“Breathing Cities and Statues” – Nayana Nair

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When I try to imagine,
to recall the face of another human being.

I always see them standing opposite me
with an expressionless face, holding out their hand.

When they are ghosts of pasts,
they are breathing cities of peculiarities and possibilities.
I feel they were waiting for my hand to touch theirs.
I feel as if they have saved up their last smile for that moment.
The steps I couldn’t take, can now never take,
they look so easy, so worth it, so worth keeping as regrets.

But I never learn
because
when they are reflections of present,
they are breathing statues
and frozen hearts that couldn’t possibly beat.
I know that this hand is not for me,
that I have extinguished the smile on that face
just by being myself, just by existing.

Only the warm breath of passing time
can make me miss the world that could have been.
Only on the streets I cannot walk
grow my trees of faith.

But even then, even for the past
I barely feel any love.
What I feel is something similar to
the relief in the things that won’t change.
The pull I feel is for the trust that can never be broken,
my heart that I never had to give out,
the hand of every stranger that remained innocent thereby.

“Dreams come true” – Nayana Nair

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sometimes i dream of emptiness – it looks festive and grand,
it looks like people rushing in
with their wants and talks about wants

and talks about not having their name in any list of wants
and talks about wants that they saw the other say
that they just couldn’t wrap their heads around

and talks about wants that didn’t last that long
and talks about wants that don’t seem to die
and someone wanting to burn some wants
cause they just can’t stand them, cause they just can’t stand
a world that is not filled with their lookalikes

and someone wanting to become a 24×7 monsoon,
so that such an anarchic want can never see any fruit

and then 100 people enter a room which only has room for 10
they are torn between killing other 90 or making the room bigger
by bulldozing the rooms around,

some have already started to eat less and breathe less
and want less so that they take up less space, cause nothing seems to be working,

they sometimes talk about wanting back the past, wanting back the limbs and heart
that, they realized too late, won’t grow back

and the room is now bigger where 100 people are now 10000 people
and the other rooms and other worlds
are now floors the people with better and certified normal wants walk upon

and some keep digging for the ones that are buried, for the ones that still can be saved,
they keep getting arrested and get locked up in cells that have always room for more

and things like that just keep happening-
hurtful things, beautiful hurtful things, ugly hurtful things.

and my eyes see only wants and hurts
and i am not sure
if it is a good thing or a bad thing
that i can’t see another human in sight.

“But it also means…” – Nayana Nair

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I guess now I am the cruel one-
the one people fear to love.
This scenario was meant to be sad,
but it isn’t somehow.
(Why do the worst cases taste so bland to me
when finally they arrive?)

I guess it makes me relieved, if not happy,
to feel loneliness more often than feeling distance.
No one knocks at my door,
and I can’t help but smile
knowing it also means no would leave me.
No one would leave me in love, leave me in pieces,
leave me hating myself again.
(Why do my hopes sound like running away
even if I am facing life in every way I can,
the only way I am allowed to,
the only way forward that doesn’t require
sacrificing myself again?)

“Painting Summer” – Nayana Nair

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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.

“How do you want to be saved?” – Nayana Nair

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I crawled to the window
in my dress torn by the claws and cries
of people who live in my nightmares.
They like clean living rooms, dark courtyards,
and cars with slashed tires sitting in their garage.
They have
“broken hearts” written down in forms as their identity
and broken chandeliers swept under their bed.
They crouch down and look at me
as the broken lights shine red,
as I see myself bleed beautiful rivers,
as my silent scream become winds, become ripples,
becomes the face that will forever make me cry.
They smile and ask me
“What do you wish? How do you want to be saved?”
while someone else burns the bed that I am crushed under
and asks me “Is this the what the warmth felt like in your mind?”
They drag me out into a forest,
where under the brightest tree of hope,
they stuff darkness into my throat, into my mind
and ask me “Do you still feel empty?”
They are unreal and of unsound mind.
They tell me living in me makes them so.
They wave goodbye to me with a smile,
offering me a sweet candy
for my silence and understanding
It is raining when I open my eyes.
I breathe in the world
where bleeding and burning is irreversible,
where it would lead to an end of some kind.
I crawl to the window
in my torn dress and my exhausted skin
and find myself staring
at people who used live in my nightmares,
people who look more real that the living me.
People who now own more than just my dreams.

“Becoming Precious” – Nayana Nair

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Their torn ends, their disappearing body,
the plastic wings at the corner of
the shallow pockets (that were actually good for nothing)
now look like a teardrop determined to stand till the very end.
Isn’t it all so ridiculous,
laughable, and sad?
The blue that never dies – doesn’t it fill you with anger
at the unfair paces each component of this world moves?
The half alive part of everything cursing the other broken half
for taking them down as well.
Isn’t it a bit too noisy here to miss or accept anything?

(Or am I the only one?)

All the treasures are now at the pawn shops,
and the bottom shelves
of the rooms and houses, countries, and identities abandoned,
in the words that belong to pseudo names and ‘anonymous’,
in the trash cans of people who swear never to love you again.
They lie deleted and dumped under the bridges
whose shadow rubs your back
as you try to vomit out the leftover love eating your heart.

While everything to be thrown away is always there
in the cupboard,
in the handbags, on the sofa, in your phone
talking up extra space,
waiting for you to forget them, get fed up of them,
waiting for you to throw them away,
so that they can haunt you,
so they can be your another true love.
Till they are your sole teardrop when it all ends.

“I looked for you” – Nayana Nair

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In the orange forest of drowning suns
I saw your face in the light going out first.
I stood with my empty nets, on a boat, with oars
that won’t budge, won’t sail away from your closing eyes.
I played this only memory I had of you
throughout my journey back.
When my feet found a ground to breathe again,
you had already grown bigger, sadder, scarier,
sorrier presence in my life.

Through my dinner that night,
I thought up names you may have had,
the people you may have loved,
the heartaches you thought would never end.
I thought of how easily things end,
how nothing in our heart
can save our heart from this lonely end.
Were you thankful or sad that you had to know this,
to share this realization
with a stranger made of cold eyes and numb limbs?

That night I looked for your body in every ocean I had in me.
I don’t know what was the point of this search
but I knew I had to do something about you,
that my feet had to walk distances because of you,
that something in me must hurt more than it did now.
That finally I had to die with you,
to know what I don’t know now,
to know even a fraction of your pain.
I was sad and relieved that my need to know you
ended there – with that thought,
with the steps I cannot take.

“I cannot tell the difference”- Nayana Nair

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“Long time ago” is a dangerous neighborhood.
All its season are holograms of perfect world,
the illusions of rain and snow and sun,
the illusion of hearts still beating under the non-existent skin.
The technician of this a weary magic
lives beside the empty park in the middle of my heart.
He knows the perfect days to make me cry, to make me see.
He invents new people, new details.
Sometime these are fake stand-ins for the what he has lost
in his war against me, all that I intend to forget.
Sometime they are what I failed to realize,
people I didn’t get to love.
Most days I can’t tell the difference
between the words I have forgotten
and the ones I will never hear
again.
This town
has post offices with stamps of words I no longer mean
stuck on its wall.
There cars and houses and roads and rivers
owned by people who will never die.
They all gather on my birthday
in the cemetery of one grave.
They sit on the endless green grass with their picnic baskets,
with the kids I will never have, with the pets I will never keep
and look into the eyes that will never look at me.
They smile knowing something I will never know.

“Cursive” – Nayana Nair

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On most days
I desperately want to believe
that everyone else are humans,
just like me.

I write it down in cursive,
under the shadow of my incomprehensible muttering-
“they are not as bad as they seem.
you are not as bad as you think.”

I wrote it again and again
knowing I would never believe it anyway.

But I continued to write these lies
because I still wanted to make an effort.
Because I hated everything I could see, the reality that shouldn’t be,
things that needn’t be this bad,
this life where lies were the happiest part.

“Sitting in dark” – Nayana Nair

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I come in the dark hours of my mood
and switch on the lights of empty cubicles.
49 switches
and yet nothing works on me.

I walk past
the empty seats
seats that belong to people
I see everyday,
I smile to everyday,
who have never seen my smile in reality.

For few hours
I can be happy again.
I am free
to be alone,
to be miserable,
to be able to curse myself
but not being confused by the presence
of these people,
who are there for me
but not only for me,
but for everyone.
And not always,
but only when it suits them.

It is better that I am alone
because I don’t know
how to be thankful to them
without being bitter,

how to voice out the emptiness that flows into me
every moment I spend with them
and not feel hatred for the kind of person my words paint me to be,

how to wait for them with eager heart
when their kind words only remind me of monsters

that force their way into my life.

It is better that I am alone
It would have been better
if I could wear these feelings with ease,
without waiting for something to change.