"Ports" – Nayana Nair

a blue cloudy sky over a banana plantation.
the only word to be heard – rebellion.
someone is crying far away.
another round of bullets leave the shaking hands
of the one who can’t seem to stop crying.
now he must die just like me.
he rests his bloody head and its murky thoughts on me.
in this last afternoon of my life
i drift into bouts of darkness,
without fear for first time,
with the company of only his confused memories.
will this be my last dream – his life?
even in his head my homeland and its afternoons are beautiful.
he has a face that he doesn’t want to forget,
he has childhood home he can always return to
but he didn’t, he regrets it now.
he remembers the red color that his sister
stopped wearing on her lips
once her heart was broken badly.
how he kept it with himself, as a symbol of happiness
that he can’t have only for himself.
there are ports on rainy days
and buildings that became sadder at night.
he once painted the window that would never open to him
or anyone else for that matter.
he cried when another nameless woman was found lifeless
on the last page corner of newspaper
and the window never lighted anymore.
there is a cafe filled with few bombs that didn’t go off
where the only one spared was him.
he doesn’t want to be spared anymore.
i wonder if he thinks that he can have happiness when he ends.
i wonder if i will be able to smile on a rainy day, even if i am born again.

“Under the Blue” – Nayana Nair

The button of self-destruct was never so glorious,
never so definite, never so absolute
until she uttered “end” and it sounded like “home” to me.

I feared looking at the mark of x on my maps
that she had found with great pains.
The blue under the mark looked so harmless even when it was not.

Only when I saw her tears disappear with along with her
in the waters that no one dares to drink,
did I realize that I also had been drowning all along.

“mornings break us apart again” – Nayana Nair

she traced the light on my chest
pulled out everything that stung-
the swings, my feet,
the shadow i decided no longer to play with.

the comparision table of veins and arteries
copied into my notebook.
the eraser and pencil that helped me document
in those tables my lackings compared to everyone else.

a page torn, and then another, and then another.
pages that learnt immortality by choosing my heart as home.

she stayed up nights trying to free me
as i stuggled and begged not to empty me.
she smiled and said the words she didn’t mean,
words that i wanted to hear from someone, anyone.

so i slept because she couldn’t be stopped.
“leave me alone” now hurt me more than her.
i opened my eyes and cried
for her work was done,
now i was no one, now nothing was mine,
not even my pain, not even her.

she dusted her cobweb skirt,
placed a kiss on my forehead
and told me to breathe,
breathe in everything
that i didn’t think i had the right to.

she told me to breathe
and to never forget what suffocation felt like.
it helps in becoming kind, she said.

as she wiped clean her traces from my life,
i felt better, again i was full.
i was full of her, of this love that won’t work out.
being full of her, i refused to breathe,
because i wanted to keep it that way.

“ellipsis” – Nayana Nair

i can’t…i just can’t bring myself to remove all the ellipsis…that i leave behind in my sentences. i know they look shabby… as if i don’t know how to create proper sentences…as if i have never heard of a comma. i am told it is something similar to ending and pausing sentences with “you know”.

“so juvenile”…my friend had commented. i remember saying the same words to my friends as well (but i don’t think my tone was the same, but i could be mistaken…or self righteous)…so it seems i am not allowed to take it to heart. i am supposed to erase the ellipsis…till they smile again and lie that “i will do better”…or that “it’s time i grow up”…or “gotta become a real poet”.

it seems it is okay to store my ellipses in my mind
to place it on an empty sky,
on the face of my teacher sprinkled with a hatred that i can’t understand,
on the hands that never reach out to me in daylight,
on the future i can’t seem to dream about,
on every minute that i walk alone on the streets
where i thought i would never have to be alone,
on the days when i know the answer but won’t speak up
for the fear of being right.
i don’t know how to live a life
where what i think has importance or the acceptance of others.
need to find a better home for my pauses
than pages that are mine
but only with conditions.

“the broken-hearted” – Nayana Nair

the broken-hearted know no love
for anything or anyone
that is not the one breaking their heart.
they see through you.
even when they say hello
they almost get your name wrong,
you can tell it from the look in their eyes.
they drink and fill every room with songs
that were not so hard to bear
when they were just noises that radio made.
they tell you in their drunken stupor that no one cares.

they say no one cares
even when you call the cab, drag them home,
hurt your hand in the struggle,
scrape more than skin, lose more than patience,
leave them on a bed not made
for weeks probably, you don’t want to guess or know.
so you close the door, climb down the stairs
shut down the part of mind reserved for them,
but remember how they have been liking and sharing
too many dark poems, how those poems
speak in their voice in your mind.
so you climb back, remove every blade and knife
and realize it is just the beginning.
you feel exhausted by the inexhaustible list of things
that can help end a life,
that can serve as a full stop.

so you sleep on the couch
or pretend to,
till your head hurts from pretending.
now that you want something true
you call your love
and tell him that you don’t know
how to handle this,
how to sleep and yet keep an eye
on the one whom you suspect is waiting,
waiting for you to close your eyes for a second
to make an exit that doesn’t exist.
he tells you that they are beyond hope
at the same time
he forwards articles that could give you hope.
he tells you to sleep tight knowing you won’t.

when you wake up at the sound of tears
being microwaved for breakfast,
you see another day that won’t be right.
you see them trying not to break
yet breaking and abandoning everything around them
so that their hurt can be felt by the world.
they look at you and smile
while they pour another glass
toasting “another drink for the world that doesn’t care,
another drink for the loveless me.”

the broken-hearted know no love
for anything or anyone
that is not the one breaking their heart.

“Zooming In” – Nayana Nair

When I sit still
I am not waiting.
I am thinking of what is not
and why it should never have been.
I zoom into every empty space
and practice how to look away when it hurts me.
I remove my watch from my wrist
and place it next to plate for a better view
and a ruined palate.
I start from the names I know,
I start from the what they used to be
and what they have become.
All the while not addressing
the forest in the middle of my home
and the animal cries in my chest.
The fog in your mind
now spreads into mine.
Now I sometimes forget your name
as you forgot mine.
I dream of making you cry
to forget my own tears.
I wait and sometimes dream
that you would never arrive,
that I would forget whom I was waiting for
and I would smile not knowing why.

“where i am going…” – Nayana Nair

you, my love, my sky,
my rain, my breaking heart,
the lines of my fate on my aging hands,
you, my collection of books that read me
more than i read them,
you, the beginning of my life.

i am beginning to realize
the pain of dying, the prospect of being separated
from the warmth of your back, from the
home the turns into a hurricane that centers around you,
centers around us, around the lightning in your heart.
i am told there is only darkness where i am going.
where i am going is a black hole of memories,
there i will see you and not remember who you are.

my love, i do not want to forget you like that.

“I let him drive” – Nayana Nair

I roll down my window
hoping for the first time
that I knew how to drive
so that I wouldn’t have a confused witness
to my impulse of moving forward by a mile
and falling down by a heartbeat.

“Is everything alright?”,
he asks me too often.
I don’t bother to calm him down by saying ‘yes’
as I was doing an hour ago.
Nothing I say can now convince him of my normality.
So I let him drive and let myself collapse.
I bury my face in my lap
and breathe better by suffocating myself a little bit more.

He hums a song that reminds me of the love
that now lives in a country I have not seen
in a life that I will always guess inaccurately
with a girl who has a serious case of klemptomania.
Last time I called the stolen one,
I was given a sorry and an address of a better therapist.

I let my ring burn my heart.
I ask the driver to leave me somewhere no one can find me
knowing he will not, he will take me home
just like he doesn’t everyday,
and he will make sure to greet me
with a kind forgetfulness the next morning.

I wish I had kept more strangers like him in my life,
someone who would worry about me.

“The last brick is in my heart” – Nayana Nair

In every country, in every city,
on every street
stands a home that could have been ours.
I am a daydreamer like that
As I passed the house with an always crying child,
as I passed the house with the overwhelming smell of incense,
as I passed the house with singing reality shows played on repeat
I only thought of the life we could have there.
In my mind, we fit every house, we fit every role.
Even if our body was stripped of every muscles and every bone
even if we put back together the wrong way,
even if we our heart were to be rearranged,
in my mind we would still fall in love.
That is how we had molded the spirit of our love-
to be stubborn (if not right or just).
But now there are years when I don’t remember you,
and yet there is no sadness in me that is capable of ruining me.
You are gone
and I am trying to grieve for something I don’t particularly miss.
As I pass the houses where our stories used to be staged
I realize they are again the buildings of strangers
that I am supposed to keep my mind away from.
My sadness selfishly keeps uttering,
“I need to love someone, someone who won’t do this to me.
I need to love someone, to believe in love again.”
I reach home with bloody nails and bruised fingers
leaving behind bricks with our names scratched out.

“Familiar” – Nayana Nair

“You have changed”, I want to say.
But the more you change, the more familiar you get.

Now you look like the girl who lied she is my friend.
You look like the boy who crawled into my skin
only to confirm that I can feel the hurt just as he can.
You look like my hand that loves to strangle my heart.
You look like the sad unwelcoming roads to my breaking home.
You look like the one who desperately want to be remembered for leaving me in parts.

I want to say that I loved someone else
that couldn’t possibly be you.

But you are a person of this world,
you are the same as everyone else.
You sit here with me
hoping that you weren’t mine,
hoping that I would look familiar to you
if you looked long enough.