“The last song at karaoke” – Nayana Nair

In the pool of lights,
the green and yellow glitter swam in the air
and you said – “This is what our life would be like.
This is what our happiness would look like.
This is the forever, this is the everyday love
that I can offer you my love, in return for your heart.
This grace is ours to keep,
if you choose to revolve around me,
just as I have chosen to see only you.”

As you held my hand and waited
I realized all I needed was
a word of affection,
a promise of love, of any love I was capable of.
That was all I needed to make you mine.
But the easy lies, the half-meant overused words
were nowhere to be found in me.
I wanted only you and yet I couldn’t utter a ‘yes’.
Of all the things I could do, I stupidly chose to cry.
I knew my place in this world too well
to admit wanting anything as lovely as you.

As you smiled and wiped my tears
and picked the another happy song, I wished you would have
said “If you cannot love me, better get ready for a lifetime of hating yourself”
instead of saying “It is fine.”

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

.

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.

“Not only ours” – Nayana Nair

.

All the wildflowers of our soul,
all the drops of yellow suns
dissolve in the air of shrieks.
One by one we loose ourselves.
The moments of despair and pain
are not only ours now.

When I speak,
thousands sing.
When I am silenced,
when I accept suffering,
when I am trodden upon
thousands wake up
with bruises they do not deserve.

How should I live?
How should I forgive?
Knowing my pain is someone else’s as well.

“River of light” – Nayana Nair

.

There are universes
spinning around us
and they will see
how we break down.
They will not know our names
just like we don’t know theirs.
And when they come for us
falling onto our beautiful blue home,
falling into our storming seas and falling heights,
we will still believe that this beauty will save us
and in some ways it will.
In some ways it won’t.

But for today
the universe around us
inspires us to love, fill our hearts
again and again,
it cradle us tonight,
carries us from one unbearable moment to anohter
through the tunnels of serene silence,
through the river of light.

If this all is an apology for what is to come,
just like the offerings of the sad heart before it broke me once,
then maybe we don’t deserve this kindness,
maybe we are given, gifted, cared for a bit too much
in the name of the eventual end that is waiting for us far ahead.

“I want you to see the world” – Nayana Nair

i will read you another story
so that you may know
that faults and lacks of humans are common and in abundance,
how ordinary are expectations-not-met.

i will read till my eyes close
till you can see all there is to see,
till you see everyone around you
who are disappearing into silence,

till you see all the kind words you could have said to them,
till you see that these words, that make you cringe,
how important they are
how easy they are to say, how difficult to mean

till you learn to mean these words that save lives,
till you learn to listen to others,
till you grow the eyes
that can see the world before it is lost.

though there is another story for another day
about how to save yourself from all that you have saved.

“in the light that smiles nonetheless” – Nayana Nair

that’s where my anger lives

on the mud stains of a size 7 shoes
swimming on the white floor of my small apartment.

in the plants uprooted, in the marigolds strewn
and trampled on, in the light that smiles nonetheless.

on the streets where lives my fear – that finds me
and almost kills me, every time i hear footsteps behind me.

on the patronizing attitudes that i dutifully respond with gratefulness.
on the potential dangers, the possibilities of violence that every intimacy invites.
on the things i say yes to with a breaking heart.

in the mirror that only prizes my delicate frame and my weak wrist,
that tells me i would at least beautiful in the missing posters,
in the files housed in grim police stations,
in the videos and photos i would never get to know of (if i am lucky)

in the speeches that tell me i am safe
in the compartments and corners made for me.
soundproof corners where either
i would finally end up believing the facade, the lie of a safe world
or where i would learn how to stay silent to be spared the worst.

that’s where my anger lives

“Always, Only” – Nayana Nair

You told me of love and what it does to your heart
and how your heart wants to see me and love me alone.
But it is too hard. A harder task than you imagined it to be.

You loved me for my silence, for my grace of letting you go,
and for the tears in my eyes
always, only for you.

You stand outside my heart, filling my insides with
your shadows, with your hopes.
Becoming my only light.
Asking me to step out of myself,
asking me if I am up
for another search of your heart-
that you have left behind
in someone else’s heart tonight.

You kiss my hand and tell me
you like this better-
me being your hope, your home
rather than being your wretched love-
the love that that leads you to your worst face.

I close my eyes
and again
I try to forget
what I wanted you to be,
what I hoped you would be for me.
I try to forget the wretched love you have become.

“What I Remember (28)” – Nayana Nair

As I grew up, whom I hate changed constantly, it changed more frequently than my dream for future roles.

Maybe that’s why I was so particular about what I hate and I did it with fervor for the first few years.

But as time went on that hatred turned into just another silence – my refusal to speak with anyone who I wanted to hate.

And now it has transformed to hating people while I pretend to get along with them. Curling inside with anger at the same jokes that I feel compelled to laugh on.

It is not an easy thing to do but it is still easier than all the alternatives. (The alternatives are my nightmare.)

Because even though my hatred has grown over time, I also find it in me that space to accept people at their ugliest, not loving them, just accepting that they too can live here, be here and do what I hate, and telling myself that I have to be fine with that.

I have come to hate this side of me the most – this cowardice dressed as generosity and understanding, where I do nothing but smile as my blood, my ideals burn and collapse.

Maybe that’s why I have hated myself most, with constant determination, without doubt. This hatred is my only light – my anger at myself, for not doing enough, for taking up fearing my uncertain volatile feelings and views, my own voice, more than I fear this world.

“Living some sort of life” – Nayana Nair

His face lit up
with the death of every colorful explosion in the sky.
He hates this sky on other days
(among other things).
Today he loves it, this darkness,
this crowd, even me.
(Maybe not me,
but it doesn’t mean anything to me now.

But in moments like this
I am reminded of the “me” who would have wanted his love
or at least be part of the world that can be loved.
The ‘past me’ shakes off my hand
and stands there looking at him
as if he is her sky,

but only finds the signs of deaths
that have nothing spectacular about them.
I stand there
looking at my sadness, his sadness
breathing the air and living some sort of life
for once.)

He stands there looking at the sky
through my silence, through my awe,
awe at his simple happiness.
(How long has it been
since he has loved anything with his
breaking heart.)

He stands there looking at the sky
even when curtain of stars resurface,
even when the screams of children dissolve.
He stands there abandoned by the world
and yet happy.
(I stand there abandoned by him,
by myself
and yet happy)

“Sitting across another spring” – Nayana Nair

Spring and love
are running around in a circle
in my mind.
My mind and its gray backdrop
die with a soft giggle.
The sky rains a gentle voice
saying my name on repeat.
A voice I pretend not to know
rings like a telephone in my room
as I stare at it from my bed.

Spring and love
are in my life again
and all I can do is wait for the world
to go back to the time of silence,
so I can go back to nursing my weak heart
and find something easy to do than love.