“Silent Dazzle” – Nayana Nair

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The words are brittle
the ones they ask me to eat.
I was told this is how you forget
but it really doesn’t work.
It always leaves a mark on me,
claiming a bit more of me.
My throat would have shined,
would have dazzled the world,
if they could see the shards of glasses that
are stuck inside, that decorate my wind pipe.
Only I know how my voice and my hunger
makes its way out of this maze.
Like the thief in the movies
avoiding the lines of red,
I move within my body
slowly, carefully,
afraid if what I might encounter next.
Next to this fear… words and speaking
and performing in front of this world
seems easiest part of existing.
My words pushed out into the world
are always wounded and broken.
And they lie on the ground,
in the hands that feel strange,
already losing half of their bodies,
their meaning already taking its last breath.

To speak is to see myself die in the hands of other
and yet be spared, only to live a bit more,
only to utter the next word.

Another piece of glass added to my collection.
Another drop of blood shimmering at its end.

“For every map you push into my hands” – Nayana Nair

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Can we really trust this map?
I don’t.
And I won’t
till you give me
the story of those who made it
or even of those who followed it
blindly, knowingly,
as they sang of their love under their breath,
as they shouted their own name in blizzards,
and found their past stubbornly standing
waiting for the impossible
at the shores that were made to crumble.

Tell me how small fishes nibbled at their tears
as they looked back at the shore, at themselves
they will never return to.
Tell me what happened of them.
Tell me about where they stopped,
where they left their breath lingering.
Print me a book of 300 pages, devoid of observable facts,
for every map you push into my hands.
Give me a glimpse of the heart
of the one whose words I must trust.

And once I see, I swear I won’t hold back.
Even if all I see are tears
I will take only steps forward.
Even if all I hear are dissolving laughter
I would chase their ghosts, I will call out to them.
I will lose myself, lose my voice
in chasing their fates.
I don’t know what’s the point of this
Maybe I just want to wander, maybe I just want to hurt
and smile for someone else
without a hope of getting something similar back.
To see, without being seen.
But I know I can only walk for this.
I can only walk like this.

“Love is like that for everyone” – Nayana Nair

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I washed my face
and with the water dripping
from my messy bangs onto the dress
that I never planned to ruin
I stared at the ant on the wall.
I listened to the sound of you
falling in love again just across the wall.

I held in the meaning of this
along with my breath.
I blew at the ant wondering
if I can be a force to be reckoned with
a hurricane for someone else.
Maybe not. I felt a sense of camaraderie
with the legs of prey today.
So maybe not today.

Or maybe never.
I feel you would laugh
even if I tried to be one.
I feel a storm. I always feel it at my back
whenever I turn away from you.
I wish I could fear for you, worry about you
in those moments
and not think about the knives
that leave your hand
always to find me. Though you say
you never meant it to be that way.

I fear most – the words of love from your lips,
because they are never for me,
but always said within my earshot
And though you say love is like that for everyone,
but do you really fear the same things as me?
Do you pray to the gods of bathroom ants
for forgetfulness, for survival
as if love is force that will always be against you?

“This is my thrashing around. This is my thank you.” – Nayana Nair

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Ice floats and ships sink
but the absolutes end here.
For this red sun, that seems
to sink together with us all,
is just playing a kind game.
It is will be fine. Just fine.
It will pretend to die
just for our sake.
Just like how it pretends to be born
so that we don’t feel alone.

It doesn’t know yet, that we feel lonely
in spite of that. That there are things in life
that can make us forget, that can cancel
the sunshine and the storms. There are soft things
that gets trodden upon,
there is a kindness that we can’t value as humans
because it doesn’t come from the one we want.
There are things with weight and never leave our heart-
Like love, like death, like subjective harshness of this world.
Like the unnamed thing eating our dreams,
Like the unmanned vehicle of luck running over us-
leaving us alive everytime.
The friend who forgets us so often
that we believe that we are ghosts, the rain of care
that we try to predict in the eyes of cold lover,
the floating bodies that we can’t recognize.
But we cry and in our tears we feel the remains
of the memory that we can’t access.
we only feel we must cry or we will regret.

So dear sun
forgive us if we don’t return your smile
as we thrash around breathless in water,
as we demand answers in a voice weathered by tears.
Forgive us if we forget
that unlike us you will probably die alone.
Things get forgotten
important things like you and the other members
of your life-filled-lifeless club.
That’s just how we are
but we realize it sooner or later what they were.

I can recall the days when i knew you tried to save me.
You almost succeeded. You were beautiful
even when my life was not. But even that helps.
Thank you.
We may not say it that much, but we have written a lot about you
in the papers you’ll never read.
I hope when you die the papers that are filled with your beauty
can burn to give you a few more breaths.
I hope it helps even though it won’t.

“Only sad poems spring from my mouth” – Nayana Nair

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When I think of you in an indefinite future
without me,

when I think of the past, this glowing mixture
of wax and webs, sticking to my eyes,
to my uncertain touch,
to my every new dream and hope for love;

when I cry, when I laugh, when I say even my own name
the mountains of stories, send me back your voice.
They say you will be cited as the reason
for my every my recklessness and my every holding back.

True to the prophesies of love
my skin wilts and dies and eats itself up.
My heart cries and cries and makes jokes about crying.
Nothing makes sense and yet everything is just as it should be.

And now I can call you my everything and
nothing in the same breath
and still know that even if I let your shadow swallows me whole
I can’t ever call all this love.
I won’t ever feel “love” for you again.

Yet only sad poems spring from my mouth,
when I think of you.

“Shifting places” – Nayana Nair

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Somewhere far away, in the early hours
a window cracks by the shrieks of a woman.

Let’s wait, let it end, it will be nothing,
it will end up like all the other things made up in my mind.

It will end, it will end –
I chant under my breath.

But it doesn’t end.
Wave after wave, it rushes towards me, to the doors of reality.

And in response something in me cries back, something in me knocks back hard.
Now all I can think is – “I must run. If I run I can reach there.

If I run fast enough there will be little blood lost,
a little mind saved. If I run, I can make it in time before the worse begins.”

But the roads keep disappearing, the houses shift places, everyone laughs a little louder
as I move forward only to be yanked back and pulled down.

There is someone far away waiting for my help
and her flesh is just as weak as mine. Her throat must be sore, her heart must ache.

I wait and cry for an eternity
before I hear everyone walk away. Before I hear hope approaching.

Hope sounds like
wheels of a bicycle and the broken whistle of a kid.

It sounds like “are you alright? aren’t you cold?”
It looks with puzzled eyes at my clothes that are somewhat not right.

It tells me universal facts like
“if you lie there either cold will kill you or a oncoming truck”

Hope tells me I am not dead yet.
I hope she is alive as well.

“The ocean is so huge and weird” – Nayana Nair

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I drew her shadow on sand.

She stood still, her tiny shoulders
and ribs (that thankfully can no longer be seen)
moved gently with each breath.
Each tiny breath
like the wave that swept in,
like her laughter used to be.
She looks at me and asks if it is done.
I nod. I meant to say “almost”.
Just like I had meant to say “stop”,
or “please don’t” or “take me and spare her”.
She doesn’t wait for my answers anymore.
She skips over the boundaries of our shadows.

Her outline of me drawn in shaky fingers,
looks like a human being pulled apart
beside her own shadow – a child, complete and perfect.
But she looks at her shadow and calls it weird,
just like how she called the ocean weird.

For her
the smiling children in the glossy magazine were weird,
a chocolate bar without an occasion. without a reason were weird,
the memories of home she wanted to forget were weird,
the days she walked to school with her friend
and the days the sun went down as she slept over the
struggles of homework were weird.
She sat down and tried to come up with an answer for my “why”.

“the ocean is so huge.
as huge as, all the things i can’t have
but once i had them. it is weird.

it is weird how this ocean is mine now,
the breeze is mine along with the sky
but i don’t want them.

you have memorized my shadow.
you keep bringing me back to life
but you tear up so easily as if even you don’t believe yourself.
as if you don’t believe in me .

sometimes i feel that this ocean is our gift to each other,
it is our heart free of our bodies.
sometimes i believe that i am here and you are here
and the world where my head can rest in your lap
still exists.”

“as if nightmares are fiction” – Nayana Nair

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let’s break those darn mirrors.
lets not peek through the hands of fear.
let’s not see the monsters of sorrow.
remember not
where they walked and where they hide.
close your eyes and wait.

for what?

for the end.

there is an end?

there always is.

there are
ends that pierce through our our shoulder blades
and the blinds of our ribs.
it is actually beautiful to see how
heart melts away too easily, stops too easily
loses it way too easily.

also

there are
ends that make broken mirrors magnificent,
that smell like our mother,
that find our mouths at the dead of the night
and breathe in their last breath into our collapsing lungs.

it is sad to see how
our helplessness asks sacrifice from others
how we go back to sleep,
as if nightmares, once they end, are only fiction.
how we realize only after hours and years, wake up too late to notice
the blue hands, that once seeked us in storms,
decaying under the sunshine of the most beautiful day of our lives.

and what do you do then?

close your eyes and wait.

for what?

for the end

there is an end? even after this?

there always is
but maybe not the one we want.

“Breathing Cities and Statues” – Nayana Nair

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When I try to imagine,
to recall the face of another human being.

I always see them standing opposite me
with an expressionless face, holding out their hand.

When they are ghosts of pasts,
they are breathing cities of peculiarities and possibilities.
I feel they were waiting for my hand to touch theirs.
I feel as if they have saved up their last smile for that moment.
The steps I couldn’t take, can now never take,
they look so easy, so worth it, so worth keeping as regrets.

But I never learn
because
when they are reflections of present,
they are breathing statues
and frozen hearts that couldn’t possibly beat.
I know that this hand is not for me,
that I have extinguished the smile on that face
just by being myself, just by existing.

Only the warm breath of passing time
can make me miss the world that could have been.
Only on the streets I cannot walk
grow my trees of faith.

But even then, even for the past
I barely feel any love.
What I feel is something similar to
the relief in the things that won’t change.
The pull I feel is for the trust that can never be broken,
my heart that I never had to give out,
the hand of every stranger that remained innocent thereby.

“Telling Signs” – Nayana Nair

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“Does rust affect plastic dreams?”
I ask my teacher in my sleep.
She takes out an axe and starts cutting down
the first mouth filled with wrong answers.
Two rows away
she wipes her brows and folds her sleeves,
she takes another deep breath
before she checks the attendance sheet
and finds the next dream to kill.

She tells me I should think more and ask more
and ask the questions that help me live.
She looks at the metal that grows out of my pores
and gives me another chance.
She says only if I would try to be better
than the people I am clinging to, I could grow up to be her.
I look away from the blood that flowing down her neck,
the parts of her that she intends to kill by holding other’s breath.

“What about my mother’s arms, weak weak exhausted arms?
Are those my telling signs?
Does that mean I don’t have to worry,
that I am just someone next in line?
What about you? Do you rust like me?
Would the color of my rust, would my weakened heart
make me worth protecting,
make me deserving of kinder words?

She told me “It will not get you respect or equality,
if that’s what you are looking for.
It can sure get you love, of some kind, for some time
but it is just a matter of time
before you see the end that only you can write.
And you would end up writing it
cause that painful end would be more truer and more yours
than any love that you find by compromise.”

As she walks past me, smiling lovingly,
as she spares my life, that now she owns.
As she dissolves my only way back,
I realize too late, that my chaos and my doubts
were more hopeful than an answer like this
that promises pain to everyone else but me.