“Hope and Wait” – Nayana Nair

.

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.

“The door opens slowly” – Nayana Nair

I turned another corner
and walked into another house
that I knew nothing about.
The owner, the god of this land stood there
outside in the garden
telling a child how to create more beautiful loops,
how to somersault,
how to find more worms, more of everything.
An adult placed like a talisman
that couldn’t keep me
or what I bring with me away.
He didn’t even notice the grave that I carried in me,
the open pits in ground awaiting more bodies.

I walked to the front door and rang the bell
thinking, wondering what must I not be seeing
in the person I see as a fool.
I wonder if the graves in him didn’t love him back as well.
The door opens slowly and I wait.
I let my willingness to wait announce to her that it is me.
She makes me a wait a bit more-
that is the nature of game we are caught in.

Seconds and hours I spend on her couch,
waiting for the commotion outside to end,
for “the happy family on a sunday morning” to end.
She has four brother
and an almost sister that they never talk about.
She reminds me this a few more times
so that on the mental map of belonging and similarities
I find this unnamed sister closer to my role.

They rush in like a flood, like a rain gone wrong-
all these bodies that I am not supposed to see.
“They are perfect”, I thought to myself.
I thought of my mother, the anger in my home,
the counting of countless miseries,
the coarse harsh words that filled my eyes, then filled my mouth,
the gentle sunsets that drown only dreams.
“They are perfect”, I think, “for someone living in the same world as me”.

She tells them about my scholarships, about my fragile upbringing,
about the art that runs in me.
She tells them all about the things that they like.
For today she has made them into me.
I smile and say a little too less.
I smile as if I mean no harm.

But I know
I am here.
I am here and there is no escape
from the fact that eventually
I will sit in this room with my love
and with a glitter pen running out of ink.
I will draw, deepen the cracks that I already see.

Such is my nature.
Such are the songs that I live on repeat.

“Assignment” – Nayana Nair

There was that pile of paper
I could
never keep safe.
The crossed out, always crossed out words,
words always out of order,
words turned beautiful
only because they dissolved
in my frustration.
Only because now I cannot read them
without effort.
I must make something out of them
something that couldn’t possibly be mine.

The blue ink dripping,
forming planets on unexpected letters,
forming planets on my hands.
I would take them to class
and look at them as if now I meant something more,
now that I was suffering for something I want.

I raised my hands to answer a question
I have already answered hundred times.
I sat down and swallowed my teacher’s frown.
He didn’t have to teach me
that right answers matter
only when they come from right mouths.
(I once got an A only because I forgot to put my name.)
I knew there was nothing I could learn
by swallowing frowns everyday,
but still I dragged myself, my broken planets,
my half burnt poems in my half burnt hands
to the one who doesn’t think twice
before asking me

to hate myself better.

“Portals” – Nayana Nair

the wafer breaks and crumbles
my teeth find a red muscle to kill
again my mouth bleeds
but no iron strikes my taste
so i wait for it
i wait for my imagined pain
to become real

i look at my hands
my unsightly weak hands
they are portals to my past self
how they weighed its emptiness even when they held you
how i knew that you won’t last, we won’t last
and i hated myself for knowing it

i wonder if my skin, my lips
gave you a premonition similar to that
did you know that we would end up sharing every hurt
and that it would never stop
that the we would continue to run even when the dream
ends
every cut mine, every drop of red yours
everything painful – only ours

“Dissociate” – Nayana Nair

my other head
bleeds and falls off
as does my bloody knife

i can no longer call myself a victim of life
now that my sin is set in stone

few more hours for the sun to rise
few more hours i must bear the company of my face
in few more hours the world will love me
now that i look like them and kill like them
they will surely love me
for having one less brain and one less mouth

my eyes look back at me
not accusingly but with pity
of what have i done to myself
but i dare not cry
and act as if i am the one being wronged
my tears- i’ll be burying them under the red petunias
that you loved

my hearts beats furiously
as if running towards something, perhaps an end
end of me? end of her?
it feels wrong saying “her”, “you”
as if a knife is all it takes to set things conveniently wrong

i close the door and leave my open mouth
and questioning eyes on the kitchen table
i break a nail and break my heart
as i dig two graves for myself

“The Noise of Empty Heart” – Nayana Nair

I close your heart.
I stitch you back
in a same haphazard way
I do almost everything in life.
The same way I knocked down
every clumsy fragile landmark
that could have actually helped me at the end.

From your mouth I have come to know
that my hopes are tied to the throats of my saviors.
That you are disgusted as you see me
sitting on top of sleepless nights
as I help myself with another serving of self-pity
that I won’t be able to digest.
That I laugh a little too long at the every joke
that the world plays on repeat,
all the while the cruel thread that I am
I cut the skin, I cut the voice, I cut the air.

“this what i am, change me in an easy way, see this is how i am hurting, why won’t you look at me when you said you wanted was the real me”

I say as I try to crawl back into the hide of your love.

“i will stitch you back, if i have hurt you. if you want to hear goodbye, i will say it a thousand times. please, please stop crying. please for once hesitate before you ask for the door out. ask for once if it was easy to take in your sorrows, your demons, your cold shoulder. ask for once how i have fared, how i have come this far, how am i letting you go, letting you be, after loving you so badly. “

“a proper life” – Nayana Nair

the metal melts on my tongue.
this must be the fever that everyone warned me against.
now i will never know how to die properly.

i used up every drop i could find on this planet
to make the broken trees in me grow.
and there are so many,
so many skeletons with stunted growth.

i read we need not only the sun, but also the leaves, the green
to make something that can fill our stomach.
that light by itself can only gift hope .
how long can one live on hope?
just long enough to hate everyone
who has a piece fleshy fruit stuck in their teeth.

the only way to live properly i am told
is to become the the tailcoat of someone better than me.
i must make someone’s life easy,
must become a photocopy machine for their blood,
must cry silently into the sink as i clean the dishes at night
to live a proper life.

but it is too late i guess,
i have lost the plan i was told to follow obediently,
the only color that remains on my skin are the ones i was born with,
the unflattering shape of my body
won’t be bought with the coins of love in any shop,
my finger, my unshapely hands have become un-holdable.

the adjectives, the rumors, the sad future of mine
they falls like pieces of metal on my ears everyday
and yet they are not the words i can say, or accept.
these word, this metal melts in my mouth
they say i will die a sad death,
that i will die as i have lived – by myself.

“Surely, I will love you” – Nayana Nair

The memories I burnt away
have turned into spirits, into thoughts
that hold me back from naming and keeping this happiness
that sits at my doorstep, waiting for my love.
And though the shadows of my past are tied to my legs,
though they rattle on empty roads
and never let the the dust of my life settle.
But ‘it is not so bad’ is also a sentence
that I have learnt to say with ease
and I sometimes even mean those words as they leave my mouth.
For there is a doorstep where a heart like yours
waits for me to heal, your wait makes the plant of trust
grow in my heart again.
Every morning I find myself, my lips
a bit closer to the the words
that only you deserve to hear.

“Red Sonnets” – Nayana Nair

red sonnets.
every morning,
you always gift me red sonnets.
and i always kiss you back,
the color of my lips fading
in front of acts of affection.

i put them on my bed
as i sleep on the floor.
i stir my soaking noodles
with a branch broken
from this bunch.
i bite the sides of my mouth
make myself cry a little bit more.

“incoherent” – Nayana Nair

i looked best dressed in incoherent words.
everyone assumed that i am drunk on something.
everyone assumed me to be an artist for that.

any word that left my mouth
was just another way to pronounce self-doubt.
the only way to stay and run away at the same time.

the way i speak,
“you are beautiful” and “i hate you”
sounds the same.
the way i speak
“i want to die” sounds same as “i love you”.
my name sounds same as any other name.

what is the use of having this name
that no one calls.
so i sign the heart of my temporary admirer
with “tear”, “snow”, “goodbye”, “sleep”….
with other sad beautiful words
that cause less hurt than my name.