“If I Keep Walking” – Nayana Nair

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From wherever it may be,
if I keep walking straight
and try not to think of the destination,
eventually I feel the pavement turn to dust.
Slowly, stones dating to the oldest dates
in the recorded history of my life
start appearing one by one.

They sprout new mouths, they learn new words,
they grow into roads, into pillars,
into gateways, and into the walls of the places
where I am no longer welcome.
The fabric of present, my strange choice of words,
my skin that doesn’t belong to this time
all such things make me an alien, make me a pitiful stranger
in a place I know more than myself.

My laughter lives in those places,
with people who can’t find their way to me,
just like I can’t find my way to them.
I hold onto the walls when my tears start killing me,
I tell myself, it will be fine, if I just keep walking.
I tell myself, I will eventually remember my way out of this moment,
as I always have.

But now I can’t. I don’t want to. Maybe I am not meant to.
Maybe the answer lies in never forgetting,
maybe that’s the love I am meant to have.
Maybe waiting is the answer that will suit my weak heart,
since pretending can only get me this far.

I sit on the benches of deserted parks with with my bloodless heart,
and I imagine melting here in this imaginary sun.
I feel happiness might have been something like that,
but I can’t remember it, even though it was once mine.

“The Light of White Tulips” – Nayana Nair

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From the lowest branch
of the falling tree
I looked up
and heard someone laugh.

I have been reborn thousand times after that
but still
as I walk on the charcoal roads
lined with white tulips
that never light up,
as my foot slips
I hear that laugh again.

I hear it
when I cook food
and end up staring a bit too long at the flame,
when the smoke that kills, coats everything
that fills my stomach.

It is stuck in my heart, the violence of the end.
The bluest sky, the sweetest wind,
the flying songs, and my muffled cries-
crystallized as one.
One tiny map, that tells no directions,
forever stuck in the corner of my eye.

It plays like a record, plays hide and seek.
It is a play that ends
with the stories breaking into me.

“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.

“Precious” – Nayana Nair

A pane breaks
somewhere far away.
Everyone precious to me
stays there-
this place called ‘far away’.
So these things I must record,
these things I must remember

“it could have been a stranger”,
I try to reason.
But it is of no avail.
I am afraid that the life broken just now,
must be too close to me
for my heart to bleed so,
for my hands to go limp.

The nights I read every book
on ‘how to hide this incurable pain from my family’,
they flash in front of my eyes.
That is all I see
when I dial their number and they don’t pick up.
That is all I see
when they pick the call
and tell me that they can never be ‘not fine’.
That is all I see
when I see holes in their stories,
when I see a new hole in their smile every morning.

“Here I Am” – Nayana Nair

Just for sake of missing you,
here I am again,
at the ill-lit spaces where you used to belong.
I know all the strangers in there
the ones who used to make your heart race.
Here I am again,
trying to test myself, pushing my luck,
waiting to witness the record time
in which I will break again.
Here I am again,
wearing all the faces of me
that you never liked.
There was something about the way you hated me,
that made me become worse.
There was something about the way you loved me,
that made me become the worst.
Here I am again
to become the monster
that I have been since
I realized what it means to love you.

“So many things” – Nayana Nair

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The jar of broken smiles
sits on my table,
along with the books and records
of my fading writing.
There are so many things
that wither at my touch.
There are so many things
that cannot be brought back to life.
Their graves lie here dreaming to be resurrected.
So many seconds laid waste in my worry
for the future that never will be.