“The Light of White Tulips” – Nayana Nair

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From the lowest branch
of the falling tree
I looked up
and heard someone laugh.

I have been reborn thousand times after that
but still
as I walk on the charcoal roads
lined with white tulips
that never light up,
as my foot slips
I hear that laugh again.

I hear it
when I cook food
and end up staring a bit too long at the flame,
when the smoke that kills, coats everything
that fills my stomach.

It is stuck in my heart, the violence of the end.
The bluest sky, the sweetest wind,
the flying songs, and my muffled cries-
crystallized as one.
One tiny map, that tells no directions,
forever stuck in the corner of my eye.

It plays like a record, plays hide and seek.
It is a play that ends
with the stories breaking into me.

“Invisible with every word” – Nayana Nair

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The last stranger at the funeral home
brought in the worst rain of the season,
the coldest wind of the night
along with your last letter.
He leaned against the window
and called up everyone he won’t be able to meet today
looking at me all the while.
As if he knew every word that I was reading.
Probably waiting
to see whether I cry at the same lines that he did.
His eyes look like the ones who have got used
to crying for things that cannot be undone,
for a life that cannot be.
I wondered if he loved you. Maybe he did.
Maybe you knew. I hope you did.
He sat beside me
trying not to grieve more than a mother,
trying not mourn like a lover,
making himself invisible with every word
i read under my tearful breath

“…even when I sat at the dinner table with my brightest smile and deepest hunger, i couldn’t convince me that i needed to exist here.
even the warmest embrace of this world could do nothing but break me. i knew opening my heart could only bring floods and all ends of all kind.
i knew all along of this end. forgive me for pretending otherwise….”

“Pamphlets” – Nayana Nair

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In the age of breaking,
all my classmates
swarmed to the dead pools in summer.
They ironed their skin with the heat I couldn’t bear.
With a smudged color on their lips,
their never resting pupils,
the pamphlets of their anxious laughter
that they passed to each other,
the crumpled remains they walked upon
they looked like imitations of greek statues
and love stories gone wrong.
They looked like people who joke about drowning and dying
and the love that killed them in their sleep.
“They are too young to know about love and pain”
someone said on TV,
even as we built an ugliest everlasting fire
out of the promises the world couldn’t keep.

“Winter on my cheek” – Nayana Nair

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He lived in the cracks
of the window I could never close.
The sun and the wind, the winter on my cheeks
were all him.
It was a reminder of the mornings
when he held the hands of his softer feelings,
when he silently took the path to brokenness
and named that day after me.
It was the reminder of his kiss
that would make me look away, make me look awkward,
make me do everything almost wrong but with innocence-
everything that made him smile.
I would step on his shadow
and before I apologized, he would step on mine.
He would call it dancing
cause there was no better word for that.
I would smile back forgetting myself

It was a beautiful word.
It was a moment that answered the question
that I never knew how to ask.

“It makes no sense now” – Nayana Nair

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I tried many times
to write about you,
to tell the world
why I loved you once
even when it makes no sense now.

Now,
when the days in the sun
seem like a dream, seem like a ruse,
seem like a bait
to everything that just gets worse.
Now,
when all that we once were glad to believe in
and that we were
has caused us to write this end.

This end
where I have my own sky
but end up looking at the fields below
the harvest, the drought, the spring, the festivals
that you live.
This end,
where your day always ends with looking for that bird
who foolishly broke her wings for you,
among the birds who only dream of flying.

“Last Drink in the Refrigerator” – Nayana Nair

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Amidst the clutter of her living room, I sat down with the last drink in her refrigerator- an extremely sour and almost suspicious orange juice.

I could look up the expiry date but it was already too late. I was almost down to my third sip. A thought that arrives a bit too late is probably a thought best forgotten. If I end up in ER for this, this might be my last orange drink. Sort of sad that the last orange drink in my life tasted like calculated foolishness rather than a bright sun and its shameless almost applaudable want of attention.

I walk around her apartment, looking at all the stuff she has accumulated over the years, things that I am rather too conscious to look at when she is awake. I do not know the face that I should make at the face of all that she can’t get rid of – the things she wants to throw away, the things that make her believe that she is an actual person with a life that was actually lived.

When I see her bleeding fingers, her grip, her intent to never fall from this precipice, her intent not to ever pull her self out of it; I end up finding all thing that I could have done, all that I could have been. I end up finding ways to have broken beautifully, to break in a way that wouldn’t endanger my will to live so much.

Which is weird because she is sadder than me. Which is weird cause I do not think the type of breaking matters that much.

They are just thoughts that have arrived a bit too late because now I have time to think, because now I have the heart to forgive, because I am that ideal age where I might opt to forget for the sake of my own heart.

If I end up in another heartache because of the things we can’t change anyway, if this turns out to by last love, then it is sort of sad that I can do only so little, that I can love this much.

“Any time now” – Nayana Nair

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“Irrespective of what has happened, I know happiness.
I do not remember the sadness as vividly
as those sentimental singers do. I don’t know the pain
that lasts eternities. I know of a happiness that cannot be lost.”
This is what I say when I meet my past.
This is what I say when I step into the world
where the past doesn’t pass by like it should.

I say this
because I cannot say
I am afraid of
because once___________________________
and till now it haunts me.

When___________________________________,
I have to strain myself, I have to forget myself.
Before someone tells me “This is life. Get used to this.”,
before they tell me about “the worst that can happen”,
I have to get out of my body,
I have to hide my remaining self in the corners I won’t fit.

I have to force myself not to throw up
as ___________________________________
_______________________________________,
as I see from far away
my body smile at all that is wrong.

I smile on my walk to the main road, I smile on my ride back home.
I hum a little joyful song as I close the door,
the same damn song I have hidden behind all this time.
On my warm bed, I lie facing myself
waiting for the tears
that should have arrived by now.
I wait for the breaking to happen,
so that I can put myself back,
so that I can suck out this poison again.

But the tears, the breaking, the moment of honesty,
the crying without knowing why
doesn’t happen.
And I realize, I fear that now ______________
has become a part of me, a natural pain.
Now
there is no way I can claim the body of the one
I cannot recognize.

I look at ceiling and hold onto the tremor of this stranger’s heart
that should have been me.
In those restless heartbeats, there is hope, there is fear,
there is anger, there is a me that has to say meaningless words
like “a happiness that cannot be lost” to soothe this world,
so that it won’t take away anything more of me.

“Millimeters” – Nayana Nair

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I folded her note and placed it carefully in my wallet. And I smiled. I told her something I do not remember now. It was something sweet, something weird, because that was the only sort of thing that could make her smile like that.

I folded her smile and placed it carefully in my wallet. And I smiled for a bit. I smiled till I saw the crease that now divided her in half. Trying to ignore the apparition of her breaking, trying to ignore my guilty heart, I gave her few words to smile about. She smiled as if she knew nothing. She smiled as if she knew everything that could ever be hidden in my heart.

I folded her forgiveness and placed it in my wallet. I smiled apologetically. She smiled back as if this is what love was. I recited to her all her favorite promises, probably to soothe my own heart.

I folded another note of forgiveness, and another, and another. The thickness of my wallet and her cracks increased by millimeters, they always walked hand in hand, unlike us. I bought her new flowers and she bought me new wallets. With a smile she told me something untrue about us, something that she could believe in. Maybe she waited for me to tell her something true for once.

But I folded every truth about us and hid it in the memories we won’t find our way back to. And just when I thought nothing can go wrong. I realized that I had also left her at that place where I was not allowed to live. She stared out and smiled from the warm rooms of love, far away from my unlovable heart.

“Do you feel the same?” – Nayana Nair

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It is not that I love the cold doors of strangers
nor do I want answers to the obvious, uncomfortable questions.
I am restless because everyone else is calm.
If only they would fret a bit, look puzzled,
cry for unknown reasons once in a while,
if only they also had the same questions that I do
or at least admitted feeling the same way
just to keep my heart,
then probably I wouldn’t feel so shabby and so incompetent
when I stood cluelessly in my life,
trying to act as if I know what I am doing.
When all I am doing is
watching things crumble and break.
When all I am doing is holding in my tears
waiting for someone to cry first.

“Embracing me” – Nayana Nair

On my closed hopeless eyes
you placed your lips
and something in me broke open.
And I burst from within,
from all my prisons.
From all my pseudo homes
I heard myself crying.

I heard the the noises of television
in the heavy air of my living room
die out, I heard myself breathe.
I heard the knocks on my door
and found all my lost selves
staring at me one second,
embracing me the next.

They told me
it could be the blue moon,
it could be the cyclone that is running wild,
it could be the end of earth predicted too many times,
it could be flowers-that-no-one-loves blooming in our land,
it could my restlessness and fear of being left behind,
it could be you.

As you sink into the couch,
forgetting the nail you painted seconds before,
as you look around frantically for remote,
as you leave the evidence of beautiful color
on my skin,
I realized,
that I found in myself the honesty to say out aloud,
to tell you, to accept that it is probably you.