“I have learned to gaze lovingly” – Nayana Nair

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The fishes peep at me
through the pink sewer grates,
the filth and dirt and greed of city
eating their eyes,
the loneliness scratching at their fins.

I look at them
as if they are a painting
hung on an illuminated wall –
the last standing wall.
The vapors of dissipated life, dissolved flesh
spread all around it – the waste of everyday life
the waste of silent war.

But it lasts only a moment
my gift of vision, my ability to detach
only lasts so long.
The hunger in my bones, once again,
makes me look away.

I get up and walk.
I move my feet to the beat of the song
being spun in my corrupted mind
I am tempted to increase the volume
to find a pitch that resonates with the air here.
The point where everything bleeds and nothing heals
what will happen to me there,
what will happen to all of us I wonder.

But I have walked these roads before
I now know more than anything
that I only yearn to live.
Slowly, I have learned to protect my ailing tissues.
I have learned to gaze lovingly at my broken mind.
So, I press pause.
I continue to persevere.

“Morph” – Nayana Nair

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That feeling
when something of this world
rushes past you
and you are nothing else for that moment
but the afterimage of what has gone by,
something that definitely was
unlike your own self
that never appears but only haunts.

I don’t know how people cope
with that overwhelming storm
of knowing
the worlds that you can morph into
and all the things
that maybe you always were.

When you become a floating hat and its silent river,
when you become the knob of the radio,
the glass feeling the air before the snow,
the shredded corners of a letter that weeps,
the loudspeaker at the corner of the road
with its abundance of sound and silence,
the sundress peeled away,
the flow of time and fate.

I don’t know what to make of this.
I sit on tables filled with people
who know a thing or two about life
and they talk
as if they have always been their skin,
as if no one can be anything else
but themselves.
So I become the table feeling the soft elbows
pushing down some loneliness with its weight.
I become the napkin held in a fist.

I am now the sky looking down at me
and now the child that I lost long ago.
I am breaking and being taken over
by all the beautiful lonely things.
I feel I was probably made for this.

“But it also means…” – Nayana Nair

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I guess now I am the cruel one-
the one people fear to love.
This scenario was meant to be sad,
but it isn’t somehow.
(Why do the worst cases taste so bland to me
when finally they arrive?)

I guess it makes me relieved, if not happy,
to feel loneliness more often than feeling distance.
No one knocks at my door,
and I can’t help but smile
knowing it also means no would leave me.
No one would leave me in love, leave me in pieces,
leave me hating myself again.
(Why do my hopes sound like running away
even if I am facing life in every way I can,
the only way I am allowed to,
the only way forward that doesn’t require
sacrificing myself again?)

“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 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.