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“Whatever Blooms in Darkness” – Nayana Nair

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When all things that are not divine
found a home in me,
I realized they would probably
be the only friends I ever make.
I read up many books
and considered taking up some mildly destructive
and slightly disturbing hobbies,
so that I could know them better.
So I could become someone they could accept.
I looked for a teacher who could teach me
how to love back darkness,
how to become a wound itself
instead of nursing one forever.


I want to say I found happiness
in that one friend
with sad eyes and bitter lips.
But there still lived in me
that one girl made of light
who wanted to ruin me
by guiding me back to life.

“What I Remember (12)” – Nayana Nair

hailstones.
that’s what i remember.
when the stones fell
onto the already breaking roofs of our class,
the girl who sat three rows ahead
stopped reading.
everyone who was busy day dreaming,
who had shut their ears to every useless fact that we come to learn,
knew how to listen to this,
to this violence that could hurt but won’t.

i sat there listening,
wondering if my skin would also be able bear
what this tin sheet roof can,
if my classmates would look at me
understand their violence that could break me but hasn’t yet.

maybe it was our silence,
maybe it was the teachers glare
that made it stop,
made the loud shrieking rain to end.
and when she left
the stones had already turned into dripping water.
the kids wanting to forget
the trauma of being silenced,
of having their dreams interrupted,
of being reminded of their helplessness
recited incidents that didn’t happen,
tried to laugh a little louder than usual,
made another joke at the expense of someone like me
and so my only memory of hailstone
was also reduced to the din of students (who never liked me).

i closed my books and pretended to be asleep
while everyone ate and talked to their friends.
i waited for everyone to leave
so I could eat alone
without being ashamed for being left alone.
“hailstones”.
i said the word aloud in that empty classroom.
i had one more words now
to describe these kids who scared me by their meanness,
who made me like the prospect of loneliness.

“Your Cactus” – Nayana Nair

i never learnt about gardening, nor about patience, nor about caring,
nor about looking after anything that doesn’t speak, doesn’t complain,
doesn’t tell me in plain words how i am terrible, how i mistakes make me
even if those mistakes are not mine.

i wish i was blind, i wish i was mute,
i wish i was the cactus in your bedroom.
i wish i was the books you didn’t read but can’t throw away.
i wish i could stop wanting to be a decoration in your life.
i wish i could stay human and stay in love at the same time.

in my room
i close my eyes, and find myself with you.
it must be dream, i wish it was.
for here you don’t cry because of me,
don’t have to tear yourself up just to be nice to me.
i wish it was a dream
because here i have forgotten to tell you
that i can’t love anything that loves me back.
i wish you stop making my heart ache with your sincerity.
i wish i woke up
before you sacrifice anything more than you already have.

“Just Poems” – Nayana Nair

My mind that understands
is chained and crippled by its understanding.
It only tries to understand new words
by comparing it to
what has already written or read.
It only understands feelings in terms of
the pain it has given
or all it has suffered.

-o-

So when I stand in front of the doors of a poem
feeling the sting of December winds on my back.
When I ring the doorbell
and hear from other side “May I come inside?”
I immediately know that this not something
that I understand,
that there is a difference
in reading as if
sitting on the couch in a stranger’s house
waiting to be entertained
and reading as if
I have let the stranger in my own mind
and allowed him to change
the view I have of this world.

-o-

Some poems are not just poems.
They are voices that never die
because they have never been born.
They are ghosts that we have always wanted to haunt.
They are names we give to our own suffering,
a closure that only we can give to ourselves.

“Keep Peace” – Nayana Nair

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I could be anything I wanted
but not her.
She thinks too less about wanting the right things,
about wanting things that are lying around in
the debris of Lego buildings broken by
hands of a small gods who gets bored easily.

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If she really wanted to feel
what fulfillment feels like
she could have walked through the gardens
that were made for soul like hers
(or should I say gender like hers).
It is better, I can vouch,
better than wanting to go to places
where she is not wanted,
where they would ask-
“why can’t she read the situation?”,
“why can’t she keep peace?”,
“what are these demands that she must have
when she has lived without it all her life?”,
“how is she any different from others
who know how to take the equality that we are offering
without wanting a share of ours
wanting to be a bit more like us?”.

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I can understand all that
but she doesn’t
and there is no way that
I can make her see the pain she is walking towards,
make her hear the names she will be called
just for asking what everyone else wants to ask
but fear being in wrong terms
with the people who run this world.

“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.

“Running Stream” – Nayana Nair

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My hope waits for the day that this skin won’t alien,
like a loss,
like a counter running out of number
like our voices running out of things to say.

***

And my wishes for a gentler nature,
or to be that cool-headed person I once read about,
or to be the running stream of water
before it was poisoned.
All changed to wanting
something that is not waiting to vanish.

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