“Unchanging facts” – Nayana Nair

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All the stories and songs and
in this part of land, at this end of life – they are all about
the boat and its wood, about the shine of its old surface,
the sound of water it carries even as it sits on the dry
dying land, burning for hours and hours.
Hours not measured in the cups of water nor in the shadows
that refuse to fall in spite of all the light,
but hours measured by the cries of gull, the number of sails torn,
the diminishing weight of the men,
and the the silent wrath of all the glorious water.
We ‘the ones rooted to the shores’,
we sing from the shade of generous trees
to ‘the ones who only knew the abundance
of salt and wounds and undying dreams’,
trying to understand their alien love.
We sing of them and their hateful dreams,
of the tears they forced us to swallow because
they couldn’t love us if we wanted to be their shackles,
we narrate these unchanging facts every morning,
we dig a new grave for the same person again and again,
with each hole in earth as empty as the other.

“I look at you and wonder how much of all this you understand” – Nayana Nair

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The metal bubbles.
The knives and the rust reach
our softest tissue, our dearest happiness.
My skin, like his, is torn and sewed up.
A new design forced into our veins.
A new love written.
Something old and precious bleeds.
Something soft leaves our hold,
leaves our hands, our dreams cold.
The blessings, the gentle shade,
the sun showers –
all a memory too unreal to be trusted now.
Soon we will speak of love
and not mean each other.

“The land of disasters” – Nayana Nair

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As my empty cup for tea
came crashing on the floor,
I heard another sigh escape me.
I turned back from the counter
and watched in resignation
as the winds mercilessly pushed through
the cushions, the magazines, the old discarded
phones that made no noise as they came
to find death second time.

The curtains and the window frames
came apart. The sad smiles, barely visible
through the annealed glass, cracked upon
and my ancestors fled away, rejoicing for first time
in the brokenness of this world.
I recalled all the videos I had seen
about the land of disasters and the restless hearts
that live there. I recalled the reasons
that cause such misfortunes, the incomplete
distracted television reports. But I didn’t have to think
of all that, to know what was happening to me.

The sky was clear
and I could hear people walking to festivals and carnivals
and towards to unbearable silence of funerals,
trying to laugh as much as they can before they get there.
I closed my eyes and waited with anxiousness,
waited without hopes
for love to appear again and make a mess of the life
I had spent years to put together.

“Half of my Winters” – Nayana Nair

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I wanted to play this winter song
on the brightest day of spring.
Maybe at least in that way
I will be able to mourn for something
that I should have been happy to leave behind.
But the snowflakes in me
drift into the world
and become butterflies of someone else’s heart.
All my songs now belong to sun,
they belong to scent of summer fruits,
they fall as unpredicted rain
on the windows I closed just in time.
Anyway, I had to learn this sooner or later.
How can I keep believing in my own feelings,
on the things that were supposed to never change, never melt
after losing half of my winters to the green winds of change.
As I place all my “old dreams that don’t suit the new me”
away from my reach,
I wonder if the only way to save the dignity of my old sincerity
is to lock it way from my own skeptical, mocking eyes?

“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 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.

“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?

“Virtual Image” – Nayana Nair

the image in mirror is never formed

I copied this slowly
from my friend’s notes,
reading too much into it.

I moved my hands
over the new definition of real.

I traced the lines, the dull path of light
as faithfully as I could
but the solid blue lines of ink touch the glass
and are broken cleanly by the laws of reflection, every time.

Only I am left in this world of real stuff
tracing back the path
that only their changed selves could have taken.

But what difference does that make?
People who have changed
do they even want those old dreams?

Probably not, for all I see are points abandoned,
in the world of unpublished fiction
surrounded by crosses of dotted lines,
like the ones that are meant to be torn slowly.

the image in mirror is never formed

But it is there, in front of me.
By some miracle they exist
even when they don’t.

Doesn’t that count as real?

The emptiness in me
and in it your face.

Doesn’t that count as real?

“Finally, in motion” – Nayana Nair

Another day flashes across my sky.
Another moon rushes past my life.
There are clouds that I have learned to walk on.
There are days when I forget
how afraid I am of this world.
This is what my miracle looks like.

There are songs that never meant anything
till you sang them for me.
As I play hide and seek with your smile,
I am forgetting the reasons to hate myself.
I am forgetting things that I never
allowed myself to forget.
This is what my miracle looks like.

I dream of a one room castle.
I find the idea of falling in love with this world
something worth looking forward to, something worth a try.
I find the courage to want the impossible.
I find it easy to put my heart
outside my body, in this world.
Nothing breaks, nothing withers.
Finally, my heart grows old with me.
This is the miracle
that walked into my life
holding your hands.

“What I Remember (17)” – Nayana Nair

those who spent their lives
wrecking their hands to mould me into something better,
tried fruitlessly
to break me without pain,
to break me and make me into something
that would be accepted by this world.
they showered me with love
so i won’t know, won’t remember
how much it pained me or how much it hurt them
to have gifted me
this painful self-critical view of myself and this world.

while they are growing old, weak and distant
my love for them looks like a failed seed
that never grew nor flowered.
the years that i spent with them
has made me ungrateful.
i have become the fish that never thanked the water
that kept it alive,
thinking that is what water is meant to do.

with time
as a fail to become what i thought i am,
as i realize that doing or even knowing the right thing to do
becomes more impossible as you get to know this world,
i begin to understand the enormous love they must have had for me
to hold my hand and walk with me in a world
that they had never seen
only for my sake,
knowing that their courage and their tears
are destined to be forgotten (or worse- questioned).

and my love?
my love,
it grows in opposite direction of sun,
my love for them grows into the soil my heart
in a world where they won’t see and won’t know.
i will remain cruel and indifferent even in my own eyes.
so i hide my muddled feelings
and walk around those
who have made me what i am
whatever that may be.