“The places where I am not” – Nayana Nair

.

Across this glass,
across the tired melting clouds of mist,
on the other side
there are trees and homes and forests
that are just like places on this side that I rest.

The places where I am not
look as sad as all the places I have been.
Everywhere, on every road there is always a person
who knows a way to break my heart,
and I always end up thanking them for it.

There are rooms where I put up
lights and posters and curtains
and lovers and music,
those are the rooms I want to die in-
with some beauty, with some consolation of meaning .

But always I find the reason for my end outside these walls.
Those reasons live under the brightest light on the darkest road.
And because I was told that the light that I don’t know of
is the one that saves all, even the hopeless ones like me.
So my legs forget how to stop,
my hands forget how to let go,
and my blood glitters for a moment under the light of lost hopes
before it turns black, before it invites in the cold
that I always thought belonged to the inanimate world.

I think of the room I won’t reach,
and the songs and the faces and this world
that I will not be given a peace of, to keep.

As the sky fills me up, pats me down,
and tucks me in the snow
across the white,
I feel someone stir from sleep.
The wail that my throat cannot make,
finds a home in that other world, in the other me
that unlike me
knows how to cry and how to be loved for it.

“Named after stars” – Nayana Nair

.

And if we are to delete, to remove,
to erase and whiten the papers
that are not a part of our hearts anymore,
then hand me the forms you want burned,
the words you wish you never heard,
and I’ll help you with your share of forgetting,
just like how you helped me memorize my own name once.

If we are to walk through the burning towns,
that we created with our own hands, which we named after stars,
to find something that is not poisoned by our time together,
then I’ll do the walking for you.

In a room filled with light
I imagine myself breaking apart, it will happen for sure,
but it doesn’t pain me yet.
But I fear the tears that will find your eyes,
the marks of flowing rivers, the civilization of sorrow
settling and flourishing on your face,
if you were to fall in love with something that is already lost.

I fear your loving nature.
I fear your heart to work for the impossible.
I fear you might see our past and mistake it for our future.
If you try to protect me even in our end,
I fear I will be left with no way out.

“Why doesn’t anything break me” – Nayana Nair

.

now that this was happening for real

i wonder why isn’t it like

the ground breaking into pieces too small to support any life,
why the all the dragonflies weren’t dropping dead?
why all the butterflies still exist in color?

why isn’t it like

lungs filled with tears or the dramatic beautiful drowning into myself.
why am I able to keep track of time?
why am I stapling and stacking papers with a preciseness i never had?

i accept everything way to easily, i suspect

maybe even the love that almost took my life was not that deep.
maybe my limits were just as harsh as the room
with broken air conditioner on the day of perfect weather.

but why?
why then don’t I remember

the days of perfect weather
where there must have been something
worth crying for, breaking for, killing for. why doesn’t anything break me.

why then

are there open windows filled with light still stuck on the walls of my heart,
why is there music in the world sadder than my own self.
why do I envy everyone who gets to have a real grief, real love.

why is it so, that

it makes sense for the color of end to be my favorite.
it makes sense that i am left with myself and i still feel safe and i still know hope.
i wonder this numbness or cold heartedness – what it will do to me?

what will it do to me?
what will i end up as?
(i am avoidant and anxious and selfish and cruel and “never yours” already)
what/who will you end up loving instead?
(if you die before me, in the arms of someone who could see you better than me,
should I cry or not? would you be still expecting my tears?
when should i stop keeping count of what i owe to you?)
what new thing will i learn to run away from?

i hear such words from my mouth a bit too frequently, for it to be just a mood.
sometimes it all adds up.
that all i can do is think of myself
and end up doing a bad job at it
just so that someone else wants to do it better than me
it so looks like love. but it makes sense that it isn’t.

“Becoming Precious” – Nayana Nair

.

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.

“Running Barefoot” – Nayana Nair

.

He was somewhere upstairs
running barefoot on the dusty floors
of the broken house.
I could hear him
even when I stood waiting in the backyard
staring at all the rusty memories,
feeling the stare of people who will never leave this place,
who may never leave me again
now that I fear them for never actually dying.
I tried not to love him
as I stood alone waiting for him to get bored of all this.

I was too afraid to be with him
when he was like that.
when he read aloud poems
about death out of the blue,
and read them as if they were the only true declaration
he could make to the world,
the only true word that he could say to his life.
I would only later find out
that they were written by someone else –
someone who lived in a difficult to pronounce country.
He loved things like that –
taking up the clothes of emotions of others
and wrapping himself up in them
as he walked into all the unknown lives
that oddly had a room reserved just for him.

And always, I would be outside
waiting for the sun to set, for his heart to ease,
to be there when he decides to come back to reality for good.
I didn’t realize that footsteps had ceased long ago,
and so had his breath.
So I stood there letting my heart run barefoot
on the floor of delusion, in the world where he exists.
I waited for my love to give up on him.
I was afraid of being me
when my love stop, won’t look back at me.

“Millimeters” – Nayana Nair

.

I folded her note and placed it carefully in my wallet. And I smiled. I told her something I do not remember now. It was something sweet, something weird, because that was the only sort of thing that could make her smile like that.

I folded her smile and placed it carefully in my wallet. And I smiled for a bit. I smiled till I saw the crease that now divided her in half. Trying to ignore the apparition of her breaking, trying to ignore my guilty heart, I gave her few words to smile about. She smiled as if she knew nothing. She smiled as if she knew everything that could ever be hidden in my heart.

I folded her forgiveness and placed it in my wallet. I smiled apologetically. She smiled back as if this is what love was. I recited to her all her favorite promises, probably to soothe my own heart.

I folded another note of forgiveness, and another, and another. The thickness of my wallet and her cracks increased by millimeters, they always walked hand in hand, unlike us. I bought her new flowers and she bought me new wallets. With a smile she told me something untrue about us, something that she could believe in. Maybe she waited for me to tell her something true for once.

But I folded every truth about us and hid it in the memories we won’t find our way back to. And just when I thought nothing can go wrong. I realized that I had also left her at that place where I was not allowed to live. She stared out and smiled from the warm rooms of love, far away from my unlovable heart.

“Earphones” – Nayana Nair

.

I cannot paint

your silhouette moving through the rain toward me-
all the blue that lingered in the light rain, on my skin, in the wait for you.

The color that fills my mind when I recall
how your cold hands met mine, my frozen shivering love hungry hands,
and nothing was cold anymore,
nothing was insufferable,
as long as you and me stayed like this,
accepting the ache that comes with staying.

The song, the familiar and strange tune, that became beautiful
by the time it played for 35th time, by the time our cola lost its fizz,
by the time the untouched food looked comforting,
by the time I found that knowing you and your everything
was as painful and liberating as putting myself into words.

The tension
of the stretched earphones between our head and our aching necks,
a moment of sadness, of a great love, of a great end
played itself before us again and we promised ourselves- we won’t ever be there.
And yet as you mocked the world for its weakness
I cried for the same weakness you and me hid in ourselves.

The cold wind that went through me, as you walked past me,
my pride- ground and powdered, spilling out of me,
blinding and confusing people around me,
making me look desperate, pitiful, and empty
as I chased you through streets where we were never supposed to be.

I cannot draw them, so I write.
I write
how we stood together
in every room,
on every patch of earth
for the longest time
and saw within our reach
something that was beautiful and fragile
and no one’s to keep
as long as we saw each other only,
as long as we could smile at what we saw.

I remember you as you stayed still,
breathing carefully
as we let fate make something out of us.
I remember your eyes
asking me with a smile to confirm the reality of what we had,
of what we are.

I wonder how you remember me now.
Now that we are living our lives trying only to prove
that we have lost nothing of ourselves in losing each other.

“Embracing me” – Nayana Nair

On my closed hopeless eyes
you placed your lips
and something in me broke open.
And I burst from within,
from all my prisons.
From all my pseudo homes
I heard myself crying.

I heard the the noises of television
in the heavy air of my living room
die out, I heard myself breathe.
I heard the knocks on my door
and found all my lost selves
staring at me one second,
embracing me the next.

They told me
it could be the blue moon,
it could be the cyclone that is running wild,
it could be the end of earth predicted too many times,
it could be flowers-that-no-one-loves blooming in our land,
it could my restlessness and fear of being left behind,
it could be you.

As you sink into the couch,
forgetting the nail you painted seconds before,
as you look around frantically for remote,
as you leave the evidence of beautiful color
on my skin,
I realized,
that I found in myself the honesty to say out aloud,
to tell you, to accept that it is probably you.

“The door opens slowly” – Nayana Nair

I turned another corner
and walked into another house
that I knew nothing about.
The owner, the god of this land stood there
outside in the garden
telling a child how to create more beautiful loops,
how to somersault,
how to find more worms, more of everything.
An adult placed like a talisman
that couldn’t keep me
or what I bring with me away.
He didn’t even notice the grave that I carried in me,
the open pits in ground awaiting more bodies.

I walked to the front door and rang the bell
thinking, wondering what must I not be seeing
in the person I see as a fool.
I wonder if the graves in him didn’t love him back as well.
The door opens slowly and I wait.
I let my willingness to wait announce to her that it is me.
She makes me a wait a bit more-
that is the nature of game we are caught in.

Seconds and hours I spend on her couch,
waiting for the commotion outside to end,
for “the happy family on a sunday morning” to end.
She has four brother
and an almost sister that they never talk about.
She reminds me this a few more times
so that on the mental map of belonging and similarities
I find this unnamed sister closer to my role.

They rush in like a flood, like a rain gone wrong-
all these bodies that I am not supposed to see.
“They are perfect”, I thought to myself.
I thought of my mother, the anger in my home,
the counting of countless miseries,
the coarse harsh words that filled my eyes, then filled my mouth,
the gentle sunsets that drown only dreams.
“They are perfect”, I think, “for someone living in the same world as me”.

She tells them about my scholarships, about my fragile upbringing,
about the art that runs in me.
She tells them all about the things that they like.
For today she has made them into me.
I smile and say a little too less.
I smile as if I mean no harm.

But I know
I am here.
I am here and there is no escape
from the fact that eventually
I will sit in this room with my love
and with a glitter pen running out of ink.
I will draw, deepen the cracks that I already see.

Such is my nature.
Such are the songs that I live on repeat.

“Pendulums and Spirit Animals” – Nayana Nair

In my beautiful dreams
I run to you, as if you are my body,
as if I cannot press play without your hands,
as if the world won’t come into my grasp
without your skin.

When my eyes open,
I don’t mind losing the world
if it helps me get rid of you.

An animal in me cries out your name every hour
my panic filled voice shouts back – “shut up!!!”.
I must choose, I must give up on one thing,
if I want to be something more than a lifeless
pendulum.

In a room scented with disinfectant
as I wait for my turn
I wonder if the man in white coat
will sing me something beautiful
when he puts me down for good.