“All the boxes are checked” – Nayana Nair

It hurts a bit more naturally
and less violently,
now that betrayal has a range,
has not one but many faces.
Now I need not figure what I did wrong.

All the boxes are checked:

family, family, friends, not friends,
thank-god-we-were-never-friends friends,
i-am-sad-i-stood-up-for-you friends,
people who marked my skin with their name
to own me
while i slept in their arms
(another golden cup added to collection of people hard to get,
people who won’t die if thrown away or left alone)
loves whom i am tied to,
the ones who demand smile and sometimes a bit more,
always a bit more.

They know the feel of my hand and love how it heals.
They hold my hand in their sleep
in their nightmares, in the storms of passion
that they need a person to aim at.
They break my wrist
in my nighmares, in my awareness of my fruitless love.
When I am at verge of crying,
they tell me to not give them a hard time
and to act like the refuge that I am supposed to be.

So I tell them “I love you”
and this lie hurts a little less everyday
as my heart becomes the stone pedestal
all my loves stand on.

“The owners of my mind” – Nayana Nair

I finally sit with people
who have owned my mind,
who have left it astray,
who have come back at inopportune moments
to claim a bit of my peace for their own heart.

They say guilt keeps them awake at nights.
They say they need me once again.
They need to see the smile of another victim
to convince themselves that they deserve happiness,
that they can move on.

They say the echoes of my cries in their head
have grown worse with time.
So I sit with them and tell them that they can live again.
Only because I cannot bear these demands to be forgiven
or the proposals of relationship grown on the manure of my corpse.
So I ask them to forget me, so that I can forget them.

“Tiptoe” – Nayana Nair

the ones we sign our valentine cards to,
the ones we tie ourselves to for life
wait for us to die (or some form of death) to become free.
their heart is full of love – only not for us.

they tiptoe at night to bury their crimes
and demand honesty only when it suits
what they have in their mind.

so even when we ask,
“why did you break me like this
when I loved you so?”

they say, “there are no proofs in stories like these,
where everyone claims to be wronged.
there are no daggers, only words,
which are conveniently easy to forget
or edit if enough years pass.
anyway no one remembers that well,
one can always hear things wrong.”

so we go back to sleep,
get fine with living blind.
tell our self it is fine
as long as we are together,
when “together” is not what we want.

“the giants continue to live in my dreams” – Nayana Nair

Across the street
lived the giants.
The green giants-
who waited for rains to cry,
who waited for the night to speak.

Thankfully the windows
in my temporary home
were small and few.
Thankfully it was always cold,
that awful cold
that makes you want to sleep
for a long long time.

So I slept and slept.
I ate whatever my mother cooked.
I waited for her to tell me
what I am to do with my life.
While the kids I never spoke to,
went into the home of giants
to put them on fire,
I slept.
I slept and cried in my dreams.
Because tears on my real skin
would make this sadness more real.
Real sadness demands reasons and explanation.
Real sadness demands proofs.

I slept
to dream,
to stand among them-
the ones who have learnt
how to live and die quietly,
to forgive easily.
I waited for the day
I would grow roots,
the day when I could smile
at my falling leaves.
I waited for the day
I could become one of them
and not the cruel outsider that I am now.

“My place in this cruel landscape” – Nayana Nair

when i stood

in front of the respected uncaring adults
who could never see me,

beside the fickle-minded fun-seeking friends
who smoked ‘idgaf attitude’ every night,

holding the hands
of the demanding demeaning frightening voice
of the one i wanted to love,
the one i almost loved,

i knew how to smile.
i knew how to let them off the hook.
i knew how to care for all those
who don’t have to care for such things.

and so i make it through another day,
another month, another year,
trying not to break anyone anymore,
trying not to abandon anyone,

making a list of all things that were once beautiful about them,
convinced that this imperfect me deserves only suffocating relationships,
careful not to see hope in any short-lived moment of affection.

“Keep Peace” – Nayana Nair

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I could be anything I wanted
but not her.
She thinks too less about wanting the right things,
about wanting things that are lying around in
the debris of Lego buildings broken by
hands of a small gods who gets bored easily.

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If she really wanted to feel
what fulfillment feels like
she could have walked through the gardens
that were made for soul like hers
(or should I say gender like hers).
It is better, I can vouch,
better than wanting to go to places
where she is not wanted,
where they would ask-
“why can’t she read the situation?”,
“why can’t she keep peace?”,
“what are these demands that she must have
when she has lived without it all her life?”,
“how is she any different from others
who know how to take the equality that we are offering
without wanting a share of ours
wanting to be a bit more like us?”.

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I can understand all that
but she doesn’t
and there is no way that
I can make her see the pain she is walking towards,
make her hear the names she will be called
just for asking what everyone else wants to ask
but fear being in wrong terms
with the people who run this world.

“Distort You” – Nayana Nair

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This one.
This is the photograph I was telling you about the other day.
You see those kids around me,
having broader smile than me
those are the friends I never had.
They will tell you otherwise.
What they tell maybe more hopeful than my lies
or maybe more sadder than my truth.
But I tried my best to magnify my everyday happiness
make fun of how I reacted to all that once hurt,
and leave my sentences hanging
when I couldn’t decide
how to distort another unwanted memory.
I tried my best neutralize my story
so that I won’t look like a lost cause,
like a cause that needs your attention,
that demands your love in the name of humanity.
I never tried to soften your heart
by selling my story
But looking at you,
I think I have ended up doing all the things
I didn’t mean to.

“Show You Around” – Nayana Nair

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Let me show you around.
This place that you think as mine
will soon be yours one day.
Especially because you will want to own this mess
more than you want to own my heart.
And though my eyes might roll
at the sound of the word “own”
but that’s just how things are.

One day we might yearn for each other’s glance.
And slowly with unsure lips we pray for more-
for some sweet words, for a secret to keep
for happiness of a day, for hands that don’t let go.
And soon with love drunk lips we demand more-
for reasons, for time we never seem to have,
for guarantees, for becoming better than what we are.

And that day when you will have all that you demand
and still feel like I have not given it all.
Come to this room, and see this mess.
These old clothes, old words;
these unwashed plates with leftover moldy attention.
And realize why I don’t want you here-
in this museum of what I was.
This is not the world I want to share with you.
Can’t we build a better one.

“Immune to Good Advice” – Nayana Nair

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When my own opinions can’t budge the doors
that are closed on my face,
I run back to these books
which list how to think, what to want.
I do not look for how it is done
I look for what I did wrong.
But my mind is so immune to a good advise
that the words that I read make me sick
even when they could be my medicine.
But I don’t yet know if they are,
cause my wish for a better life fades away
in front of the genuineness my heart demands from me.

“Eroding Structures” – Nayana Nair

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I checked my diaries
for the hints of regrets,
for the eroding structures of demands
I once made from life.
I checked my skin for the trace of scars-
the remains of the unreasonable
yet necessary decisions.
The sharp bleeding memory
of the blade,
of the hatred I inflicted on myself.
I checked the outline of my mother’s lips
do they finally approve of what I am.
While I eat all three meals
that were supposed to keep me full,
I wait for the forgiveness that never comes.
The pardon
that my heart
(half eaten by my self loathing)
can never grant.