“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.

“Dry Rivers” – Nayana Nair

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The river is finally running dry.
I heard someone rejoicing to hear this.
What is a river without it’s water?
I am told it is money, it is development,
it is more money.

Another colony, dozens of businesses springs up.
There is nothing to be sad anymore.
I walk on the roads trying to trace
the skeleton of what is lost.

Now, I know the names of few more rivers
that are nowhere to be seen on maps.

The numbers of such ghost keep increasing.

There is a language that no one cares for.
There is a city that forces everyone to leave.
There are words that don’t sound fancy anymore.
There is an accent that needs to be exorcised from tongues-
the identity of what we are is a secret,
something we can be killed for.

But it is the season, the world
where rivers dry out beautifully,
where aches turn into anger, into revenge,
into art, into denials,
into search for something new.
But rarely does it turns into tears.

How is it we have so much to lose,
so much that is already lost
and yet have so little to grieve about.

“A beautiful day to finally write your name” – Nayana Nair

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On the broken lines of bold white,
on the burning roads far away from home
I knelt down
in the heap of my skirt made of fairy dust
and disappointments of all kinds.

I found a pretty crack
with space enough to be something of its own
and with a style that you’d agree with.
With my fingertips already crying red
I wrote you name
in the best writing I could.

Your name that couldn’t fit
beside mine, or the scorecards with better marks,
or a business card that was not a part of scam,
or with a number that could for once be reached,
or the nameplate that you kept losing
in the sleepy playgrounds of our eyes.

We missed you.

We missed you.
in the conversations
where we thought only of you
and yet couldn’t speak of you.
We thought of you
always with an ache,
always with a heart that wanted more of you
while wanting to forget the little that we had.

I wrote your name
and ran my fingers over them again.
A kid knelt down beside me
offering me a smile as he took in
a pain he couldn’t understand.
Today, of all days, I was not allowed to smile.

I walked away wondering
if he knew you,
if he now lives in your name,
if he knows someone who wrote like me,
who wrote words that will fit nowhere but here.
Your name could be anybody else’s.
You could have lived like everyone else
and yet…

“On a morning long gone” – Nayana Nair

On the tapered ends of my lips
when I found your lips nestled near mine,
I asked
“Is this love? Is this your love?”
and you answered “Obviously not.”
So I told my heart to grow up.
Growing up was the only way
not to hurt.

On the spring infested roads,
I found your hand
on my melting waist.

On a nameless cold rainy day,
I found the joy of walking
towards you.

On a morning long gone,
in my graceless fall into the mess of my mind,
I came to knew the strength of your hands.

On the narrow pavements made for one
as I walked behind you
I realized how impossible it is to forget you.

On all such days that I made a point
never to mark on any calendar,
on all the days I tried to forget,
I found the question again and again
“Is this love?”
Again I looked away from you
to avoid hearing the answer
that would hurt a lot more now.

I guess I never grew up
or growing up only deepens my heart,
only makes it worse.

“On the Road to Spring” – Nayana Nair

The trees that flower
may extend their hands to the pitiful us
and ask us to walk with them,
learn a bit more about beginnings,
about the ends that we must eventually be.

Tell me, in those moments of hope
am I allowed to want?
What should I do with the people
I have abandoned, about the things
I can’t be forgiven for?

On the new roads,
am I allowed to keep the heart that I once had?
How do I grow up into someone
who doesn’t have to put effort to be kind,
who can smile without guilt?
Do I even deserve that?

“What I Remember (29)” – Nayana Nair

At a bus stand in front of mall (that I have never been to)
I learnt how to wait and how to live with disappointments
without making a big deal of it.

In the bracket of an hour, I grew smaller than I ever thought I could be.
“this is what love does to you, this is what love does to all of us”, all the voices in me lied.
I was again weary of the love that I had chosen and the person I had trusted
(“again” – the word that showed me the real reason why it would never work out).

I stood beside strangers on the crowded bus stand, awkwardly crying.
I counted these not-so-scary strangers who were trying to become one skin.
I pretended that I hated to be rained on as much as they did.
I pretended that I didn’t mind their warmth, that my suspicious mind was not at work again.

Hours went by, empty roads faithfully stayed empty.
I became more aware of the boundaries of my body
I became aware of the person who would never come looking for me,
who would look at the three hour long rain and still won’t wonder what happened to me.

We all stood there,
pretending to be the only human
in the group of zombies who had taken over a bus stand out of boredom,
who stared at the wide road, the darkness beyond, and the emptiness behind
as if their eyes were made to witness only this moment.
I closed my eyes and hummed something, anything
that could drown the presence of everyone
who knew the sound of my breaking heart now.

At a bus stand, that could protect no one,
we all dreamt of the worst- of the submerged road,
a rain that will never stop, the cold that would take us down for days,
children forever waiting, of the lightning we could hear but not see

of a love painlessly ending and a heart that shamelessly survived.

“The only way to be complete” – Nayana Nair

I sit on the cold boulder
and film everything, just like I am told.
I am told, only for today,
I should stop sewing myself up haphazardly,
messing up the live-stream,
and talking about things that will never happen.
I have been told to put a hold
on the wonderful manipulation that does no good
to any effort my mind puts
in fixing things back.

My mind doesn’t like me much, understandably.
And I don’t like the idea of fixing anything- a harder concept.
Maybe that’s why I burn as my mind looks around me.
Maybe I should actually stop, when I am told to
but I don’t want a way out, I don’t want to look.

“i promise not to hurt anyone but me”
“i am fine like this. don’t take my tears seriously.”
“please don’t mind the doctor’s note.”
“please don’t mind the smoke in this room,
it is a temporary solution to my emptiness,
till something worse comes along.”

There is an exit sign that flies far away from me.
There appears a road
that it eats itself up .
There are bridges that I have cried over
and the fires that no longer burn.
Everything of beauty that I had in me
I have lost it here.
I have burnt my body, nerve by nerve,
for the sake of peace and love.
Let me live here
near the ashes of my past selves
near the life that cannot be,
around things that can’t be helped.

“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.

“Before we are set in stone” – Nayana Nair

She stood ten steps away from me.
Smiling the sort of smile
I thought I would never see again.
The leaves and their shadows,
the broken light
only for us tonight.
I remember the how I loved her
as the wind rushes to hold her.
She, the mast of our broken ship,
asks me how I have been.

My fingers that ache for hers
hide behind me.
This is the answer that she wants
The simple answer
that can be nothing more than longing.
Longing is all I can feel, that’s how I create one incomplete world after another.
Longings are my wings that break me apart,
are my roads to run away.

My longings have so often been her dark room,
the flash that sees her cry,
her weary thin heart spread on mine,
her food and wrist going cold.

Ten steps away
I told her goodbye
when I could have told her prettier words –
words she would eventually lose faith in.
How tragic it would be.
So before the leaves could fall and dissolve on her shoulder,
make her yet another victim of hope.
Before we are set in stone.
I knew I must make my exit.
She is beautiful
I hope she remains so.
I hope I forget her again,
I hope this time it is easier.

“Red Gates” – Nayana Nair

I drowned the flowers
one by one.
The poison of beauty
now runs through the rivers
on this land,
they fill his backyard
in every season of rain.
A child with his smile
drowns another boat of dreams,
the flood is a field of paper,
the flood is all that is left of me.
She stares into me,
waiting for a reflection to surface.
She walks into me
to see where I end.

She tells me about the boy
she can’t love and the boy
she can’t blame
as I dissolve and submerge
the red gates of her house,
the garden of forgiveness,
her school shoes, all roads to her friend
who doesn’t smile back anymore,
the spoons that remind her of hunger
for farthest worlds and people.

She asks me how deep will be this pain
of losing herself, how long she would have to smile
through this hate.
I flow into her heart,
wondering, if there
I could turn back to the flower I was,
if the end of my hate could be
the end of her pain.
If I could be her answer of hope.