The shift to self

It isn’t like I’ve not forgiven  

my father, the brutish man  

who cared so much about  

what people thought.  

The memories of the motes 

of dust settling on me 

while I whimpered, facing 

the door length mirror,  

my mother struggling to fend 

him off are now whispers,  

muted sounds that hum  

when I’m sleeping, forgotten 

with the light.  

It’s what he’s become 

that appalls me, the scalding  

self-pity, as incandescent as rage, 

an anger we knew so well,  

a hatred that became his bedfellow, 

his confidant, his comrade, 

now mellow like a sickly simulacrum  

of Autumn,  

a poor impressionist painting. 

“I’ve always loved you,” he says,  

a choke betraying deep self-love,  

a perennial leaning on the pillars  

of a bruised ego. 

“I’m sorry,” he says,  

and then, “75, and a life  

spent doing nothing.”


The shift to self,  

the plea for attention,  

the histrionic cry for affirmation, 

for a touch that says,  

“Go! All your sins 

are forgotten.  

Wait! You never sinned!” 

The need for justification,  

not the Lord’s 

but fellow man’s.  

They know who he is 

now, and that tortures him,  

roasts him in a Sicilian Bull,  

and the way out is a  

pleading, anguished,  

“I’m not well!” 

when a common cold  

gives him a stuffy  

nose, a maddening, paranoid,  

“I can’t do that. It’s dangerous  

to send messages 

on WhatsApp,” or  

an outright denial  

of insanity,  

even after 2 breakdowns. 

“Those medicines 

 will interfere with  

my diabetic drugs!  

You can’t expect me 

to take them. I’m old,”  

after scarring two 

lives with  

indelible tattoos of abuse,  

ugly marks of tribal rage. 

The cacophony  

now a self-loathing sonata, 

pleasing to those  

who don’t know the truth,  

the discordant, atonal,


slap-you metal now smooth jazz, 

but not smooth enough  

for the keen listener.  

9 responses to “The shift to self”

  1. Fathers can seem like such strong, daunting, sometimes cruel figures when one is young. As you grow older though, you start to see their many weaknesses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true. I think my father changed in the sense that he doesn’t get bouts of rage anymore, but he still loves himself enormously and all his affection is laced with self-pity which makes me want to stay away.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That was saying it the way it is better than I’ve ever read. “King Lear” in 2 minutes! Well done Nitin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Bruce. I was inspired after reading some Sharon Olds. I don’t know if she writes confessionals or made up stuff, but her work is visceral and raw, and polished at the same time. I decided to draw from my experiences and do the best I can.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hard topic intricately expressed, Nitin! Love the way you showed the shift in behavior, “The cacophony now a self-loathing sonata,” 💞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Dawn ❤️ Yes you’re right, it is hard to write about these things, and I often wonder if I should write something lighter… just fool around on this blog instead of tackling such serious, personal stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think (if you don’t mind my two cents) that just like anything, a balance is good. I need to dive into deeper thoughts/subjects at times, but I also can be silly like with my latest Monkey Business. Maybe explore some of both? From experience, I find when I immerse myself in the serious (especially the darker) subjects for too long, it’s harder to climb back out into the light 💞

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The thing is if you were to talk to me in real life, I’m a very laid back person who loves food, taking photographs and music. I’ll talk about books, video games or some common topic. I’m hardly stressed even though I’m introverted. When I write though, a lot of the past flashes and I just pour it out on a page. But I’ve discovered a way to overcome that. This post may be inspired by my life, but a lot of my writing is written from the point of view of some character I imagine. I’ve realised that I like doing that. Separating myself from my art even if I write in first person. The thing with blogging is that most people are writing confessionals and we tend to think that writing reflects the author’s life. But a lot of poetry you find in books is written in first person but is as distant from the author’s life as possible. I think that’s the key. At least for me. But having said that, you’re right, balance is essential. Tbh reading is my first love. Writing comes third or fourth lol. So whenever I’m too distressed I don’t write. I just read or scroll through YouTube videos lol

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I disappear in to books as well. Reading is my lifeline and my escape. I need to read almost as much as I need to breathe, lol

        Liked by 1 person

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About Me

Ordinary Person is a guy who likes to write. He writes fiction, essays, poems and other stuff.


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