“But it also means…” – Nayana Nair

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I guess now I am the cruel one-
the one people fear to love.
This scenario was meant to be sad,
but it isn’t somehow.
(Why do the worst cases taste so bland to me
when finally they arrive?)

I guess it makes me relieved, if not happy,
to feel loneliness more often than feeling distance.
No one knocks at my door,
and I can’t help but smile
knowing it also means no would leave me.
No one would leave me in love, leave me in pieces,
leave me hating myself again.
(Why do my hopes sound like running away
even if I am facing life in every way I can,
the only way I am allowed to,
the only way forward that doesn’t require
sacrificing myself again?)

“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.

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

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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.

“The door opens slowly” – Nayana Nair

I turned another corner
and walked into another house
that I knew nothing about.
The owner, the god of this land stood there
outside in the garden
telling a child how to create more beautiful loops,
how to somersault,
how to find more worms, more of everything.
An adult placed like a talisman
that couldn’t keep me
or what I bring with me away.
He didn’t even notice the grave that I carried in me,
the open pits in ground awaiting more bodies.

I walked to the front door and rang the bell
thinking, wondering what must I not be seeing
in the person I see as a fool.
I wonder if the graves in him didn’t love him back as well.
The door opens slowly and I wait.
I let my willingness to wait announce to her that it is me.
She makes me a wait a bit more-
that is the nature of game we are caught in.

Seconds and hours I spend on her couch,
waiting for the commotion outside to end,
for “the happy family on a sunday morning” to end.
She has four brother
and an almost sister that they never talk about.
She reminds me this a few more times
so that on the mental map of belonging and similarities
I find this unnamed sister closer to my role.

They rush in like a flood, like a rain gone wrong-
all these bodies that I am not supposed to see.
“They are perfect”, I thought to myself.
I thought of my mother, the anger in my home,
the counting of countless miseries,
the coarse harsh words that filled my eyes, then filled my mouth,
the gentle sunsets that drown only dreams.
“They are perfect”, I think, “for someone living in the same world as me”.

She tells them about my scholarships, about my fragile upbringing,
about the art that runs in me.
She tells them all about the things that they like.
For today she has made them into me.
I smile and say a little too less.
I smile as if I mean no harm.

But I know
I am here.
I am here and there is no escape
from the fact that eventually
I will sit in this room with my love
and with a glitter pen running out of ink.
I will draw, deepen the cracks that I already see.

Such is my nature.
Such are the songs that I live on repeat.

“On Erasing Roads” – Nayana Nair

The dead world lives through her.
Her escape is a door left open
for the violence to spread,
or so she always believed.
When she saw someone who reminded her of love,
saw that the fragile bird of happiness
would choose sit by her window and wait for her to sing back,
when all that could make her feel safe and somehow better
smiled at her and asked her name.
She would remember how from her skin and her mind
grew trees of fear every night.
The flood that has left her land
loomed above this forest.
Anytime the cloud would burst,
the past would burst through her smile,
and all would be lost.
Today, tomorrow, day after,
on an afternoon when she would forget about it all,
on a beautiful day like that
she knows she will find sorrow again.
So she stays quiet and writes a softer tragedy
of a girl who could never tell her name
to anyone who chose her hoping for happiness.

this is not how i should be – Nayana Nair

I hate to admit this to myself
but I can’t quite understand you.
At worst, I judge your unreasonable feelings
and your self-indulgence.
Often I step away and try hard to feel your pain
and yet it escapes me.
Whatever I imagine is the landscape of your heart is,
it is never quite correct.
Something really important,
probably a loss that I have never faced,
is missing from my understanding.
“this is not how i should be”-
I end up thinking this every time when I think of you.
When you say “you won’t understand”,
I once again realize how insufficient I am.
Because you are right.
Because I can’t understand.
I wonder if one day I can do something more than just loving you.
I wonder if one day I can see you as you want to be seen.

“but love…” – Nayana Nair

but love
the i cannot see you
without this night,
for you are not my sun
but only it’s reminder.

but love
i can be the person you love
only as long as you love be back,
as long as my heart wants to forget the past
and the owner of my heart.

but love
in your glory
i always fall short.
i yearn to love someone like me,
someone who plans the escape route
while uttering the words
of half-hearted embellished confession.

but love
i don’t want to be healed
my scars are my name
that i fear to lose
as much as i fear losing you

but love
as much as you want me
you should learn to hate me more
your benefit of doubt is wasted on me
as is your love.

but love
i have so many reasons
and so many feelings
that are at war with each other-
a war that i wish you’d win somehow.

but love
i do love you
in some conditional yet selfless way,
there is a sincerity in my love-
a sincerity that won’t do your heart any good.

“Backseat” – Nayana Nair

we get onto the car
that we wish was stolen
i look at her (not my lover, yet),
at him (my friend – we share the same passion
of finding new things to be disappointed about),
i look at the the small bags we have packed
and realize that this is far too less to start a life
i count them as i get in
i realize one of us probably
has nothing worth carrying around in life.

she keeps telling me that unlike us
she has to take care of things
so she is bound to be late
she says this while she texts the food preferences
of her beloved pet
to someone who owes her one
(i feel something similar to jealousy seeing this).

and he keeps changing the radio station
as if he knows what he is looking for,
as if he has grown up on radio songs and commercials,
but he hasn’t.
he says that is what makes it more romantic,
the unknown that was always in front of you
to finally acknowledge something
that shouldn’t have been invisible from the start.

i just look at them, making mental notes,
calculating the chances that we might come to our senses
(that would be pretty sad, if that happens).
i keep looking back
as if i was being abducted,
dragged out of heaven against my wishes.
but it is no heaven
(not anymore).

so i sleep in the backseat
hiding my tears under the blanket of darkness-
since i do not want to recall every thing
that made this place and my body unholy, unbearable;
since i don’t want ask these two
about what they are running away from.
i wonder if i will ever know a home
that won’t drive me away.

“All the crowded corners of me” – Nayana Nair

I learned another new word today.
It describes nothing in my life
but still I keep it under my tongue.
I stuff into corners of my lungs
that have never known what air is.

cerulean
I find this word tangled in my ribs,
crying over my skin,
trying to escape me,
to find a better place,
a better someone to describe.

My heart again becomes a shackle
for everything
that is beautiful.

“Anything but Gray” – Nayana Nair

Once I could write of rains
and the pain they bring.
Today I am afraid of the umbrellas, of shelters,
of the short-lived moments
of what I used to call happiness,
of the ill-planned escapes from cells
filled with my own darkness and filth.

o

How have I grown into this person
who recognizes only one face,
that is my own.
Can my selfishness be something
that I can blame someone else for?
Is this also some form of loneliness?