand' were uttered with impassioned fervour with the rationality of the jargon that underpinned it. His paper drew a thunderous applause and i had clapped my own hands complicitly, as also with a genuineness because , at a certain level, despite my misgivings,i was seduced by his argument as also by his own charisma , which exuded certainty, a firm belief in the right and a formulation of its dissemination.

Shaking hands afterwards i'm afraid i was rather fulsome and expostulatory. His own protestations of humility, which i intuited to be insincere, were accepted with good grace. Even as he stood in a group,conversing with desultory seriousness, about certain contumelious homophobic propensities around us, the atmosphere was of good cheer and optimism. Seeing all these people, consumed by conviction,mediating their ideas with the overlaying of  the incontrovertibly veracious , i had a sense of unreality as though i were enclosed in an integument of the perfection or the idea of perfection.

He took me aside, murmuring appreciative observations on the boldness of my poetry. I was gratified.And then he leaned over and kissed me and i tasted the raspiness of his beard. In that moment i saw him as a potential lover and the prospect of my annihilation, my submergence in his dark world, seemed irresistible. Contextually i recalled a lesbian friend telling me , with immense sarcasm of the many lovers he had and discarded, of his casual affairs. I experienced the flutter of decadence and a delicious thrill at the incongruity of this startling fact from his earlier avowals of the cause.

I went with him to his house, a three roomed apartment, tastefully done .The eclecticism of his taste was discernible as also the comfortable accoutrements of tasteful living, conspicuous in the eiderdown and carpets and sofa covers threaded with intricate ethnic patterns , with the convoluted whorls indicating an artistic sensibility i felt drawn to. His lovemaking was skilled but abrasive but all the more prepossessing for that. He invited me over for the next night and i made vague promises amid much prevarication and left. I sensed his implicit confidence that i'd return and i resented that insouciance partly because i knew that it was embedded in fact, the incontestable fact of my emotional vulnerability, observable despite my strenuous dissimulation, perhaps irradiated by it and thus redoubled in its self exposure.

I didn't return the next day and nothing cataclysmic supervened to precipitate it. Inveterately, the constellations of incertitudes , with their imminent accompaniment of stasis, waylaid me. I didn't want to commit to this casual affair because i sensed in myself a potentiality for recidivism, not just in the realm of brutal sex but of ideology. I had no desire to become implicated in the cause and the confidence with which i allude to the inevitability of this materializing is because i know myself all  too well. I am accustomed to witness my depredations and oscillations and to the strong tug of self loathing my willed capitulation induces. In this instance the amalgamation of sex and politics, a heady mix, betokens a regression i must resist, with utmost self awareness. I have left behind a vivacious message in his answering phone of my gushing admiration and gratitude. I think i have, though acting instinctively, affirmed his own preconception, a preconception i refuse to disregard as apocryphal, despite its amorphousness, of my ostensible fatuousness and efflorescence of emotion. Here, at this moment i am glad i protracted the performance to offset any contretemps. In one sense i have acted true to character as i anyway would but this truthfulness will, fortuitously, be recompense as an avoidance of heartbreak.

Monday, October 26, 2015

FIRST LOVE

That night, when she stood with a gun over his head she let the silent tears flow unchecked. She was unsure as to what she was crying about. The tears blinded her, her eyes burned, the small cuts on her cheeks stung and throbbed with pain, the remembered pain ,the accumulated pain of a compendium of silent, unquestioning surrenders. She recalled his drunken, violent thrusts, his lacerating penetration, his brutal fucking . She had felt helpless then, confused, unsure of what to do, how to respond knowing that resistance was futile and capitulation pragmatic Once, amid his many violations, she had socked him in the groin and he had smashed her nose. And she had felt the bone crack and a searing pain render her insensible and insentient. He had carried on fucking her and the combined pain, blending with the barren trauma of nothingness, induced unconsciousness. She had been  a young girl. When she did push these painful experiences into the peripheries of memory she willed herself to believe that it was all a hallucination, a byproduct of her fevered, disordered nightmares. But her clitoris burned and bled even before she had had periods. The first gush of menstrual blood had seemed like a reprieve, as though the deluge spattering her panties betokened a logical culmination as well as a counterpoint to the bloodlessness of her emotionlessness. She had early learnt not to cry, not to display emotion because tears exacerbated his rage. It was almost as though her ineffectual weeping drove home to him his unconscionable folly. In  a less broken man compunction might have induced  stasis but in his case guilt impelled him to further excesses.When he raped her throughout her childhood he seemed to be desecrating something symbolic.Because,except for his inebriated bouts of violence he scarcely struck her,was solicitous, attentive, thoughtful. There was a schizoid split in him wherein alcohol both ameliorated certain primal miseries and induced violent action. Yet he was unstoppable. And his contrition on regaining consciousness was so self tormenting that he would gash at his wrists, thighs, stomach,watching the ribbons of blood trickle and then cascade in red globules and rivulets.He punished himself for punishing her and punishing her was the only way he could, in his contingent consciousness, seek exculpation through action.

Yet , over time she learnt to absorb these contradictions in him. The violence in him, both without and within , was burnt out. He had expended the energies that had driven him to frenzied acts of violence. By what process such a transformation occurred  was unknown to both her and him. He had become even more uncommunicative, sullen but never belligerent or truculent. In fact, surprisingly gentle , a return to an ontological tranquillity which harsh experience had obviated throughout her childhood years. As she settled into her teenage the violence he had visited on her seemed like an aberration and this kindness his perennial reality. Had she divined this self torture imperceptibly and had thus avoided talking of this to anyone? Had she sensed the substratum of misery that underlay the brutality? Had time anesthetized the crippling unbearable experience or had this interlude of his probity, protracting, seem redolent of some earlier probity? She had glimpses, in dreams,of him feeding her, changing her nappies while her mother had recuperated from post partum grief. He had, presumbly, done the best he could which intensified the anomalous fact of his raping his daughter through her young childhood.

But she had loved this man, loved him enough to endure his violence. And she had hated him equally, hated him for making her a conduit for his frustration and for the savage eviscerations he indented on her.As a teenager the dreams of fear and terror of violation had mingled with desire, sensuous desire for a commingling with him that had not the rough edges of violence but the piquancy of eroticism.She had winsomely approached him, seductively, only to be repelled. As her sense of herself as a woman grew she seemed to recede from him, become indistinct. Her therapist had helped in providing a space to vent out her anger and guilt. What therapy had failed to do was to obliterate the deep seated love, which transcended the sexual. When she sweated and yearned for him in her pubescent dreams she both sought restitution from harsh actuality and an actualization of a very primeval yet relational love. Sexual abuse was an indisputable fact but she had never ever felt entirely angry with him , knowing, within herself, a remnant of that same existential emptiness and a potentiality for violence. Once as he had lain asleep she had joined him in bed, provoking him,seeking to materialize an erection but the very violence of her own efforts, her mingled anger, resentment , frustration, helplessness, conflagarated in her memory as something deeply embarrassing. She had felt degraded by the virulence of her desire. That what he had done to her was unforgivable, unacceptable, however understandable, she clearly knew and there her moral certitude was watertight. It was the unconscious cornucopia of her own unawakened, unassimilated energies, finding  in him her own inchoate conduit, that had rendered her bitterly excoriating. But even that, in the heat of this moment, became irrelevant.

His wrinkled skin, sagging pouch, sour breath assailed her as he breathed raggedly. She could see his blue veined scrotum, shrunk, desiccated through the thin bedspread. She felt tenderness and awe, a vestigial consciousness of something irrevocable. She saw her symbol of emotional ambivalence in life in him. It was too late to sift through the myriad , interlocked configurations. He mind seethed with the chaos and clamour of clanging, discordant impulses. A white light exploded in her head. She squeezed her eyes shut, opened them and pulled the trigger.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

WORKING THROUGH

That summer was when i began experiencing misgivings about my friendship with him. We had gone along well, long enough, at any rate, for me to avoid self doubt from wrecking me within. He, presumably content to absorb my sincere self proclamations for what they were, with unperturbed gravity, with the occasional enlivening warmth, convinced me not only of his belief in me but of my belief in myself, of the version of myself i was presenting to him, both as a self i wanted to become and the self i felt myself, with the occasional flash of intuition , to be. But if i was manifesting the immanent then was not the stratum of authenticity a given despite surface aberrations? Or is it that i was working myself over into a work of art , a self , an artistic daubing of something inchoate with more sanguine brushstrokes. I was unwilling to relinquish my skepticism about myself but was equally unwilling to disregard the mnemonics of what i took to be the promptings of my inner self, whatever that was. So in a sense by both acceding to the impalpability of knowledge whilst placing faith in certain imperceptible currents of perception in me , i got lost.

None of this was immediately noticeable because i was enraptured by my being with him. But being with him also made me feel as though a part of me, never discerned but indwelling, had become irrecoverable. When he spoke to me kindly in my emotional tumult i both resented yet craved the gentleness of his solicitude. At one level i believed that he cared and at another i distrusted his ministrations, partly because i distrusted myself. I had begun this friendship on an ingenuous note whose underlying solipsism coloured everything with its garish tint, except the awareness of its own luridness. When the extremity of insecurity that underlay dissimulation surfaced i usually quashed it , disallowing submergence. But repressions accrete and atrophy.

At one layer of my personality i knew that this ceaseless dialectic of certitude and doubt was becoming indulgent. Deeper down i was discovering aspects of myself that were profoundly discomforting. I had, on a certain integument of our intersection, convinced myself that i could will things to work through restraint and adroitness, circumventing a misgiving here, offsetting a troubling recollection there. But that integument was overlain by a leap of faith which was as much suspension from my own neurotic underpinnings. That i labelled such dissembling spontaneous and organic didn't help. And yet there were moments when when i touched his cheek, hugged him, commiserated with him over his exhausting work day, prepared a meal for him , i discerned a sincere love and desire for his well being, healthfulness. I enjoyed his presence, our conversations.So was the paraphernalia of subterranean neuroses embedded both within me and without my more realistic cognizance of what lay beneath or was the very sincerity i discerned and revered so inconceivable a possibility that i needed to impose layers of unconscious intent on it. Was my preconception of our darker natures an admission of truth in all its multifariousness or an avoidance of the truth that i loved and cared too much? The polychromatic nature of psychological constructions,however unvaryingly monochrome within, can dazzle and distract with a kaleidoscope of shifting perceptions. With each refraction one can get lost in the interplay of interlocked forces. The array of shifting constellations, variations yet amplifications, ricochetings yet crystallizations inhabit a closed circularity. If between me and him , through our respective beings, lies a vast untapped, impenetrable gulf then should the play of surfaces consume me utterly? Or should constant self doubt and self loathing underscore the precariousness at the heart of it? Or a appropriation of him onto me or a surrender of myself both alternately abnegating and augmenting the self.

Ratiocinations of such a nature are unproductive and self important. With me and him there will always be the landscape of the known, felt, experienced with the unknown, the unknowable and the inapprehensible. All i have are the promptings of my heart, of their genuine waves on whose tides of probity, felt but incommunicable, the scaffolding of our relationship rests. The bulwark of an inward honesty in no way safeguards against any cataclysmic rupture that may or may not come. All it does is evince that one does one's best, with all truthfulness, to the feelings  of connection, love, empathy that throb within. It may be insufficient but is still, satisfying enough, for the moment.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

THE ARCHITECTONIC OF MELANCHOLIA

I am feeling swamped by density. What i had taken to be meaning now reveals its intrinsic nothingness. Vast skeins of convolutions unspool off me. With this mass massed in my chest i feel immobile,with the kernel of existence, which is the very fact of existing, unbreathed. Instead i encompass this emptiness in me. It is incommunicable, i can't articulate it. It daubs my spirit with penumbral streaks. Distilled are the stertorous exhalations of sadness, transmuting into a despair that enervates.
Xanax soothes me into nothingness. But this is not the nothingness that confers the nothing immanent in the midst of what seems to be nothing. I become nothing. The anesthetized fug of sleepiness tugs at the undertow of my depression. I ebb and flow on the waves of despair. An occasional mnemonic, materialized, rendered a facsimile by the analgesia of medication, swamps me in residual disquiet, an offshoot off a concatenation of interlinked disquiets. And there lodged, spurts of suicide are squirted, blackening , thickening and deepening the dark waters below.
Occasionally though the visible world, apprehensible through the senses, provides a momentary distraction. The quotidian lulls me into a sense of restfulness. But the substratum of self reproach, with the quickening momentum of palpable unnerving, seen through the tenebrous hinterland of the mauve within the crimson, underscores momentousness, momentariness. Thus while i grasp at the elusive ,mercurial present as a present in the form of experience experienced in that instant i am ambushed by the vestigial currents of misgivings that run parallel with precarious hope.
But i soldier on. In the mosaic of my being i surrender to the silence, the silence which , unheard, unapprehended but sensed, intuited, stipples the aesthetic consciousness in me with striations of faith, the faith that the faithlessness i entomb within is itself, through its very absence of faith, a form of trust, trust in the capricious which has in it, coexistent, both light and dark, conglomerated with multifarious grays.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

MELANOMA

Melanoma but non cancerous. That was what struck me as fortuitous when i recalled the events of that night. I was glad that he had not contracted something cancerous and that the tests results instilled hope. I am usually cynical enough to accept that life is unpredictable and also practical enough to conceal shock at anything startling. This has earned me a reputation of callousness though getting hot and bothered about what one can never know the outcome of seems like giving too much air time to the arbitrary.

At the time however when i saw that patch of skin then i recall a cavalcade of jumbled associations. His upper shoulder , with its fine stippling of dark hairs, had a purple patch. My first thought was that he had bumped into something or been punched brutally. The feeling i had , at a distance of vision, was of clotted, thickened , purplish blood. I ran my fingers over the spot , expecting that curded  lumpiness but found , instead , grainy , sandy speckles of  skin dotted purple. The touch felt abrasive, raspy as i flattened my palm over it. A furred sussuration thrilled me. On closer inspection i saw, through rather unaesthetic insight, a patchwork threading of daubs of pinpointed purple striating each particle of skin. The patch showed a circular streaking that felt both a part of his integument as an extrusion. The light brown healthy skin intensified my feeling of incongruity as i glanced, again and again, at this aureole , both encrusted with spottiness yet attenuated and spattered than plastered.

I felt sickened. I felt gorge rising in me . He told me calmly that it was a recent outgrowth but harmless. I smelt him , the faint aftershave and his earthy scent . Smells are equivalent to fetishes for me and as i inhaled him, melanoma and all, i relinquished, momentarily, the garishness of the spot. Even now ,memories of  that anomaly in his body, almost like a disfiguration prompts contradictory feelings in me. If i could wash that spot of purple clean off the skin, leaving the healthy skin behind, eroded a bit, as a stone by the beach but still polished and smooth. Elsewhere i want to put out my tongue around that region in his upper shoulder, to taste that coarse texture, feel it abrading my tongue, absorbing the purplish excess on my lips. He, too, is overlaid with a purple patina. The barrenness of our orwellian minimalism now seems supplanted, in my consciousness, with the purple profusion of the baroque. The landscape of his body, usually transparent, signals now, with this conspicuous mottling , at a hinterland into the nebulous. Habituated to his more unprepossessing excrescences like that tiny scar indenting his inner wrist, while i stroke lovingly, imagining the experience that materialized it, i still saw him as a landscape of familiarity. The patterns of our being , predictable as they were, both comforted and bored me. Now , it seemed, there were dimensions i could tap into, without and within. This melanoma , which is self contained, ineradicable, is not , for me, a foreclosure its concreteness testifies. It is a spot in a projection of perfection and like any spot, assumes larger significance than the entire frame.

We met after a few weeks. The first thing i did while we undressed was to check his upper shoulder. The luridness of colour has receded and a light pinkish stain is all that remains, already becoming more indistinct as a counterpoint to the imprinting of that original anomaly i saw last . He seems a bit more beefed up, partly i deduce,from steroids. And the melanoma, located on a firm, muscled shoulder now seems far preferable to this etiolated remnant in flabby skin. I can imagine curling my head around the muscled discrepancy than the curative sagging. But he seems to be getting better . 

Whatever it may represent melanoma certainly betokened a possibility of a deeper closeness. Despite the desultoriness of our future intersections, which i project and assume to be true objectively,this interlude is etched in my consciousness. I will finger it, wrap my arms around it, warm my hands over it and recapitulate,though  knowing it is only a fantasy, the orgasmic potentiality of melanoma.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

RANDOM PEREGRINATIONS

One of the gifts psychoanalysis conferred on me was the awareness that there was more than what met the eye. To me such a thought, in adolescence, would have been salutary given my oversensitive , overwrought tearfulness at any appearance of firmness, which i took to be, both an affirmation of something ignoble in me and a certain insensitivity in the admonisher. While i resented being subject to arbitrary humiliation the prospect of victimhood lent my lachrymose self pity a certain grandeur.
Moving on to a more measured discernment of nuance at university crippled me even more. I complimented myself on my prescience yet counteracted the disquiet it inveigled with supplication and a desire not to give offence.It wasn't obsequiousness though there was a certain deference in it. Even now, conspicuous demonstrations of meanness and vulgarity make me withdraw though i am not unaverse to a certain self exhibitionism specially if it reveals a certain ironic awareness of itself mingled with pride that such knowledge exists. I augment it with alternations of self reviling and self complacence. But in reality this is an unexceptional human reality. Nor is knowledge of it commendable, if its only fruits are stasis, uninformed by action and a crystallization of a putative wisdom.
Purposive action seems to me quite relevant despite whatever unconscious darkness. More often than not appearances are the truth, whatever truth is or at least as close an approximation of it as is possible. It is disingenuous to suspect each solecism as rebarbative or each display of warmth as an underlying opportunism. That i sometimes evince paroxysms of self hatred in attributing this to my interlocutors seems more a realization of the complexity of the world than some underlying impulse of darkness in me. In all sincerity i perceive in myself a certain absence of guile though cultivating guilelessness over the years, in adherence to a self mythology has made the impulse seem natural. Or else a certain layer of artifice has been denuded or ,in all likelihood, some immanent impulse has been actualized. I can be quite voluble in my protestations of guilelessness, itself a symptom of a desire to convince and superimpose. The indeterminacy of its unmediated reception galls me but its absorption in others and their attendant reciprocal warmth affirms the larger preponderant impulse than self gratification though one is ,in a sense, gratified by the fact of one's sense of being being seen , not in its messy , misshapen convolution but a certain indwelling relationality.
One can go neurotic in trying to plumb the labyrinth of the human mind. All one has are patterns which one must scrupulously avoid seeing as incontrovertible. The patterns may convey partial truths but are provisional. Lately my response to any unreasonable affront on me is to let the person who hurt me know, with my impression of rationality, conveyed through psychological jargon, the filthiness entombed in themselves. This may be petty vituperation or a certain enjoyment of holding up a mirror. The compensations of both are illusory. Ultimately closure is that one creates and seeks comfort from knowing it is inadequate but it is all one has. No closure corresponds to one's intrinsic desire for absolute justice or retribution. It is worked through and may be all one has.

THE LANDSCAPE OF THE BAROQUE

Profusion may proliferate, wildly
Even within a putative norm
Amid the uncanny silence,boding ill
In the eye of a storm
Needle point may be the crevice
Through which threads of abundance unravel
The landscape , trodden , may be vast
Which divided selves travel
Spillage of the excessive might
Staunch the constrained
Conceiving of unmitigated repression being
Rather hare brained
Form may attenuate a fragmented content
Revealing, within the watertight, spurious intent

DIRGE FOR UNREASON

If meaning resided in words
And what was felt was what got said
A glimpse into the immanent
Would have, to the fulcrum, led
If what was felt in the depths
Was plumbed, reviled by and spoken
Jaded being would find, amid indifference
Some undivisive self, unbroken
Yet constrained by mores, conventions
Words dry up, unuttered
While the repository of a labyrinthine mind
Would, by the unarticulated, be cluttered
Meanwhile the desultory world continues unabated
As identity fragments , with the essential unsated.

REQUIEM FOR THE UNCONSCIOUS

In the midst of splintered shards
Refractions of the substratum spawn
Reason shreds , rends, bends
As causality is, beyond a point, begone
Stipples of the unsaid break through
Daubing with their atavistic mnemonics
The daguerrotype of the unvaried, meanwhile
Is undermined by a myriad architectonic
What fails is what holds us up
While the frenzy of chaos reins
With the importunity of unmet drives
Non being cuts through liquiefied veins
A wrist is slashed or a hinterland overridden
Through the emergence of primevality, unbidden

Friday, October 2, 2015

SHARING SOME THOUGHTS ON 'MATURITY'

When i began my descent into deep depression there was, in my circle of family and neighbors, a sense of deja vu. As though the cul de sac, which they assumed would be the ineluctable consequence of my over sensitivity, had finally materialized. My impassivity at my father's death, my subsequent refusal to countenance the extraction of my emotional incommunicability about it, led to an assumption of a willed repression. Depression, it was presumed, was a form of articulating distress.
Throughout the salad days of my being mentally ill, though at 27, salad days sounds portentous and self important, i was told off for not showing strength of character in overcoming my illness, for being indulgent in circumscribing myself in the cocoon of my precarious sense of self. This bracing optimism, commonsensical 'get on with it' seemed , as it inveterately does, patronizing. I felt the weight of collective stoicism upon me deepening my inadequacy in failing to show that resolve and willpower. It was assumed that this mincing optimism, promulgated with such assiduity , was right and my intractability a sort of sulking, a refusal to see another point of view. This was coterminous with the reiterated 'I understand' which most around me said again and again. That the depth of my despair could have been felt and surmounted was inconceivable to me. I was familiar with the vocabulary of 'projection' which made some sense but not entirely.
There may a compendium of reasons why platitudes are uttered. Somewhere the platitudes and shibboleths around pragmatism have a veracity , a possibility of self transformation. Yet the inability to measure up gets perceived as a fatal flaw, an intransigence . But for quite a few people daily life is infernal and to just get through a day immensely courageous. Unlike the commonplace assumption the putatively inoperatinal mentally ill are not subsumed in self pity though that may be true for some. People work around their traumas and pains, find their own coping mechanisms. They may not correspond to what they might be expected to demonstrate but that doesn't undermine the sheer gumption getting through takes. Some surrender and kill themselves and i have begun to see that it might seem ineluctable, a apposite culmination and exercise in control in a world where one feels a volitionless pivot both without and within.
That i could express this 'maturity' was no radical , self wrought metamorphosis. Other grievous health crises intervened, the suffering i glimpsed within me was apprehensible in many around me. I began to feel, amid the provisionality of life itself, the fact of being among other sufferers , some in worser positions.This realization of my salubrious circumstances, despite the inner despair, wrenched me into eschewing what i had been told was selfishness, self indulgence, masochism.
I have no answers as to whether practicality is the inevitable response to existential angst. Sometimes it seems all restitutions are makeshift, tenuous , underscoring the very indeterminacy and emptiness they seek to ameliorate. But then these restitutions protract one's sense of negotiating life without the cataclysm of self annihilation. The delicate scaffolding of 'meaning' can be a strengthening of the will to live or a loosening of one's grip on life. I don't regard suicide as an abdication of responsibility. Nor do i feel it is the only form of release. But it is a choice exercised in the shadow of unendurable inner trauma . Just because it seems precipitate does not negate its necessity.
I regard my life trajectory as being in some way responsible for my metamorphosis. This 'maturity' has been wrested from me by forces beyond me.I can't assume its immutability or extensive prolongation. But currently it seems invigorating. If i have chosen expansiveness, empathy , connectedness as my bulwark it is because they make sense to me. They are not incontrovertible truths or axioms that are mandatory. Each person chooses , from the exiguity of contingency, moments of reprieve and comfort. I disallow the possibility of superimposing my own version of 'maturity' given the capriciousness that actualized it. The black dog hovers as a subterranean possibility , glimpsed consciously but expediently suppressed, capable of re emergence . But self awareness about the arbitrariness of being human may, after all, be our very apotheosis. It facilitates both reconfiguration and relinquishment, equally pertinent. But for now, i seem to be on the side of life, one of the many chosen ones. I cherish this randomness, i will polish it and hone it the best i can, knowing that the crepuscular substratum is both imminent and immanent. It is this ricocheting of free will and destiny that will determine my psyche. Meanwhile, i exist, therefore i exist.