“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.

“Tell me it is not true” – Nayana Nair

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At the right turn
I faced another street
where someone I know once lived.
For all I know, their present
might still look like my ‘once ago’.
From where I stand and where I see
my present
is their “what a nightmare,
thank god it is not true/thank god it is not me.

Maybe with their shocked and sorrowful faces
they will ask me this
Tell me it is not true.
and I will probably tell them exactly that
because I do not want them to think
thank god is it not me
or “god has been kind to me. god loves me more.
Because maybe then, in that moment,
I may hate my lovely friend and my lovely god,
and the lovely lives that I am not part of.

So I take another turn,
seeking other roads-
roads where the ones I knows,
the ones with question
do not have to look at me.
And I do not have to see my tragedy, my loneliness
paint them as villain
when they are not,
when maybe they are the only ones that care.

“Absurdly Simple and Late” – Nayana Nair

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Things I now remember are mostly
absurdly simple and painful.
Like the last time we met like this,
you had a white suitcase that seemed like your new pet.
It looked at peace with the snow
that was getting on your nerves.
When you smiled
all I could think was
now you cannot bear the weight of your old green bag pack,
now you cannot bear the winters I am part of.
All I could think was
that you are growing old somewhere far without me.
I didn’t know that the next thing I would have to do,
after facing such sad realization,
would be to smile for my sake more than your.

Things I now recognize are
are only those that I don’t know how to fix anymore.
Like today
as I helped you out of your heavy white coat,
as I made the coffee of your liking
I kept staring at your small form
and your frightening transparency.
I looked at the scribbles of black marker
at the corner of suitcase.
I wondered
where were you when you drew that.
At what point of your journey
you could no longer pretend
this was a life of your choosing?
Is your loneliness so overwhelming
that you are not afraid of buying and ruining whites?
Is your loneliness of my making?
Is that why you wear it so dearly?

“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.”

“this peace, this staying, this wanting” – Nayana Nair

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I have spent 10 years
of my life decorating my wooden coffin,
giving food, giving faces, and adding height
to my imaginary friends
and painting forgiving smiles on my imaginary gods.

I won’t mind if someone out there decides to call me
“coward” or “delusional” or “hopeless” or “sorta weird”
I won’t mind if this qualifies
to be called “running away from reality and life”.

Even if I ignore the words like these,
even when I have found a way to survive alone
I am still left with these corrosive, acidic feelings.
Feelings don’t help – when all they do is
speak, wail louder each day.

They remind me again and again
that even a beautiful death is a death,
that loneliness is still loneliness,
that in spite of the ribbons and flowers and posters
the smile on my face is still not as bright
as the one love used to give me,
even if I have now less reasons to cry.

It is not easy – this peace,
this staying away from the want to be seen, to be loved,
this wanting to cry over something again.
It is not easy – to keep myself awake and alive
when feeding myself, seeing the light
only makes my fears stronger.

“Now I cannot hate myself” – Nayana Nair

But now I am not
me anymore.
Now I cannot hate myself
like I used to before.
Liking myself was never option,
for me anyway.
If only I could be one person
with a constant heart,
maybe then I could have
understood myself with enough time,
could have found the heart to see myself
as a mere human that I am.
But this,
this possession of my body
and my heart
by a new unknown
everyday
is tiring.
Today
the loneliness that I couldn’t show,
the songs I was supposed to forget,
the kiss that never left my lips
all become my new self.
Tomorrow it will be something else.
But it is a tiring relief
to lose my hate to confusion.

“Is this what this distance, this decision means?” – Nayana Nair

With my back to the my cold family name
the metallic alphabets printing hard on my clothes,
I stand
with my feet half out of my pretty shoes –
with my painted nails still hidden in the skin of another animal,
my hands revolving the beautiful replica of Saturn
around the plastic heart on my elaborate key chain- a stage of its own.
I stand and wait for you to open your door on the floor above.
I hear a faint click, a phone ring, footsteps running away from the world
(why do I feel such sadness when I hear that?),
a door left open (to everyone but me)
I sit in the middle of my living room floor
staring up, at the underside- the creeping mold
of the stage where I played your lover, your nemesis.
It is cruel and incomprehensible that we can still live,
take calls, make jokes, eat, and still have the want to live.
After hurting ourselves and the world for the sake of love,
after all that, is this is it?
When you find your room, your world without me
which direction does your heart turn towards?
Do forget from time to time that we are supposed to forget each other?
When I find my loneliness becoming greater than me,
when it starts spilling out of me on dinner table,
when it makes me lose my mind, am I allowed to let go of you?
Is this what this distance, this decision means?
I hear your window open, I hear your excited voice
(why do I feel color of anger filling me again?).
I wonder if you have really found your new life
or is this an act you have put for my benefit?
Your kindness could only be in my head, as was your love.
TV drowns your voice again
and I thank all the accidents, all the things out of my control,
everything that moves us away from each other.
Otherwise, I never could.

“What I Remember (24)” – Nayana Nair

It is time to go out into the world.

It is time that I try hard to get my heart broken
and pretend that it is happening for the first time,

to claim that I trusted blindly
knowing it is not something I am capable of,

to fit my body awkwardly
in the kind of life that people call ‘life’

to find words, to practice the new lingo
that can make something about me relatable,
so that my skin soaked in a tiring tale of sadness
doesn’t make me an alien,

to fill me up again with pictures
of parks, cafes, malls, and roads filled with people
who supposedly like each other,
if not a lot,
then at least enough to not let their ailing self
ruin the perfect moment, the perfect teamwork, the perfect promise.
(Perfection that relies on someone else
doesn’t sit well with me.)

It is time I find something new
that I cannot be or cannot have
before I lock myself up again
for next hundred heart years.

So while I am out to find something to write about and hurt about
miss me my cell,
pray for me.
I am afraid that once I am surrounded by all
that I have learned not to want,
I might start to hope again.
I might slip again.
I might forget to see the distance that I carry in me
and get disappointed by the doors that I can’t reach.

“Zooming In” – Nayana Nair

When I sit still
I am not waiting.
I am thinking of what is not
and why it should never have been.
I zoom into every empty space
and practice how to look away when it hurts me.
I remove my watch from my wrist
and place it next to plate for a better view
and a ruined palate.
I start from the names I know,
I start from the what they used to be
and what they have become.
All the while not addressing
the forest in the middle of my home
and the animal cries in my chest.
The fog in your mind
now spreads into mine.
Now I sometimes forget your name
as you forgot mine.
I dream of making you cry
to forget my own tears.
I wait and sometimes dream
that you would never arrive,
that I would forget whom I was waiting for
and I would smile not knowing why.

“some sort of attachment, if not love” – Nayana Nair

A new announcer has replaced the old one.
The one with the shrill voice
is too tired or too sad to continue, I guess.
This new one, she sounds more like my type.
She seems like the one who will define my types.
I am so thankful she is not the one who tells me to go back to sleep
when I am crying at 3 without knowing why.
So thankful that this deserted night, this cold concrete,
her cold instructions, her reminder to wait patiently
reminds me that this is also a day I will forget
if I do not do anything.
I am so thankful that I cannot confess my laughable weakness to her.
If I wait as she tells me to
my life will come swooping in and take me somewhere else-
a new place where I will hate everyone again
for not speaking the way I like, for loving me wrong,
for not accompanying me on the empty train stations
when I try to run away from all that I have built,
from all that I have tried to call my new beginning.