“The last song at karaoke” – Nayana Nair

In the pool of lights,
the green and yellow glitter swam in the air
and you said – “This is what our life would be like.
This is what our happiness would look like.
This is the forever, this is the everyday love
that I can offer you my love, in return for your heart.
This grace is ours to keep,
if you choose to revolve around me,
just as I have chosen to see only you.”

As you held my hand and waited
I realized all I needed was
a word of affection,
a promise of love, of any love I was capable of.
That was all I needed to make you mine.
But the easy lies, the half-meant overused words
were nowhere to be found in me.
I wanted only you and yet I couldn’t utter a ‘yes’.
Of all the things I could do, I stupidly chose to cry.
I knew my place in this world too well
to admit wanting anything as lovely as you.

As you smiled and wiped my tears
and picked the another happy song, I wished you would have
said “If you cannot love me, better get ready for a lifetime of hating yourself”
instead of saying “It is fine.”

“How do you want to be saved?” – Nayana Nair

.

I crawled to the window
in my dress torn by the claws and cries
of people who live in my nightmares.
They like clean living rooms, dark courtyards,
and cars with slashed tires sitting in their garage.
They have
“broken hearts” written down in forms as their identity
and broken chandeliers swept under their bed.
They crouch down and look at me
as the broken lights shine red,
as I see myself bleed beautiful rivers,
as my silent scream become winds, become ripples,
becomes the face that will forever make me cry.
They smile and ask me
“What do you wish? How do you want to be saved?”
while someone else burns the bed that I am crushed under
and asks me “Is this the what the warmth felt like in your mind?”
They drag me out into a forest,
where under the brightest tree of hope,
they stuff darkness into my throat, into my mind
and ask me “Do you still feel empty?”
They are unreal and of unsound mind.
They tell me living in me makes them so.
They wave goodbye to me with a smile,
offering me a sweet candy
for my silence and understanding
It is raining when I open my eyes.
I breathe in the world
where bleeding and burning is irreversible,
where it would lead to an end of some kind.
I crawl to the window
in my torn dress and my exhausted skin
and find myself staring
at people who used live in my nightmares,
people who look more real that the living me.
People who now own more than just my dreams.

“The Light of White Tulips” – Nayana Nair

.

From the lowest branch
of the falling tree
I looked up
and heard someone laugh.

I have been reborn thousand times after that
but still
as I walk on the charcoal roads
lined with white tulips
that never light up,
as my foot slips
I hear that laugh again.

I hear it
when I cook food
and end up staring a bit too long at the flame,
when the smoke that kills, coats everything
that fills my stomach.

It is stuck in my heart, the violence of the end.
The bluest sky, the sweetest wind,
the flying songs, and my muffled cries-
crystallized as one.
One tiny map, that tells no directions,
forever stuck in the corner of my eye.

It plays like a record, plays hide and seek.
It is a play that ends
with the stories breaking into me.

“But because I feared losing anything more, I chose only kind empty words” – Nayana Nair

.

I wanted to tell him
“You have not lost much.

For sunsets you missed
are not even there in the hearts of those
who saw it everyday.

They walked past it,
shut their windows tight,
and sat in their darkest caves
trying to run away from what you want so deeply.”

I almost said to him
that even though it hurts,
it is a hurt I would like to have-
to yearn for the things that never happened.

That unlike him I yearned for things
that I walked over and killed.
Things that I can still see and hear
in my dreams, telling me, showing me
all the marks of my hatred on their skin, on their hearts.
I cry for them, look for them,
seek forgiveness from them when I am awake.
I dread them when they find me in sleep.

I almost confessed to him
that being the maker of caves, a lover of sunsets,
being the one who filled half the world and half the hearts
with a blindness even I can’t cure,
maybe I shouldn’t be his savior,
maybe I shouldn’t be relied upon for answers.

“Maybe even then” – Nayana Nair

.

The red birds and blue flowers
are back in our world, it seems.
Again I have become part cloud
and part smile and grief.
I wonder if you woke up
as the light that only knows to cry,
as the indifferent sun again.
A day like this wasn’t supposed to happen,
not now, when we are almost complete by ourselves.
A day on which small impossible love like ours
sings out from nameless graves buried in meters of snow.

I go back to sleep
wanting to forget things that must be done today,
dreading to walk into you,
hoping to walk into you,
knowing that I would love you again,
especially on a day like this where I am too broken,
when I am too much myself.

Days like this make me belief that I would end up with you
no matter what.
That even when I run away, even when I cry because of love,
even then maybe I want only one thing-
to be with you.

“Invisible with every word” – Nayana Nair

.

The last stranger at the funeral home
brought in the worst rain of the season,
the coldest wind of the night
along with your last letter.
He leaned against the window
and called up everyone he won’t be able to meet today
looking at me all the while.
As if he knew every word that I was reading.
Probably waiting
to see whether I cry at the same lines that he did.
His eyes look like the ones who have got used
to crying for things that cannot be undone,
for a life that cannot be.
I wondered if he loved you. Maybe he did.
Maybe you knew. I hope you did.
He sat beside me
trying not to grieve more than a mother,
trying not mourn like a lover,
making himself invisible with every word
i read under my tearful breath

“…even when I sat at the dinner table with my brightest smile and deepest hunger, i couldn’t convince me that i needed to exist here.
even the warmest embrace of this world could do nothing but break me. i knew opening my heart could only bring floods and all ends of all kind.
i knew all along of this end. forgive me for pretending otherwise….”

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

.

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.

“The poem on tides and moons and you” – Nayana Nair

.

On a staircase of stars
I sit with a cold drink clenched within my shivering hand
and nod back to the goodbye of another stranger.

I don’t remember him
but I know the lies I might have told him about me,
and the truth that he might have got to know eventually.

“What do you think? What would he remember me for?”, I say,
“But anyway someone knows me,
is this enough to prove that I am present in my life”.

“Is it lonely there?”, someone asks from within me.
I think it is probably you.
And because it is you, I need not answer.

I don’t want to seek you in the skies.
So I sit staring at the world that starts across the street,
where I pretend you are. Where I pretend you will always be now.

I sit outside a palace of brokenness that is not mine.
My sorrows are not so glorious.
It all belongs to a guy who will soon be my friend of some sort.

Unlike me he is happy now,
but he cannot bring to dismatle this grandest part of his life.
He wants a sad lover in front of the corpse of his love. Even if it can’t be him.

In the silence of his beautiful grave,
everyone gathered again and listened to the poem that no longer moves his heart
and we cried in his place.

It was a poem on tides and moons,
on something no one wanted to call love
but something they still couldn’t stop talking about.

It was something like thinking about you.
It was something like being asked “is it lonely there?” by your ghost.
It was like wanting to answer “does it even matter to you?”

It was like wanting to answer “It is a pain you won’t have to ever know.”

“Earphones” – Nayana Nair

.

I cannot paint

your silhouette moving through the rain toward me-
all the blue that lingered in the light rain, on my skin, in the wait for you.

The color that fills my mind when I recall
how your cold hands met mine, my frozen shivering love hungry hands,
and nothing was cold anymore,
nothing was insufferable,
as long as you and me stayed like this,
accepting the ache that comes with staying.

The song, the familiar and strange tune, that became beautiful
by the time it played for 35th time, by the time our cola lost its fizz,
by the time the untouched food looked comforting,
by the time I found that knowing you and your everything
was as painful and liberating as putting myself into words.

The tension
of the stretched earphones between our head and our aching necks,
a moment of sadness, of a great love, of a great end
played itself before us again and we promised ourselves- we won’t ever be there.
And yet as you mocked the world for its weakness
I cried for the same weakness you and me hid in ourselves.

The cold wind that went through me, as you walked past me,
my pride- ground and powdered, spilling out of me,
blinding and confusing people around me,
making me look desperate, pitiful, and empty
as I chased you through streets where we were never supposed to be.

I cannot draw them, so I write.
I write
how we stood together
in every room,
on every patch of earth
for the longest time
and saw within our reach
something that was beautiful and fragile
and no one’s to keep
as long as we saw each other only,
as long as we could smile at what we saw.

I remember you as you stayed still,
breathing carefully
as we let fate make something out of us.
I remember your eyes
asking me with a smile to confirm the reality of what we had,
of what we are.

I wonder how you remember me now.
Now that we are living our lives trying only to prove
that we have lost nothing of ourselves in losing each other.

“this peace, this staying, this wanting” – Nayana Nair

.

I have spent 10 years
of my life decorating my wooden coffin,
giving food, giving faces, and adding height
to my imaginary friends
and painting forgiving smiles on my imaginary gods.

I won’t mind if someone out there decides to call me
“coward” or “delusional” or “hopeless” or “sorta weird”
I won’t mind if this qualifies
to be called “running away from reality and life”.

Even if I ignore the words like these,
even when I have found a way to survive alone
I am still left with these corrosive, acidic feelings.
Feelings don’t help – when all they do is
speak, wail louder each day.

They remind me again and again
that even a beautiful death is a death,
that loneliness is still loneliness,
that in spite of the ribbons and flowers and posters
the smile on my face is still not as bright
as the one love used to give me,
even if I have now less reasons to cry.

It is not easy – this peace,
this staying away from the want to be seen, to be loved,
this wanting to cry over something again.
It is not easy – to keep myself awake and alive
when feeding myself, seeing the light
only makes my fears stronger.