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"Ports" – Nayana Nair

a blue cloudy sky over a banana plantation.
the only word to be heard – rebellion.
someone is crying far away.
another round of bullets leave the shaking hands
of the one who can’t seem to stop crying.
now he must die just like me.
he rests his bloody head and its murky thoughts on me.
in this last afternoon of my life
i drift into bouts of darkness,
without fear for first time,
with the company of only his confused memories.
will this be my last dream – his life?
even in his head my homeland and its afternoons are beautiful.
he has a face that he doesn’t want to forget,
he has childhood home he can always return to
but he didn’t, he regrets it now.
he remembers the red color that his sister
stopped wearing on her lips
once her heart was broken badly.
how he kept it with himself, as a symbol of happiness
that he can’t have only for himself.
there are ports on rainy days
and buildings that became sadder at night.
he once painted the window that would never open to him
or anyone else for that matter.
he cried when another nameless woman was found lifeless
on the last page corner of newspaper
and the window never lighted anymore.
there is a cafe filled with few bombs that didn’t go off
where the only one spared was him.
he doesn’t want to be spared anymore.
i wonder if he thinks that he can have happiness when he ends.
i wonder if i will be able to smile on a rainy day, even if i am born again.

“Summer Mood” – Nayana Nair

my feet relentlessly insist
on burning themselves
for the sake of summer mood.

i wear a shirt too big for me.
a wear a smile a bit too small.
i wear the worry of my parents on my neck.

i feel their fear
when i smile back at strangers.
i pretend to be the sand that no one can hurt.
i pretend to be the sea that doesn’t end.
i pretend no man in this beautiful scene
would hurt someone like me.

but my feet, they burn, they bleed.
my feet that only wanted freedom
from the moment i was born,
now they make me feel like the mermaid
who was not wise enough.

i feel like i am losing a part of myself
every time a stranger asks for my name,
every time they accidentally touch my skin
to fill me with shame and sin.
i pretend to be cool, to be understanding,
to be blind
as i feel like the monster
that brings out the worst in people.
as i erase my memories everyday
to put faith in people whom i find hard to trust.

“I don’t want to be right anymore” – Nayana Nair

I wonder
‘me being right’
at what point of time it became synonymous
to finding out that his heart is empty-
my name washed out by the waves of the other girl.
The girl whom he swore is not his type.
“I was right”, I said as my hand trembled with anger and then fear
as I waited for the reply, for the apology, a missed call
from those whom I should not forgive.
But the way my heart is breaking
if only they would tell me that they still love me
I could have held them close to my chest
and thought of them as my family,
as the blood that I couldn’t part with.
I would have learnt to pretend
that I was born with a dagger on my back.

I was right, I understood
as I saw few more pictures not meant for my eyes.
(these days there are so many things that are not meant for my eyes),
as I try to digest the unfamiliar rage in his eyes,
as he breaks and breaks and breaks every moment we had
When I ask him “if should I stay around? if he’d change his mind?”
he tells me he doesn’t know his heart
and walks out into the night.

When I switch on the TV I almost expect to find
my name in red, my body in red
laying on the carpet that he loved
but had to ruin for a good cause, for a greater love.
This me, my death must be side effect of his love.
His love is all that matters now.
His love is not our love.
Our love is an obstacle to the happiness he can almost reach.

She calls me up again
to tell me how to gracefully give up.
I hear him behind her, I feel his despair in her voice.
(Must be true love.)
I hear him hum a song in the background,
a song that I have never heard.
I hear the ruffle of his clothes
that he moved from our life to her home
one betrayal at a time.
I hear what I don’t want to hear,
what I always knew-
they don’t want my forgiveness
even if I gave it for free,
I must mend my life by myself.
No past love will do it for me.

“Not So Bad” – Nayana Nair

he sings the most beautiful song.
so beautiful
that the sky becomes a reflection of the heart
that he can barely carry in himself.
the words on his lips
they break, they sound different,
feel different,
they sound like the first cry of a baby-
the violent coming to life.
they run and collide and shatter
against the rough indifferent surface
of this dying world, a not-so-bad world.
he becomes a not-so-bad singer.
as he runs out of breath and love
someone places a coin of gold in his hands.
he means to feel grateful for this compensation,
but all he can do is hold his tongue, hold his tears.
hold his bitterness in himself
and sing another song dreaming, waiting
for an honest reply, a genuine care,
an understanding gaze in return for laying bare his humanness.

“Upended” – Nayana Nair

i wonder
why i was born so,
with so many roots,
roots that find
only emptiness
at the end of their tips.

“a proper life” – Nayana Nair

the metal melts on my tongue.
this must be the fever that everyone warned me against.
now i will never know how to die properly.

i used up every drop i could find on this planet
to make the broken trees in me grow.
and there are so many,
so many skeletons with stunted growth.

i read we need not only the sun, but also the leaves, the green
to make something that can fill our stomach.
that light by itself can only gift hope .
how long can one live on hope?
just long enough to hate everyone
who has a piece fleshy fruit stuck in their teeth.

the only way to live properly i am told
is to become the the tailcoat of someone better than me.
i must make someone’s life easy,
must become a photocopy machine for their blood,
must cry silently into the sink as i clean the dishes at night
to live a proper life.

but it is too late i guess,
i have lost the plan i was told to follow obediently,
the only color that remains on my skin are the ones i was born with,
the unflattering shape of my body
won’t be bought with the coins of love in any shop,
my finger, my unshapely hands have become un-holdable.

the adjectives, the rumors, the sad future of mine
they falls like pieces of metal on my ears everyday
and yet they are not the words i can say, or accept.
these word, this metal melts in my mouth
they say i will die a sad death,
that i will die as i have lived – by myself.

“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.

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