“Is it now?” – Nayana Nair

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I have seen snails and snakes
from a distance of two feet.
They were scary and I was scared.
Even when they vanished, I remained scared.
I remained scared
of everything that stood two feet away from me,
asking me, “Now what?”,
“Is it now, that you run and not look back?”

I have seen friendship
from the distance of words
I could never type.
I sent them new year,
friendship day, diwali,
doomsday celebration greetings
but I never sent them my heart.
They too figured with time
that they could live without me,
without this heart of mine
they have only heard about.

When I see them smile for me
across the street
that we both won’t cross
I wonder if I should smile back
and extend this period of pain, this pretense

or should I see through them,
to set them free

or should I walk closer, to fill their heart
with the horrid images of the real me,
to let them see the dying me,
to let them see the things they can’t do anything about.
Would they love me for real if I did that
or would they look me from the distance of two feet
as I ask “Now what?”
“Is it now, that you run and not look back?”

“Someone is waiting for me” – Nayana Nair

Fog swims over my study table.
The glasses grow cold and old
and useless.
Again I forget to drink the medicine,
the milk, the love that fills my phone.
Like I forgot to get vaccinated,
to close the door, to wear something warm
even after being reminded
how easy it is to die.
Someone is waiting for me
to say the words I do not mean.
But they love me
so I try not to hate them for that.
I sink back into my chair.
I sink somewhere in the fog.
I try not to struggle too much.
I try to live with all my heart
but it is so difficult.
So difficult
to accept, ingest anything.
So difficult
to forget that I am drowning.

“I hope you are having a happy dream, for a change” – Nayana Nair

image-dreamless-sleep-large-open

I hope something beautiful of this world
seeps into your dreams gently
and I hope it gives you the strength
to wake up another day
to a world that was also made for you,
even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.

“Sense of Urgency” – Nayana Nair

Today I realized
what to call all that I have been reading for so long.
A person I didn’t mean to overhear called it ‘a sense of urgency’-
the desire to save this world as soon as possible.

It seems the enemies are too many.
I saw many names in the list of these enemies
that I silently agreed with-
pollution, dictatorship, bullying,
monetization of education, competing in a rigged world,
oppression of lives and loves of minority, hate crimes,…

I scoffed at some:
the collapse of society in the hands of socially withdrawn,
collapse of economy in the hands of those who want and do less,
the unfeeling and unapologetic generation that seems to love depression,
women whose learning and thinking too much only breaks families,…

“this is the cause worth dying for”-
I suddenly became afraid of that feeling.

As I read all the absurd causes I couldn’t agree with.
As I read and became exasperated at the words of those
who were convinced that they knew better
even as they killed and killed and killed
and got addicted to seeing blood dissolving in oceans.
I realized
how dangerous this feeling could be.

“this is what to means to change the world.
to change the world
is to walk over everything I don’t want to see”
My sense of urgency hated me for thinking this.
It recited every quote about silence of good men.
But all I could now see was the line that I must not cross,
the words I must not say, the knife that I must never hold-
no matter the cause.

“My Pretentious Love” – Nayana Nair

i am delusional

i feel that i am broken
when i am not

i feel that one of these days
i may finally cry for you
but i don’t

i am in love
with being broken
with being out of place in this world

you are again losing
against my obsessions

today again i am planning
to visit my past without you

today i am again writing about, talking about
things that unnerve you

you are becoming insignificant
as you always feared

my pretentious love runs deeper that your real one
but i didn’t want to let you know this

fearing that you might get hurt
fearing that you might hurt me more for that

of all the things i have loved
i have feared you the most

“Glow in dark” – Nayana Nair

it was once possible
to be a parrot who was a doctor
who sang in a choir of angels
who saved the world from villains
with ridiculously evil funny names.

it was easy to speak of wants-
a pair of shoes with lights
and a glow in dark radium cello tape
and an army uniform and cream rolls
and a tiara with anything that shines
and the cards i don’t know how to play
and…

once i used to be simple.
i left my sleep
to live like the guy
who runs for hundred years
to rescue the princess.
waiting to reach
a blurry 8-bit princess
that never shows up at any castle
of my world
was not a source of
disappointment (or depression) then.

“i don’t react well to kindness” – Nayana Nair

the river behind me
is filled with regret
of swallowing the sun
that she once claimed to love.
she is like me,
so i thought she’d understand.

but she holds my hands,
refuses to give me up
when i try to find out
how much I can be filled.
she fears my temperament
and the dangerous things
i incessantly wish for.

i want to tell her
that my heart is too heavy,
that her kindness is only causing me pain,
that bleeding a bit won’t kill me,
that words won’t save me.
that her embrace would only become
my next hope, my next wound.

“Pillar” – Nayana Nair

I do not know how to help you.

I am used to relying on you,
to make everything right.

You are supposed to be the strongest one.
Or were you always like this?

Was your strength a make-belief,
my excuse
for not caring,
for not doing anything.

I do not know how to hold your hand
when you refuse to be held.
I am confused if you really mean it
when you ask to be left alone.

Teach me through your tears,
who you are, when you are not my pillar.

“storm of kindness” – Nayana Nair

i refuse to go out into
the storm of kindness
where well-meaning people
drunk on the idea of charity
are running amok on streets.

they don’t know themselves
but they know my kind,
they know all the kinds of people
i might turn into
if i don’t give up and let them in.

they want to know the name of person
who broke me so well.
they want me to cry a bit
and to try saying hello first.

the seat they sit on, still has my warmth.
i still know the name of strangers i prayed for.
how easily things change.
every life had hope,
every pain could be overcome
as long as they were not mine.

“how storms fade” – Nayana Nair

twenty-six steps away from the cold end,
we stand together as if we are both looking
at a foe we must defeat together.
a child passes us by with a yellow balloon.
how misplaced it seems, this child
in this place made of storms.

this is something i don’t want to do.
our steps will fade into the deep end of this lake
while the mother in me would summon the face of this child
as a hope of what i could have had
if I could endure a little bit more.

an invisible small hand curls around my fingers
as your voice falters and you mess up our last song.
the ghost of your future, whatever face they may have, have also arrived.
so i put back the sweater on
and you check the calls you must return
as the ones who intend to live on only do.