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“All the boxes are checked” – Nayana Nair

It hurts a bit more naturally
and less violently,
now that betrayal has a range,
has not one but many faces.
Now I need not figure what I did wrong.

All the boxes are checked:

family, family, friends, not friends,
thank-god-we-were-never-friends friends,
i-am-sad-i-stood-up-for-you friends,
people who marked my skin with their name
to own me
while i slept in their arms
(another golden cup added to collection of people hard to get,
people who won’t die if thrown away or left alone)
loves whom i am tied to,
the ones who demand smile and sometimes a bit more,
always a bit more.

They know the feel of my hand and love how it heals.
They hold my hand in their sleep
in their nightmares, in the storms of passion
that they need a person to aim at.
They break my wrist
in my nighmares, in my awareness of my fruitless love.
When I am at verge of crying,
they tell me to not give them a hard time
and to act like the refuge that I am supposed to be.

So I tell them “I love you”
and this lie hurts a little less everyday
as my heart becomes the stone pedestal
all my loves stand on.

“fairy tales” – Nayana Nair

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a broken end
with a light
(a lighter duller than me)
touches me.
someone
says the magic words,
the loathsome words
that make me the old alice.
i am made to leave
the seat, the home,
the dream, the rights
that are too big for me.
they leave me a tiny suitcases
filled with fancy dresses
made of used socks and handkerchiefs.
they are cute,
they are kind,
they have read their fairy tales right.
i have never read the right books,
so i find myself unable to thank them
or kiss their hands.
thumblina says my new belongings in glitter
i do not know what this name means
or the fate that the owner of this name is meant to find
but i have heard it is better than being an alice.
(i liked being alice more
i liked a story written for my sake.)
as i walk into the new forest,
towards hopefully my last story
or at least a story i can make my own for once,
i can’t help but think of
all the laughing men, now laughing giants
fixing my home to their liking.
i can’t help but be a bit bitter
looking at my hands that can only build for people like them.

“Last to know” – Nayana Nair

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I regret to tell you this
that the blue sky that you died for
is not longer blue.
It is painting its face with remains
of our greed, with the colors of our wars.
But it is still sort of fair.
It is trying hard not to choose sides,
not to become the flags that unites
only those whose favorite words are
‘future’, ‘safety’,’money’, ‘greatness’,
while they clutch in their hands the fate of people
they don’t identify with-
‘burden’ they call them.
‘Fear’ is another favorite word of theirs.
They don’t speak much of it, but it is most useful
or at least that’s what I have heard
from the ones we are no longer allowed to call out or even mock.
I have lost every bit of my passive aggressiveness.
Life has become more bearable
now that my skin is not broken for making too much noise,
now that we have learnt to hold each other’s tongue
so that we may not lose more friends than we already have.
I regret to tell you
that your dreams will remains dreams
and you might be one of the last to know
how dreams felt in your eyes,
how tomorrow used to change by effort.

“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.

“Summer Mood” – Nayana Nair

my feet relentlessly insist
on burning themselves
for the sake of summer mood.

i wear a shirt too big for me.
a wear a smile a bit too small.
i wear the worry of my parents on my neck.

i feel their fear
when i smile back at strangers.
i pretend to be the sand that no one can hurt.
i pretend to be the sea that doesn’t end.
i pretend no man in this beautiful scene
would hurt someone like me.

but my feet, they burn, they bleed.
my feet that only wanted freedom
from the moment i was born,
now they make me feel like the mermaid
who was not wise enough.

i feel like i am losing a part of myself
every time a stranger asks for my name,
every time they accidentally touch my skin
to fill me with shame and sin.
i pretend to be cool, to be understanding,
to be blind
as i feel like the monster
that brings out the worst in people.
as i erase my memories everyday
to put faith in people whom i find hard to trust.

“Now playing: the ominous names you are yet to know, yet to resent” – Nayana Nair

I board the train that I could
thinking,
only thinking about the one I couldn’t.
There are only tunnels, only darkness,
no network,
only cold metal that I rest my head
hoping for my fever to come down,
only windows that turn into mirror.

In those momentary mirrors
I always look like someone on life support.
In the crowd that no longer suffocates me
I cling to the wires that fill my ears
with the sound of past, with love that will never come back,
with the love that I will never be,
with everything I can’t bear to talk about nor forget.

Though it pains me to look at myself for more than 2 seconds,
I force myself to withstand my stare.
For if I take my eyes away from me
I end up looking into eyes of strangers
who twist and distort their faces
asking for a reason they can understand
or they end up looking away,
their heart as fragile as mine.

We all act as if we can know each other by a glance,
as if we would prefer to be the backdrop, the wallpaper
than to find eyes that can actually see us,
than to know one more human who is hell bent on proving
the brittleness of our species.
I understand their heart, their fear all too well.
My skin remembers what their heart has forgotten.
Though I don’t think anyone really forgets things like these.

“A Big Word” – Nayana Nair

I am happy. Almost.
I leave my bed to sit beside the window
that looks over the road.
I stare at everything that lives and dies beside me.
I will my brain to think of a rhyme
that I can gift this world.
I feel that my love for this ocean
of people far exceeds my loathing.
I am almost happy to be alive.
Though almost is a big word, a painful word.
It is is still smaller than the distance I have covered so far,
it is negligible to everything that has ever stood in my way.
‘Almost’ is something I can overlook,
as long as I have something to look forward to.
I cannot give up on this world even when I should.

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