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“Cutouts of Star Factories” – Nayana Nair

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Though the sky is filled with lights
the nights on this land are lonely as ever.
Again I am in love
with a part of sky,
with things that we call heavenly
only because they are out of our reach,
only because they are not ours to keep,
because every god seems to love them more.

I end up on websites or with books that say
“this is how the universe looks”
“this how the stars are born”
“this is the most beautiful cloud you will ever know”
“this is something your tearful eyes can never see”.
That for every drop of light
there are an expanse of emptiness
which we cannot imagine.
That we are small and we are insignificant.

Funny how the love for things
that I thought couldn’t possibly hurt me
also takes me down the same path.
The path that I walked once
holding the hands of someone
made of flesh plastered with signs
of caution and warnings.

But it is different now.
I guess the difference lies in who tells this news to me.
If I am nothing, if this hurt that I feel because of you
is of minor importance,
if I have a life that will be easily forgotten,
then I do not have to kill myself only to be remembered well.
And maybe,
just maybe
I can forgive you for being human
and myself for not being humane enough.

“Stack of Books from Strangers” – Nayana Nair

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Now everything tastes like my oft-repeated past.
This bitter turn of events
has brought new meaning to my pain that I didn’t ask for.
This morning I even look like someone who needs help.

I guess I may have looked that way for a long time
in everyone’s eyes but mine.
In my eyes, I was doing better,
good enough to be not noticed and singled out.

I smiled enough to keep people from seeing
all the mess I carried in me.
But lately, strangers hand me books
to keep my sad mind busy.

Books that tell me
that it is not too late, that one at a time
I can make something out of the soil that won’t leave my skin,
the soil that I am buried under.

I want to believe in this nonsense more than anyone can imagine.
But my heart is not the same now
as it was years ago.
It no longer believes the words that feel good and hurt later.

“What I Remember (15)” – Nayana Nair

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I think of the clothes that are too tight or too loose for me,
of my skin that doesn’t like me the way it used to.
How the mirrors in my home are hidden
by the growing towers of books.
I wonder what this says about me?
I think of the fear that I feel when I am alone,
the fear that I feel when I walk into happiness.
I think of the kinds of fear that fill my heart.
I count them for a long time
but nothing happens when I finish counting.
I wonder if knowing myself
is really the first step to solving my life.
Do I want anything to be solved?
I count the people that who no longer speak to me
and half way through I remember
that it was me who had thrown them away first.
Silence is my weapon, not theirs.
I realize I need to always hold a grudge against someone
to live with strength.
I wonder when this strength became so important to me.
I wonder when this love that felt like a lemonade in summer
actually became a commercialized product
with an expiry date stamped on it
before it even reaches our hands.
I think of my skin by which I am stuck to a world like this.
I wonder why I pretend to be better than this world by saying such stuff?
Why am I so into acting all deep and philosophical?
I wonder why I love to call myself broken even though I hate to be seen so?
Don’t misunderstand me.
I do not want answers.
Answers are painful and pointless,
answers are a tasteless end
to the struggle that otherwise makes my heart bleed colors.

“Ready to Break” – Nayana Nair

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We are the mediocre television soap
that no one wants to see.
We have learned to gulp down bland food, bland life.
The books that get us jobs, get us friends, gets us love,
we have learned to pay for it without bitterness.

We adore the mania, the depression,
the moments when we don’t want to think clear-
that makes us feel alive,
anything like that,
we are ready to call it love.

In our small hands we carry
whatever meaning we have left in us-
the offering that no gods want.
We are ready to break for anyone
who is ready to break for us.

“Whatever Blooms in Darkness” – Nayana Nair

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When all things that are not divine
found a home in me,
I realized they would probably
be the only friends I ever make.
I read up many books
and considered taking up some mildly destructive
and slightly disturbing hobbies,
so that I could know them better.
So I could become someone they could accept.
I looked for a teacher who could teach me
how to love back darkness,
how to become a wound itself
instead of nursing one forever.


I want to say I found happiness
in that one friend
with sad eyes and bitter lips.
But there still lived in me
that one girl made of light
who wanted to ruin me
by guiding me back to life.

“What I Remember (12)” – Nayana Nair

hailstones.
that’s what i remember.
when the stones fell
onto the already breaking roofs of our class,
the girl who sat three rows ahead
stopped reading.
everyone who was busy day dreaming,
who had shut their ears to every useless fact that we come to learn,
knew how to listen to this,
to this violence that could hurt but won’t.

i sat there listening,
wondering if my skin would also be able bear
what this tin sheet roof can,
if my classmates would look at me
understand their violence that could break me but hasn’t yet.

maybe it was our silence,
maybe it was the teachers glare
that made it stop,
made the loud shrieking rain to end.
and when she left
the stones had already turned into dripping water.
the kids wanting to forget
the trauma of being silenced,
of having their dreams interrupted,
of being reminded of their helplessness
recited incidents that didn’t happen,
tried to laugh a little louder than usual,
made another joke at the expense of someone like me
and so my only memory of hailstone
was also reduced to the din of students (who never liked me).

i closed my books and pretended to be asleep
while everyone ate and talked to their friends.
i waited for everyone to leave
so I could eat alone
without being ashamed for being left alone.
“hailstones”.
i said the word aloud in that empty classroom.
i had one more words now
to describe these kids who scared me by their meanness,
who made me like the prospect of loneliness.

“What I Remember (10)” – Nayana Nair

I want to write about the boring,
about all that is insignificant,
about the trust that lasts,
about the promises that are kept,
about the things we don’t have to beg from god.

I belive there must be some things in life that goes as we wanted to,
that didn’t take our effort, our prayers to go right,
that fell into place so naturally
that we didn’t even notice the ease they gave us.
The boring that is neglected, that is mocked
must be a dream for a person I don’t know of.
The days of charity and donation,
the realization of the lack that we don’t experience
hits us only briefly,
gives us only short lived sadness or gratitude
and a bit of pride (that has a little longer life)
in ourselves for venturing out of our boredom
to witness the lacking of others,
to distribute a bit of what we have in abundance.

But I am not that changed,
I am not that affected.
Tomorrow when I wake up
I will forget
about the stomachs that are never filled,
about the dry glass and throats,
about the darkness that night brings,
about little curious eyes that will never see a book.
Tomorrow, again I will shamelessly
write about my need for love and acceptance.

But that is how I am
and with time I have learned
not to feel guilty for being like this,
for that is the kind of human I was made to be.
I will only be bothered
by the small bruise on my face,
the small cuts on my hand,
even if I know the existence of greater pain,
for that knowledge is not an anesthetic .
I am a petty creature like that
and I can only really feel my own loss.

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