“prompts” – Nayana Nair

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i think of parasols.
i think of wearing my miniature body made of colorful frills,
holding my own soft innocence,
not like something that can be and will be lost
but like something that will never be destroyed,
like something one never gives a second thought about.
i think of never knowing fatigue, never resting.
my skin only knowing the sun.
i think of classrooms fitted with air coolers
i think of home and its beautiful cold floor
i think of places i knew i could always return to
once i was done with my playing, once i felt my hunger.
i think of the time that i lived not knowing not understanding
the appeal or the need of shadows.

i think of stones.
their small happy weight in my hands.
the deftness of my fingers and my wrist as i played.
my palm holding them together,
scattering them, collecting them.
my palm feeling the coldness of the evening,
knowing time through them.
i think of the stones that grew on the sides of broken roads
beside my source of earliest magic
-the touch-me-nots, the insects made of velvet,
and the lost fireflies.
i grew up in a broken forest
wearing stones as brittle as me.

i think of fruits.
their colors that i loved
even when i didn’t like what they were.
they tasted too mellow, too tame,
too transient to me.
their juices just carved a bit more hunger
in my stomach. my stomach that was already learning
to ask for more and more.
i carved their colors in my notebook.
i dreamt of drawing them up on my skin.
this was before i knew what a tattoo was,
before i learnt the dangers of carving things in you
that you possibly can’t love.

“In the forest of reality” – Nayana Nair

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Ghost of fireflies
in the forest of reality-
that is me,
that is you,
that is so much of what we don’t want to be.
But if it has to stay beautiful,
if it has to stay clean,
it must be this.

We must meet without meeting.
We must love without loving.
We must walk this path that we believe in
more than we believe in any love.

I close my eyes and tell myself,
“I don’t believe, I won’t believe”
even as the storms of despair
and the clear sky of your existence
are the only thing I know to be true.

You tell me,
“We must breathe the reality
and worship the fleeting.”
So I hold my hands together
again without a prayer on my lips.

I am afraid of prayers.
Unlike you (or maybe just like you)
I am always at the verge of wishing
for some real crumbs of you,
of wanting to stray from the “right”.

“Rewrite love” – Nayana Nair

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How are you?
Are you still there where we learnt to leave?
Since you left
I have changed my address a few times already.
My heart doesn’t lie broken
on the streets that only you could walk.
I find it funny and interesting and sad
that once I believed in “one and only love”,
that once I believed that I have found
what the rest of the world could not.

My hands don’t feel like my hands now,
Now that my hands
have reached out for love even after you.
My mind doesn’t feel like my mind,
now that my mind can forget any hurt caused by love,
now that my mind can easily rewrite love as something else
something trivial, something passing by,
something non-existent,
the moment I am near another light-filled human
who only wants a breaking out of me.

I feel less like myself, the more I heal myself.
Whatever grows out of me
doesn’t want to be anything like the person you loved,
the person I was so proud to be,
the person who couldn’t live without wounds.

It hurts less in the body I am now in.
It hurts less to know finally
that I am more that enough
to fill the void of my own size – the everyday lacking
that I always felt I needed to do something about.

I find it funny and interesting and sad
that I could learn to live only by losing you,
by learning to walk away from you.

“I am still hearing things” – Nayana Nair

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I heard you got sick of your life.
I heard I am not the only thing you are leaving behind.
I am getting to know you more when you are not here.
I am getting to know in ways, I didn’t want to and shouldn’t have to.
But I am still hearing things,
so I am still changing my mind.

Sometimes I want to tell them that they are wrong.
Sometimes I almost stand up for you,
but I don’t.
What I know, whom I knew, the you I knew
seems to be one more rumour on restless mouths.

Anything I can say about you now
seems as ridiculous and as probable
as what is being said about you
by those whom I don’t want to believe.

But what do I want to believe?
The ones with melting mind like me, are probably
not the ideal people to hold any beliefs about you
or about anything, actually.

Someone like me should have had
nothing to with you.
I shouldn’t have to learn my ways
about living a world without you.
Or worse a world where you are everywhere.
Just not the way I remember.
Just not the way I want.

“Names that feel weird on my lips” – Nayana Nair

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Now that I have grown in height
and I cannot forget my name
even if I want to,
no one comes looking for me
when I go missing.

When I go missing,
when I finally succeed in getting lost
I buy a new plant, walk through strange streets,
come back home with with my worn out heels
and new pictures on phone,
takeouts from restaurants whose name
feels weird on my lips, knowing more roads
that can take me home.

I sit defeated and happy
as I realize getting lost means nothing
if I can breathe just fine in this world,
if everything here can be my home.

But still there is sadness in me
for losing everything
that only that small world could hold.

“A New Hate” – Nayana Nair

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Surely, I love you.
Why else would I need to find a new me?
Why else, after all these years, would my jagged ends
and my fearful heart
bother me, when I have finally learned to look at them
with the kindness I was not born with?
But do you have to necessarily know of this-
these messy feelings of mine?
You are making me change.
You are making me learn
a new hate towards myself , just by existing.
Just the possibility that I might be in your heart
kills me, makes me come alive, makes me want to
undo the ties that I have held me safe,
made me safe for the world.
As long as you are here, I can never go back
to the life where I exist with ease.
It is ridiculous how I am convinced
that I will be never myself if I am apart from you,
even when I know it is a lie.
Today, I carve another need in my heart,
that I once could live without.
Today I hate you a bit more.
But you don’t have to know that.

“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?

“Maybe even then” – Nayana Nair

.

The red birds and blue flowers
are back in our world, it seems.
Again I have become part cloud
and part smile and grief.
I wonder if you woke up
as the light that only knows to cry,
as the indifferent sun again.
A day like this wasn’t supposed to happen,
not now, when we are almost complete by ourselves.
A day on which small impossible love like ours
sings out from nameless graves buried in meters of snow.

I go back to sleep
wanting to forget things that must be done today,
dreading to walk into you,
hoping to walk into you,
knowing that I would love you again,
especially on a day like this where I am too broken,
when I am too much myself.

Days like this make me belief that I would end up with you
no matter what.
That even when I run away, even when I cry because of love,
even then maybe I want only one thing-
to be with you.

“The poem on tides and moons and you” – Nayana Nair

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On a staircase of stars
I sit with a cold drink clenched within my shivering hand
and nod back to the goodbye of another stranger.

I don’t remember him
but I know the lies I might have told him about me,
and the truth that he might have got to know eventually.

“What do you think? What would he remember me for?”, I say,
“But anyway someone knows me,
is this enough to prove that I am present in my life”.

“Is it lonely there?”, someone asks from within me.
I think it is probably you.
And because it is you, I need not answer.

I don’t want to seek you in the skies.
So I sit staring at the world that starts across the street,
where I pretend you are. Where I pretend you will always be now.

I sit outside a palace of brokenness that is not mine.
My sorrows are not so glorious.
It all belongs to a guy who will soon be my friend of some sort.

Unlike me he is happy now,
but he cannot bring to dismatle this grandest part of his life.
He wants a sad lover in front of the corpse of his love. Even if it can’t be him.

In the silence of his beautiful grave,
everyone gathered again and listened to the poem that no longer moves his heart
and we cried in his place.

It was a poem on tides and moons,
on something no one wanted to call love
but something they still couldn’t stop talking about.

It was something like thinking about you.
It was something like being asked “is it lonely there?” by your ghost.
It was like wanting to answer “does it even matter to you?”

It was like wanting to answer “It is a pain you won’t have to ever know.”

“Earphones” – Nayana Nair

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I cannot paint

your silhouette moving through the rain toward me-
all the blue that lingered in the light rain, on my skin, in the wait for you.

The color that fills my mind when I recall
how your cold hands met mine, my frozen shivering love hungry hands,
and nothing was cold anymore,
nothing was insufferable,
as long as you and me stayed like this,
accepting the ache that comes with staying.

The song, the familiar and strange tune, that became beautiful
by the time it played for 35th time, by the time our cola lost its fizz,
by the time the untouched food looked comforting,
by the time I found that knowing you and your everything
was as painful and liberating as putting myself into words.

The tension
of the stretched earphones between our head and our aching necks,
a moment of sadness, of a great love, of a great end
played itself before us again and we promised ourselves- we won’t ever be there.
And yet as you mocked the world for its weakness
I cried for the same weakness you and me hid in ourselves.

The cold wind that went through me, as you walked past me,
my pride- ground and powdered, spilling out of me,
blinding and confusing people around me,
making me look desperate, pitiful, and empty
as I chased you through streets where we were never supposed to be.

I cannot draw them, so I write.
I write
how we stood together
in every room,
on every patch of earth
for the longest time
and saw within our reach
something that was beautiful and fragile
and no one’s to keep
as long as we saw each other only,
as long as we could smile at what we saw.

I remember you as you stayed still,
breathing carefully
as we let fate make something out of us.
I remember your eyes
asking me with a smile to confirm the reality of what we had,
of what we are.

I wonder how you remember me now.
Now that we are living our lives trying only to prove
that we have lost nothing of ourselves in losing each other.