“Everything I Treasure” – Nayana Nair

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There is a kind of happiness
that eludes me,
a kind of fear that
grips me in my sleep,
a kiss that makes me fear
losing
everything I shouldn’t treasure.
A person who kills me every second by loving me,
by giving up his hollow self to my hungry mouth.
A person whose sadness,
only sadness is mine.
A person who has loved too much,
been hurt too much,
who now substitutes pity, anger, jealousy, and need
in place of true love
(what is true love anyway?).
I remain awake trying to make this equation work
(what is true love anyway?).
I weigh my heart against yours and I realize
what a waning moon feels like.
I collect such new feelings without blaming you
(what is true love anyway?).
All my treasures are feelings I would accept
only by your hands,
however cruel and hurtful they may be.

“Dry Rivers” – Nayana Nair

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The river is finally running dry.
I heard someone rejoicing to hear this.
What is a river without it’s water?
I am told it is money, it is development,
it is more money.

Another colony, dozens of businesses springs up.
There is nothing to be sad anymore.
I walk on the roads trying to trace
the skeleton of what is lost.

Now, I know the names of few more rivers
that are nowhere to be seen on maps.

The numbers of such ghost keep increasing.

There is a language that no one cares for.
There is a city that forces everyone to leave.
There are words that don’t sound fancy anymore.
There is an accent that needs to be exorcised from tongues-
the identity of what we are is a secret,
something we can be killed for.

But it is the season, the world
where rivers dry out beautifully,
where aches turn into anger, into revenge,
into art, into denials,
into search for something new.
But rarely does it turns into tears.

How is it we have so much to lose,
so much that is already lost
and yet have so little to grieve about.

“in the light that smiles nonetheless” – Nayana Nair

that’s where my anger lives

on the mud stains of a size 7 shoes
swimming on the white floor of my small apartment.

in the plants uprooted, in the marigolds strewn
and trampled on, in the light that smiles nonetheless.

on the streets where lives my fear – that finds me
and almost kills me, every time i hear footsteps behind me.

on the patronizing attitudes that i dutifully respond with gratefulness.
on the potential dangers, the possibilities of violence that every intimacy invites.
on the things i say yes to with a breaking heart.

in the mirror that only prizes my delicate frame and my weak wrist,
that tells me i would at least beautiful in the missing posters,
in the files housed in grim police stations,
in the videos and photos i would never get to know of (if i am lucky)

in the speeches that tell me i am safe
in the compartments and corners made for me.
soundproof corners where either
i would finally end up believing the facade, the lie of a safe world
or where i would learn how to stay silent to be spared the worst.

that’s where my anger lives

“What I Remember (28)” – Nayana Nair

As I grew up, whom I hate changed constantly, it changed more frequently than my dream for future roles.

Maybe that’s why I was so particular about what I hate and I did it with fervor for the first few years.

But as time went on that hatred turned into just another silence – my refusal to speak with anyone who I wanted to hate.

And now it has transformed to hating people while I pretend to get along with them. Curling inside with anger at the same jokes that I feel compelled to laugh on.

It is not an easy thing to do but it is still easier than all the alternatives. (The alternatives are my nightmare.)

Because even though my hatred has grown over time, I also find it in me that space to accept people at their ugliest, not loving them, just accepting that they too can live here, be here and do what I hate, and telling myself that I have to be fine with that.

I have come to hate this side of me the most – this cowardice dressed as generosity and understanding, where I do nothing but smile as my blood, my ideals burn and collapse.

Maybe that’s why I have hated myself most, with constant determination, without doubt. This hatred is my only light – my anger at myself, for not doing enough, for taking up fearing my uncertain volatile feelings and views, my own voice, more than I fear this world.

“Well” – Nayana Nair

I left my thirst in your well-
the only way to get rid of it,
get rid of it I must.
For three seasons I filled it up with dirt.
I waited for rains to hide my steps, to hide what I have done.
I built few hills every time you crossed my thought.
I built it with love. I built it with anger.
I built it nonetheless.
I prayed and prayed till I couldn’t see your ghost,
till praying didn’t hurt.
I grew up a little and I grew mad a bit.
The sound of fate now rings louder in my head.
I lay on the ground,
smile at the sun
that cannot reach my heart
at the bottom of your well.

“Is this what this distance, this decision means?” – Nayana Nair

With my back to the my cold family name
the metallic alphabets printing hard on my clothes,
I stand
with my feet half out of my pretty shoes –
with my painted nails still hidden in the skin of another animal,
my hands revolving the beautiful replica of Saturn
around the plastic heart on my elaborate key chain- a stage of its own.
I stand and wait for you to open your door on the floor above.
I hear a faint click, a phone ring, footsteps running away from the world
(why do I feel such sadness when I hear that?),
a door left open (to everyone but me)
I sit in the middle of my living room floor
staring up, at the underside- the creeping mold
of the stage where I played your lover, your nemesis.
It is cruel and incomprehensible that we can still live,
take calls, make jokes, eat, and still have the want to live.
After hurting ourselves and the world for the sake of love,
after all that, is this is it?
When you find your room, your world without me
which direction does your heart turn towards?
Do forget from time to time that we are supposed to forget each other?
When I find my loneliness becoming greater than me,
when it starts spilling out of me on dinner table,
when it makes me lose my mind, am I allowed to let go of you?
Is this what this distance, this decision means?
I hear your window open, I hear your excited voice
(why do I feel color of anger filling me again?).
I wonder if you have really found your new life
or is this an act you have put for my benefit?
Your kindness could only be in my head, as was your love.
TV drowns your voice again
and I thank all the accidents, all the things out of my control,
everything that moves us away from each other.
Otherwise, I never could.

“Small Impossible Dream” – Nayana Nair

Her floor had always been the color of the season
I remember this, only when I step into the mess of her life.
The spring issues lay scattered like the flowers
The pink, red, yellows, and greens,
women who only know youth,
women who only grow younger
the kind of woman she wanted to be
(what a small impossible dream)
and she almost is.
And now that she can never change
would she be happy?
When/if she comes across her own lifeless eyes in the missing posters
would she be glad to be one of the “sad popular”?
I shatter the home of her missing goldfish
in my haste efforts to pick them up
and put them out of sight- the bundles of glossy paper
that my eyes can’t handle.
I try to put them away,
wanting to throw them away
now that she wouldn’t mind, now that she won’t yell at me
or anyone for taking away too much of her.
I want to try it.
i want to try, so she has no option but to stop me.
“let’s leave her in peace” tells me my moral compass and my grief.
“i don’t want to show her the kind of respect that only dead deserve”
shouts back my anger and my love.
I drop the heaviest bag in this world on her rain soaked bed.
Her last dress, her last chocolate wrapper, her last bus ticket,
her last mistake, her last breath
everything spilling out,
everything ruining the spring that I dreamed for her along with her.

“Blue white love” – Nayana Nair

As I wait for you
in the back seat of your car
almost losing sense of my limbs and my scars
I smile – the sad smile I would never use when I am sober.
I smile thinking,
thankful,
at least I am not crying and waiting
in the trunk of some stranger’s car.
I don’t necessarily love you
but I guess I love your pattern, the predictability of your anger,
the time I have to prepare my skin to shatter.
I think about the times I have been broken
and abandoned by the loves and by the men before you
I think about your anger that I never forget this past.
I think about your hands that I can count on
even when your hands love my pain the most.
I think of your funny jokes, the food you cook in your good mood,
the songs that you hum as you move around the house,
your bluish white wings and your flickering halo
when you are asleep by my side.
I think I can love you a bit after all.

“maintain my world” – Nayana Nair

and this sad premise is not a commentary
on how rotten the world is
but an observation
that we have a pattern that is hard to break.

that people often misinterpret the habit of one thing
as a proof of its superiority over everything else in world.

that words can move your heart,
sometimes for worse.
it can move you towards hatred, towards fear
towards anger that is not your own.

that the wish to be right
makes us forget how to wear someone else’s shoes
or their color or their nationality or their body.
a body that is no longer their own – now that
they are just a sack of blood, a sacrifice
to please our personal gods – our thirst of power
and the “better world” that no one else wants.

this sad premise is not a commentary
on how rotten the world is
for i do not have the courage to write the worst
or to imagine how i am right now walking
over faceless nameless beings to maintain my world
just like you.

“Creature of Claw” – Nayana Nair

How long should I bleed
for the one who holds the knife.

I pluck another flower of kindness
to appease the one who won’t even smile for me.
He looks at it and tells me the tested foolproof ways
to kill this useless plant that grows in me
and cracks his shield.

He tells me he will love me more
if I will cut his skin
instead of making him look as bad as he is,
if I struggle a bit to get back at him
rather than struggle to know him like this.

He says
“i would like us to be peas of the same pod,
i would like us to be the insects with same appetite,
i would like you so so much more,
if you would help me rule this world
that doesn’t listen to me. if you could speak
the same words as i do, words dipped in careless anger
rather than the ones served with pity.
don’t tell me the danger of my dagger
by slicing away your skin. you feel more like an enemy now.
the more you bleed to make me suffer,
to make me give up, the farther you get
from the person i could love.”

How long should I bleed
for the one who holds the knife
to stop him from cutting his own heart.
This will hurt him, he knows,
eventually if not now.
Yet he is becoming a creature of claw with a paper skin,
he is growing a dream
from the horrors he has only read.
The unnatural pauses on his lips,
the look of helplessness in his eyes
makes me wonder if he even knows how to stop.