“Less Than Half” – Nayana Nair

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The moment I pass any door
a part of my brain whispers-
too many people,
watch you step and watch your tongue,
lest you want to be branded as one of those women
that you are are and aren’t at the same time.
For if you are not careful enough
you will soon believe everything that people say about you
as you are doing right now.
Right now only half of you exist in this body.
I know this because that is what I was calculating
in the class of areas and volumes,
as teacher taught how we determine
the volume the water left at in a cylinder of flesh
once it starts leaking from all the words that have pierced it.
Or that’s what I heard at least.
I got had good score for that class
and I got called many more names.
A little more of me seeped out
and now I am less than half of what I was.
I know this because I have lost my friends
(maybe they see I am no longer me).
I know this because my heart no longer protests
when I hear people calling me by wrong names.

“New Fact” – Nayana Nair

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All that you don’t know of,
all that I fear
stands behind the door,
waiting for the right time to ring the bell,
to call you out for a moment
so that it can tell you about
the mistake that has been made.
“All-that-you-do-not-know-of-yet”
has brought you someone with deeper love and better heart
and shows her off as they new discovery, the new fact,
discusses with you how to go on about correcting
all the text, all the promises, and all the future plans.
I look at her, looking at you
and I see what I must have looked like
when once I found your door
and was happy to find my rightful place.
While you nod your head along
thinking, considering
how to tell me that I need to get going
that there is not much space for misunderstandings
and no time for crying over what must be done.
Yesterday, I loved you.
Yesterday, you loved me back.
Today, my depth are the new shallow.
Today, you can only give me as much attention as
a passing cloud in the sky.

“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.

“Passing Amusement” – Nayana Nair

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I told myself
I just needed some answers
to solve this life.
So that I can untangle my feelings from this world,
from the shadows of people
I am maintaining by my wavering light.
But when nothing got solved
and the problems became too familiar
to be thrown away from my life.
I told myself I was searching
for an explanation.
Just a statement
that helped me make peace with what I got in life.
That if I could have those reasons,
then I believed my pain would dull.
But it didn’t and it won’t.
Now when I look at the world
with a passing amusement at my sadness,
I know my searching is the only thing
keeping me from severing my ties
from this world I so badly want to leave.

“Lucky” – Nayana Nair

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I cannot digest
all that I read and find to be true.
Some portion of every beautiful art
hurts my heart.
All the tragedies and even forgettable bruises
could have been a play set under crimson bloodied skies
but they are not.
They happen in spaces that looks like the one
we might have passed through unknowingly.
They happen under the smiling sun
to people
who are supposed to read depressing statistics in magazines
and tell themselves that they are fine as long as
they are lucky by comparison.

“Not Much” – Nayana Nair

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I am tempted to walk into the night
and look for you
who has always stood
on the other side of my fear,
waiting for me everyday,
carrying a flower of hundred petals
petals that wither one by one
like the clock that marks days not hours,
days that otherwise would have been too long
if something didn’t tell us
again and again
that not much time has passed
and not much time is left.
Though by the waters of sorrow
that reach till my chest,
I can tell that it would be too late
and too futile
even if we meet now,
when all the happiness
that we came with has been spent
by our imprudent youth.
But still even if it is late
I want to come to you,
Even if I am broken
I want to be yours.
Even if for a day.

“Substitute of Light” – Nayana Nair

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Here in this night glowing with memories
placed as substitute of light in the face of storm,
I sit with all the words my body clung to
in spite of its bare, aging and passing spring.
I scratch out all the definitions of what I am
from the paper that seemed to once shine
and reflect an image that could have been me,
if only I didn’t have to live till this day
to realize what a mirror really is
and how painful it is to look into one.
Now when I write down new rules and new directions for myself,
I envision another day in future
when again I will have to strip myself
of all I believe to be true.
And knowing that a day like that exists ahead of me
makes me look at myself with certain pride
for trying again and again.

“Ones Who Broke Us” – Nayana Nair

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The fear that leaves our heart,
at some point,
does it make its way back to us?
Does it still look like our nightmare when it returns?
Do we still look away when it moves closer to us?
Do we close our eyes again on the horrid memories,
the alienation and the helplessness?
And let it erase all the instructions
of avoidance, of the hints of bitterness that must be remembered
for us to live well and choose better,
and all such advices we had written on our heart
on the gravestone of the memories that refused to stay still,
that refused to be silent
till we felt it’s last breath pass into the same pillows
we buried our complains.
Do we let ourselves believe in goodness of hearts ,
in the excuses of the ones who broke us?
I hope not.

“Count the Roads” – Nayana Nair

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I didn’t see her pack her bag
but I knew it was definitely hers,
from the way she could drag it with such an ease.
The same ease with which
she dragged most things in her life.
Her face twisted and moved
till it found that smile
that said, “Ignore me, I’m happy”.
As she hailed her taxi,
I tried to count the days it would take
for me to give up too.
I counted the roads that must pass
before we do not have to think
about the depleting years in our hand
and lonely dreams in our diminishing vision.

“My Time” – Nayana Nair

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With you my time
doesn’t go forward, doesn’t go back,
doesn’t stop, doesn’t pass.
My time, like yours,
turns around on itself,
again and again,
till it becomes
layers of repeated confessions
warming our hearts.