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“All the boxes are checked” – Nayana Nair

It hurts a bit more naturally
and less violently,
now that betrayal has a range,
has not one but many faces.
Now I need not figure what I did wrong.

All the boxes are checked:

family, family, friends, not friends,
thank-god-we-were-never-friends friends,
i-am-sad-i-stood-up-for-you friends,
people who marked my skin with their name
to own me
while i slept in their arms
(another golden cup added to collection of people hard to get,
people who won’t die if thrown away or left alone)
loves whom i am tied to,
the ones who demand smile and sometimes a bit more,
always a bit more.

They know the feel of my hand and love how it heals.
They hold my hand in their sleep
in their nightmares, in the storms of passion
that they need a person to aim at.
They break my wrist
in my nighmares, in my awareness of my fruitless love.
When I am at verge of crying,
they tell me to not give them a hard time
and to act like the refuge that I am supposed to be.

So I tell them “I love you”
and this lie hurts a little less everyday
as my heart becomes the stone pedestal
all my loves stand on.

“why am i hurt by your hopes?” – Nayana Nair

i thought…
i wanted…
i am always looking for…
i am nothing without…

must i fill these sentences?
is it compulsory
to tell you where it hurts and why?

the pencil bends and breaks
in my hand, but my voice won’t crack.
i think a bit of my cruelty shows
through everything that i do.

“have you ever wanted to be a person like me?”
when i ask you this, you avoid my eyes.
the often-spoken-and-never-meant words
surface on your lips,
“i love you for who you are, i want nothing more”
sadly followed by
“it is not too late to change”

“Pillar” – Nayana Nair

I do not know how to help you.

I am used to relying on you,
to make everything right.

You are supposed to be the strongest one.
Or were you always like this?

Was your strength a make-belief,
my excuse
for not caring,
for not doing anything.

I do not know how to hold your hand
when you refuse to be held.
I am confused if you really mean it
when you ask to be left alone.

Teach me through your tears,
who you are, when you are not my pillar.

“Come Apart” – Nayana Nair

We believed (or wanted to)
that this world where we won’t be staying for long
will be always there,
will the stay the same
even when we leave.
That our eyes have captured something eternal.
But even the stars that we believed in
were in fact dying,
so far away that we didn’t even know.
Would it have mattered even if we knew?
Would we have cared for an end that we won’t live to see?
So even when I see that we are breaking,
even when I know it will come apart,
I know we don’t need a forever,
just bit more time.
We just need to vanish into dust
before we watch our love die.

“Another Failure” – Nayana Nair

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If only yearning
was the correct word
for what I feel for you now.

There is a voice in me
that has taken over my throat
and it speaks what I never wanted to say.

It admits all weakness that you never knew I had.
What is the use of confessing
what no one even suspected?

I ask myself that
even as I continue to speak,
even if you are not here to listen.

Maybe your absence
has given me the courage
to do the right thing.

Now that you are gone,
now that you have changed
I have no reason to hide where I hid.

There is no love keeping me away from
the life that I always wanted,
that I could always have.

But the reason
of this freedom
also leaves me paralyzed.

Though there are many failures in my life
that I made you reason for,
now when I can do better without you, I see myself giving up.

How unfair it is to you, if I give up now.
How unfair it is to me, if I cant even taste the only fruits
whose sweetness you have not taken away.

Love was not that hard
and I do not want to add another line
to the poems and essays who blame love for everything.

That would be another lie, another failure for me,
if even when I am losing I seek someone
who is ready to sink with me.

“Book that I can’t read” – Nayana Nair

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The book
that I can’t read
is not abandoned on the shelves
has not been moved to the lowest rack
because it is bad.
But because so much of me
is filled in it.
So many words from my heart reside on those pages,
that I am bound to question
if this is the reason I felt so empty for years.
Someone sat up all night
looking into me,
taking away my pain and shame
to relieve me of this weight.
But ended up taking more than they should
and didn’t know any other way
than to send it back to me in a book.
I wish I could go out
and burn every copy of this book
in every bookstore on earth-
this book that I can’t read myself.
But I must keep it with me always
so that if I am silenced forever
even after I leave
someone
at least someone
would see that I tried
when they open this book
and see the crossed out names
replaced with mine.

“Vague” – Nayana Nair

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The nowhere that you talk about,
are frustrated with,
the direction that we seem to always end up these days
in spite of our best intentions,
in spite of all we want to dream of-
that nowhere is not that bad place to be.
It is vague I know, I agree.
But there is a comfort in the vagueness.
Us standing here
and not knowing where to go.
Thinking, deciding, fretting over small details
of when and how
and finally waiting for another day
and another heartbreak
before we call it quits.
Sounds painful
and maybe it was
I do not remember
and probably won’t
till you end up doing all the things that you promised you won’t,
till I end up saying all the things I never wanted to say again.
That is when we remember everything
and are faced with feelings
that should never have existed between us
but till then,
till the day we realize what we already know
can’t we just be fine with ‘vague’?

“The Better That We Want”- Nayana Nair

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Once we are done with the ritual of tea,
as I leave the room with his cup and mine,
I leave behind my shadow with him.
That is his favorite part of his evening
and he is all too happy to talk to a quieter me.
He feels my shadow is somehow better than me.
He finds it more understanding
and more similar to the feminine company
he always wanted in his life.
Someone who knows how to listen,
and who knows when not to think.
Someone who would look up to his words
with the certainty of truth
and would be the first one to realize his specialness.
I can understand where he comes from,
it is tiring to impress everyone all the time
fearing when we will falter, when we will fall in their eyes.
I can understand, even when I don’t want to,
for even I have wished for the same things
that only an imbalance of power or naivety of a lover
can give me.

“Unsettling” – Nayana Nair

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One day I was watching TV
or I thought I was
until it seemed that
the boy whose silence alone was unsettling to many,
the loud girl who dreams of becoming the nightmare she suffers,
even the clueless proud parent who try hard to be cool
were all angry, everyone was shouting
not at each other but at me,
for missing my cue to act,
for leaving it to others to sort my life.
I hate these times
when even entertainment
has to be so painfully self-reflective.
Or maybe it always was.

“Far Enough to be Fine” – Nayana Nair

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I could probably have called it a blue morning
waiting through each hour for the day to gift it back its colors.
Or a white one where our eyes and the air are filled with
a whiteness that is never stained,
for it leaves as soon as it comes,
for it never comes in touch with the world,
just moves around it.
Is that the way we should have lived our life?
If we existed together, moving around each other,
maybe we wouldn’t have to look at each others brokeness like this.
You tell me it is a dirty gray morning that we are never going to forget.
And I almost curse myself
for not getting that right color on my lips before you did.
But I stop myself by reminding
that goodbyes like these should not be filled with the same mistakes
as the ones that filled our time together.
We wait for the beams of light and for the screech of tyres on road,
that takes you away, masking your last words to me
in the jarring sound of honks.
I make my way back to the gray life
that was always waiting for me.

If you looked back at me through that moving car,
through your healing heart,
when we are far enough to be fine,
would you see me as the defeated person I always was?

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