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“Even when things are right” – Nayana Nair

“The sky is your canvas”,
the book to all ailments said,
“there is a joy in filling it up with life.”
But as I finished my 157th sketch,
as I finished my 300th one,
as I finished the one with no count attached
(the one I called “the limits that were stronger than me”),
as I write over all that I had drawn,
as the clouds dragged themselves painfully
crawling to some better place,
like everything else in my life
the sky remained unchanged.

And when I lost my hands to fate, to slow corrosion,
to the burden of creation,
to the lady in white who couldn’t even lie that “it won’t hurt”,
to the painful work of making up things that I want,
things that would want me back, or at least won’t walk out,
to the hunch that said something is seriously wrong
with the kind of life I have.

I wished for the man in the sky
to wake up and get to work,
to make me some rain,
to drop an ocean of crystal on this world,
to paint a heaven on this cheap sky of this miserable man.

Because trying on some days, on most days now,
feels like living against the wishes of the world.
I can’t help but break a bit, cry a bit
even when things are right,
because they right only because of my efforts.
Can you give me something that I don’t have to work hard for,
something that was made for me,
something that I can keep.
A thing, a person, a sign
that I can hold in my hand
that tells me that you want me to be happy,
that you want me to smile,
that I am not abandoned after all.

“Pendulums and Spirit Animals” – Nayana Nair

In my beautiful dreams
I run to you, as if you are my body,
as if I cannot press play without your hands,
as if the world won’t come into my grasp
without your skin.

When my eyes open,
I don’t mind losing the world
if it helps me get rid of you.

An animal in me cries out your name every hour
my panic filled voice shouts back – “shut up!!!”.
I must choose, I must give up on one thing,
if I want to be something more than a lifeless
pendulum.

In a room scented with disinfectant
as I wait for my turn
I wonder if the man in white coat
will sing me something beautiful
when he puts me down for good.

“Give you away” – Nayana Nair

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I wonder
if the roles I play
are really what I want to be.
Or is it too late?

Are my roles,
my not-so-temporary voices
already doing
the dreaming and the wanting
in my place
for me?

I see you and utter “love me”
without thinking twice.
Even if you find
some love left in you to give up,
I wonder
is there any “me” left in me
to love you back.

Would I end up setting you up
with a heartless cruel face of mine?
Would I hold your hand, only to give you away
to the parts of me, that cannot ever understand
how precious you are?

“Assignment” – Nayana Nair

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There was that pile of paper
I could
never keep safe.
The crossed out, always crossed out words,
words always out of order,
words turned beautiful
only because they dissolved
in my frustration.
Only because now I cannot read them
without effort.
I must make something out of them
something that couldn’t possibly be mine.

The blue ink dripping,
forming planets on unexpected letters,
forming planets on my hands.
I would take them to class
and look at them as if now I meant something more,
now that I was suffering for something I want.

I raised my hands to answer a question
I have already answered hundred times.
I sat down and swallowed my teacher’s frown.
He didn’t have to teach me
that right answers matter
only when they come from right mouths.
(I once got an A only because I forgot to put my name.)
I knew there was nothing I could learn
by swallowing frowns everyday,
but still I dragged myself, my broken planets,
my half burnt poems in my half burnt hands
to the one who doesn’t think twice
before asking me

to hate myself better.

“Black Pond” – Nayana Nair

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As I climb,
my steps remembered the shoes I once had
the ones that didn’t hurt so much
and how hands of mine that hacked through them
just to become my own person,
some sort of grown-up.
I climbed over the yellow soft dress
and the light that it caught
just to get this, this body that looks held together
but is not
(this body knows only how to fall apart),
just to get few more shadows that ruin my beautiful wrist
with their persistent passion.
They claw through me, to see how I am made,
how I look and speak once I break.
A stranger once left me at the bottom of a black pond
and called it love just so that I won’t cry
and in return I called him my love
just for few breaths, just for my life.
I climbed over the right to mean the word “love” thereafter
and the dream of knowing a heart other than mine.
I breathe as if I have sinned
yet I walk like I am happiness and determination in flesh.
I cling to all the bitter bits of this world
as if they would ultimately save me.
I climb over, get over, and forget
so easily, so bitterly
that each feeling of mine is just a shade
of resentment.

“where our days end” – Nayana Nair

She makes circles on the back of my hand.
She writes “love” again and again on my skin
so that I don’t forget her.
She writes “love” again and again with her fingers
so that she may not forget I am still not lost to her.
That I can be different as long as she sees me for me
and she lets me see an unaltered part of her once in a while.
Few more alphabets follow
of my name and hers
and all the names we wish we could forget
just the way we are forgetting to love
even when that is the only thing we want to remember.
I tap my fingers on the steering wheel
to a song that plays only in the past,
wondering why I learned these words that only give me pain,
give her pain, give us only half of each other
while we are missing more pieces than we were made of,
why my losses are more than my being,
why we have to stop here, by this cliff, every evening
waiting for our ghosts to take a step back,
to look back at us
and see the happy ending waiting for them,
why we are invisible to our ghosts
who only speak of names and futures that we have grown to hate?

“Blue white love” – Nayana Nair

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As I wait for you
in the back seat of your car
almost losing sense of my limbs and my scars
I smile – the sad smile I would never use when I am sober.
I smile thinking,
thankful,
at least I am not crying and waiting
in the trunk of some stranger’s car.
I don’t necessarily love you
but I guess I love your pattern, the predictability of your anger,
the time I have to prepare my skin to shatter.
I think about the times I have been broken
and abandoned by the loves and by the men before you
I think about your anger that I never forget this past.
I think about your hands that I can count on
even when your hands love my pain the most.
I think of your funny jokes, the food you cook in your good mood,
the songs that you hum as you move around the house,
your bluish white wings and your flickering halo
when you are asleep by my side.
I think I can love you a bit after all.

“All the boxes are checked” – Nayana Nair

It hurts a bit more naturally
and less violently,
now that betrayal has a range,
has not one but many faces.
Now I need not figure what I did wrong.

All the boxes are checked:

family, family, friends, not friends,
thank-god-we-were-never-friends friends,
i-am-sad-i-stood-up-for-you friends,
people who marked my skin with their name
to own me
while i slept in their arms
(another golden cup added to collection of people hard to get,
people who won’t die if thrown away or left alone)
loves whom i am tied to,
the ones who demand smile and sometimes a bit more,
always a bit more.

They know the feel of my hand and love how it heals.
They hold my hand in their sleep
in their nightmares, in the storms of passion
that they need a person to aim at.
They break my wrist
in my nighmares, in my awareness of my fruitless love.
When I am at verge of crying,
they tell me to not give them a hard time
and to act like the refuge that I am supposed to be.

So I tell them “I love you”
and this lie hurts a little less everyday
as my heart becomes the stone pedestal
all my loves stand on.

“you are lovely” – Nayana Nair

“you are lovely”

“you make me forget the unpleasantness of my life.
so i will call this love.
calling you my love is the only way
that i can depend on you without feeling weak.”

“i dreamt of you
sitting and singing on the blue couch
of my childhood home.
home that my parent’s respective loves burnt long ago.
you remind me of hope now.”

“i hold your name more dearly than your hand,
because your hands are so human that i can’t seem to love them
the way i love you.
i stop myself from telling you
how my own humanness makes me hate myself.
have you heard of the heart that changes it’s mind too often
that abandons as easily as it takes up new obsession,
that makes us miserable even when we should be happy,
even when we have all we want.
i have that. you have that.
that’s what i hate. that’s what i fear.
i stop myself from telling you
how often i wonder
that even this love for you might be a grand way of looking
at the easy way out.”

“fairy tales” – Nayana Nair

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a broken end
with a light
(a lighter duller than me)
touches me.
someone
says the magic words,
the loathsome words
that make me the old alice.
i am made to leave
the seat, the home,
the dream, the rights
that are too big for me.
they leave me a tiny suitcases
filled with fancy dresses
made of used socks and handkerchiefs.
they are cute,
they are kind,
they have read their fairy tales right.
i have never read the right books,
so i find myself unable to thank them
or kiss their hands.
thumblina says my new belongings in glitter
i do not know what this name means
or the fate that the owner of this name is meant to find
but i have heard it is better than being an alice.
(i liked being alice more
i liked a story written for my sake.)
as i walk into the new forest,
towards hopefully my last story
or at least a story i can make my own for once,
i can’t help but think of
all the laughing men, now laughing giants
fixing my home to their liking.
i can’t help but be a bit bitter
looking at my hands that can only build for people like them.

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