“Even when things are right” – Nayana Nair

“The sky is your canvas”,
the book to all ailments said,
“there is a joy in filling it up with life.”
But as I finished my 157th sketch,
as I finished my 300th one,
as I finished the one with no count attached
(the one I called “the limits that were stronger than me”),
as I write over all that I had drawn,
as the clouds dragged themselves painfully
crawling to some better place,
like everything else in my life
the sky remained unchanged.

And when I lost my hands to fate, to slow corrosion,
to the burden of creation,
to the lady in white who couldn’t even lie that “it won’t hurt”,
to the painful work of making up things that I want,
things that would want me back, or at least won’t walk out,
to the hunch that said something is seriously wrong
with the kind of life I have.

I wished for the man in the sky
to wake up and get to work,
to make me some rain,
to drop an ocean of crystal on this world,
to paint a heaven on this cheap sky of this miserable man.

Because trying on some days, on most days now,
feels like living against the wishes of the world.
I can’t help but break a bit, cry a bit
even when things are right,
because they right only because of my efforts.
Can you give me something that I don’t have to work hard for,
something that was made for me,
something that I can keep.
A thing, a person, a sign
that I can hold in my hand
that tells me that you want me to be happy,
that you want me to smile,
that I am not abandoned after all.

“The thought of losing you” – Nayana Nair

Today you are silent
and you don’t care.
You have changed
without changing anything about you.
You don’t want to be concerned with
should-be or could-be
as all that matters is what is.
what-is is a fact that needs no forgiveness
from what-didn’t-come-to-be.
You beg me not drag you down
into the waters of the past, “They are ugly
they are hard, they are things that we can’t have.”
is all you say about the life we once had.
what-didn’t-come-to-be is an ocean I must swim alone,
an ocean that just grows and grows deeper and wider
cause I can’t seem to stop hoping from you.

In the forms of “Renewal and Hope”,
in the forms of “Happy Married Life Again?”,
you fill the reason as “wandering and its joys”.
So I burn up all such papers
where you won’t look me in the eye
and tell me the truth
or at least some believable lie.
I burn away this life
where you wander in every direction but mine.
Where I am not wrong for you,
you just don’t want me to be the right.
“It scares me”, you once said, “the thought of losing you.”
How well you have grown, how far you have strayed
from your words, from yourself, and from everything
that you once happily called fate.

“Variant of Love” – Nayana Nair

You held me as I broke again and again.
Your warm chest tried to hold me, to keep me alive.
I couldn’t cry anymore
I felt indebted to you I loved you.

You left me again
in the crowd that you promised to protect me from.
I called you, your number and you name-
becoming useless to me with each passing day.
I cried because
I felt cheated I loved you.

As my heart filled again, as it emptied itself out
you stayed in front of my eyes
in flesh or in glowing illusions,
telling me, nothing is wrong with me.
So I slept peacefully
because you made me forget my incompleteness I loved you.

You told me love is supposed to be a pain anyway.
That this smile of mine that shined in spite of your mistakes,
in spite of your cruelty on my weary hopeful heart
was the only thing that made you believe in my love.
And again I smiled back
so that you continue to believe me
because I loved you.

There were moments, glorious ones,
when you were the most the beautiful human,
when you cried for me,
when you cried for the world,
when you tried to do something right.
I wanted to stand beside you
so that I could protect you somehow
because I loved you more for it.

But now
I must face the world and myself alone,
without having to become something right in your eyes.
Now I don’t have to round up my every feeling
to a variant of love.
Now I can care for you, hate you
and see it as care and hate and a frustration without an end.
Now I can see you as the miracle and as the failure that you are.
Now I can be a failure myself.

I am not good at loving in the past.
I can only be honest.
Now I cannot look back at you
and call you my heart.
You were so much to me
that I badly wanted to be something that you want.
I kept on sleeping to keep your dream intact
and calling this love, when it clearly was not.
Even though it was probably something better than that.

“one more person” – Nayana Nair

the one thing i can’t be
is honest.

though there are many other adjectives
that stare at me
from their balconies at midnight
as i walk and crawl through the dirt road,
through the pool of lights,
crying and shouting and breaking dreams
in every home that i pass by.
i hear them shaking their heads
with disapproval and hopelessness.
i look at their hazy shadows
and try to hate them in equal measures
but i don’t
because they are so easy to forget.

but this honesty,
this honesty that people expect
vexes me.
this expectation
makes me want to hide, run, run over their hearts
all because it is so simple.
all because the ones who ask me of this
through their tears
are not mere observers
but are the ones struggling to stay close to me
fighting the unnecessary sandstorm i create everyday.
they are the ones who deserve honesty.
they are the ones i don’t deserve.

but my dishonesty is not only for this world.
it is the only thing i can offer to myself as well.
so again, i wake up in their arms
with another lie ready on my lips.
i hug them with with my true love and my false heart.

i don’t try to make it right
when they are in shambles again
because there is no fancy way to put it,
there is no beauty in what i do,
there is no promise i would keep.
there are only people who i leave.
even when i can’t bear to miss one more person again.

“Assignment” – Nayana Nair

There was that pile of paper
I could
never keep safe.
The crossed out, always crossed out words,
words always out of order,
words turned beautiful
only because they dissolved
in my frustration.
Only because now I cannot read them
without effort.
I must make something out of them
something that couldn’t possibly be mine.

The blue ink dripping,
forming planets on unexpected letters,
forming planets on my hands.
I would take them to class
and look at them as if now I meant something more,
now that I was suffering for something I want.

I raised my hands to answer a question
I have already answered hundred times.
I sat down and swallowed my teacher’s frown.
He didn’t have to teach me
that right answers matter
only when they come from right mouths.
(I once got an A only because I forgot to put my name.)
I knew there was nothing I could learn
by swallowing frowns everyday,
but still I dragged myself, my broken planets,
my half burnt poems in my half burnt hands
to the one who doesn’t think twice
before asking me

to hate myself better.

“my eyes miss everything” – Nayana Nair

i try not to think
about the places that are lost
and evaporated
only leaving clouds of colorless memories
floating on my not so blue sky

places that are lost
not only to me
but to this world
now no one will ever know the sweetness
of the light that was never beautiful enough
to be captured and framed
light that is only beautiful only in its death
beautiful only when it rises up without a reason
on the surface of our eyes

how my eyes miss seeing everything
that now cannot be seen
my eyes wake up from the dream of yesterday
into this new day that i must write
feeling that again i have lost something,
something meaningful in that dream
that will never return to me
a dream that i have no right to dream again

i try not to think about such losses
losses with name or reason or heartache
but no matter how much try
some days that is all i can think about

“mornings break us apart again” – Nayana Nair

she traced the light on my chest
pulled out everything that stung-
the swings, my feet,
the shadow i decided no longer to play with.

the comparision table of veins and arteries
copied into my notebook.
the eraser and pencil that helped me document
in those tables my lackings compared to everyone else.

a page torn, and then another, and then another.
pages that learnt immortality by choosing my heart as home.

she stayed up nights trying to free me
as i stuggled and begged not to empty me.
she smiled and said the words she didn’t mean,
words that i wanted to hear from someone, anyone.

so i slept because she couldn’t be stopped.
“leave me alone” now hurt me more than her.
i opened my eyes and cried
for her work was done,
now i was no one, now nothing was mine,
not even my pain, not even her.

she dusted her cobweb skirt,
placed a kiss on my forehead
and told me to breathe,
breathe in everything
that i didn’t think i had the right to.

she told me to breathe
and to never forget what suffocation felt like.
it helps in becoming kind, she said.

as she wiped clean her traces from my life,
i felt better, again i was full.
i was full of her, of this love that won’t work out.
being full of her, i refused to breathe,
because i wanted to keep it that way.

“maintain my world” – Nayana Nair

and this sad premise is not a commentary
on how rotten the world is
but an observation
that we have a pattern that is hard to break.

that people often misinterpret the habit of one thing
as a proof of its superiority over everything else in world.

that words can move your heart,
sometimes for worse.
it can move you towards hatred, towards fear
towards anger that is not your own.

that the wish to be right
makes us forget how to wear someone else’s shoes
or their color or their nationality or their body.
a body that is no longer their own – now that
they are just a sack of blood, a sacrifice
to please our personal gods – our thirst of power
and the “better world” that no one else wants.

this sad premise is not a commentary
on how rotten the world is
for i do not have the courage to write the worst
or to imagine how i am right now walking
over faceless nameless beings to maintain my world
just like you.

“ellipsis” – Nayana Nair

i can’t…i just can’t bring myself to remove all the ellipsis…that i leave behind in my sentences. i know they look shabby… as if i don’t know how to create proper sentences…as if i have never heard of a comma. i am told it is something similar to ending and pausing sentences with “you know”.

“so juvenile”…my friend had commented. i remember saying the same words to my friends as well (but i don’t think my tone was the same, but i could be mistaken…or self righteous)…so it seems i am not allowed to take it to heart. i am supposed to erase the ellipsis…till they smile again and lie that “i will do better”…or that “it’s time i grow up”…or “gotta become a real poet”.

it seems it is okay to store my ellipses in my mind
to place it on an empty sky,
on the face of my teacher sprinkled with a hatred that i can’t understand,
on the hands that never reach out to me in daylight,
on the future i can’t seem to dream about,
on every minute that i walk alone on the streets
where i thought i would never have to be alone,
on the days when i know the answer but won’t speak up
for the fear of being right.
i don’t know how to live a life
where what i think has importance or the acceptance of others.
need to find a better home for my pauses
than pages that are mine
but only with conditions.

“the broken-hearted” – Nayana Nair

the broken-hearted know no love
for anything or anyone
that is not the one breaking their heart.
they see through you.
even when they say hello
they almost get your name wrong,
you can tell it from the look in their eyes.
they drink and fill every room with songs
that were not so hard to bear
when they were just noises that radio made.
they tell you in their drunken stupor that no one cares.

they say no one cares
even when you call the cab, drag them home,
hurt your hand in the struggle,
scrape more than skin, lose more than patience,
leave them on a bed not made
for weeks probably, you don’t want to guess or know.
so you close the door, climb down the stairs
shut down the part of mind reserved for them,
but remember how they have been liking and sharing
too many dark poems, how those poems
speak in their voice in your mind.
so you climb back, remove every blade and knife
and realize it is just the beginning.
you feel exhausted by the inexhaustible list of things
that can help end a life,
that can serve as a full stop.

so you sleep on the couch
or pretend to,
till your head hurts from pretending.
now that you want something true
you call your love
and tell him that you don’t know
how to handle this,
how to sleep and yet keep an eye
on the one whom you suspect is waiting,
waiting for you to close your eyes for a second
to make an exit that doesn’t exist.
he tells you that they are beyond hope
at the same time
he forwards articles that could give you hope.
he tells you to sleep tight knowing you won’t.

when you wake up at the sound of tears
being microwaved for breakfast,
you see another day that won’t be right.
you see them trying not to break
yet breaking and abandoning everything around them
so that their hurt can be felt by the world.
they look at you and smile
while they pour another glass
toasting “another drink for the world that doesn’t care,
another drink for the loveless me.”

the broken-hearted know no love
for anything or anyone
that is not the one breaking their heart.