“Shifting places” – Nayana Nair

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Somewhere far away, in the early hours
a window cracks by the shrieks of a woman.

Let’s wait, let it end, it will be nothing,
it will end up like all the other things made up in my mind.

It will end, it will end –
I chant under my breath.

But it doesn’t end.
Wave after wave, it rushes towards me, to the doors of reality.

And in response something in me cries back, something in me knocks back hard.
Now all I can think is – “I must run. If I run I can reach there.

If I run fast enough there will be little blood lost,
a little mind saved. If I run, I can make it in time before the worse begins.”

But the roads keep disappearing, the houses shift places, everyone laughs a little louder
as I move forward only to be yanked back and pulled down.

There is someone far away waiting for my help
and her flesh is just as weak as mine. Her throat must be sore, her heart must ache.

I wait and cry for an eternity
before I hear everyone walk away. Before I hear hope approaching.

Hope sounds like
wheels of a bicycle and the broken whistle of a kid.

It sounds like “are you alright? aren’t you cold?”
It looks with puzzled eyes at my clothes that are somewhat not right.

It tells me universal facts like
“if you lie there either cold will kill you or a oncoming truck”

Hope tells me I am not dead yet.
I hope she is alive as well.

“But maybe because it is you, you won’t laugh if I told you” – Nayana Nair

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Of all that I miss,
out of every

“I had it when I didn’t need it,
when I wasn’t ready to face my own needing, cause
my feelings for the delicate and genuine seemed hateful to me”,

out of everything that I tried not to know,
you are the one most precious to me.
Mostly it is because I didn’t really look at you
so I have only these regrets
to measure what you were.

And my regrets grow heavier
with every encounter I have with this world
that is filled with people like me.
My regrets grow heavier
even though I was so well suited, so ready
to live and thrive in this real world, where you were destined
to fail and wither and lose all that false light your prized.

My regrets grow heavier,
the more I realize how much this world needs
you and your friends,
with your false beautiful ideals sewed on your skins.
You would laugh if I told you
about the people I meet everyday,
people like me who can’t come in terms
with the world they have chosen.
I face their expecting eyes,
I feel their hands searching in me
for a glimpse of the world they have burnt.
But maybe because it is you, you won’t laugh at it.
Maybe you’d cry, cry in our stead,
cry for all that we cannot cry for.

When they search for miracles in me
I feel like a house with hidden doors and floors
with bodies holding goodness lying breathless within.
I fear when they find you behind every door-
a miracle with your face, an end with your smile-
then even these regrets won’t be mine.

So I try to be of use to them
all the time hoping
that they find the face of kindness only they know of,
only they miss, the one only they want back.
So that at least our mad hopes, will remain our own till the end.
So that we gain nothing but remember everything
and that remembering makes our hands, our hearts soft and breakable
and beautiful like yours, like everyone else like you
who did a world a favor by just existing.

“When we meet again lets try burning some wings and maybe then we will be able to fly” – Nayana Nair

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The howevers have replaced the forevers
and it is a beautiful change.
Now we can let the dying thing die at peace.
The fleeting feelings and their fragile wings
could have dropped and turned to dust with time
I know,
but there is something frustrating about slow,
about things that don’t end
when they drag their feet to the wrong doors
pretending to look for answers,
when everyone stares at faces they cannot bear to look at
waiting for someone to end things for them.
I am also guilty of all this,
of thinking that making new promises
will give me enough pressure, enough motivation
to follow through the life that I don’t really want,
of holding on
when I have no mind to continue.
However isn’t this a good excuse, a god-sent moment
to finally separate our stories, to forget this mess
that will never fix by itself or even by our half-hearted trying.

“The truth doesn’t matter to me” – Nayana Nair

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And when asked if my words could be relied on,
if what I wrote was true.
I answered, “My life doesn’t know truth
as much as it knows love.
But when it comes to love, my words fails me,
I fail myself, before anyone else.
Failing is nothing to be proud of
and failing in love is like filling oneself
with doubts and faults that never existed before.
I can never be myself again.
My standing up or my lying defeated
may make a difference to the world,
my truth might matter to the everyone else
but not to me.

To me, what matters is already lost.
Now I just get to live a life of pretense –
play house, play life, play hearts
with people who seek truth in wrong places- in me.
If I asked if you can be relied on,
if you know the meaning of words you speak.
You might answer yes to keep my heart, to be better at love.
You might answer no and I will know it to be true even as I smile.
But nothing you say actually matters
the world will end and we will end long before that
and I will end before you-
because of you
or in spite of you.

You might turn out to be my last true love
or you might be the last nail in my heart.
But if I write a poem on eternal love
of someone whose shadows roughly look like ours,
know it is a lie we will never live up to,
but also know it is what I saw in us
even if it cannot be called truth,
even if it won’t be us.

“Rewrite love” – Nayana Nair

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How are you?
Are you still there where we learnt to leave?
Since you left
I have changed my address a few times already.
My heart doesn’t lie broken
on the streets that only you could walk.
I find it funny and interesting and sad
that once I believed in “one and only love”,
that once I believed that I have found
what the rest of the world could not.

My hands don’t feel like my hands now,
Now that my hands
have reached out for love even after you.
My mind doesn’t feel like my mind,
now that my mind can forget any hurt caused by love,
now that my mind can easily rewrite love as something else
something trivial, something passing by,
something non-existent,
the moment I am near another light-filled human
who only wants a breaking out of me.

I feel less like myself, the more I heal myself.
Whatever grows out of me
doesn’t want to be anything like the person you loved,
the person I was so proud to be,
the person who couldn’t live without wounds.

It hurts less in the body I am now in.
It hurts less to know finally
that I am more that enough
to fill the void of my own size – the everyday lacking
that I always felt I needed to do something about.

I find it funny and interesting and sad
that I could learn to live only by losing you,
by learning to walk away from you.

“The moon shines on us” – Nayana Nair

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When I talk of the moon that shines on us in our sorrow,
as we promise to do better and be better,
I am again omitting something
that needs to be said.
Something that everyone reading us should know,
before they tell us the best course to reach happiness from here,
before they believe us when even we have learnt not to.

I am omitting that we are comfortable in our sorrows,
that happiness is an alien land.
We would rather break our hearts
than visit that place where we don’t fit in.

I am omitting that
we are obsessed about fitting in
as much as we are
about doing it without changing anything about ourselves.
So we will only be what we have always been.

I am omitting
that our love is primarily
about navigating life with heavy hearts
just to reach moments like these
where we feel we can be forgiven as long as we forgive.

The moon that shines on us in our sorrow
also shines
on the absurdity of this refuge that protects us from nothing,
on this love where there is no place for ‘better’.
Even when we know that this is a cycle of pain and deception
we revel in the fact
that this won’t end like everything else in this world.

“no colors, no flowers for me” – Nayana Nair

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“he left me”
this is where I would have wanted everything to end,
at “he left me”…simple and clean
and yet carrying a sadness that can be forgotten
or remembered as something that just exists.
Exists not like floods but like rain.
Exists not like a story of love
but a story that had a possibility of some meaning.
“he left me” could have existed in me, in this world,
how words of no significance and no power exist.

But it didn’t end there.
What he did was simple,
but what he didn’t do
those are the things that exists like flood, like pain
that can exist without him.
He left me a leaf
and not a flower.
And knowing this, even if I forget him,
it won’t end
the pain I feel at the sight of flowers,
the anger the green fill me with,
the feeling of being wronged
at seeing everyone who gets both, while suffering less than me.

He left me a life that I am capable of living well
but a heart that won’t ever feel at ease
as long as I live wanting love for myself.

“The places where I am not” – Nayana Nair

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Across this glass,
across the tired melting clouds of mist,
on the other side
there are trees and homes and forests
that are just like places on this side that I rest.

The places where I am not
look as sad as all the places I have been.
Everywhere, on every road there is always a person
who knows a way to break my heart,
and I always end up thanking them for it.

There are rooms where I put up
lights and posters and curtains
and lovers and music,
those are the rooms I want to die in-
with some beauty, with some consolation of meaning .

But always I find the reason for my end outside these walls.
Those reasons live under the brightest light on the darkest road.
And because I was told that the light that I don’t know of
is the one that saves all, even the hopeless ones like me.
So my legs forget how to stop,
my hands forget how to let go,
and my blood glitters for a moment under the light of lost hopes
before it turns black, before it invites in the cold
that I always thought belonged to the inanimate world.

I think of the room I won’t reach,
and the songs and the faces and this world
that I will not be given a peace of, to keep.

As the sky fills me up, pats me down,
and tucks me in the snow
across the white,
I feel someone stir from sleep.
The wail that my throat cannot make,
finds a home in that other world, in the other me
that unlike me
knows how to cry and how to be loved for it.

“At the end of this list” – Nayana Nair

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I tried being cool about it.
I tried not to call it a heartbreak.
I tried forgiving.
I tried thinking ‘my life is not over’.
I even invented some feelings that can be talked about.
I entertained the stupid idea – “it’s all for the best”.
I fed it all I owned,
and soon I didn’t have much left to keep that play going.
I think there are still hundred things more
that I have not yet tried.
Maybe one of them would work.

Or maybe till I reach the end of this list,
I would probably forget
who I was or who you were,
and maybe you would just melt into my identity –
claiming 2% of my faults, causing 25% of my breakdowns,
the major reason for my suspiciousness,
the only reason I can’t seem to be myself.
Just like how I pick up all odd habits and mannerism
from people I don’t even recall,
will you end up
becoming things that I do without reason,
becoming my convenient excuse for turning my back
on anything that can become
more important that me in my own life.

“as if nightmares are fiction” – Nayana Nair

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let’s break those darn mirrors.
lets not peek through the hands of fear.
let’s not see the monsters of sorrow.
remember not
where they walked and where they hide.
close your eyes and wait.

for what?

for the end.

there is an end?

there always is.

there are
ends that pierce through our our shoulder blades
and the blinds of our ribs.
it is actually beautiful to see how
heart melts away too easily, stops too easily
loses it way too easily.

also

there are
ends that make broken mirrors magnificent,
that smell like our mother,
that find our mouths at the dead of the night
and breathe in their last breath into our collapsing lungs.

it is sad to see how
our helplessness asks sacrifice from others
how we go back to sleep,
as if nightmares, once they end, are only fiction.
how we realize only after hours and years, wake up too late to notice
the blue hands, that once seeked us in storms,
decaying under the sunshine of the most beautiful day of our lives.

and what do you do then?

close your eyes and wait.

for what?

for the end

there is an end? even after this?

there always is
but maybe not the one we want.