“now it is my turn” – Nayana Nair

.

her touch – always a procession
of feelings that won’t leave her heart,
of everything she doesn’t have or even want words for.

i hold back her hand and it all quiets down-
the waves, the death, the crashing planes,
and the flying roofs.
the cities in her mind grow silent.
they- the tiny inhabitants, the ugly parasites
in her heart,
they look at me as if i am an enemy,
and yet smile at me, as if i am one of them.

they wait for her to smile at this, which she does.
she tells me she is fine. in the same tone
in which i use to tell her the same lie.
she leans in and touches my cheeks.
now it is my turn to go silent.
now my cities and their helpless monsters wait
to see where she leads this madness to.

“Paintings of springs and fault lines. Sketches of lost mothers.” – Nayana Nair

.

She sings.
An echo, a heartbreak maybe,
something piercing, something invisible,
something not ours-
this is all that we are allowed feel
(as long as we want to feel).

She is everywhere.
She sleeps, buried under the heavy weight
of water and floating globes of life and
drowning boats and oil.
She is everywhere.

Yet her voice outlines every step we take.
Every dying step is a step lost to her name.
Running away is beautiful in this city.
The traces of our writhing, crawling, changing bodies,
painted on every stone, every wall,
doesn’t let us forget the dust of the world
we crushed by our hands,
doesn’t let us forget the word “home”.

All our journeys branch from her heart.
We sit huddled with out feet in water,
with our hands over fires dying out
and talk of her. Always her.

“Breathing Cities and Statues” – Nayana Nair

.

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.

“Another Heart” – Nayana Nair

.

And your sadness –
your sadness makes me want to move to another city,
another continent, another planet, another heart,
become another person –
a person whose love won’t make you sad like this,
a person you can love back.

“Dry Rivers” – Nayana Nair

.

The river is finally running dry.
I heard someone rejoicing to hear this.
What is a river without it’s water?
I am told it is money, it is development,
it is more money.

Another colony, dozens of businesses springs up.
There is nothing to be sad anymore.
I walk on the roads trying to trace
the skeleton of what is lost.

Now, I know the names of few more rivers
that are nowhere to be seen on maps.

The numbers of such ghost keep increasing.

There is a language that no one cares for.
There is a city that forces everyone to leave.
There are words that don’t sound fancy anymore.
There is an accent that needs to be exorcised from tongues-
the identity of what we are is a secret,
something we can be killed for.

But it is the season, the world
where rivers dry out beautifully,
where aches turn into anger, into revenge,
into art, into denials,
into search for something new.
But rarely does it turns into tears.

How is it we have so much to lose,
so much that is already lost
and yet have so little to grieve about.

You stand beside the fire” – Nayana Nair

In the rubble with nerves hiding sparks,
in the nest of sleeping explosives,
again it is you.
Again you are here to prove something
by doing something unasked for.

You build a place for warm tea,
for all our shivering ghosts to haunt.
You place the chairs that are not chairs
but buckets that cannot hold anything now.
There are chairs that are lying around just fine
but you don’t want them.
You don’t want the old purposes eating away
the beauty of all that is left behind.

You console the ones holding onto what is no longer there
but you don’t want the ones who want a way back to what it was.
You ask us questions with your bleeding lips
you want us to answer with something real,
not just words.
“You are cruel”,
you laugh when we say that.
You make us leave everything we are
just so that we can finally sit on empty buckets
thinking about the hands we cannot hold,
thinking about hands that are no longer hands.

“The city is no longer burning”, you tell us
as we place our empty glasses in front of our empty eyes
and tell us it is fine if we don’t believe it now.
“Sleep. Dream and stay for a while with the molten and bombed,
the lost and the dead that still have your heart.
Take your time.”

As we lay awake in our heart-wrenching grief,
as we lose ourselves to your favorite world of sleep,
you stand beside the fire
that keeps us alive.
You stand beside the fire
that is not actually fire
but your heart
that burns like sun.

We wanted to tell you, “You are kind.
You are too beautiful for this world.
Have our heart and burn it instead.”
But we couldn’t .
We knew these things were easy only in words,
that these were things we couldn’t do, yet.
That we have not smiled and laughed with bleeding lips,
helping while being hated.
That we were too selfish to be you.

“The last brick is in my heart” – Nayana Nair

In every country, in every city,
on every street
stands a home that could have been ours.
I am a daydreamer like that
As I passed the house with an always crying child,
as I passed the house with the overwhelming smell of incense,
as I passed the house with singing reality shows played on repeat
I only thought of the life we could have there.
In my mind, we fit every house, we fit every role.
Even if our body was stripped of every muscles and every bone
even if we put back together the wrong way,
even if we our heart were to be rearranged,
in my mind we would still fall in love.
That is how we had molded the spirit of our love-
to be stubborn (if not right or just).
But now there are years when I don’t remember you,
and yet there is no sadness in me that is capable of ruining me.
You are gone
and I am trying to grieve for something I don’t particularly miss.
As I pass the houses where our stories used to be staged
I realize they are again the buildings of strangers
that I am supposed to keep my mind away from.
My sadness selfishly keeps uttering,
“I need to love someone, someone who won’t do this to me.
I need to love someone, to believe in love again.”
I reach home with bloody nails and bruised fingers
leaving behind bricks with our names scratched out.

“The city that won’t decompose” – Nayana Nair

Some days I am thankful to the walls
that never broke down when I did,
that looms up to the heights
that seem more beautiful than sad
(on certain days at least).

The tiny tiles,
the cemented words in me-
they were supposed to be who I am,
they were meant to decompose
when I chose to change my ways,
when I chose to change my heart.
But this ‘me that I have made’
is more magnificent,
more important than me now.

My mask is more than a mask.
It is my life, it is my M.O.,
it is the replies and answers
planned out for every worst case.
It is a solution that works somehow.
It is a city where I live helplessly
not because I am helpless.
It is just difficult
to throw away something I thought I was me.
As my nature melts and takes new forms everyday
this artificial me remains as my only point of reference.
My pretense is the best I can ever be.

“creation” – Nayana Nair

strangely
even there,
even on the canvas of my imagination
where I get to act the god,
even in that world
where you are nothing but my creation,
even there I can’t imagine
a happier end for us.

-o-

because i can edit our photos
on the cities we never got to visit
and i can write you some words, give you some hints
on how to make me want you want you back.
but even when your puppet hugs mine back
i know it’s only me, my hands,
my heart, my body, my hopes hanging onto something
that would never be you.

-o-

so let it go“, i tell myself.
let’s stop calling every ache by the name of love.
let’s put our ego to rest.

“I have nothing of you” – Nayana Nair

I walked into troubles, into fogged minds,
into friend circles that cultivated their alter egos
on every meager piece of earth
that they otherwise couldn’t plant their feet upon.

I walked into crumbling cities, into impossible dreams,
into the lifeless replicas of your heart-
hoping you would come after me.
But as time ate me up
I just hoped that you’d remember name at the least.

I wish that you had stepped a little closer to me,
given me false hope, and broken my heart.
but I have nothing of you,
nothing to hate you for,
nothing to remember your love by,
except the empty place I made for you to stay in me
– the only part of me that makes living difficult for me.