“The last song at karaoke” – Nayana Nair

In the pool of lights,
the green and yellow glitter swam in the air
and you said – “This is what our life would be like.
This is what our happiness would look like.
This is the forever, this is the everyday love
that I can offer you my love, in return for your heart.
This grace is ours to keep,
if you choose to revolve around me,
just as I have chosen to see only you.”

As you held my hand and waited
I realized all I needed was
a word of affection,
a promise of love, of any love I was capable of.
That was all I needed to make you mine.
But the easy lies, the half-meant overused words
were nowhere to be found in me.
I wanted only you and yet I couldn’t utter a ‘yes’.
Of all the things I could do, I stupidly chose to cry.
I knew my place in this world too well
to admit wanting anything as lovely as you.

As you smiled and wiped my tears
and picked the another happy song, I wished you would have
said “If you cannot love me, better get ready for a lifetime of hating yourself”
instead of saying “It is fine.”

“How do you want to be saved?” – Nayana Nair

.

I crawled to the window
in my dress torn by the claws and cries
of people who live in my nightmares.
They like clean living rooms, dark courtyards,
and cars with slashed tires sitting in their garage.
They have
“broken hearts” written down in forms as their identity
and broken chandeliers swept under their bed.
They crouch down and look at me
as the broken lights shine red,
as I see myself bleed beautiful rivers,
as my silent scream become winds, become ripples,
becomes the face that will forever make me cry.
They smile and ask me
“What do you wish? How do you want to be saved?”
while someone else burns the bed that I am crushed under
and asks me “Is this the what the warmth felt like in your mind?”
They drag me out into a forest,
where under the brightest tree of hope,
they stuff darkness into my throat, into my mind
and ask me “Do you still feel empty?”
They are unreal and of unsound mind.
They tell me living in me makes them so.
They wave goodbye to me with a smile,
offering me a sweet candy
for my silence and understanding
It is raining when I open my eyes.
I breathe in the world
where bleeding and burning is irreversible,
where it would lead to an end of some kind.
I crawl to the window
in my torn dress and my exhausted skin
and find myself staring
at people who used live in my nightmares,
people who look more real that the living me.
People who now own more than just my dreams.

“The Light of White Tulips” – Nayana Nair

.

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.

“Another Round of Wrong Guesses” – Nayana Nair

.

In that room
seated along with my anxious heart,
my crumbling forevers, and my noisy pen,
was you.
You are now more colorful than ever-
more real, more present.
You are more you that before,
more of a person that I ever could be.
I envied you and loved you for that- that I remember.

I realize there other things that I don’t remember well,
as you put on the record
of “50 greatest pointless questions of all time”,
as you sharpen the edges of your weak hollow anger,
as you ask me to play a harmless game,
another try at the precious once-in-a-lifetime love,
another guess, another stab, another cut,
another laughter echoing and tearing
everything that almost made me human,
another try, another guess, another endearing laugh
at the sight of my tears.

I had decided that won’t flinch, that I won’t cry.
I looked at the paper again
that said that I am not actually hurt,
that everything I suffer from is a making of my mind,
that I am just too scared,
too lonely to think straight ever again.
I looked at it wanting to believe it
but also knowing I won’t allow this paper to fix this for me.

For even to this image- this violent beautiful ghost of you,
even to this- I felt I owed something.
I still waited for you to give up.
It still mattered to me – this confirmation-
that what I loved
also loved me back in some twisted way.
So I nodded yes to another rounds of wrong guess,
to this game I won’t ever win.

“Eventual Fall” – Nayana Nair

She just laughed and said
“you are not really intelligent,
you know that right?”
as she packed her bag,
making space for her only notebook, with difficulty.
I wonder if she really needs all those the things.
She is not a careful person,
I know that because her list of priorities is horizontal-
everything is important, everything is equally dispensable.
I hear a song breaking at the bottom of her lungs,
when she talks of the new thing that she will love forever
when I know she won’t.

She lets me know for my own good “geniuses are not made by effort,
love doesn’t happen by hard work,
quit swimming and struggling when you are on land.”
She takes me by hand, teaching me how to walk,
teaching me her pace.
Her pace unsettles me. She gives cruel names
to my innocent actions as she smiles.
She smiles at me while I wait for my forever to end.
And only because I hate myself
for not wanting to love her sometimes
I smile back.

I wonder how far my determination can take us.
As she finally boards the train home, after missing out on a few,
she says “stop struggling, when i am with you,
i know your heart, even when you don’t.
it hurts to see you like this,
things will eventually fall in their place.”
I wonder if she is pushing herself, within the limits of who she is,
to save something of us, to save something of me.
I wonder how she can love me, if she knows how petty my heart is.
And because I do not know the answers to her,
I wait for us to fall into the places.
I think of her and find it easier, this wait.

“What I Remember (22)” – Nayana Nair

Was it 5 years ago, or 6
that we all sat together
looking at the bright beginning
of another series of setbacks
that we were becoming.
The coldness of the wood,
the ruffle of papers, the moment before
we learned to truly hate ourselves.

I miss that.

As we stood waiting in line
for something to take away
everything we were just beginning to see,
I remember thinking,
“I wish I could spend my youth here.
In this moment, with these people.
I am nothing to them, they are nothing to me.
But we are good for each other.
This can never be made again.”
At that moment I knew
they will make my heart ache
for a long time.

In the years that followed
I saw them,
the people who carried the faces
of the ones
I liked enough not to love.
“What’s wrong?” I wanted to ask them
but all I could do was smile
and let my smile tell them
“I will see you for what you were.
At least that I can do for you.
The beauty of your innocence and hope
I will remember it forever.”

“What have my eyes lost sight of ?” – Nayana Nair

As I sing your praise
I end up recalling
how I used to look at you
as if you could save me.
But now we stare at each other
while my life remains what it is.
I don’t call it a mess now,
to get some sympathy out of you,
to get a miracle out of you.
I don’t call it a blessing
just so that you would know
that I appreciate what you gave me
and hope to get a little bit more.

One song, one hymn after another.
I play at the seams of my skirt.
I pick at the skin that I once was.
“is this how we lose ourselves?”,
I want to ask you.
“is this we become who we are,
by cracking and crumbling invisibly,
the moment to mourn-lost forever,
the innumerable funerals no one grieved at,
is this why growing up is painful for all?”.

Instead of prayers
I come to you with only questions.
Instead of your forgiveness
I end up asking your understanding
for what I have done and what I have become.

“feelings on the forevers that worked out” – Nayana Nair

you won’t believe this.

yesterday, coincidentally
i met the couple that always looked cute together.
the ones i thought will be together forever.
yesterday, i was sad for the first time
that they are together even after so many years.
that they made something out of their love, when we can’t.

as i smiled at them
and asked them about their wonderful life,
i didn’t feel happy at all.
i wanted to just find you and ask you
“why couldn’t you give me this happiness,
why you had to be as weak as me”.

and when they asked about you
i had to lie that you are doing well.
when they asked if we could all meet up,
i gave them my old number that no longer works.
they were so happy, that it ruined my whole day.

so yesterday was another day
when i learnt that i am not a really nice person.
i could see why you didn’t like me enough.

“Flowers used to bloom here” – Nayana Nair

There is a wall of flowers before her.
She looks at it as if they are a softer kind of firework,
a firework in reverse,
the colors leaving the petals, crawling deep into itself,
leaving the color of the inevitable sad ending
that Nature always ends up falling for,
after a series of boys who lied to her about a forever
in their mellow green kisses.

A lesson on subtraction
for a girl trying to learn
about the reasons and the ways
a void like hers is created.

“Whatever Blooms in Darkness” – Nayana Nair

When all things that are not divine
found a home in me,
I realized they would probably
be the only friends I ever make.
I read up many books
and considered taking up some mildly destructive
and slightly disturbing hobbies,
so that I could know them better.
So I could become someone they could accept.
I looked for a teacher who could teach me
how to love back darkness,
how to become a wound itself
instead of nursing one forever.


I want to say I found happiness
in that one friend
with sad eyes and bitter lips.
But there still lived in me
that one girl made of light
who wanted to ruin me
by guiding me back to life.