“I am still hearing things” – Nayana Nair

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I heard you got sick of your life.
I heard I am not the only thing you are leaving behind.
I am getting to know you more when you are not here.
I am getting to know in ways, I didn’t want to and shouldn’t have to.
But I am still hearing things,
so I am still changing my mind.

Sometimes I want to tell them that they are wrong.
Sometimes I almost stand up for you,
but I don’t.
What I know, whom I knew, the you I knew
seems to be one more rumour on restless mouths.

Anything I can say about you now
seems as ridiculous and as probable
as what is being said about you
by those whom I don’t want to believe.

But what do I want to believe?
The ones with melting mind like me, are probably
not the ideal people to hold any beliefs about you
or about anything, actually.

Someone like me should have had
nothing to with you.
I shouldn’t have to learn my ways
about living a world without you.
Or worse a world where you are everywhere.
Just not the way I remember.
Just not the way I want.

“As if out of a dream” – Nayana Nair

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The leaves flew back to their trees.
The fruits became never eaten, never ripened, never born.
The papers on my desk forgot how to exist for themselves.
For a moment I feared maybe this is how
the past love, the healed hurt returns.
But it wasn’t so.

That day, on that bleak morning
you looked at me
and my heart learned to believe again.
My lips reached out to learn your name.
Your name, as if out of a dream, settled on my shoulders
and told me I can rest.

On that morning, that should have been like the hundred others,
I learnt that in spite of my bitterness and my disappointment
I wanted to believe in this world.
And even in my denial I was waiting for a moment like this.

A moment in which my broken and incomplete heart
is returned to its original state of trust, as if by a miracle,
by your gentle touch of understanding.
I feared calling it love, when I knew that it already was.
No other word would suffice.

“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.

“For this hell keeps me from breaking for bigger and worse questions” – Nayana Nair

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“We must break our bones and lives
to create another spark –
this is what we owe to this world”
the voice on other side of my dear old wall
told me, told us all again.
And because we must do something about it,
we kept ordering another heart, another mindset,
another way, another “desperate somehow”
till our hands never felt comfortable with anything that is not new.
Would we stop, could we stop
if someone told us
that we are more than our failures?
I wonder even if I could believe those words
I wonder if such words mean much in this world.

Even if there was another place
to start a life that doesn’t run over me every morning
on the tracks that keep changing their shape and place,
tracks where I am just a new layer of metal, another layer of blood
that won’t give up, that cannot die yet,
saying hello to the ones who wake up beside me
as if death is another sleep for which they cannot lose time.
Even in that place, I feel I would suffer trying to define
and find my place even if no one asks me to.

“Half of my Winters” – Nayana Nair

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I wanted to play this winter song
on the brightest day of spring.
Maybe at least in that way
I will be able to mourn for something
that I should have been happy to leave behind.
But the snowflakes in me
drift into the world
and become butterflies of someone else’s heart.
All my songs now belong to sun,
they belong to scent of summer fruits,
they fall as unpredicted rain
on the windows I closed just in time.
Anyway, I had to learn this sooner or later.
How can I keep believing in my own feelings,
on the things that were supposed to never change, never melt
after losing half of my winters to the green winds of change.
As I place all my “old dreams that don’t suit the new me”
away from my reach,
I wonder if the only way to save the dignity of my old sincerity
is to lock it way from my own skeptical, mocking eyes?

“Painting Summer” – Nayana Nair

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As my teacher with broken voice
dictated another question on radius and heights
and the mountains where no snow, no season, no name sticks;
I turned another page and wrote the name of an emperor
who died even though he believed he won’t.
I smiled and tried to correct the very very wrong spelling
of a national political party that my friend wrote. It doesn’t matter she said,
when I couldn’t figure out what was exactly wrong with it.
At lunch, she leaned against the wrong window,
the one with fresh coat of blue paint,
and told me a joke which she memorized
only to remember it wrong.
I again gave her the laugh that meant nothing in particular.
But I knew she loved it when I reacted like this-
as if she is forcing a laughter out of my silent sombre heart,
as if she is wining over me all my resistance.
But I was nothing like that.
I was nothing like she thought me to be.
My heart was already open. She was already inside me-
writing melodies with her soft steps beside me,
painting summer sun over every window I looked out of.
But these are things that need no telling,
there are my treasures I won’t allow her to take back,
these are the answer she will never realize.
I hand in another assignment, another answer sheet
that looks too little like me, that raises the eyebrows of people
who realize they couldn’t teach me a thing right.
I walk back to my seat wondering
if my shirt is tainted red with my love
like her back is filled with butterflies of blue.

“A New Hate” – Nayana Nair

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Surely, I love you.
Why else would I need to find a new me?
Why else, after all these years, would my jagged ends
and my fearful heart
bother me, when I have finally learned to look at them
with the kindness I was not born with?
But do you have to necessarily know of this-
these messy feelings of mine?
You are making me change.
You are making me learn
a new hate towards myself , just by existing.
Just the possibility that I might be in your heart
kills me, makes me come alive, makes me want to
undo the ties that I have held me safe,
made me safe for the world.
As long as you are here, I can never go back
to the life where I exist with ease.
It is ridiculous how I am convinced
that I will be never myself if I am apart from you,
even when I know it is a lie.
Today, I carve another need in my heart,
that I once could live without.
Today I hate you a bit more.
But you don’t have to know that.

“I never have to wonder, I never have to break” – Nayana Nair

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In the shade of a fruitless spring-less tree
as I tried to recall and write down
all the phone numbers I once knew by heart,
I looked at the sky
and laughed for thinking too highly
of myself and thinking too little about my heart.
That is the last thing I remember
before I was possessed.

Oddly I always remember this point of contrast
marked by the last tear I actually cried.
Whatever now had made home in me
convinced me
that I could be complete even if I stay as who I am,
that I could stand in this world
witnessing beauty, love, companionship, faith, life
and be happy
even if it could do nothing for me, even if they were not mine.

Someone, who couldn’t possibly have been me,
lived my life in my place from that moment,
and I never had to wonder again
if I am allowed to live like this.
I never picked up another paper I threw in the trash.
I now never tried to play the role of the one with bigger heart.
I was finally free of hope, of love, of being myself.
Now it was the work of whoever wanted this body,
whoever wanted my life.

“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.

“Knowing is also a sort of poison” – Nayana Nair

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There are too many thought on my mind today
there is too little love in my heart
but my eyes are focused only on you dear
my ears hear only your voice.
But it doesn’t matter,
I know that too.

Knowing is also a sort of poison.
It only makes me angry at
your smile and your assurances.
It doesn’t change the fact
that today you live in hurt
and tomorrow you may not be with me to get better.
It doesn’t change the fact
that you won’t let me come close,
that you say I have no right
to know that part of you.

All that I am allowed to do now
is to smile as if I do not see,
is to talk of a tomorrow that will never be,
think of names we would never get to use,
plan a journey we will never begin.
This is all we ever did, when we had so much time.
This is all we ever did. This is what we will never do.
That’s all there is left to it.

You will say that you are fine.
I will say “I know”, when I don’t.
And I will hate the sight of your pain
and I will hate myself for it, as will you.
Maybe I will burn this place down
if you don’t let me in.
Maybe there is no place left to burn,
Maybe that’s what you’re hiding.
Maybe that’s what you mean.