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“The door opens slowly” – Nayana Nair

I turned another corner
and walked into another house
that I knew nothing about.
The owner, the god of this land stood there
outside in the garden
telling a child how to create more beautiful loops,
how to somersault,
how to find more worms, more of everything.
An adult placed like a talisman
that couldn’t keep me
or what I bring with me away.
He didn’t even notice the grave that I carried in me,
the open pits in ground awaiting more bodies.

I walked to the front door and rang the bell
thinking, wondering what must I not be seeing
in the person I see as a fool.
I wonder if the graves in him didn’t love him back as well.
The door opens slowly and I wait.
I let my willingness to wait announce to her that it is me.
She makes me a wait a bit more-
that is the nature of game we are caught in.

Seconds and hours I spend on her couch,
waiting for the commotion outside to end,
for “the happy family on a sunday morning” to end.
She has four brother
and an almost sister that they never talk about.
She reminds me this a few more times
so that on the mental map of belonging and similarities
I find this unnamed sister closer to my role.

They rush in like a flood, like a rain gone wrong-
all these bodies that I am not supposed to see.
“They are perfect”, I thought to myself.
I thought of my mother, the anger in my home,
the counting of countless miseries,
the coarse harsh words that filled my eyes, then filled my mouth,
the gentle sunsets that drown only dreams.
“They are perfect”, I think, “for someone living in the same world as me”.

She tells them about my scholarships, about my fragile upbringing,
about the art that runs in me.
She tells them all about the things that they like.
For today she has made them into me.
I smile and say a little too less.
I smile as if I mean no harm.

But I know
I am here.
I am here and there is no escape
from the fact that eventually
I will sit in this room with my love
and with a glitter pen running out of ink.
I will draw, deepen the cracks that I already see.

Such is my nature.
Such are the songs that I live on repeat.

“Enough for me” – Nayana Nair

She climbed the stairs
never pausing for a second.
I knew what a second of thought could do.
How it could pull back her steps
and let out her screams.
I knew this is something she didn’t need.

She climbed the stairs
and walked towards me.
Beside me, not exactly near,
steps away perhaps she stood.
And that was enough for me.

Enough for me to not know of loneliness.
Enough for me to not feel fear
what all I could never be.
She stood where I could grow if I chose to,
where I could happily fall apart
and she would never leave.

But I also knew that meaning of this distance
which she hoped I didn’t see.
Being her mirror, as I looked at her from this distance,
I realized this carefully measured out space-
how beautiful and perfect
and safe it was.
She always stood far enough
so her heart wouldn’t rely on me to beat.

“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

“Temperaments and Thoughts” – Nayana Nair

We once loved this world
more than ourselves.
Now we just like everything
only as much as our own temperaments and thoughts permit.

The oranges reminds him of view from his broken home,
the sour taste of everything that should have been beautiful.

The glowing beads fill my mind with the images of meaningless gifts,
the faces of men and friends that always fall short
even in the face if my plummeting expectations.

Going out of our way to hide
is the measure of our love somehow.
We sit across each other for every meal
and talk about things that make sense,
everything and anything that can’t cause more harm
than the things close to our heart have already done.

I feel the rustle of a world buried deep in me,
he must feel the same.
But the world that is lost and the hope that is no longer mine
can only do so little.
There is a happiness that doesn’t look enchanting.
There is a kindness that isn’t grand.
There are things only we can be for each others
even if there are thousand things we can’t.

I would have told him “I love you”
if I didn’t know how hearing these words
have only made him cry.
He lets me love within the boundary
of my temperament and thoughts,
he stands by these walls and knows why they are for.

“Variant of Love” – Nayana Nair

You held me as I broke again and again.
Your warm chest tried to hold me, to keep me alive.
I couldn’t cry anymore
I felt indebted to you I loved you.

You left me again
in the crowd that you promised to protect me from.
I called you, your number and you name-
becoming useless to me with each passing day.
I cried because
I felt cheated I loved you.

As my heart filled again, as it emptied itself out
you stayed in front of my eyes
in flesh or in glowing illusions,
telling me, nothing is wrong with me.
So I slept peacefully
because you made me forget my incompleteness I loved you.

You told me love is supposed to be a pain anyway.
That this smile of mine that shined in spite of your mistakes,
in spite of your cruelty on my weary hopeful heart
was the only thing that made you believe in my love.
And again I smiled back
so that you continue to believe me
because I loved you.

There were moments, glorious ones,
when you were the most the beautiful human,
when you cried for me,
when you cried for the world,
when you tried to do something right.
I wanted to stand beside you
so that I could protect you somehow
because I loved you more for it.

But now
I must face the world and myself alone,
without having to become something right in your eyes.
Now I don’t have to round up my every feeling
to a variant of love.
Now I can care for you, hate you
and see it as care and hate and a frustration without an end.
Now I can see you as the miracle and as the failure that you are.
Now I can be a failure myself.

I am not good at loving in the past.
I can only be honest.
Now I cannot look back at you
and call you my heart.
You were so much to me
that I badly wanted to be something that you want.
I kept on sleeping to keep your dream intact
and calling this love, when it clearly was not.
Even though it was probably something better than that.

“the knot in my heart is one year old now” – Nayana Nair

a library of all my roles
stands in the middle of my heart.
i have placed your face as the title of
this poem that i am going to drown.
i lie on the beautiful lake of love
and press my ears, waiting
to hear your last breath in my world.

“Pendulums and Spirit Animals” – Nayana Nair

In my beautiful dreams
I run to you, as if you are my body,
as if I cannot press play without your hands,
as if the world won’t come into my grasp
without your skin.

When my eyes open,
I don’t mind losing the world
if it helps me get rid of you.

An animal in me cries out your name every hour
my panic filled voice shouts back – “shut up!!!”.
I must choose, I must give up on one thing,
if I want to be something more than a lifeless
pendulum.

In a room scented with disinfectant
as I wait for my turn
I wonder if the man in white coat
will sing me something beautiful
when he puts me down for good.

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

Posted on

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”.

“Only Weight” – Nayana Nair

Posted on

She said
“The moment I glace
at the empty parking space in the sky,
I wait for you to appear
with the plastic wings and your boyish grin.”

The sky does that to me too.
I look at the drooping branch
the sky holds in its mouth,
I wait for you to tear your most beautiful dress
at the knees, your tiny tiara clutched in your hands,
taking that unsuccessful flight again,
leaving behind all the burdensome part of your being
just to tell me the precious secret of your heart.
Just to fall into me, to take me away,
to fill me with life,
to fall and bruise with me,
to make me yours.
As I fail to catch you again,
as you pretend to die over me
trying to hold in your laughter,
I couldn’t help but smile.
I couldn’t help but want you to be the only weight
that I carry in my heart.

“I miss you too” I said.

“Audience” – Nayana Nair

Posted on

the most beautiful
bitter bits
of this world
belong to me now.

a car rushes by far away
and i wonder about
the girl crying her eyes out
on the table not far from mine,
or the middle-aged man looking lost
in front of his home in my window,
or the woman who left her phone and purse
on her table on purpose
and turned back at the door to look at something
i couldn’t see.

i wonder if they feel the same as me,
if i would ever feel anything brand new,
if i would ever have a feeling
not felt by anyone in this world.
even when i know how ordinary
my extra-ordinary pain is, why does it feel so deep,
why do i struggle to walk on these crowded roads
why can’t i wear my sadness, my tears on my eyes
and let this world be the audience for once.

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