“Last Kindness” – Nayana Nair

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“You were almost my whole world”, he said,
waiting for me to say something-
an excuse, an apology, a lie that would make him
as important as I seem to be in his words.

His belated words are always beautiful,
his love always drips at the corners of every end
that I try to carve out of us.
Once it was an assurance to know all our ends are fake.

Once I was made of dreams,
once he was made of songs,
and now we are back to being mere flesh
that we can’t accept each other for.

Now we are pretty sure
we can live without dreams that hurt
and that there are other songs, better sounds
that won’t cut us up before we are dead.

Yet he tries to care for the one he no longer wants
as I try to stay silent for his sake, for my sake,
for an end that doesn’t drag on.
Or is it to look pitiful and arrogant in his eyes.
His eyes liked me best when I couldn’t be wavered,
when I seemed something more than just a needy heart.

I wonder why we try to look humans even as we part,
why we must show the faces we have grown to hate ourselves for
and act like lovers in pain, like this is the end of our lives.
When love was the last thing we needed,
seeing it was the only thing we were ever ready to give up on.

“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.

“now it is my turn” – Nayana Nair

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her touch – always a procession
of feelings that won’t leave her heart,
of everything she doesn’t have or even want words for.

i hold back her hand and it all quiets down-
the waves, the death, the crashing planes,
and the flying roofs.
the cities in her mind grow silent.
they- the tiny inhabitants, the ugly parasites
in her heart,
they look at me as if i am an enemy,
and yet smile at me, as if i am one of them.

they wait for her to smile at this, which she does.
she tells me she is fine. in the same tone
in which i use to tell her the same lie.
she leans in and touches my cheeks.
now it is my turn to go silent.
now my cities and their helpless monsters wait
to see where she leads this madness to.

“The hatred that I counted upon” – Nayana Nair

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When I have gathered enough courage
the only piece of metal in me
that can still cause harm
are only the frustrations I have at my own cowardice.
What do I have to lose today,
that I couldn’t lose yesterday
when I was busy resenting you.
After seeing and accepting the wrong that you are,
after uncovering every wound, every decaying part of me
that I didn’t want to face,
after deciding on an end
that would still be fair and gentle to your heart,
why do I only hold you tighter?
Why do I make up lies that only make it easier
to make up more lies, make up a world
where my hate is just a delusion,
where you are the only one worth saving,
worth love, worth my misery.
And even in that world, why does our love
won’t feel like love?
Why don’t you feel like mine?
Why does my heart feel abandoned
when I have chosen to walk into your hands
even after knowing my fate.

“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.

“Photographs of Unmade Bed” – Nayana Nair

#1
Today I am fixated on the the houses far ahead, the colors on those countless walls that are yet to be carried away by the winds. Today I am fixated on the wrong choice of shoes, the red sore blooming on the fingers of my feet. Today I am filling my eyes with all that I refuse to see otherwise. I like days like these. They give me the proof of life outside of me, proof that I am part of this world. Days like these let me know that even if there is nowhere I particularly have to go, my feet are sore from walking and the roads are bit weathered. So it must mean something. Slowly I am changing the world, just as the world is changing me. So it must mean something. These are the days I realize that I do not just look at the world, but kiss the world while hating it in my heart. That world doesn’t just disown me, but it keeps looking at my childhood photographs when no one is looking. It all must mean something.

#2
My bed sinks a bit more everyday. It feels as if every day I am carrying, dragging another new person into my uncomfortable sleep, to my messy life. There is no blood, or signs of resistance, so it must a deal of mutual benefit. I hope so. I wake with only my skin, with only my dry eyes. So again it must have been someone I mistook as you. Someone who knows how to keep their end of promise, someone who doesn’t look back at the weight they are leaving behind in my new scented sheets. With you there was warmth and suffocation and never-ending want to be something more. With you there were eyes that stared at me as if I am a road you are forced to walk on. With you there were things I couldn’t be and shouldn’t be. Without you, there is me and my imagination that draws you body full of life on the photographs taken of unmade med and undecided mind. What do I want really?

#3
The one love? The truest kind? The rarest kind? The kind that is made of eternities? The kind that is hellbent on making that big change? I sort of had that. “I had that love” would be my answer, only when I am asked to keep my answer short, which I am often asked.
In the answers of 500-1000 word limit, in the answer where 10 marks are at stake, in the answers only you would have asked – I wanted my only love to be true somehow, no matter what it took. Do you know what that means? It means there are hazy days, holding lies close to heart, illusion that I fed with my own blood that make appearance in this answer. The answer involves knowing everything that is wrong, knowing everything that shouldn’t be, knowing the end that I won’t have. The answer involves cutting short my words, even when there is no need to, even when you are here and you are listening. The answer is pretend that was true, the tears that I didn’t hate as much as I should, the person I liked a bit more than I should have. Always wondering if love would feel like love if it was not me and you standing on both of its end.

#4
There is soaring in the skies. There is running away to the ends of earth. There are, of course, moons, and sun, and stars for taking. There is a wish list for every age we failed to love properly. There are your past loves, there are my past pains to talk about till late night. There are things to eat and relish and complain and things we will never make the way we should, things we will throw away even though they turned out well. There are stories we will make up because we can, because they are fun. There are stories that will tell thousand times even though we won’t be believed. There are night we see only each other, there are nights we realize the pain of not being loved. There are permutations and combinations that I was always poor calculating, that you were never interested in. There is a day like this where we have nothing in our pockets to count on, no possibility, no scenario that could bring us and place us together in this life. This is the only day that I didn’t want to arrive at.

#5
You are only as dangerous as much as I let you be. If I let you be a mistake, you are just a humiliating past to be erased. If I let you be the friend that should have remained a friend, you are just a human among thousand others, a human I dealt with with immature idea of carpe diem, with a stupidity I once called honesty. If I let you be the reason of my happiness, you become the reason I should never smile again. If I let you be the incarnation of all that destroys, you become the plague in my heart that will not end till I die, till I give myself up. The more I let you be within the scope of my life, the more I regret letting you in. I never try to think of you as someone I associated the word love with. That word lets you become my breaking heart, my lungs devoid anything capable of giving life, my mind slowing down and stuck at the worst part of my life.
So when I think of you, I think of you as the result of taking the idea of selflessness, of selfishness, of wanting to be part of this world, of taking “it all must mean something” a bit too far.
Because irrespective of what you might have been for me. Now you are only as dangerous, as important as I let you be.

“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.

“Cursive” – Nayana Nair

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On most days
I desperately want to believe
that everyone else are humans,
just like me.

I write it down in cursive,
under the shadow of my incomprehensible muttering-
“they are not as bad as they seem.
you are not as bad as you think.”

I wrote it again and again
knowing I would never believe it anyway.

But I continued to write these lies
because I still wanted to make an effort.
Because I hated everything I could see, the reality that shouldn’t be,
things that needn’t be this bad,
this life where lies were the happiest part.

“Hope and Wait” – Nayana Nair

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I looked at you for a long time
and for a long time you pretended to sleep.

For a long time
you closed your eyes,
even when tears spilled,
even when laughter almost made out.

I placed my hand in yours and waited.

I hoped even when you pretended to be stone,
pretended to be wax, pretended to be mine,
pretended to want me gone.

I hoped, I waited to held in your arms.

I hope.
I wait.
I pretend to do all this with ease.

I pretend to be a shelter
as I hunger melts my stomach,
as words melt my mouth.
I do not know what you pretend to be.
Not yet.

I wonder
if I let my eyes close,
if I chose my weakness,
if I hide,
will you take my place, place your hands in mine
and pretend to wait?

I won’t mind such lies and such pretense.

*I wonder if our lives could change
if we didn’t feel burdened
by truth and lies all the same.

“in the light that smiles nonetheless” – Nayana Nair

that’s where my anger lives

on the mud stains of a size 7 shoes
swimming on the white floor of my small apartment.

in the plants uprooted, in the marigolds strewn
and trampled on, in the light that smiles nonetheless.

on the streets where lives my fear – that finds me
and almost kills me, every time i hear footsteps behind me.

on the patronizing attitudes that i dutifully respond with gratefulness.
on the potential dangers, the possibilities of violence that every intimacy invites.
on the things i say yes to with a breaking heart.

in the mirror that only prizes my delicate frame and my weak wrist,
that tells me i would at least beautiful in the missing posters,
in the files housed in grim police stations,
in the videos and photos i would never get to know of (if i am lucky)

in the speeches that tell me i am safe
in the compartments and corners made for me.
soundproof corners where either
i would finally end up believing the facade, the lie of a safe world
or where i would learn how to stay silent to be spared the worst.

that’s where my anger lives