“Telling Signs” – Nayana Nair

.

“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.

“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.

“the shadow at the foot of my bed” – Nayana Nair

today is the birthday of one another oddity of mine.
on a day like this,
few calendars ago
i learnt how to turn my helplessness into my charm.
i learnt to fill the glasses, the throats of everyone i know
with something sweet, with a taste they can’t name.
i learnt to become something that can’t be known or hurt.
in my bedroom i sit at the foot of my bed
trying to block out the presence, the weight
of the other half of my body
clinging, clawing, crying, dissociating.
i again forget where i am.
i again forget how to stop shaking.
if i walk a bit more into the darkness
i feel i won’t have to pretend to be the one
who has a say in what happens to her.
a hand slips into mine.
sometimes it rests on my waist,
and i force myself not to feel nauseated.
love him. love her. i tell myself repeatedly.
love. love. love. love till i can make up for all my lacks.
my love is my penance, my apology
to anyone who chooses me as their destiny.

“to the one who loved everything true” – Nayana Nair

the truth is
i have loved you
more than what my heart could take.

for years
the only moment
i loved myself, felt proud of myself
were the ones where i put my better judgement in the drain,
were the ones where i clinged onto you even as you made me cry,
were the ones where i suffocated and killed my brain with only your thoughts.

so as you put an end to all that we were
and as i learn to hate you with honesty,
somewhere in me, i know that this end
is what i desperately needed.
this was the peace
that i would have never granted myself.
thank you.

“What do you know?” – Nayana Nair

why is it so
that i can only choose love if i let myself look weak.
it should have been easy to look weak and crumbling,
when that is what i feel all the time.
but it isn’t easy.
maybe because the weakness of my heart has never made me look incompetent,
it just made me look cold and aloof.
being good for nothing is more tragic than being broken or being hated.

how hard i have tried all my life to be good at something.
so that i am not useless, so that people don’t leave me behind on purpose,
so that i can at least look like someone capable and not be embarrassed of myself.

after all the years of running around
and making myself believe
that soon, soon i will become someone i can be proud of;
instead of finding myself, i find you.
i find the in myself the want
to let go of this control, that hurts my hands,
but letting go hurts my pride.

somehow i can’t stop blaming you for asking me to live as me,
for asking me to stop hurting myself.
what do you know about the life i have lived?
what do you know about the things i have sacrificed for living like this?
how can you ask me to break what i have built for years?

i cry, i push you away, i cling to the what i am supposed to be,
asking you why you can’t just be what i supposed you would be.
again i am asked to choose between me and this world.
again i know i will choose myself.
(by choosing to please the world rather than choosing myself?)
but you have some nerve to declare that i won’t.
i hate you for your stupid confidence
and your disregard for all that i will lose.

“On My Own” – Nayana Nair

Once the shade of the shutters
are rolled down,
once I am left on my own,
reason and explanation rush in,
try to cling and climb up
the cracks of my heart,
and the folds of my brain,
trying desperately to stop me
to reach out, to find me
in the fog of fear.

But I am already far ahead,
my hands reach for everything it could hold,
everything it could break
and hurl them at the window
till it broke,
till I could cry
for the things that were robbed from me.
I couldn’t stop.
I couldn’t stop hurting myself
even when I lay half-broken under dangling paper curtains,
even when all that I broke pierced my skin and hurt me back.
If I stopped, I would again hear the steps
that always walks over my world and reduces me to dust.

“Weeds of our Garden” – Nayana Nair

We sit here all day, in our own corners.
The only corner that we could save from the world that we left.
The only piece of happiness we decided to carry on ourselves
because we didn’t wanted to be considered pitiful for clinging to something.
Because once we thought that feelings such as these are only hindrance.
Because we saw love as lint on our fine clothing,
something that should be removed like weeds from the garden of our ambition.
Believed that if we are enough, if we have enough
we can always find new friends and new love.

***

In the wind, there always used to be a rumor of someone
drunk on past, the one who used to shout and sing at midnight
songs about how nothing new he bought,
no one new he gave his heart to
could make him forget
about all those he had turned his back on.
My friend, I am afraid we have become that same person.
And we are pathetic not because we loved too much
but because we couldn’t love anyone,
not even ourselves.

“Boundary” – Nayana Nair

mountain-views-in-winter__508x400

How long will my broken heart
cling to your skin
knowing that the boundaries of reality and happiness
are drawn where we meet.
How long can we stand on either side of this fate
that we are afraid of,
that we are drawn to in spite of our fear.

“Walking Home” – Nayana Nair

f39377e19bae66ca6e026d9753f10855--urban-photography-artistic-photography

The street is lined with houses
that have forgotten how to breathe anything
but neglect.
There are broken windows
through which I see hopeful eyes staring and crying
trapped in homes that
reek of wait that yields more wait.
The street is lined with trees that never grew.
The roads cling to the snow that never melts.
We all have learned how to go deaf to cries of help
(that’s what growing up means?)
and walk home to our own tragedies-
some we suffer, some we create
and some we never stop.