“Telling Signs” – Nayana Nair

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“Does rust affect plastic dreams?”
I ask my teacher in my sleep.
She takes out an axe and starts cutting down
the first mouth filled with wrong answers.
Two rows away
she wipes her brows and folds her sleeves,
she takes another deep breath
before she checks the attendance sheet
and finds the next dream to kill.

She tells me I should think more and ask more
and ask the questions that help me live.
She looks at the metal that grows out of my pores
and gives me another chance.
She says only if I would try to be better
than the people I am clinging to, I could grow up to be her.
I look away from the blood that flowing down her neck,
the parts of her that she intends to kill by holding other’s breath.

“What about my mother’s arms, weak weak exhausted arms?
Are those my telling signs?
Does that mean I don’t have to worry,
that I am just someone next in line?
What about you? Do you rust like me?
Would the color of my rust, would my weakened heart
make me worth protecting,
make me deserving of kinder words?

She told me “It will not get you respect or equality,
if that’s what you are looking for.
It can sure get you love, of some kind, for some time
but it is just a matter of time
before you see the end that only you can write.
And you would end up writing it
cause that painful end would be more truer and more yours
than any love that you find by compromise.”

As she walks past me, smiling lovingly,
as she spares my life, that now she owns.
As she dissolves my only way back,
I realize too late, that my chaos and my doubts
were more hopeful than an answer like this
that promises pain to everyone else but me.

“Saving only December” – Nayana Nair

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All the spring’s color
have been molten and poured
into the broken casts of summer.
They seep into ground, into autumn leaves
that falls in every space between you and me.
They sing something for us again
as we shiver and stop ourselves from giving in,
as you hold back from saying every word
that can fix me (at least for now).
I google how to kill feelings
that don’t let me eat or speak or smile.
I bite my lips trying to bury the words
that would shine in your colors, if you were to look at me.
If you were to look at me, you would be only sad
to know how unchangeable my heart is.

You tear sheet after sheet, rip them out of calendar
and hand them to me.
We burn 11 months, saving only December, because you never know.
There is a knock on our door, someone who is lost
brings in the chilled wind, the fine dust of snow,
and voices celebrating something we will never understand.
I wait for you to come back and settle into you warm sleep.
I sit at the foot of the sofa, and think about
the one time I dreamt of death.
I was looking out of window waiting for you
and you came back with new pair of eyes that never settled on me,
and when I was almost about to cry
you moved towards me with a dying sparrow in your trembling hands.
It lay on its side with its soft violent gasp for breath
that were perfectly in sync with mine.

“Minimum Limit of Thirty” – Nayana Nair

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And when we had run out of pleasant things to talk about
I asked him things he didn’t ask me,
things he didn’t want to be asked.
But I was bored of the all this peace,
all the ants that crawled into him, into me
maintaining separate lines,
to reach the places in us
we both didn’t want the other to see.
I guess I wanted him to be different,
I had more than enough people
who wanted to love me without knowing me.
I guess I wanted to be difficult.
For once I didn’t want to be the easy conversation,
the easy way out of pain.

I asked him
when the waves of life try to reach his foot,
what does he do?
Who does he think of?
Whom does he drown in his mind
every time, every moment
to avoid knowing what he really feels?
Does he almost hold that hand,
does he almost save the one who will kill him first,
who has always killed him
without hesitating?

He seems to be the type who would do stupid tings
on repeat at least thirty times
before giving up on the one
whose love didn’t surface
even after the thirty wounds, or bloody hands,
or hundred considerations.
He looks so breakable and so happy
I wonder if in the hollows of his heart
where his anger and disappointments hides,
are there flower beds of daisies,
and a heart that can never be broken?

Is this how I look-
like him, plagued and haunted by beautiful dead thing?
Is that why he smiles at me without saying a word?
Is that why I can’t smile back?

“The Light of White Tulips” – Nayana Nair

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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.

“Everything I Treasure” – Nayana Nair

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There is a kind of happiness
that eludes me,
a kind of fear that
grips me in my sleep,
a kiss that makes me fear
losing
everything I shouldn’t treasure.
A person who kills me every second by loving me,
by giving up his hollow self to my hungry mouth.
A person whose sadness,
only sadness is mine.
A person who has loved too much,
been hurt too much,
who now substitutes pity, anger, jealousy, and need
in place of true love
(what is true love anyway?).
I remain awake trying to make this equation work
(what is true love anyway?).
I weigh my heart against yours and I realize
what a waning moon feels like.
I collect such new feelings without blaming you
(what is true love anyway?).
All my treasures are feelings I would accept
only by your hands,
however cruel and hurtful they may be.

“Would I Know Such Day” – Nayana Nair

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If I didn’t try
to breakout of my bones
so often.

So often
facing the noisy swallows of regrets
eating out of my mouth,

holding my insides,
choking myself
to kill all my ugly butterflies.

Would I know
what normal is?
Maybe not.

Even then I may have stood away.
Far far away
from where love lives and love works.

Or at least that is what I am told everyday.
That only my cracks and my seeping blood
makes me different, makes me special.

What makes me hurt myself, hate myself
I am told to embrace it back
only because it is beautiful.

So that is what I do,
I embrace it even if it kills me,
till it kills me.

“Dry Rivers” – Nayana Nair

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The river is finally running dry.
I heard someone rejoicing to hear this.
What is a river without it’s water?
I am told it is money, it is development,
it is more money.

Another colony, dozens of businesses springs up.
There is nothing to be sad anymore.
I walk on the roads trying to trace
the skeleton of what is lost.

Now, I know the names of few more rivers
that are nowhere to be seen on maps.

The numbers of such ghost keep increasing.

There is a language that no one cares for.
There is a city that forces everyone to leave.
There are words that don’t sound fancy anymore.
There is an accent that needs to be exorcised from tongues-
the identity of what we are is a secret,
something we can be killed for.

But it is the season, the world
where rivers dry out beautifully,
where aches turn into anger, into revenge,
into art, into denials,
into search for something new.
But rarely does it turns into tears.

How is it we have so much to lose,
so much that is already lost
and yet have so little to grieve about.

“You will always be my wonderful love” – Nayana Nair

Though once
you were bigger than me,
this is all I can spare for you,
these feelings
that won’t even add up to a drop of tear.

I know
even in my sorrow
that i must not hate you.
You have been my wonderful beautiful light
in ways you didn’t intend to.

I have used up all my gratitude
in forgetting the days
you filled me with only pain
with a smile spreading in you.

Now the part of my heart I hid from you
helps me to be myself again slowly.
Everything of me that you killed
are in bloom again.

Yet I will keep one flower
of
my being for you,
for your brief beautiful love.

“What I Remember (27)” – Nayana Nair

i think this suits me most-
to lose myself
and yet look okay.
god gave me a face that always looks okay
even when i don’t want it to.
(there have been only handful of days
when i want to look as miserable i am.)

i wonder how it feels
to say
“do i look broken today yet?
“i cried all night”.
i have never cried at nights.
i have never skipped a meal for my sorrow.
i feed my heart too much fats
and instant unhealthy happiness.
i cut down my green trees
and kill few birds, make a fresh trap
that smiles through my gaping wound.

i live life the only way i can.
look okay cause all parts of me are
still working fine.
god gave me a heart that doesn’t break
the conventional way.
i walk this world fearing this heart
the most.

“Crutch” – Nayana Nair

I let your hand become my crutch.
I let your feelings for me
become a means of my own validation.
I let “love” slip
from my mind.
Being the center
of your tiny universe
has ruined me, has undone my heart.
You are too close, too close to be seen
or to be cared for.
Each morning your face reminds me
how you are become one step closer
to achieving invisibility in my eyes.
“i cannot imagine not being your everything”
is not the same as “i love you”.
I wonder if you know that.
I wonder if you know
that this difference
of what I feel
and what I should
is killing anything humane left in me.