“Something Simple” – Nayana Nair

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The evening melts into my drink.
“I must burn something of myself here.
I must burn to remember this, to remember her.”,
I keep repeating this to myself as I stand beside the dying fire.
Suddenly my teeth ache for something cold to sink into.
I remember the orange color that used to spread on my tongue
as I drowned myself in the glass bottles of artificial citrus,
running away from the summer that I had waited for.

I walk away from the fireplace,
putting a bit more distance
from the monster that ruled the mantle,
relived to have found something simple to talk about.
I sit beside her and speak in my human voice.
I tell her of this small thought,
this small honest flaw of mine she can play with.

She asks “was that how your childhood was like?”
I could have answered “that’s how my life is and will be”,
but it was more easy to ask “what color was your tongue then?”
She recites from memory a poem.
A poem on the beauty of transparent things,
on the cruelty of everything
that own you without leaving stains,
without giving you a chance to scrub them out of your soul.
She smiled and thus handed me something
that I can consider hers for a while.

“prompts” – Nayana Nair

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i think of parasols.
i think of wearing my miniature body made of colorful frills,
holding my own soft innocence,
not like something that can be and will be lost
but like something that will never be destroyed,
like something one never gives a second thought about.
i think of never knowing fatigue, never resting.
my skin only knowing the sun.
i think of classrooms fitted with air coolers
i think of home and its beautiful cold floor
i think of places i knew i could always return to
once i was done with my playing, once i felt my hunger.
i think of the time that i lived not knowing not understanding
the appeal or the need of shadows.

i think of stones.
their small happy weight in my hands.
the deftness of my fingers and my wrist as i played.
my palm holding them together,
scattering them, collecting them.
my palm feeling the coldness of the evening,
knowing time through them.
i think of the stones that grew on the sides of broken roads
beside my source of earliest magic
-the touch-me-nots, the insects made of velvet,
and the lost fireflies.
i grew up in a broken forest
wearing stones as brittle as me.

i think of fruits.
their colors that i loved
even when i didn’t like what they were.
they tasted too mellow, too tame,
too transient to me.
their juices just carved a bit more hunger
in my stomach. my stomach that was already learning
to ask for more and more.
i carved their colors in my notebook.
i dreamt of drawing them up on my skin.
this was before i knew what a tattoo was,
before i learnt the dangers of carving things in you
that you can’t possibly love.

“What I want to say, what I want to ask is something else” – Nayana Nair

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Today I am glowing with your gentleness –
the miracle that I thought was lost for good.
Today all the songs are about
the open sky of your heart,
about the wind that blew through me to you,
through the rooms of your childhood,
through the ghosts in my eyes which you could see too,
through your ruffling shirt made of bluest words
enveloping me, making a new sun for me
with the easy way you leaned in,
with the kiss that reached me,
even in all my hiding places.
So sad no lips were involved, yet so beautiful
that I can remember it without
the memory and weight of flesh.
It pains me somedays, somedays makes me regret
all the things that vanished, all the good things
that almost happened, but didn’t.
But mostly it makes me proud
that I used up all my beautiful dreams on you.
Your smile, that I have never seen
but only felt in words,
was the most beautiful smile of this world.
You were more dear to me
than most of the world that I got to keep.
How sad
that I never got to tell you this.

“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 somber heart,
as if she is winning 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.

“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.

“Photographs of Unmade Bed” – Nayana Nair

#1
Today I am fixated on the the houses far ahead, the colors on those countless walls that are yet to be carried away by the winds. Today I am fixated on the wrong choice of shoes, the red sore blooming on the fingers of my feet. Today I am filling my eyes with all that I refuse to see otherwise. I like days like these. They give me the proof of life outside of me, proof that I am part of this world. Days like these let me know that even if there is nowhere I particularly have to go, my feet are sore from walking and the roads are bit weathered. So it must mean something. Slowly I am changing the world, just as the world is changing me. So it must mean something. These are the days I realize that I do not just look at the world, but kiss the world while hating it in my heart. That world doesn’t just disown me, but it keeps looking at my childhood photographs when no one is looking. It all must mean something.

#2
My bed sinks a bit more everyday. It feels as if every day I am carrying, dragging another new person into my uncomfortable sleep, to my messy life. There is no blood, or signs of resistance, so it must a deal of mutual benefit. I hope so. I wake with only my skin, with only my dry eyes. So again it must have been someone I mistook as you. Someone who knows how to keep their end of promise, someone who doesn’t look back at the weight they are leaving behind in my new scented sheets. With you there was warmth and suffocation and never-ending want to be something more. With you there were eyes that stared at me as if I am a road you are forced to walk on. With you there were things I couldn’t be and shouldn’t be. Without you, there is me and my imagination that draws you body full of life on the photographs taken of unmade med and undecided mind. What do I want really?

#3
The one love? The truest kind? The rarest kind? The kind that is made of eternities? The kind that is hellbent on making that big change? I sort of had that. “I had that love” would be my answer, only when I am asked to keep my answer short, which I am often asked.
In the answers of 500-1000 word limit, in the answer where 10 marks are at stake, in the answers only you would have asked – I wanted my only love to be true somehow, no matter what it took. Do you know what that means? It means there are hazy days, holding lies close to heart, illusion that I fed with my own blood that make appearance in this answer. The answer involves knowing everything that is wrong, knowing everything that shouldn’t be, knowing the end that I won’t have. The answer involves cutting short my words, even when there is no need to, even when you are here and you are listening. The answer is pretend that was true, the tears that I didn’t hate as much as I should, the person I liked a bit more than I should have. Always wondering if love would feel like love if it was not me and you standing on both of its end.

#4
There is soaring in the skies. There is running away to the ends of earth. There are, of course, moons, and sun, and stars for taking. There is a wish list for every age we failed to love properly. There are your past loves, there are my past pains to talk about till late night. There are things to eat and relish and complain and things we will never make the way we should, things we will throw away even though they turned out well. There are stories we will make up because we can, because they are fun. There are stories that will tell thousand times even though we won’t be believed. There are night we see only each other, there are nights we realize the pain of not being loved. There are permutations and combinations that I was always poor calculating, that you were never interested in. There is a day like this where we have nothing in our pockets to count on, no possibility, no scenario that could bring us and place us together in this life. This is the only day that I didn’t want to arrive at.

#5
You are only as dangerous as much as I let you be. If I let you be a mistake, you are just a humiliating past to be erased. If I let you be the friend that should have remained a friend, you are just a human among thousand others, a human I dealt with with immature idea of carpe diem, with a stupidity I once called honesty. If I let you be the reason of my happiness, you become the reason I should never smile again. If I let you be the incarnation of all that destroys, you become the plague in my heart that will not end till I die, till I give myself up. The more I let you be within the scope of my life, the more I regret letting you in. I never try to think of you as someone I associated the word love with. That word lets you become my breaking heart, my lungs devoid anything capable of giving life, my mind slowing down and stuck at the worst part of my life.
So when I think of you, I think of you as the result of taking the idea of selflessness, of selfishness, of wanting to be part of this world, of taking “it all must mean something” a bit too far.
Because irrespective of what you might have been for me. Now you are only as dangerous, as important as I let you be.

“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.

“Undying” – Nayana Nair

The brightest star of my childhood dreams
sits on the set of a sitcom
and tells jokes about me.
He wins few hearts and breaks few guitars-
becomes an artist of some kind.
He fills the screens with the love he only spoke about.
I become a bit more irrational in his stories
sometimes so much, that I feel no wonder
when he forgets who I really am.
It feels natural when I don’t look at him
when I talk of love, or when I don’t talk about myself.
I trace the distance between the dreams that he had
and the person he has become
and find myself stuck between choosing and abandoning
the same person with different heart.
How helplessly we have drifted to a life
where our best doesn’t do much,
where my undying love only causes me pain,
where your eyes filled with dream only makes you blind,
where the death of our love and the tear from my eyes
are the only thing that gets you closer to what you want.

“Only Weight” – Nayana Nair

She said
“The moment I glace
at the empty parking space in the sky,
I wait for you to appear
with the plastic wings and your boyish grin.”

The sky does that to me too.
I look at the drooping branch
the sky holds in its mouth,
I wait for you to tear your most beautiful dress
at the knees, your tiny tiara clutched in your hands,
taking that unsuccessful flight again,
leaving behind all the burdensome part of your being
just to tell me the precious secret of your heart.
Just to fall into me, to take me away,
to fill me with life,
to fall and bruise with me,
to make me yours.
As I fail to catch you again,
as you pretend to die over me
trying to hold in your laughter,
I couldn’t help but smile.
I couldn’t help but want you to be the only weight
that I carry in my heart.

“I miss you too” I said.

“Black Pond” – Nayana Nair

As I climb,
my steps remembered the shoes I once had
the ones that didn’t hurt so much
and how hands of mine that hacked through them
just to become my own person,
some sort of grown-up.
I climbed over the yellow soft dress
and the light that it caught
just to get this, this body that looks held together
but is not
(this body knows only how to fall apart),
just to get few more shadows that ruin my beautiful wrist
with their persistent passion.
They claw through me, to see how I am made,
how I look and speak once I break.
A stranger once left me at the bottom of a black pond
and called it love just so that I won’t cry
and in return I called him my love
just for few breaths, just for my life.
I climbed over the right to mean the word “love” thereafter
and the dream of knowing a heart other than mine.
I breathe as if I have sinned
yet I walk like I am happiness and determination in flesh.
I cling to all the bitter bits of this world
as if they would ultimately save me.
I climb over, get over, and forget
so easily, so bitterly
that each feeling of mine is just a shade
of resentment.