“Chorus” – Nayana Nair

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Sometimes when I forget to live, to see ahead,
I find myself back again in the house of wood
beside my child made of sand.
He looks like me most of the days,
sometimes she looks like him.
They are often speaking like chorus of brokenness.

Some days they tell me that they are not mine,
that they are not children, that I am not me.
I ask them
then why do I feel the way I do?
why do I hurt the way I hurt?
And hearing this
they become the sand that I can only cry upon.
They don’t come alive
until another time.

But until that, I must be me,
and see things not being themselves.
The sand that was a life a second ago,
it melts, it grows wings
and opens its eyes and burns as sun.

Sometimes it opens it eyes and starts crying in my arms.
It tears my skin, it makes me smile
all my dying parts wake up
but in a world where no such beautiful haunting exists
where I have no reasons to cry
only tears that never stop.

“Towards that lesser life” – Nayana Nair

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Once I was told
by my own shattering image
that I would learn to laugh at this moment.

It was not a pleasant sentence to hear.

It reminded me of all the sentences
that are manufactured in the factories of peace.
you will forget this bruise.
you will forget those words.
you will forget this love.
you will forget this face.
forgetting is what you really want.
far away from every “here” is the place you want to be.

It reminded me of all the meaningless words that were born
everyday in the mouths of strangers –
words that awkwardly held me not knowing who I am
or why I must be consoled
but convinced something in me should be put to sleep
before it learnt to cry in the audible ranges of pain.

There are too many words in this place.
Too little heart.
There are too many people who look like they have known pains
that I might never have.
But they are the same ones who want to bury things
that are only broken.
So I am going to run
towards every “here” out there,
towards that lesser life filled with loss.
A life where things that are lost are allowed to matter.

“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.

“If I Keep Walking” – Nayana Nair

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From wherever it may be,
if I keep walking straight
and try not to think of the destination,
eventually I feel the pavement turn to dust.
Slowly, stones dating to the oldest dates
in the recorded history of my life
start appearing one by one.

They sprout new mouths, they learn new words,
they grow into roads, into pillars,
into gateways, and into the walls of the places
where I am no longer welcome.
The fabric of present, my strange choice of words,
my skin that doesn’t belong to this time
all such things make me an alien, make me a pitiful stranger
in a place I know more than myself.

My laughter lives in those places,
with people who can’t find their way to me,
just like I can’t find my way to them.
I hold onto the walls when my tears start killing me,
I tell myself, it will be fine, if I just keep walking.
I tell myself, I will eventually remember my way out of this moment,
as I always have.

But now I can’t. I don’t want to. Maybe I am not meant to.
Maybe the answer lies in never forgetting,
maybe that’s the love I am meant to have.
Maybe waiting is the answer that will suit my weak heart,
since pretending can only get me this far.

I sit on the benches of deserted parks with with my bloodless heart,
and I imagine melting here in this imaginary sun.
I feel happiness might have been something like that,
but I can’t remember it, even though it was once mine.

“But because I feared losing anything more, I chose only kind empty words” – Nayana Nair

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I wanted to tell him
“You have not lost much.

For sunsets you missed
are not even there in the hearts of those
who saw it everyday.

They walked past it,
shut their windows tight,
and sat in their darkest caves
trying to run away from what you want so deeply.”

I almost said to him
that even though it hurts,
it is a hurt I would like to have-
to yearn for the things that never happened.

That unlike him I yearned for things
that I walked over and killed.
Things that I can still see and hear
in my dreams, telling me, showing me
all the marks of my hatred on their skin, on their hearts.
I cry for them, look for them,
seek forgiveness from them when I am awake.
I dread them when they find me in sleep.

I almost confessed to him
that being the maker of caves, a lover of sunsets,
being the one who filled half the world and half the hearts
with a blindness even I can’t cure,
maybe I shouldn’t be his savior,
maybe I shouldn’t be relied upon for answers.

“Staying awake, staying alert” – Nayana Nair

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The glass window creaks
under the weight of my head.
I wonder if I should sleep.
Not that it is in my hands. I wish it was .
But then I am afraid
of wishing for anything
that I might not be able to bear-

like her face alive in my dreams,

like seeing myself with a smile
that I can never wear again,

like wanting to smile again
even when I do not want to want such things.

Even when I stay awake, stay alert
to the turning and tossing of my heart
even when I stay glued to the place I had in her heart,
I feel that time is dragging me away
from everything that is painfully comfortable and familiar and lost.

I feel the world trying to rush back into me.
I feel I might lose her too soon, too easily.
I fear there is only so much that my heart can take.
I fear that I will find the peace that I do not want to feel
at the other end of this suffering.

“I want you to see the world” – Nayana Nair

i will read you another story
so that you may know
that faults and lacks of humans are common and in abundance,
how ordinary are expectations-not-met.

i will read till my eyes close
till you can see all there is to see,
till you see everyone around you
who are disappearing into silence,

till you see all the kind words you could have said to them,
till you see that these words, that make you cringe,
how important they are
how easy they are to say, how difficult to mean

till you learn to mean these words that save lives,
till you learn to listen to others,
till you grow the eyes
that can see the world before it is lost.

though there is another story for another day
about how to save yourself from all that you have saved.

“Red Gates” – Nayana Nair

I drowned the flowers
one by one.
The poison of beauty
now runs through the rivers
on this land,
they fill his backyard
in every season of rain.
A child with his smile
drowns another boat of dreams,
the flood is a field of paper,
the flood is all that is left of me.
She stares into me,
waiting for a reflection to surface.
She walks into me
to see where I end.

She tells me about the boy
she can’t love and the boy
she can’t blame
as I dissolve and submerge
the red gates of her house,
the garden of forgiveness,
her school shoes, all roads to her friend
who doesn’t smile back anymore,
the spoons that remind her of hunger
for farthest worlds and people.

She asks me how deep will be this pain
of losing herself, how long she would have to smile
through this hate.
I flow into her heart,
wondering, if there
I could turn back to the flower I was,
if the end of my hate could be
the end of her pain.
If I could be her answer of hope.

“Lost Coin” – Nayana Nair

I wanted to tell him
that I went back to the fountain
the one made of moon marble
in the neighborhood made of coal
,
and I fished for his wishes,
the forgotten cold coins
,

that once I believed I could find him
in the things he left behind

and I was wrong.
I could only see the lingering complains
and the eventual hate
in the fact that he left.

But the romantic in me
just couldn’t stop
till I did the impossible,
The romantic in me has no eyes, no ears
only a tongue to ask for more.
The work of running, begging, searching
for a lost coin was left to me.

So I picked a random coin and lied
that
it was his,
just like I picked him in this world of millions
and I told myself he is mine.

I wanted to to tell him
that even I was tired of my
“shows of love”
which played one lie after another
till someone broke.
But I guess he knows already.

“Small Impossible Dream” – Nayana Nair

Her floor had always been the color of the season
I remember this, only when I step into the mess of her life.
The spring issues lay scattered like the flowers
The pink, red, yellows, and greens,
women who only know youth,
women who only grow younger
the kind of woman she wanted to be
(what a small impossible dream)
and she almost is.
And now that she can never change
would she be happy?
When/if she comes across her own lifeless eyes in the missing posters
would she be glad to be one of the “sad popular”?
I shatter the home of her missing goldfish
in my haste efforts to pick them up
and put them out of sight- the bundles of glossy paper
that my eyes can’t handle.
I try to put them away,
wanting to throw them away
now that she wouldn’t mind, now that she won’t yell at me
or anyone for taking away too much of her.
I want to try it.
i want to try, so she has no option but to stop me.
“let’s leave her in peace” tells me my moral compass and my grief.
“i don’t want to show her the kind of respect that only dead deserve”
shouts back my anger and my love.
I drop the heaviest bag in this world on her rain soaked bed.
Her last dress, her last chocolate wrapper, her last bus ticket,
her last mistake, her last breath
everything spilling out,
everything ruining the spring that I dreamed for her along with her.