“I hope for them to not see and not know”- Nayana Nair

.

The river rises,
another flood is here
and I haven’t yet learnt to swim.
My friends are again at my door.
They knock, then they start crying.
They tell me about the happiness I can’t see,
they try to predict what you
would have wanted me to be,
and all I can do is laugh at it all.

My laugh, it must be as frightening to them as my tears now.
For even as they send me pics of kittens and quotes,
and stories saved from fire, stories filled with hope,
I hear their panic from the other side.
They know that just taking your name
had undone the strength
they tried to feed me for months.

And since now they can’t breathe
everytime I close my door, everytime I refuse to speak –
I am another hell to them.
And since I can’t let them break over me –
they are another pillow pressing on my face.

I hope for them to let me own my sadness.
I hope for them to not see and not know my pain.
But they do, they feel so much of me
that I have to open the door,
that I have to let them hold my hands.

I tell them that I’ll live no matter what
and they still tell me that it is not enough-
they want me to be who I was.
I can only smile at their cruel hopes for me.

“Why doesn’t anything break me” – Nayana Nair

.

now that this was happening for real

i wonder why isn’t it like

the ground breaking into pieces too small to support any life,
why the all the dragonflies weren’t dropping dead?
why all the butterflies still exist in color?

why isn’t it like

lungs filled with tears or the dramatic beautiful drowning into myself.
why am I able to keep track of time?
why am I stapling and stacking papers with a preciseness i never had?

i accept everything way to easily, i suspect

maybe even the love that almost took my life was not that deep.
maybe my limits were just as harsh as the room
with broken air conditioner on the day of perfect weather.

but why?
why then don’t I remember

the days of perfect weather
where there must have been something
worth crying for, breaking for, killing for. why doesn’t anything break me.

why then

are there open windows filled with light still stuck on the walls of my heart,
why is there music in the world sadder than my own self.
why do I envy everyone who gets to have a real grief, real love.

why is it so, that

it makes sense for the color of end to be my favorite.
it makes sense that i am left with myself and i still feel safe and i still know hope.
i wonder this numbness or cold heartedness – what it will do to me?

what will it do to me?
what will i end up as?
(i am avoidant and anxious and selfish and cruel and “never yours” already)
what/who will you end up loving instead?
(if you die before me, in the arms of someone who could see you better than me,
should I cry or not? would you be still expecting my tears?
when should i stop keeping count of what i owe to you?)
what new thing will i learn to run away from?

i hear such words from my mouth a bit too frequently, for it to be just a mood.
sometimes it all adds up.
that all i can do is think of myself
and end up doing a bad job at it
just so that someone else wants to do it better than me
it so looks like love. but it makes sense that it isn’t.

“Painting Summer” – Nayana Nair

.

As my teacher with broken voice
dictated another question on radius and heights
and the mountains where no snow, no season, no name sticks;
I turned another page and wrote the name of an emperor
who died even though he believed he won’t.
I smiled and tried to correct the very very wrong spelling
of a national political party that my friend wrote. It doesn’t matter she said,
when I couldn’t figure out what was exactly wrong with it.
At lunch, she leaned against the wrong window,
the one with fresh coat of blue paint,
and told me a joke which she memorized
only to remember it wrong.
I again gave her the laugh that meant nothing in particular.
But I knew she loved it when I reacted like this-
as if she is forcing a laughter out of my silent sombre heart,
as if she is wining over me all my resistance.
But I was nothing like that.
I was nothing like she thought me to be.
My heart was already open. She was already inside me-
writing melodies with her soft steps beside me,
painting summer sun over every window I looked out of.
But these are things that need no telling,
there are my treasures I won’t allow her to take back,
these are the answer she will never realize.
I hand in another assignment, another answer sheet
that looks too little like me, that raises the eyebrows of people
who realize they couldn’t teach me a thing right.
I walk back to my seat wondering
if my shirt is tainted red with my love
like her back is filled with butterflies of blue.

“Invisible with every word” – Nayana Nair

.

The last stranger at the funeral home
brought in the worst rain of the season,
the coldest wind of the night
along with your last letter.
He leaned against the window
and called up everyone he won’t be able to meet today
looking at me all the while.
As if he knew every word that I was reading.
Probably waiting
to see whether I cry at the same lines that he did.
His eyes look like the ones who have got used
to crying for things that cannot be undone,
for a life that cannot be.
I wondered if he loved you. Maybe he did.
Maybe you knew. I hope you did.
He sat beside me
trying not to grieve more than a mother,
trying not mourn like a lover,
making himself invisible with every word
i read under my tearful breath

“…even when I sat at the dinner table with my brightest smile and deepest hunger, i couldn’t convince me that i needed to exist here.
even the warmest embrace of this world could do nothing but break me. i knew opening my heart could only bring floods and all ends of all kind.
i knew all along of this end. forgive me for pretending otherwise….”

"Ports" – Nayana Nair

a blue cloudy sky over a banana plantation.
the only word to be heard – rebellion.
someone is crying far away.
another round of bullets leave the shaking hands
of the one who can’t seem to stop crying.
now he must die just like me.
he rests his bloody head and its murky thoughts on me.
in this last afternoon of my life
i drift into bouts of darkness,
without fear for first time,
with the company of only his confused memories.
will this be my last dream – his life?
even in his head my homeland and its afternoons are beautiful.
he has a face that he doesn’t want to forget,
he has childhood home he can always return to
but he didn’t, he regrets it now.
he remembers the red color that his sister
stopped wearing on her lips
once her heart was broken badly.
how he kept it with himself, as a symbol of happiness
that he can’t have only for himself.
there are ports on rainy days
and buildings that became sadder at night.
he once painted the window that would never open to him
or anyone else for that matter.
he cried when another nameless woman was found lifeless
on the last page corner of newspaper
and the window never lighted anymore.
there is a cafe filled with few bombs that didn’t go off
where the only one spared was him.
he doesn’t want to be spared anymore.
i wonder if he thinks that he can have happiness when he ends.
i wonder if i will be able to smile on a rainy day, even if i am born again.

“mornings break us apart again” – Nayana Nair

she traced the light on my chest
pulled out everything that stung-
the swings, my feet,
the shadow i decided no longer to play with.

the comparision table of veins and arteries
copied into my notebook.
the eraser and pencil that helped me document
in those tables my lackings compared to everyone else.

a page torn, and then another, and then another.
pages that learnt immortality by choosing my heart as home.

she stayed up nights trying to free me
as i stuggled and begged not to empty me.
she smiled and said the words she didn’t mean,
words that i wanted to hear from someone, anyone.

so i slept because she couldn’t be stopped.
“leave me alone” now hurt me more than her.
i opened my eyes and cried
for her work was done,
now i was no one, now nothing was mine,
not even my pain, not even her.

she dusted her cobweb skirt,
placed a kiss on my forehead
and told me to breathe,
breathe in everything
that i didn’t think i had the right to.

she told me to breathe
and to never forget what suffocation felt like.
it helps in becoming kind, she said.

as she wiped clean her traces from my life,
i felt better, again i was full.
i was full of her, of this love that won’t work out.
being full of her, i refused to breathe,
because i wanted to keep it that way.

“On Erasing Roads” – Nayana Nair

The dead world lives through her.
Her escape is a door left open
for the violence to spread,
or so she always believed.
When she saw someone who reminded her of love,
saw that the fragile bird of happiness
would choose sit by her window and wait for her to sing back,
when all that could make her feel safe and somehow better
smiled at her and asked her name.
She would remember how from her skin and her mind
grew trees of fear every night.
The flood that has left her land
loomed above this forest.
Anytime the cloud would burst,
the past would burst through her smile,
and all would be lost.
Today, tomorrow, day after,
on an afternoon when she would forget about it all,
on a beautiful day like that
she knows she will find sorrow again.
So she stays quiet and writes a softer tragedy
of a girl who could never tell her name
to anyone who chose her hoping for happiness.

“Luminous” – Nayana Nair

The night doesn’t quite reach my land.
There are columns and mountains of light
that my people have given themselves to.

I never roll down my windows.
There is a scent of death in the air.
I don’t want to remember
how burning is painful.

In my mind I run towards the memories
of my perspective correction classes.
I pick out a card, a line that works the most
“burning is luminous”.

Yes, burning is lumious.
Burning is magic, burning is beautiful.
It is beautiful as long as I don’t hear the cries
of one being burnt. It is magic
as long as I don’t ask
for confirmation of my worst fears being true
from the others who never open their windows.

There is red in the news no one talks about,
there is red in the names that disappear over night,
there is red splattered inside the world in my head
but the world is suspiciously clean even when all I smell is death.

When I close my eyes, it is never dark.
Something burns before me, I am always aware of it.
I wonder if I would ever know sleep again.

“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

“All the Ends that pass me by” – Nayana Nair

The shoes I am wearing
are wearing thin.
I feel my clothes trying,
trying hard to slip out of me
and I don’t try to hold onto them.
That is how I have always been.

I see an appproaching death,
the sihouette of another ending
that I won’t be able to take
and I order another drink,
I put down the book
that was getting a bit more real
that I expected it to be,
and I wait with open eyes
to witness the truth of every undoing
that is in my fate.

This is me-
the one who cries absurdly
at a broken sole, at my frayed edges,
at a day-long, a month-long, an year-short love,
the one who tries to mean “till the end”.

The one who can only smile
when called cruel and cold-
that is also me.