“Earphones” – Nayana Nair

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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.

“Photographs of Unmade Bed” – Nayana Nair

#1
Today I am fixated on the the houses far ahead, the colors on those countless walls that are yet to be carried away by the winds. Today I am fixated on the wrong choice of shoes, the red sore blooming on the fingers of my feet. Today I am filling my eyes with all that I refuse to see otherwise. I like days like these. They give me the proof of life outside of me, proof that I am part of this world. Days like these let me know that even if there is nowhere I particularly have to go, my feet are sore from walking and the roads are bit weathered. So it must mean something. Slowly I am changing the world, just as the world is changing me. So it must mean something. These are the days I realize that I do not just look at the world, but kiss the world while hating it in my heart. That world doesn’t just disown me, but it keeps looking at my childhood photographs when no one is looking. It all must mean something.

#2
My bed sinks a bit more everyday. It feels as if every day I am carrying, dragging another new person into my uncomfortable sleep, to my messy life. There is no blood, or signs of resistance, so it must a deal of mutual benefit. I hope so. I wake with only my skin, with only my dry eyes. So again it must have been someone I mistook as you. Someone who knows how to keep their end of promise, someone who doesn’t look back at the weight they are leaving behind in my new scented sheets. With you there was warmth and suffocation and never-ending want to be something more. With you there were eyes that stared at me as if I am a road you are forced to walk on. With you there were things I couldn’t be and shouldn’t be. Without you, there is me and my imagination that draws you body full of life on the photographs taken of unmade med and undecided mind. What do I want really?

#3
The one love? The truest kind? The rarest kind? The kind that is made of eternities? The kind that is hellbent on making that big change? I sort of had that. “I had that love” would be my answer, only when I am asked to keep my answer short, which I am often asked.
In the answers of 500-1000 word limit, in the answer where 10 marks are at stake, in the answers only you would have asked – I wanted my only love to be true somehow, no matter what it took. Do you know what that means? It means there are hazy days, holding lies close to heart, illusion that I fed with my own blood that make appearance in this answer. The answer involves knowing everything that is wrong, knowing everything that shouldn’t be, knowing the end that I won’t have. The answer involves cutting short my words, even when there is no need to, even when you are here and you are listening. The answer is pretend that was true, the tears that I didn’t hate as much as I should, the person I liked a bit more than I should have. Always wondering if love would feel like love if it was not me and you standing on both of its end.

#4
There is soaring in the skies. There is running away to the ends of earth. There are, of course, moons, and sun, and stars for taking. There is a wish list for every age we failed to love properly. There are your past loves, there are my past pains to talk about till late night. There are things to eat and relish and complain and things we will never make the way we should, things we will throw away even though they turned out well. There are stories we will make up because we can, because they are fun. There are stories that will tell thousand times even though we won’t be believed. There are night we see only each other, there are nights we realize the pain of not being loved. There are permutations and combinations that I was always poor calculating, that you were never interested in. There is a day like this where we have nothing in our pockets to count on, no possibility, no scenario that could bring us and place us together in this life. This is the only day that I didn’t want to arrive at.

#5
You are only as dangerous as much as I let you be. If I let you be a mistake, you are just a humiliating past to be erased. If I let you be the friend that should have remained a friend, you are just a human among thousand others, a human I dealt with with immature idea of carpe diem, with a stupidity I once called honesty. If I let you be the reason of my happiness, you become the reason I should never smile again. If I let you be the incarnation of all that destroys, you become the plague in my heart that will not end till I die, till I give myself up. The more I let you be within the scope of my life, the more I regret letting you in. I never try to think of you as someone I associated the word love with. That word lets you become my breaking heart, my lungs devoid anything capable of giving life, my mind slowing down and stuck at the worst part of my life.
So when I think of you, I think of you as the result of taking the idea of selflessness, of selfishness, of wanting to be part of this world, of taking “it all must mean something” a bit too far.
Because irrespective of what you might have been for me. Now you are only as dangerous, as important as I let you be.

“That poem doesn’t exist in this world” – Nayana Nair

Outside my body, outside myself
I feel
I can be the the girl
who walks to a stranger, smiles and asks his name,
who keeps her name in her mouth,
and doesn’t throw it away
along with the chewing gum in the nearest trash can.

Would she hold his hand?
I think she would.
But even then
would she be reminded of the the poem she wrote in seventh grade
the ugliness of people dripping from their hands
at nights, holding my breath,
crushing my 27 teeth under an unwanted kiss,
promising to kill me next time
“.
Probably not.
That poem doesn’t exist in this world,
let’s keep reminding ourselves that.

So yes, she holds this stranger
a bit more closer than she would have deemed wise
if she saw it how I would
and she would make promises- the kind lovers makes
before they know what love is.
He will ask about her life
and she will have no sad story to tell.
So she would talk about the recent window shopping-
the things she can’t have and things she can’t get
and she will not be talking in metaphors for once.

For once the one she wants to love
wouldn’t be obsessed with the wounds on her skin
to love, to treasure, to poke, to mock, to dig down further,
to own and to burn.
He will probably say something sweet about her smile
or maybe something boring about his work
and she would smile a bit more in either case.
Because she can smile here, in this world, in front of him,
without having to think about what his each word might hide,
what she is over-looking, what will be the tiny details
that will come back to hurt her, what will be the undoing of her heart.
She will smile cause she won’t have learned to be hate people beforehand,
she wouldn’t have learned to love a bit too late.

She would tell him that he is lovely,
and the blush in his cheeks will make her heart skip
and she would love him for loving him
and not because she is looking for an easy fix to her faltering mind.

“Kissing your cold lips” – Nayana Nair

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With his cold shoulder
melting into mine,

with his metal teeth and lips
soldered to the my mortal butter paper skin,

I trade his heavy existence
with my slowing heart.

He becomes a little more human, little more weak.
as I become a little less cold, little less teary eyed.

We both become a little bit of everything –
a mess of feelings and colors sitting out in cold storms

pretending to dig for ancient meaning on each other’s skin,
pretending to be furnaces and burning lighthouses.

“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.

“Windows that cannot be closed” – Nayana Nair

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Slowly I plucked each tooth of mine,
I tore my tongue out
and he called me beautiful.

He called me beautiful
so I left my clothes roll down.
I let my skin, my guards, my skeleton
touch his floor.
I sat there watching him
build a fire out of it all.
The fire was too cold for me
so I didn’t smile.

He told me he only speaks the language of rough,
that his heart beats and falls slower than the rest.
I told him I have known many like him.
I told him I didn’t mind.
He seemed to mind that a bit
but he also seemed to be a bit relieved.

As I sat under the the waterfall
of his blue curtains,
I felt thousands of eyes
at my back, behind windows that couldn’t be closed.
There were always windows behind my back
anywhere I sat from the day I was first told
that I was the type of beautiful
not worth keeping and staying around.

Those eyes
filled with lust, question, resentment
filled with hatred, filled with violence,
filled with sweet words for my ailing heart,
filled with knives for soft skin, for the right time,
were my burden
so I knew
at least this was not his fault.

I asked him
what he could give, what he could make me forget.
He didn’t answer and seemed a bit lost.
I wondered if he also couldn’t think or speak clearly,
if there were eyes on his back
that he never spoke about.

“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.

“What are we doing now?” – Nayana Nair

Another chance
to get our high
from the powdered dust of dreams,
from digging desperately, getting closer to the voice
of the demons we buried just yesterday,
breaking nails and curfews to
save the skins we can’t live without.

Another chance
at making a home,
choosing colors for our ceilings,
choosing the sides we will sleep on,
choosing not to be the ones we have always been.
Another chance, another precious child to be broken,
another angel dress to be painted red
waiting for our hands, for our tasteless kiss.
Choosing everything that leads us to lives
that couldn’t possibly have been ours,
couldn’t have been so wrong.

I know we are the only ones
who can give each other chances.
Chances – that we are so fond of.
But do we need to call it love?

Though we have tried and tried
and have run out of things that can be fixed.
Do we have to call this happiness
just because we have been told we must?

Do we have to ruin every word, every feeling
that we have not felt yet,
just because we fear we may never feel them otherwise.

“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.

“News of my new love and loveless life” – Nayana Nair

DRAWING THE STARS WRONG
all my hopes, now in your hands,
feel like signs of trouble.
i liked it on paper, the broken star in red ink,
but not on my sky.
can i undo my steps to you?
will my heart break even if you leave my skin?

STRIPPING YOU OF FLESH
before i turn away from you
there are things that must be done.
(only painful things are remaining
no matter what i choose)
everyday for a hour i must imagine
being alone in this world.
everyday i must imagine
the relief you would feel
at my absence.
everyday i must imagine you with someone
and being capable of caring.
i must imagine in detail and color.
i must put you on a window in clothes
i don’t recognize.
i must strip you of my love
and hope you feel the warmth,
even when my heart tells that you won’t.
i must stand outside the shop i plan to leave you at
and practice standing there without tears in my eyes.
i must take your feelings out of picture
to take even one step away from you.
before i turn away from you
i have to turn into the person
who won’t be able to walk towards any happiness
after leaving you broken.

MESSED UP SEARCH HISTORY
in my room, on my phone,
with another love, in the crowd
that will never be mine,
i feel my heart drunk on you again.
and everywhere you are with me
i need someone else
to keep me from making another mess
in your name, for my sake.
in return, i love them the only way i can,
the way only i can,
by removing you from the search history of my mind
every second i live.
i love them
by holding them back from running to the one,
who like you, can only love in dark dripping red
and swelling universe of purple.

THE EASY WAY TO LIVE
speaking without fear,
loving without abandon,
sitting in sunshine,
somehow loving the world,
wanting to stay alive,
getting comfortable with the concept of wanting,
knowing the feeling of being considered and seen,
(all this
with you at the back of my mind).
i told you, all this is my life now-
the easiest life i have ever had.
i hope you believe.
it would be the happiest end,
if you would accept this
as the last scene of me in your life.
i want to live so better,
just so that you can forget
the me who could do nothing but get hurt
only because i didn’t want to live without love.
i want to be better than that, even if it makes me sad.