“How do you want to be saved?” – Nayana Nair

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I crawled to the window
in my dress torn by the claws and cries
of people who live in my nightmares.
They like clean living rooms, dark courtyards,
and cars with slashed tires sitting in their garage.
They have
“broken hearts” written down in forms as their identity
and broken chandeliers swept under their bed.
They crouch down and look at me
as the broken lights shine red,
as I see myself bleed beautiful rivers,
as my silent scream become winds, become ripples,
becomes the face that will forever make me cry.
They smile and ask me
“What do you wish? How do you want to be saved?”
while someone else burns the bed that I am crushed under
and asks me “Is this the what the warmth felt like in your mind?”
They drag me out into a forest,
where under the brightest tree of hope,
they stuff darkness into my throat, into my mind
and ask me “Do you still feel empty?”
They are unreal and of unsound mind.
They tell me living in me makes them so.
They wave goodbye to me with a smile,
offering me a sweet candy
for my silence and understanding
It is raining when I open my eyes.
I breathe in the world
where bleeding and burning is irreversible,
where it would lead to an end of some kind.
I crawl to the window
in my torn dress and my exhausted skin
and find myself staring
at people who used live in my nightmares,
people who look more real that the living me.
People who now own more than just my dreams.

“I looked for you” – Nayana Nair

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In the orange forest of drowning suns
I saw your face in the light going out first.
I stood with my empty nets, on a boat, with oars
that won’t budge, won’t sail away from your closing eyes.
I played this only memory I had of you
throughout my journey back.
When my feet found a ground to breathe again,
you had already grown bigger, sadder, scarier,
sorrier presence in my life.

Through my dinner that night,
I thought up names you may have had,
the people you may have loved,
the heartaches you thought would never end.
I thought of how easily things end,
how nothing in our heart
can save our heart from this lonely end.
Were you thankful or sad that you had to know this,
to share this realization
with a stranger made of cold eyes and numb limbs?

That night I looked for your body in every ocean I had in me.
I don’t know what was the point of this search
but I knew I had to do something about you,
that my feet had to walk distances because of you,
that something in me must hurt more than it did now.
That finally I had to die with you,
to know what I don’t know now,
to know even a fraction of your pain.
I was sad and relieved that my need to know you
ended there – with that thought,
with the steps I cannot take.

“Is it now?” – Nayana Nair

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I have seen snails and snakes
from a distance of two feet.
They were scary and I was scared.
Even when they vanished, I remained scared.
I remained scared
of everything that stood two feet away from me,
asking me, “Now what?”,
“Is it now, that you run and not look back?”

I have seen friendship
from the distance of words
I could never type.
I sent them new year,
friendship day, diwali,
doomsday celebration greetings
but I never sent them my heart.
They too figured with time
that they could live without me,
without this heart of mine
they have only heard about.

When I see them smile for me
across the street
that we both won’t cross
I wonder if I should smile back
and extend this period of pain, this pretense

or should I see through them,
to set them free

or should I walk closer, to fill their heart
with the horrid images of the real me,
to let them see the dying me,
to let them see the things they can’t do anything about.
Would they love me for real if I did that
or would they look me from the distance of two feet
as I ask “Now what?”
“Is it now, that you run and not look back?”

“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.

“I am afraid of the ones who still see hope in me” – Nayana Nair

They are beautiful people
with beautiful heart
and they really want to mend me
and that’s scary.

It is scary
because I can’t seem to feel
love or gratitude
for anyone who affirms
that I am as bad as I imagined myself to be.

It is scary
because my disease knows me
and my cure doesn’t.
And the better life sounds like hell
to my broken hearing.

It is scary
because when you hold me from breaking
I can barely stop myself from saying,
“leave me alone,
before i learn how to break you too”.

“songs of red feather” – Nayana Nair

i know there is a sky-
a beautiful and scary sky.

inside me
a ball of fiery red feathers,
a concentrated point of all commotion
sings and shrieks about that sky.

it is so irritating
that i know those songs by heart now.
it is irritating
because it is all so pointless.

i know there is a sky-
the only thing i can think about.
but i am a cage.
the sky has nothing to do with me.

“Scarier Element” – Nayana Nair

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Someone told me that is how love works out for people like us
who approach love as if it is an animal that can kill us at any time
and who only move towards it
when they become aware of the other monsters that are eating up
all that they could rely on.
We only find the strength to move to a riskier spot
when chased by a scarier element.
We move only when our hope turns into our source of fear.
That is how we find all the things that we keep in our heart
and that is how we lose everything we call ours.

“Adjust to Red” – Nayana Nair

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It was gruesome
because everyone kept walking,
thinking they can move on and grow up,
only if they stepped over
whatever was left of themselves
to become friends with the faces
that are still drunk and happy
with the taste of their weakness.
It was scary
because it was normal
to be cruel,
not only in hatred, but also in love.
It was unbearable,
till it was not.
Till my eyes adjusted to the red,
till my hand became familiar
with touching all that is dying
or touching only to kill.
Till I learnt to close my eyes
to everthing
I knew
I couldn’t save.

“Indifferent Green” – Nayana Nair

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The indifferent green around me
soothes my heart.
It has nothing against me
and I do not have to be wary
of all that it can do,
and all that it can say
to shift the levels
of what is tolerable and
what I should put up with.
I can already hear them saying
that I am hiding.
I can hear them saying worse things.
Do you know what I find scary
that even in hiding, I know what they will say
and I care for what they will think,
even if I don’t care about them,
even if they don’t care about me.