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“Another Birdless Cage” – Nayana Nair

please don’t ask me how my friend is doing.
we broke up.
we broke up the most decent way friends can break up.
without deceit, without betrayal,
without cruel words or bloody knife on our backs,
without stories to hurt each other with,
without attempts to patch up things,
without deleting each other’s number that we never bothered to memorize.
i do not remember her till someone says her name
and when the sound of her name finds me through a stranger’s lips,
i do not feel bitterness. i not miss her.
a part of my heart is glad that life didn’t turn her my enemy
but a part of me wonders how she turned out to be nothing in my life.
when i see facebook notifications with her name,
when i get a reminder of her birthday,
when she calls me up once in a blue moon
to ask a favor for “her friend”
without bothering to ask how i have been,
what is it that am i supposed to feel?
i think it should hurt in some way.
i am waiting for it to hurt.
i am waiting to realize the meaning of this loss.
i am waiting for the day I miss her.
i want to miss her so much.

“Who I am” – Nayana Nair

I will spend some nights
listening to why I am not the one you can love.
I will keep you awake and keep myself in pain
till I get this list down,
till I memorize it all,
till “who I am” just means “what you can’t love”.

I daydream about how I will leave you.
In this fiction
I know how to stop,
there I have given up on you,
there you are seek my acceptance for a change.

But I stop dreaming just before devising,
drawing a bright future without you,
without your rejection.
I stop because I have calls to answer,
mistakes to regret, trips to plan,
friends to cut off, paint my room black,…
I stop because there is so much suffering
I have to live through
before I am allowed to forget you.

“Wrong Way” – Nayana Nair

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They forgot to teach me
the most basic thing-
to know which side I should take
to keep a check on papers, to see sense
when someone tells me what is politically right
and to agree when they tell me that identity is everything
not only mine, but of all those who live on same piece of land as me.
They forgot to tell me to fight and argue
in the name of and for the sake of people
who didn’t care about the fight,
who were fine living the way they did.
I ended up believing
that I could just exist without belonging to any shore
and maybe make my own
and pray that no one joins me
and turn my life into something to live by.

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How could they have overlooked this ,
didn’t they foresee how I would sit awkwardly
midst strangers and have nothing to say
about how the world was run.
Would they consider me silly,
would they think that I am shallow
if I was thinking about the fictional character from a story
and his conflicts?
Would they judge me if the story in question was not about
wars, rivalry or mid-life crisis
but one of romantic ones with cheesy lines
that everyone seems to detest?
They should have told me to memorize lines from papers
and opinion columns
and pass it as my own,
when I was not interested to form opinions
on topics that seemed to be of grave importance to others.
I should know better than to write poems on love and sadness
when people are dying around me.
But I don’t.

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I think I may have been brought up the wrong way
and there is nothing I can do about it now.
But I am not even sure whether
I want to fix the things
that I asked to feel ashamed of.

“Memorizing Names” – Nayana Nair

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There was no joy to wander,
to pack my bags
with belongings not entirely mine
and to have a bagful of borrowed stuff,
of borrowed time.
Living on the kindness
that I didn’t deserve.
Each new handhake
sounded like
echoes of heartbreak
from the future.
I knew where I was going
and I knew where I was taking them.
And that made me hate this ordeal
of trying to memorize the names
of all these new people
who will be soon forgotten.
My heart was never broken.
My home was never broken.
At least not the type of broken
that can’t be repaired.
I do not have shelter of such excuses.
I chose to stay,
I chose to love
and I chose to move away.
I choose to live with the list of names
to the end
than to see them walk away.

“All the tones”- Nayana Nair

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If I memorized
all the tones that drifted in from
a world of happiness
we are no longer inhabitants of,
the tones that drip ever so slowly
filling our heart with love
and filling our life with pain,
the tone that ripples through
every word I weigh on my tongue.
all the tones
that resonates in me as the wind passes
through the places in my heart
where your laughter once lived,
all the tones
that separate bird cry and bird song.
I think I would find the song we lost,
the song we sought
that we could never hear
in the noise of our shouts.
And though our love is dead
I would like this song
to have a home to rest.
As for our love,
what is lost is probably
lost for best.

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