Want

This is what I want today.
Of course, I could have something else,
But this is what I want today.

The whims of fancy rule my world,
Randomness dictates my way.
Wishes come and desires leave,
And this is what I want today.

You’d think a man of thought and taste
Would have the will to stay
Focused, alert and disciplined –
Alas, this is what I want today.

To fall in love. To be left alone.
To fashion sorrow on her gravestone.
To feel such pain! But who is to say
That my mind won’t wander and sing with joy
If that is what I want today.

Master of will, slave to whim,
I answer to no one! But within,
I have tortured my soul to please my mind.
And now I’ll try it the other way,
For that is what I want today.

Did I wander from the holy path?
Did I lose my light and go astray?
I could turn around, try to find my way…
But this is what I want today.

There is no past, there is no future.
There is no cause, there is no consequence,
There is nothing that exists outside of me,
Not night, not day.
The world is a thought, slipping away.
Should I remember, or should I forget?
This is what I want today.

~ Terence Tuhinanshu


Origin

The first draft of this poem was written on a whim on January 17 2012, as I was trying out the now defunct distraction-free writing web app at wasabi.cc. Desperate to write something, anything, my numb mind spat out the first line ‘This is what I want today’, and the rest developed from that.

Interpretation

As with all my poems, it came out of nowhere, and all my understanding of it is based on reading it as a reader, not the writer. What follows is my interpretation of it, and your’s can be something completely different.

The overarching theme is desire, want, greed, addiction – consumption. It starts out as selfish but innocent, a stubborn child demanding something it wants. But then we see that it is no child, but one of breeding and intelligence, one who is deliberately giving themselves to the desire. Soon the evil starts seeping out, as the hero progresses from not caring about others to willfully hurting them, as he falls in love and then kills his love just so he could feel the pain of loss (for that was his desire), and once achieved he moves on to other pursuits. He indulges in numerous vices, willfully sadomasochistic acts that burn and twist his mind and soul, simply to feed his ever growing want. His desire has grown from a spark to a blaze that eats everything and keeps growing, no matter how much he feeds it, and the more it eats the more it grows until everything is gone. The world stops existing, but the want doesn’t. It persists, and it goes on, forever, eating itself and growing and shrinking, existing purely for itself for there is nothing else left.

Influences

A major influence on this work is Oscar Wilde, reflections to whose works can be found peppered throughout. The hero is akin to Dorian Gray (the subject of Wilde’s only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray), because of many parallels such as being of gentle society, being intrigued by desire, torturing his soul for the curiosity / morbid pleasure of his mind. Dorian Gray also falls in love with a woman, but in a moment of anger is cruel to her. Later he realizes that while he is sad for his cruelty, it gave him pleasure as well. The other Wildean influence is the line ‘To fashion sorrow on her gravestone’, which is a reference to the Artist who fashions the image of The Sorrow That Endureth Forever on the grave of his love in Wilde’s The Artist.

Less obvious, almost tangential, influences include Bhagavad Gita, whose ideas existing for yourself without care for cause or consequence have been twisted to fit the Want. Similarly twisted are Raju’s final words from Vijay Anand’s The Guide (1965), to describe the utter abandon and carefreeness of the final state.

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