“Named after stars” – Nayana Nair

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And if we are to delete, to remove,
to erase and whiten the papers
that are not a part of our hearts anymore,
then hand me the forms you want burned,
the words you wish you never heard,
and I’ll help you with your share of forgetting,
just like how you helped me memorize my own name once.

If we are to walk through the burning towns,
that we created with our own hands, which we named after stars,
to find something that is not poisoned by our time together,
then I’ll do the walking for you.

In a room filled with light
I imagine myself breaking apart, it will happen for sure,
but it doesn’t pain me yet.
But I fear the tears that will find your eyes,
the marks of flowing rivers, the civilization of sorrow
settling and flourishing on your face,
if you were to fall in love with something that is already lost.

I fear your loving nature.
I fear your heart to work for the impossible.
I fear you might see our past and mistake it for our future.
If you try to protect me even in our end,
I fear I will be left with no way out.

“Someday. I believed, someday you would…” – Nayana Nair

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Because I realized I had a bit more time
than what I had estimated,
I put down my newly purchased book
on “beautiful ends that have changed the color of sky
for a few minutes, if not more”.

I called back home
and told the stranger on phone my name,
so they would not mistake me for a hope that has come alive.
That is not how ends should be put in place.

But even then, even after taking such precautions
I couldn’t help but speak like their father who never looked them in eyes,
like their friend who walked away and never stopped, never returned,
like the silence of the night when they told me
I must make up for all the wrongs that still burns their heart.

I just wanted to tell them one true thing about me
one real thing they could hold in their mind, in the place of me.
But I held the phone tightly in my hands
and said the words that matter in this world- every word that is not about me.

For those who are always melting into themselves (unlike me)
that is probably the only right I could do.
Unlike me, who is just a ball of fur, all ‘I’s standing against the wind.
Unlike me, whose aches look like bubblegum and Sunday dress worn wrong.
I don’t like me. I wanted to say those words.
But they are already the first words in every chapter on ends.
They would end up knowing anyway.

I heard them utter a replacement of “love you”
and just nodded along as if they could see me.
They probably could, their love was unreasonable like that,
just like my love.
I ended the call and started at the last sentence I wanted to finish-
“Someday. I believed, someday you would…”
There were so many ways to end that sentence. Choose one ailment.
Choose one person to become and suffer as.
Give them one reason for the life suffering they are to begin.

I saw them sitting on an old sofa, watching the repeat telecast
of shows that make no sense. This time I felt they were waiting for me.
I felt they wanted my chaos. They wanted my hundred storms sitting beside them
to feel safe, to feel at ease.
I felt they would know I have come back for them
and maybe for a second would want to hold me as theirs, as a thanks.

“Someday. I believed, someday you would see me as a human who loved you too much.
I wanted to be much more than that. But the only answer that eases the knots in me
is your face untouched by tears of my name.”

Today it seems there would be no beautiful ends.
Only ugly continuation. Only you and me sitting and waiting
for this show to make sense.

“Every evidence of your existence”- Nayana Nair

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The evidence of your existence –
they sometimes sound like trapped bubbles in ice,
a song no one wants to remembers,
a song that wants to burn itself down
on the steps of justice gone wrong,
wanting to stain the white marble of temples
that do not deserve worship.

They sound like dying ambition amidst flying hopes,
a revolution coming apart,
a future with limping walk and kind careful words,
a future fleshed out with beautiful breaking and selfish hands.

You told me “selfish” is a beautiful word,
told me that in the opening sentence to the goodbye,
that I am supposed to shout after your vanishing back,
to make the word “selfish” the first word,
to speak of that word with a smile.
And let the world wonder why you wanted to burn the world
for what you have never known, what you couldn’t have;
to never explain your heart, to never let their magnifying glass
and their dear sun around your tearful smile.

“Telling Signs” – Nayana Nair

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“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.

“The Sun and the Sorrow” – Nayana Nair

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The sun and the sorrow
were in my eyes.
I couldn’t see your face
as you bent down
and carefully separated
your words of love
from the pieces of me.

When I am in sorrow
I try to imagine
what you could have looked like
as you carefully took back
everything of yours.
I imagine an ugly indifference,
sometimes I imagine a tear.
I don’t know what to do
with this “not knowing.”

But in these painful retellings
I feel relieved at this uncertainty
that sometimes lets me remember you
as the part of me that I couldn’t help but love
even in my breaking.
But I also feel relieved at the ease with which
I can draw that cruel expression on your face
which won’t let me stay in love with you
any longer than this.

“a piece of writing…that should have been me, but is not” – Nayana Nair

.

I look out of windows of places that I want to escape
and only after 24 hours, only after 12 years
in a poem about crows, in an essay about public school,
in a story, in a ruin not mine
do I find the space to figure out, to sketch
what I would have thought of, if I allowed myself to think.
If I allowed myself to feel, what I would have loved,
what I would have gladly run away from.
The lives that I couldn’t start, the roles I couldn’t end
they leave my skin and become the masks they always were.
I carefully place these masks
on the words that have nothing to do with me
My words
they only hold the mould
that were too painful for me to confirm to or accept.

“Becoming Precious” – Nayana Nair

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Their torn ends, their disappearing body,
the plastic wings at the corner of
the shallow pockets (that were actually good for nothing)
now look like a teardrop determined to stand till the very end.
Isn’t it all so ridiculous,
laughable, and sad?
The blue that never dies – doesn’t it fill you with anger
at the unfair paces each component of this world moves?
The half alive part of everything cursing the other broken half
for taking them down as well.
Isn’t it a bit too noisy here to miss or accept anything?

(Or am I the only one?)

All the treasures are now at the pawn shops,
and the bottom shelves
of the rooms and houses, countries, and identities abandoned,
in the words that belong to pseudo names and ‘anonymous’,
in the trash cans of people who swear never to love you again.
They lie deleted and dumped under the bridges
whose shadow rubs your back
as you try to vomit out the leftover love eating your heart.

While everything to be thrown away is always there
in the cupboard,
in the handbags, on the sofa, in your phone
talking up extra space,
waiting for you to forget them, get fed up of them,
waiting for you to throw them away,
so that they can haunt you,
so they can be your another true love.
Till they are your sole teardrop when it all ends.

“The Light of White Tulips” – Nayana Nair

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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.

“They go through my closet trying to find me and maybe themselves” – Nayana Nair

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He stepped down from his ‘cloud nine of the day’
as I stepped out from my house made of last drops of rain
and at the intersection of fleeting memories
we fell in love.
That is what I tell my friends
when they ask me about the moment
I was tempted to end the sadness of my life.

I tell them about the words I borrowed from his lips,
his borrowed tongue that helped me eat a bit more.
How I taped his adjectives on my mirror
so that I wouldn’t have to look at myself.

They sit with me on the table
I can’t bear to share with my love.
They stare at me, as I ask them what to wear,
how to hide my poison, how to hide the crack at the elbow,
the bruised collarbone, the split lip,
the ache in my heels, my frayed wings,
my broken voice
and all other reminders of what love has done to me,
and what more love can do, if i just let it in again.

They tell me it is all healed.
They tell me it is all past.
They hold their skin against mine to make me see
that the cracks are all in my mind,
how everyone looks just like me,
how everything wrong with me is now the norm.
And they laughed
when I looked at them with concern.

They dropped me at the restaurant
and vanished at the farthest bend of the road.
As I dragged my feet towards another story
that I will never get to complete,
another tragedy that suited only me,
I looked back and tried to think of all the things
that these kind friends of mine suffered
as they hoped and wished and lied to themselves.
The exceptions they now considered normal,
the wounds they cannot even see,
the pain they cannot call pain,
the love they cannot bear to leave-
I tasted these facts
in every spoon of artificial sweetness
I fed to my mouth that evening.

Between me and the true oblivion” – Nayana Nair

I woke up in tears
and I couldn’t go back to sleep.

As I slept, I felt things move around me,
someone climbing down my window,
someone flying out with unfamiliar and awkward wings.
In my sleep I heard the unbearable wailing of my words that should have otherwise lying dead on my table.

I couldn’t go back to sleep.
Because something was wrong.
Someone was again changing me without my knowledge.
Someone was again waiting for my gratitude to fill my lifeless words of thanks.

The moon was no longer a moon
but an eraser waiting for me to sleep,
so it can go on and erase everything that was left in this life.
In the 3 hours I had slept away I had already lost memories worth 3 years so easily without even putting up a fight.
Even if I didn’t know what should be here but no longer is, I somehow knew that I would always know that something is missing.
I knew what that feeling will do to me.
I knew how it would make me do everything that I regret having done.
I knew all that
because I have found myself so often at this point.

The point of forgeting – the forceful hands of God trying to pry open my hands, the painful flying away of my pain, the painful end of my love, the hideous and disgusting sight of my hands wanting something, anything to hold again at any cost.

I knew not to fall for this scheme again.
So I walked upto the window, looked at all the sleeping rooms scattered in front of me, rooms where no one really slept.
I looked at the concrete street below, felt its dangerous height in me, felt the distance between me and the true oblivion.
I played with the dangerous power of choice before it frightened me with its truth.
I heard someone laugh, before I turned back.
I heard them back at their work as I found myself sleeping in the familiar bed of choices that never feel right. The only choice I want to believe I have.