“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.

“But maybe because it is you, you won’t laugh if I told you” – Nayana Nair

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Of all that I miss,
out of every

“I had it when I didn’t need it,
when I wasn’t ready to face my own needing, cause
my feelings for the delicate and genuine seemed hateful to me”,

out of everything that I tried not to know,
you are the one most precious to me.
Mostly it is because I didn’t really look at you
so I have only these regrets
to measure what you were.

And my regrets grow heavier
with every encounter I have with this world
that is filled with people like me.
My regrets grow heavier
even though I was so well suited, so ready
to live and thrive in this real world, where you were destined
to fail and wither and lose all that false light your prized.

My regrets grow heavier,
the more I realize how much this world needs
you and your friends,
with your false beautiful ideals sewed on your skins.
You would laugh if I told you
about the people I meet everyday,
people like me who can’t come in terms
with the world they have chosen.
I face their expecting eyes,
I feel their hands searching in me
for a glimpse of the world they have burnt.
But maybe because it is you, you won’t laugh at it.
Maybe you’d cry, cry in our stead,
cry for all that we cannot cry for.

When they search for miracles in me
I feel like a house with hidden doors and floors
with bodies holding goodness lying breathless within.
I fear when they find you behind every door-
a miracle with your face, an end with your smile-
then even these regrets won’t be mine.

So I try to be of use to them
all the time hoping
that they find the face of kindness only they know of,
only they miss, the one only they want back.
So that at least our mad hopes, will remain our own till the end.
So that we gain nothing but remember everything
and that remembering makes our hands, our hearts soft and breakable
and beautiful like yours, like everyone else like you
who did a world a favor by just existing.

“The truth doesn’t matter to me” – Nayana Nair

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And when asked if my words could be relied on,
if what I wrote was true.
I answered, “My life doesn’t know truth
as much as it knows love.
But when it comes to love, my words fails me,
I fail myself, before anyone else.
Failing is nothing to be proud of
and failing in love is like filling oneself
with doubts and faults that never existed before.
I can never be myself again.
My standing up or my lying defeated
may make a difference to the world,
my truth might matter to the everyone else
but not to me.

To me, what matters is already lost.
Now I just get to live a life of pretense –
play house, play life, play hearts
with people who seek truth in wrong places- in me.
If I asked if you can be relied on,
if you know the meaning of words you speak.
You might answer yes to keep my heart, to be better at love.
You might answer no and I will know it to be true even as I smile.
But nothing you say actually matters
the world will end and we will end long before that
and I will end before you-
because of you
or in spite of you.

You might turn out to be my last true love
or you might be the last nail in my heart.
But if I write a poem on eternal love
of someone whose shadows roughly look like ours,
know it is a lie we will never live up to,
but also know it is what I saw in us
even if it cannot be called truth,
even if it won’t be us.

“Chorus” – Nayana Nair

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Sometimes when I forget to live, to see ahead,
I find myself back again in the house of wood
beside my child made of sand.
He looks like me most of the days,
sometimes she looks like him.
They are often speaking like chorus of brokenness.

Some days they tell me that they are not mine,
that they are not children, that I am not me.
I ask them
then why do I feel the way I do?
why do I hurt the way I hurt?
And hearing this
they become the sand that I can only cry upon.
They don’t come alive
until another time.

But until that, I must be me,
and see things not being themselves.
The sand that was a life a second ago,
it melts, it grows wings
and opens its eyes and burns as sun.

Sometimes it opens it eyes and starts crying in my arms.
It tears my skin, it makes me smile
all my dying parts wake up
but in a world where no such beautiful haunting exists
where I have no reasons to cry
only tears that never stop.

“Becoming Precious” – Nayana Nair

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Their torn ends, their disappearing body,
the plastic wings at the corner of
the shallow pockets (that were actually good for nothing)
now look like a teardrop determined to stand till the very end.
Isn’t it all so ridiculous,
laughable, and sad?
The blue that never dies – doesn’t it fill you with anger
at the unfair paces each component of this world moves?
The half alive part of everything cursing the other broken half
for taking them down as well.
Isn’t it a bit too noisy here to miss or accept anything?

(Or am I the only one?)

All the treasures are now at the pawn shops,
and the bottom shelves
of the rooms and houses, countries, and identities abandoned,
in the words that belong to pseudo names and ‘anonymous’,
in the trash cans of people who swear never to love you again.
They lie deleted and dumped under the bridges
whose shadow rubs your back
as you try to vomit out the leftover love eating your heart.

While everything to be thrown away is always there
in the cupboard,
in the handbags, on the sofa, in your phone
talking up extra space,
waiting for you to forget them, get fed up of them,
waiting for you to throw them away,
so that they can haunt you,
so they can be your another true love.
Till they are your sole teardrop when it all ends.

“I cannot tell the difference”- Nayana Nair

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“Long time ago” is a dangerous neighborhood.
All its season are holograms of perfect world,
the illusions of rain and snow and sun,
the illusion of hearts still beating under the non-existent skin.
The technician of this a weary magic
lives beside the empty park in the middle of my heart.
He knows the perfect days to make me cry, to make me see.
He invents new people, new details.
Sometime these are fake stand-ins for the what he has lost
in his war against me, all that I intend to forget.
Sometime they are what I failed to realize,
people I didn’t get to love.
Most days I can’t tell the difference
between the words I have forgotten
and the ones I will never hear
again.
This town
has post offices with stamps of words I no longer mean
stuck on its wall.
There cars and houses and roads and rivers
owned by people who will never die.
They all gather on my birthday
in the cemetery of one grave.
They sit on the endless green grass with their picnic baskets,
with the kids I will never have, with the pets I will never keep
and look into the eyes that will never look at me.
They smile knowing something I will never know.

“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.

“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.

“A lie for every fear” – Nayana Nair

I walk past houses
that are too silent to be there.
Another drop of tear
lands on my hand.

I dare not stop and look.

I fear I might end up finding
my own home that I had left.

In my eyes I might end up holding
the face of the one
whose sorrow I can’t still bear.

I once lied,
“I will love you forever”.
I fear I might now find the love
that I didn’t have then.

I fear I will ask you
for everything that I do not deserve.

So I lie once again,
this time for your sake-
“though my heart is cold,
love is not the fire I need”.

“Aunt” – Nayana Nair

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“Yes, I do have plans for my future my dear aunt.”
I say, after I see her put her cup down and look at me
with sympathy and resentment.
“How can we not worry.
It is your future we are talking about.”

Actually, I never had these conversation,
at least not with my aunt.
I never had such an aunt to bother me.
But there are relatives and other faces
that I am hiding under the name of a non-existent aunt.
Sometimes it is me who is hiding under that name instead.

I am handed down spare maps
that I am supposed to study and follow.
Mark my route and choose someone
who could help me get up in the morning
even if it out of hatred.
I am sure it will be hatred
because I have seen no one one who has sorted their life
to wake up feeling that they have done it right.

My bitterness might make me seem like
a remainder of uneasy and uncomfortable families,
but it is not so.
There are just too many non-existent aunts in our house
who thinks we could have done better, chosen better,
lived better-
if only we could get our act together
and stopped acting like the world owes us some kind of happiness.

This constant re-evaluation of life
and its result coming out as failure every time
makes everything we live with
and everyone we choose as a mistake.
What is this “better” that doesn’t let us live?