“don’t ask me. i don’t know what’s my problem just like you.” – Nayana Nair

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i would wake up
and find myself again in another room
with another stranger (obviously broken)
and i would try to remember the night before,
the season before, the feelings before
i ended up here. i fail to recall the pain that drew me here,
i fail to remove this person from the mess of all the words
that has been said to me before. before is now a continuum.
and “you”, “me”, and “us” and “we”
are just terms that point nowhere, to nothing
but they carry too many people inside, the seams of these words
are always coming apart, there is too much weight to these light words,
they leave our shoulders and heart broken.
how lovely it would be to be singular again.
how simple everything could be.
but everything tends to flow, tends to merge,
tends to find roots every time it taste defeat, it finds ground.
it is still somehow good. though good is maybe a relative term.
but then everything is relative, even us. me and you are different
only when we are placed far apart in time and space.
as i drown diaries and memories in the waters
of the forests that you used to visit, i find myself
walking as you, sharing your skin of fear,
speaking the broken language of your dreams.
as you, i end up drowning a lot more, losing a lot many
things than i had planned to. it doesn’t hurt, honestly,
when that happens. a lot of things should hurt
but they don’t. and i feel that is my tragedy. i used to feel every loss
even of others and i loved it. and now because i feel nothing
i have taken up jobs on the excavation sites of pain of strangers
that are dying from numbness. my presence seems to help,
at least diverts attention. the “too much” about me helps everyone but me.
i have an excess of blood, an excess of heart
however implausible that might seem. but it is so. i have learnt that
after numerous burnings and denial. all that breathes,
all that seems to be made of magic and speaks in voice of thunder,
anything that we don’t understand
we have burned them enough. we are burning too much of ourselves.
but that is not my problem. at least not my only problem.
i have never had a definable problem. but we can talk as if they are,
as if everyone can be broken down into components
of their loss and yearnings and lacks,
their playlist and bookshelves and friend list,
the people we hate and love and can’t stop to obsess about-
the people we are dying to forget and living in remembrance of.
we sound so noble tonight when we talk like this .

as if we are above the shallow plains of life.
i will forget your name though, and you will also forget
or at least would want to forget a lot about me
that is a totally different type of shallow, isn’t it.
we have shared so much and we will hate ourselves for it.

“Something is wrong with our core” – Nayana Nair

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At my core is a sickness-
something hideous and wanting attention,
always wanting attention,
your attention.

Your attention
is like a net that catches everything of sea
including me, but there is no one there
on that broken boat of your body, to pull you or me
out of these cold waters.

Outside these cold waters
our dreams are running on pavements of romance.
They run on our feet, they smile with our teeth
but then you fold yourself around me
and in a shivering language remind me
that they don’t have our hearts
and maybe that’s why they have been spared our fate.

“Windows that cannot be closed” – Nayana Nair

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Slowly I plucked each tooth of mine,
I tore my tongue out
and he called me beautiful.

He called me beautiful
so I left my clothes roll down.
I let my skin, my guards, my skeleton
touch his floor.
I sat there watching him
build a fire out of it all.
The fire was too cold for me
so I didn’t smile.

He told me he only speaks the language of rough,
that his heart beats and falls slower than the rest.
I told him I have known many like him.
I told him I didn’t mind.
He seemed to mind that a bit
but he also seemed to be a bit relieved.

As I sat under the the waterfall
of his blue curtains,
I felt thousands of eyes
at my back, behind windows that couldn’t be closed.
There were always windows behind my back
anywhere I sat from the day I was first told
that I was the type of beautiful
not worth keeping and staying around.

Those eyes
filled with lust, question, resentment
filled with hatred, filled with violence,
filled with sweet words for my ailing heart,
filled with knives for soft skin, for the right time,
were my burden
so I knew
at least this was not his fault.

I asked him
what he could give, what he could make me forget.
He didn’t answer and seemed a bit lost.
I wondered if he also couldn’t think or speak clearly,
if there were eyes on his back
that he never spoke about.

“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.

“Folds” – Nayana Nair

You are gone
and I try to hold the spoon like you used to.
I chew my food with my left molars as you did.
The ghosts that I have wronged, that I have forgotten
now include half of my teeth, teeth you would have never used.

You are gone
and you are happy (probably).
So I memorize name and phone number
of your every friend,
I recall the fondness you had for them.
I wear your feelings when I meet them,
I wear your feelings even when they won’t fit me.
I wonder if they noticed how I was spilling at some places,
how I was non existent in other folds-
folds that used to hold you so well.

You are gone
and I am gone (or that’s what I think).
I am my work, I am my songs,
I am the adjectives you made for me,
I am the report cards, I am the dust that settles on it,
I am the afternoon TV shows, I am the language I don’t understand.
I am what I am fond of.
I am mostly just you.

You are gone
and I fear
there is no one that can
stop me from growing
into you.

“Digestible” – Nayana Nair

to be human is to float like a single cell life
devouring pieces of digestible meaning,
splitting and cutting oneself without blood loss
into something more manageable.
to be human is to lose your legs
to the ideas of nation, families, and lovers.
to be a human like me is to look at
herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, scavengers…
and wonder what hunger feels like.
it is to order love at every other restaurant
waiting for the taste of pain to grow on me,
while i mimic strangers stranded on far away tables
and hope what i am learning is not another dead language.

“Estranged” – Nayana Nair

when you slipped into my arms
and tried to tell me stories
in your broken language,
when you got all your numbers wrong,
when you touched my face
with your tiny hands,
i almost forgot
that you are not mine.

i shouldn’t have.

“In the Image of” – Nayana Nair

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I am not talking about
enhancing my likability here.
But just to be taken seriously
I need to like certain things,
I need to act certain way.
I need to fill forms
whenever I meet someone new,
whenever I meet them again.

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Am I capable? Am I an intellectual (of the right kind)?
Am I still childish?
Am I still unable to follow the conversation
that is not spoken in the language I follow?
Am I still reluctant to give up on all the things
that are no longer relevant.
Am I now ready to listen and only listen
to take in
the version of a world that is more widely accepted.
Am I finally aligned with the opinions, interests
and common hatred that bonds us?
Have I grown weak and weary
of the silence that I am put through?
Have I realized what I could do, whom all I can befriend
if I break myself in image of my oppressor?

“Adequate” – Nayana Nair

worlds

We live in different fragments
of this broken world.
Soon we will forget each other,
like we are forgetting the worlds
where we don’t belong.
Soon we will only speak the language
that the other won’t understand.
Have you become acceptable in the eyes
of your neighbour?
Do you feel adequate?
I hope so, it would be a shame
to lose all this, and still not find a home.