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“What I Remember (14)” – Nayana Nair

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LOVE IS …

hiding my smile when you walk towards me
talking your name, just because i can
(just to make sure that i can).
feeling like a child when you call my name back.
interrupting the meaningful silence
with pointless debates,
pretending to sulk, acting cute,
being happy to act like idiots for once.
wasting away time,
walking towards nowhere
because that is what we do.

painting each other again
till we get it right.
loving in every way possible.
trying to become the love
that cannot be forgotten.
sweet words, sad past,
family tree in red ink,
lost friends, lost innocence
fill our time.
reliving the past that we suffered alone
in each other’s presence.
finding meaning in destiny,
agreeing with god’s plan,
begging for a day more
of this, this happiness
that fills us with dread and hope
of being understood.

waking at midnight,
hiding my body that you have killed for the day.
waking at noon,
looking for you, giving you second chances.
getting back only one word reply-
‘hi’,’ok’, ‘hmmm’, ‘lol’,’k’, ‘bye’.
waking up again and again.
going to sleep again and again.
murmuring your bitter name in my sleep
with tears i won’t remember.

silence – avoiding uncomfortable topics
silence – avoiding fights
silence – nursing wounded ego
silence – planning revenge (or something of that sort)
silence – being handed the list of shortcomings
silence – being handed ultimatums
silence – having nothing to talk
silence – feeling lonely
silence – ‘love’ has left the chat

waiting at cafes
that sell drinks which taste
like the mass-produced dreams
that make your heart burn
and everything with chocolate
as a cheap therapy,
as they play breakup songs on repeat
to normalize the pain of every kind.

“What I Remember (11)” – Nayana Nair

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beauty may be only skin deep
but lack of it goes deeper than that.
so deeper
that you end up learning to want things
that you wouldn’t otherwise even think about.
i wish i could remember every face
that was surprised to know
that i am okay with looking older than i am,
surprised that i do not want to exorcise fats
especially when i have got so much of it.
every morning i wake up
they hover over me like faceless shadows
with black markers, drawing over my body
showing me all that is wrong,
giving me tips so that i can become easy to look at,
hiding their superficiality under the wraps of concern,
whispering how thick-skinned i am when i don’t listen
and wondering what is wrong with the ones who love me.
it made me wonder
that maybe going under the knife
wouldn’t be as bad as being smeared black by markers.
that maybe i am supposed to love myself
only after the world approves of the ‘me’ that i want to love.
i would have understood if they cared,
if they actually meant good,
but they don’t
because they know nothing more than my name
and they say my name only with heart-breaking adjectives and assumptions.
i want to say they are wrong,
but i have suffered their gaze for so long
that sometimes i end up sharing their hatred of me, of what they see.
there are days that i obsess over a passing comment.
there are days i beat up myself for being like this.
i starve and fail,
i try to get over their words and fail,
i try to hate myself and fail.
i want to say it doesn’t matter
but it does
because i am tiring myself out
by trying to see something good in me,
by apologizing to myself,
by trying to save my heart
while they burn my body in the woods.

“Counting Losses” – Nayana Nair

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I can only go as far as my muscle memory takes me.
Since my mind is not here
and I can’t leave this body
that I have never been able to accept as mine.
There is a road that lies in front of me
and there is nothing for me to do
but to walk.
You bring me back to present
and ask me where I have been.
There is a place that I left lifetimes ago,
where I am searching for the reason of my grief.
There is a sun that rises only in the heart of the lost,
there is a mist I live in that you cannot see.
I can stand at any edge and be sure I won’t fall.
I can reach out for any happiness that I am sure I can’t have
and nothing will hurt me more than that.
There are losses that I am counting,
there are bruises I must count as gain only because of love.
Every hope I find
becomes a reminder of something I have already lost.
Can you teach me-
how to go about this life,
how to get rid of this part of me
that can only love the past?

“Part and Parcel” – Nayana Nair

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That day when it rained of
bruised and dying birds
of feathers marked with colors only
an arrogant and confident cruelty can cause,
everyone looked about for an umbrella
to protect themselves from this vision
that they didn’t want to witness.
This was not the historic moment
that they wanted to be part of.

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I could understand their willingness to believe
that the marks of fingers in the blood and bodies
that filled up the roads
can be called natural causes.
It was probably better
than knowing the names of people whom we may have laughed with
only to know they know how to fly,
how to clip wings and suspend the decaying bodies in air
for eternities,
while we asked them the directions for our life,
while we asked them to tie up our laces as a child,
while we asked them to love us, and build a new life.

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I guess even the innocent
got fed up of being looked at like a potential danger
or tired of looking for one.
It was probably more convenient to come to an understanding,
of agreeing on a made-up fact
that this all is part and parcel of being a bird in the sky,
that birds should know better than to fly,
and tempt innocent humans into life of crime.
Birds at their best should just chirp joyfully
and let everything slide.

“Less Than Half” – Nayana Nair

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The moment I pass any door
a part of my brain whispers-
too many people,
watch you step and watch your tongue,
lest you want to be branded as one of those women
that you are are and aren’t at the same time.
For if you are not careful enough
you will soon believe everything that people say about you
as you are doing right now.
Right now only half of you exist in this body.
I know this because that is what I was calculating
in the class of areas and volumes,
as teacher taught how we determine
the volume the water left at in a cylinder of flesh
once it starts leaking from all the words that have pierced it.
Or that’s what I heard at least.
I got had good score for that class
and I got called many more names.
A little more of me seeped out
and now I am less than half of what I was.
I know this because I have lost my friends
(maybe they see I am no longer me).
I know this because my heart no longer protests
when I hear people calling me by wrong names.

“Turn Your Face to Mine” – Nayana Nair

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The light I can always return to-
that’s who you are.
The darkness I can always sleep in-
that’s who you are.
An amphibian who moves away
from what it will always seek
sooner or later,
who seeks two things
(or too many things) at once;
dancing with and writhing in
not one but two bodies-
that’s who I am.
Turn your face to mine
and see
which monster you have to feed today.

“Substitute of Light” – Nayana Nair

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Here in this night glowing with memories
placed as substitute of light in the face of storm,
I sit with all the words my body clung to
in spite of its bare, aging and passing spring.
I scratch out all the definitions of what I am
from the paper that seemed to once shine
and reflect an image that could have been me,
if only I didn’t have to live till this day
to realize what a mirror really is
and how painful it is to look into one.
Now when I write down new rules and new directions for myself,
I envision another day in future
when again I will have to strip myself
of all I believe to be true.
And knowing that a day like that exists ahead of me
makes me look at myself with certain pride
for trying again and again.

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