“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.

“I hope for them to not see and not know”- Nayana Nair

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The river rises,
another flood is here
and I haven’t yet learnt to swim.
My friends are again at my door.
They knock, then they start crying.
They tell me about the happiness I can’t see,
they try to predict what you
would have wanted me to be,
and all I can do is laugh at it all.

My laugh, it must be as frightening to them as my tears now.
For even as they send me pics of kittens and quotes,
and stories saved from fire, stories filled with hope,
I hear their panic from the other side.
They know that just taking your name
had undone the strength
they tried to feed me for months.

And since now they can’t breathe
everytime I close my door, everytime I refuse to speak –
I am another hell to them.
And since I can’t let them break over me –
they are another pillow pressing on my face.

I hope for them to let me own my sadness.
I hope for them to not see and not know my pain.
But they do, they feel so much of me
that I have to open the door,
that I have to let them hold my hands.

I tell them that I’ll live no matter what
and they still tell me that it is not enough-
they want me to be who I was.
I can only smile at their cruel hopes for me.

“In reaching you” – Nayana Nair

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If we were to meet somewhere not here.
If we are to be someone new, someone different,
for the chance of meeting
to finally happen.
I think
happiness, even then, won’t be of any consequence to us.

You and me – we – would find warmth
just in the vision of our open arms and tear-stained faces.
We would run into each others arms
and not utter any other useless promise.
We would tell each other without words
that we can be fine by just being together.

Yet, we – you and me – will find ourseleves filled
with disappointment and sadness
and a blooming bitterness filled with light.
For the ones who fought and cried and begged
and desperately clinged onto the promise of love-
this love can exist only without them.

In reaching you, in finding your heart on the other side of mine,
it feels that I have just been carrying on the wishes
of someone who loved you a bit more,
a lot more than me, a lot more than this.
The hand we hold as we sleep today,
they have held knives. I know the scent of my end on your being.
I move in closer to you,
trying to remember the me who smiled only for you
and you hold me closer trying to waiting for something similar.

The ones who wanted this love have been long been killed.
the ones we want are ourselves.
“Do you even remember where you have buried me?” I almost said
but instead I said soulless words about some love.
Hoping to find at least this answer without your help.

“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.

“If even you came to me like that”- Nayana Nair

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Don’t call your love a help.
Don’t tell me you pity me.

If even Love came to me like this,
how shall I accept your feelings.

What would be left of me
if I could reach you
only because my sadness
made me worthy of light.

I can choose such love of yours
only if choose
to never part with this pain
that I have.

Though I wanted you beside me
you are beside me because I can’t walk,
because I am running into walls when you leave my hand.
And I keep getting new bruises,
fearing how your heart might change
if I learn to smile.

“You may find my garden” – Nayana Nair

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The spring may find my garden
but it cannot make me flower.
I am beyond the reach of its hand.
I am beyond the point of return.
I am where only my love can exist,
not me.

You stand beside the fire” – Nayana Nair

In the rubble with nerves hiding sparks,
in the nest of sleeping explosives,
again it is you.
Again you are here to prove something
by doing something unasked for.

You build a place for warm tea,
for all our shivering ghosts to haunt.
You place the chairs that are not chairs
but buckets that cannot hold anything now.
There are chairs that are lying around just fine
but you don’t want them.
You don’t want the old purposes eating away
the beauty of all that is left behind.

You console the ones holding onto what is no longer there
but you don’t want the ones who want a way back to what it was.
You ask us questions with your bleeding lips
you want us to answer with something real,
not just words.
“You are cruel”,
you laugh when we say that.
You make us leave everything we are
just so that we can finally sit on empty buckets
thinking about the hands we cannot hold,
thinking about hands that are no longer hands.

“The city is no longer burning”, you tell us
as we place our empty glasses in front of our empty eyes
and tell us it is fine if we don’t believe it now.
“Sleep. Dream and stay for a while with the molten and bombed,
the lost and the dead that still have your heart.
Take your time.”

As we lay awake in our heart-wrenching grief,
as we lose ourselves to your favorite world of sleep,
you stand beside the fire
that keeps us alive.
You stand beside the fire
that is not actually fire
but your heart
that burns like sun.

We wanted to tell you, “You are kind.
You are too beautiful for this world.
Have our heart and burn it instead.”
But we couldn’t .
We knew these things were easy only in words,
that these were things we couldn’t do, yet.
That we have not smiled and laughed with bleeding lips,
helping while being hated.
That we were too selfish to be you.

“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.

“But more than love” – Nayana Nair

But more than love
I needed to feel that I am human,
that my heart and its pieces
and its tentacles struggling to get a grip on me
are a story everyone’s bored of.

I needed to know that I am fine.
As fine,
as normal
as the person who doesn’t meet my eyes.
That I could look up from the sinking ground.

I needed someone to place me in the sun,
to water me, try hard to keep alive,
to make this
small me
the center of world
for few seconds.
Someone who could grow and bloom beside me,
because of me.

But more than love
I wanted you to be the one
who does that for me.

“The only way to be complete” – Nayana Nair

I sit on the cold boulder
and film everything, just like I am told.
I am told, only for today,
I should stop sewing myself up haphazardly,
messing up the live-stream,
and talking about things that will never happen.
I have been told to put a hold
on the wonderful manipulation that does no good
to any effort my mind puts
in fixing things back.

My mind doesn’t like me much, understandably.
And I don’t like the idea of fixing anything- a harder concept.
Maybe that’s why I burn as my mind looks around me.
Maybe I should actually stop, when I am told to
but I don’t want a way out, I don’t want to look.

“i promise not to hurt anyone but me”
“i am fine like this. don’t take my tears seriously.”
“please don’t mind the doctor’s note.”
“please don’t mind the smoke in this room,
it is a temporary solution to my emptiness,
till something worse comes along.”

There is an exit sign that flies far away from me.
There appears a road
that it eats itself up .
There are bridges that I have cried over
and the fires that no longer burn.
Everything of beauty that I had in me
I have lost it here.
I have burnt my body, nerve by nerve,
for the sake of peace and love.
Let me live here
near the ashes of my past selves
near the life that cannot be,
around things that can’t be helped.