“Named after stars” – Nayana Nair

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And if we are to delete, to remove,
to erase and whiten the papers
that are not a part of our hearts anymore,
then hand me the forms you want burned,
the words you wish you never heard,
and I’ll help you with your share of forgetting,
just like how you helped me memorize my own name once.

If we are to walk through the burning towns,
that we created with our own hands, which we named after stars,
to find something that is not poisoned by our time together,
then I’ll do the walking for you.

In a room filled with light
I imagine myself breaking apart, it will happen for sure,
but it doesn’t pain me yet.
But I fear the tears that will find your eyes,
the marks of flowing rivers, the civilization of sorrow
settling and flourishing on your face,
if you were to fall in love with something that is already lost.

I fear your loving nature.
I fear your heart to work for the impossible.
I fear you might see our past and mistake it for our future.
If you try to protect me even in our end,
I fear I will be left with no way out.

“I never have to wonder, I never have to break” – Nayana Nair

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In the shade of a fruitless spring-less tree
as I tried to recall and write down
all the phone numbers I once knew by heart,
I looked at the sky
and laughed for thinking too highly
of myself and thinking too little about my heart.
That is the last thing I remember
before I was possessed.

Oddly I always remember this point of contrast
marked by the last tear I actually cried.
Whatever now had made home in me
convinced me
that I could be complete even if I stay as who I am,
that I could stand in this world
witnessing beauty, love, companionship, faith, life
and be happy
even if it could do nothing for me, even if they were not mine.

Someone, who couldn’t possibly have been me,
lived my life in my place from that moment,
and I never had to wonder again
if I am allowed to live like this.
I never picked up another paper I threw in the trash.
I now never tried to play the role of the one with bigger heart.
I was finally free of hope, of love, of being myself.
Now it was the work of whoever wanted this body,
whoever wanted my life.

“Another Round of Wrong Guesses” – Nayana Nair

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In that room
seated along with my anxious heart,
my crumbling forevers, and my noisy pen,
was you.
You are now more colorful than ever-
more real, more present.
You are more you that before,
more of a person that I ever could be.
I envied you and loved you for that- that I remember.

I realize there other things that I don’t remember well,
as you put on the record
of “50 greatest pointless questions of all time”,
as you sharpen the edges of your weak hollow anger,
as you ask me to play a harmless game,
another try at the precious once-in-a-lifetime love,
another guess, another stab, another cut,
another laughter echoing and tearing
everything that almost made me human,
another try, another guess, another endearing laugh
at the sight of my tears.

I had decided that won’t flinch, that I won’t cry.
I looked at the paper again
that said that I am not actually hurt,
that everything I suffer from is a making of my mind,
that I am just too scared,
too lonely to think straight ever again.
I looked at it wanting to believe it
but also knowing I won’t allow this paper to fix this for me.

For even to this image- this violent beautiful ghost of you,
even to this- I felt I owed something.
I still waited for you to give up.
It still mattered to me – this confirmation-
that what I loved
also loved me back in some twisted way.
So I nodded yes to another rounds of wrong guess,
to this game I won’t ever win.

“News of my new love and loveless life” – Nayana Nair

DRAWING THE STARS WRONG
all my hopes, now in your hands,
feel like signs of trouble.
i liked it on paper, the broken star in red ink,
but not on my sky.
can i undo my steps to you?
will my heart break even if you leave my skin?

STRIPPING YOU OF FLESH
before i turn away from you
there are things that must be done.
(only painful things are remaining
no matter what i choose)
everyday for a hour i must imagine
being alone in this world.
everyday i must imagine
the relief you would feel
at my absence.
everyday i must imagine you with someone
and being capable of caring.
i must imagine in detail and color.
i must put you on a window in clothes
i don’t recognize.
i must strip you of my love
and hope you feel the warmth,
even when my heart tells that you won’t.
i must stand outside the shop i plan to leave you at
and practice standing there without tears in my eyes.
i must take your feelings out of picture
to take even one step away from you.
before i turn away from you
i have to turn into the person
who won’t be able to walk towards any happiness
after leaving you broken.

MESSED UP SEARCH HISTORY
in my room, on my phone,
with another love, in the crowd
that will never be mine,
i feel my heart drunk on you again.
and everywhere you are with me
i need someone else
to keep me from making another mess
in your name, for my sake.
in return, i love them the only way i can,
the way only i can,
by removing you from the search history of my mind
every second i live.
i love them
by holding them back from running to the one,
who like you, can only love in dark dripping red
and swelling universe of purple.

THE EASY WAY TO LIVE
speaking without fear,
loving without abandon,
sitting in sunshine,
somehow loving the world,
wanting to stay alive,
getting comfortable with the concept of wanting,
knowing the feeling of being considered and seen,
(all this
with you at the back of my mind).
i told you, all this is my life now-
the easiest life i have ever had.
i hope you believe.
it would be the happiest end,
if you would accept this
as the last scene of me in your life.
i want to live so better,
just so that you can forget
the me who could do nothing but get hurt
only because i didn’t want to live without love.
i want to be better than that, even if it makes me sad.

“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.

"let me wake up" – Nayana Nair

someone whispered
you are special
and i knew that this is sleep
(the pleasantly confusing side),
that this is a memory of something
that will never happen again (should i be sad?).
paper dolls hurried me down the aisle
of a supermarket, opening up packets and packets
of laughter that I had not yet paid for
(should i be worried?)
They made me stand at the counter,
chirping “it’s time”, “it’s time”
“it’s time”
and someone who tried hard to look like a human,
who had tried to scratch away
the face of demon drawn by my hands,
stood with a trolley filled with sad colors,
handed me his card
with my name written on his scratched out one
and told me
“now you fall”.
and all i could say was “i hate you”
“i hate you – not in used-to-love-you way”
“i hate you – the way i hate having a broken heart”
“let me wake up”

“Creature of Claw” – Nayana Nair

How long should I bleed
for the one who holds the knife.

I pluck another flower of kindness
to appease the one who won’t even smile for me.
He looks at it and tells me the tested foolproof ways
to kill this useless plant that grows in me
and cracks his shield.

He tells me he will love me more
if I will cut his skin
instead of making him look as bad as he is,
if I struggle a bit to get back at him
rather than struggle to know him like this.

He says
“i would like us to be peas of the same pod,
i would like us to be the insects with same appetite,
i would like you so so much more,
if you would help me rule this world
that doesn’t listen to me. if you could speak
the same words as i do, words dipped in careless anger
rather than the ones served with pity.
don’t tell me the danger of my dagger
by slicing away your skin. you feel more like an enemy now.
the more you bleed to make me suffer,
to make me give up, the farther you get
from the person i could love.”

How long should I bleed
for the one who holds the knife
to stop him from cutting his own heart.
This will hurt him, he knows,
eventually if not now.
Yet he is becoming a creature of claw with a paper skin,
he is growing a dream
from the horrors he has only read.
The unnatural pauses on his lips,
the look of helplessness in his eyes
makes me wonder if he even knows how to stop.

“What I Remember (20)” – Nayana Nair

I am told I am not wise,
that I do not have the intellect
that could make anyone swoon over me.
I try too hard, put too much effort
to be considered worth protecting.
I rank even lower on the stats of beauty.
I know that since I have found discarded papers
written by boys-who-will-always-be-boys
who document my plummeting desirability religiously.
But since I am not the type to conform
(tsk tsk…so many vices)
I cannot help but choose to take on the role
of the bitter girl
and judge in my mind everyone
who cruelly prosecutes me in jokes and harmless fun in my absence,
but are kind enough to leave behind enough clues
for me to figure out where I must stand in this world.

It has become my habit to consider them desperate,
manipulative and not worth my time or attention.
I know now, how to look down on everyone who looks down on me.
It’s a wonderful feeling really.
To feel like a flawed monster with some control.
To be free from the want to be understood by the “cool” people.
To stop expecting for things to change.
I have enough paranoia and enough stubbornness
to last this lifetime.
I have enough reasons to hate passionately all those who hate me.
I may know too less about life,
I may underestimate the phrase “but-tomorrow-you-might-need-them”
but I cannot turn my other cheek
and I cannot let myself want to be a friends/minion of theirs.
My heart may be dissolving in my own acidic hate for this world
But at least I know I took on my own side in all my fights.
I may not expect much from world, but expect a lot from myself.
This is the bare minimum I can do
to preserve myself in this world that changes everyone in the name of fun.

“On My Own” – Nayana Nair

Once the shade of the shutters
are rolled down,
once I am left on my own,
reason and explanation rush in,
try to cling and climb up
the cracks of my heart,
and the folds of my brain,
trying desperately to stop me
to reach out, to find me
in the fog of fear.

But I am already far ahead,
my hands reach for everything it could hold,
everything it could break
and hurl them at the window
till it broke,
till I could cry
for the things that were robbed from me.
I couldn’t stop.
I couldn’t stop hurting myself
even when I lay half-broken under dangling paper curtains,
even when all that I broke pierced my skin and hurt me back.
If I stopped, I would again hear the steps
that always walks over my world and reduces me to dust.

“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.