“Running Barefoot” – Nayana Nair

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He was somewhere upstairs
running barefoot on the dusty floors
of the broken house.
I could hear him
even when I stood waiting in the backyard
staring at all the rusty memories,
feeling the stare of people who will never leave this place,
who may never leave me again
now that I fear them for never actually dying.
I tried not to love him
as I stood alone waiting for him to get bored of all this.

I was too afraid to be with him
when he was like that.
when he read aloud poems
about death out of the blue,
and read them as if they were the only true declaration
he could make to the world,
the only true word that he could say to his life.
I would only later find out
that they were written by someone else –
someone who lived in a difficult to pronounce country.
He loved things like that –
taking up the clothes of emotions of others
and wrapping himself up in them
as he walked into all the unknown lives
that oddly had a room reserved just for him.

And always, I would be outside
waiting for the sun to set, for his heart to ease,
to be there when he decides to come back to reality for good.
I didn’t realize that footsteps had ceased long ago,
and so had his breath.
So I stood there letting my heart run barefoot
on the floor of delusion, in the world where he exists.
I waited for my love to give up on him.
I was afraid of being me
when my love stop, won’t look back at me.

“Absurdly Simple and Late” – Nayana Nair

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Things I now remember are mostly
absurdly simple and painful.
Like the last time we met like this,
you had a white suitcase that seemed like your new pet.
It looked at peace with the snow
that was getting on your nerves.
When you smiled
all I could think was
now you cannot bear the weight of your old green bag pack,
now you cannot bear the winters I am part of.
All I could think was
that you are growing old somewhere far without me.
I didn’t know that the next thing I would have to do,
after facing such sad realization,
would be to smile for my sake more than your.

Things I now recognize are
are only those that I don’t know how to fix anymore.
Like today
as I helped you out of your heavy white coat,
as I made the coffee of your liking
I kept staring at your small form
and your frightening transparency.
I looked at the scribbles of black marker
at the corner of suitcase.
I wondered
where were you when you drew that.
At what point of your journey
you could no longer pretend
this was a life of your choosing?
Is your loneliness so overwhelming
that you are not afraid of buying and ruining whites?
Is your loneliness of my making?
Is that why you wear it so dearly?

“Any time now” – Nayana Nair

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“Irrespective of what has happened, I know happiness.
I do not remember the sadness as vividly
as those sentimental singers do. I don’t know the pain
that lasts eternities. I know of a happiness that cannot be lost.”
This is what I say when I meet my past.
This is what I say when I step into the world
where the past doesn’t pass by like it should.

I say this
because I cannot say
I am afraid of
because once___________________________
and till now it haunts me.

When___________________________________,
I have to strain myself, I have to forget myself.
Before someone tells me “This is life. Get used to this.”,
before they tell me about “the worst that can happen”,
I have to get out of my body,
I have to hide my remaining self in the corners I won’t fit.

I have to force myself not to throw up
as ___________________________________
_______________________________________,
as I see from far away
my body smile at all that is wrong.

I smile on my walk to the main road, I smile on my ride back home.
I hum a little joyful song as I close the door,
the same damn song I have hidden behind all this time.
On my warm bed, I lie facing myself
waiting for the tears
that should have arrived by now.
I wait for the breaking to happen,
so that I can put myself back,
so that I can suck out this poison again.

But the tears, the breaking, the moment of honesty,
the crying without knowing why
doesn’t happen.
And I realize, I fear that now ______________
has become a part of me, a natural pain.
Now
there is no way I can claim the body of the one
I cannot recognize.

I look at ceiling and hold onto the tremor of this stranger’s heart
that should have been me.
In those restless heartbeats, there is hope, there is fear,
there is anger, there is a me that has to say meaningless words
like “a happiness that cannot be lost” to soothe this world,
so that it won’t take away anything more of me.

“Walking towards you on the crutches of fear and hope” – Nayana Nair

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I keep waking up to a different reality,
a different you
and everything that you have been till yesterday
seems like something my mind made up
and all the love you have in your heart
seems little less mine.

But I keep walking towards you
even when I know I probably should not.

I keep waiting
for words of truth,
or words of sincerity,
or words of past that I believed in
to find their way back to your mouth.

I keep hoping that
words will be enough, that you will be enough
for this love to breathe again.

But I am also afraid that nothing you give up,
nothing I give up
can get back what we had, even if we tried.

“Do you feel the same?” – Nayana Nair

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It is not that I love the cold doors of strangers
nor do I want answers to the obvious, uncomfortable questions.
I am restless because everyone else is calm.
If only they would fret a bit, look puzzled,
cry for unknown reasons once in a while,
if only they also had the same questions that I do
or at least admitted feeling the same way
just to keep my heart,
then probably I wouldn’t feel so shabby and so incompetent
when I stood cluelessly in my life,
trying to act as if I know what I am doing.
When all I am doing is
watching things crumble and break.
When all I am doing is holding in my tears
waiting for someone to cry first.

“Cursive” – Nayana Nair

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On most days
I desperately want to believe
that everyone else are humans,
just like me.

I write it down in cursive,
under the shadow of my incomprehensible muttering-
“they are not as bad as they seem.
you are not as bad as you think.”

I wrote it again and again
knowing I would never believe it anyway.

But I continued to write these lies
because I still wanted to make an effort.
Because I hated everything I could see, the reality that shouldn’t be,
things that needn’t be this bad,
this life where lies were the happiest part.

“I am afraid of the ones who still see hope in me” – Nayana Nair

They are beautiful people
with beautiful heart
and they really want to mend me
and that’s scary.

It is scary
because I can’t seem to feel
love or gratitude
for anyone who affirms
that I am as bad as I imagined myself to be.

It is scary
because my disease knows me
and my cure doesn’t.
And the better life sounds like hell
to my broken hearing.

It is scary
because when you hold me from breaking
I can barely stop myself from saying,
“leave me alone,
before i learn how to break you too”.

“Fossil” – Nayana Nair

Drop by drop the wax fills
the bucket of broken butterflies.

I am falling into another sleep,
into another death that is warm,
that embraces me like no lover ever has.

I feel the pain in my wings, and unlike other days
I try to think that this will never pass.
That I will remain like this, with a bit of pain always there
in my shoulder blades, under my ribs, aching for a memory that floats
above my body, above my existence.

Someone holds my hand and I let them.
I was always afraid of living and dying alone.
I guess there are many like me.

Years from now they will find us
and probably write stories
about how we loved each other even in death.
As they look at our almost ruined and almost saved faces
they won’t know how we died heartbroken,
how we held onto each other
but never dared to look at each other
or ask the names we had started to hate.
How our skins melted into each other only because
we had nowhere else to be.
That even as light broke free from our eyes
we didn’t want to look like failure.

“Finally, in motion” – Nayana Nair

Another day flashes across my sky.
Another moon rushes past my life.
There are clouds that I have learned to walk on.
There are days when I forget
how afraid I am of this world.
This is what my miracle looks like.

There are songs that never meant anything
till you sang them for me.
As I play hide and seek with your smile,
I am forgetting the reasons to hate myself.
I am forgetting things that I never
allowed myself to forget.
This is what my miracle looks like.

I dream of a one room castle.
I find the idea of falling in love with this world
something worth looking forward to, something worth a try.
I find the courage to want the impossible.
I find it easy to put my heart
outside my body, in this world.
Nothing breaks, nothing withers.
Finally, my heart grows old with me.
This is the miracle
that walked into my life
holding your hands.

“Sense of Urgency” – Nayana Nair

Today I realized
what to call all that I have been reading for so long.
A person I didn’t mean to overhear called it ‘a sense of urgency’-
the desire to save this world as soon as possible.

It seems the enemies are too many.
I saw many names in the list of these enemies
that I silently agreed with-
pollution, dictatorship, bullying,
monetization of education, competing in a rigged world,
oppression of lives and loves of minority, hate crimes,…

I scoffed at some:
the collapse of society in the hands of socially withdrawn,
collapse of economy in the hands of those who want and do less,
the unfeeling and unapologetic generation that seems to love depression,
women whose learning and thinking too much only breaks families,…

“this is the cause worth dying for”-
I suddenly became afraid of that feeling.

As I read all the absurd causes I couldn’t agree with.
As I read and became exasperated at the words of those
who were convinced that they knew better
even as they killed and killed and killed
and got addicted to seeing blood dissolving in oceans.
I realized
how dangerous this feeling could be.

“this is what to means to change the world.
to change the world
is to walk over everything I don’t want to see”
My sense of urgency hated me for thinking this.
It recited every quote about silence of good men.
But all I could now see was the line that I must not cross,
the words I must not say, the knife that I must never hold-
no matter the cause.