“prompts” – Nayana Nair

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i think of parasols.
i think of wearing my miniature body made of colorful frills,
holding my own soft innocence,
not like something that can be and will be lost
but like something that will never be destroyed,
like something one never gives a second thought about.
i think of never knowing fatigue, never resting.
my skin only knowing the sun.
i think of classrooms fitted with air coolers
i think of home and its beautiful cold floor
i think of places i knew i could always return to
once i was done with my playing, once i felt my hunger.
i think of the time that i lived not knowing not understanding
the appeal or the need of shadows.

i think of stones.
their small happy weight in my hands.
the deftness of my fingers and my wrist as i played.
my palm holding them together,
scattering them, collecting them.
my palm feeling the coldness of the evening,
knowing time through them.
i think of the stones that grew on the sides of broken roads
beside my source of earliest magic
-the touch-me-nots, the insects made of velvet,
and the lost fireflies.
i grew up in a broken forest
wearing stones as brittle as me.

i think of fruits.
their colors that i loved
even when i didn’t like what they were.
they tasted too mellow, too tame,
too transient to me.
their juices just carved a bit more hunger
in my stomach. my stomach that was already learning
to ask for more and more.
i carved their colors in my notebook.
i dreamt of drawing them up on my skin.
this was before i knew what a tattoo was,
before i learnt the dangers of carving things in you
that you possibly can’t love.

“i cry blood and drink blood. i live another day. still shamelessly wanting.” – Nayana Nair

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I am a fearful soul.
I can only hold the hands
that can break under my grip,
hearts that do not know
of their power over me.

I fear, no one would believe
in my fragile nature,
nor pity my deteriorating state
once I start breaking others
before eventually breaking myself.

My breaking is not my secret
even if it is an act that is remembered
only by my own hands, my own skin.
It remains a fabled tale
of the last death without spectators.

It lives to dissolve into the stronger truths,
it dissolves into the concrete results
that are now engraved with names
that were breathing just yesterday.

I walk to them
with cruel empty hands,
with loud disrespectful steps,
with brazen breath daring to still flow.

I take their name with my own,
with a sadness,
as if some part of me
has died with them as well.
As if I know anything about dying.

“All this for nothing” – Nayana Nair

.

And this is the sorry sorry state
in which I find myself
after everything is done.
The checklist can now be torn
and thrown away in this trash can
that sits like a queen in this empty street.
And I sit like an attendant beside it
filled with vomit and dread
and thoughts of “now what? now what?
now what?” circling my head
like vultures who prey on words born out of
insecurities. Insecurities that should have died long ago
if not for the people who love you
and who need you to have these flaws
to feel comfortable around you.

They are so convinced that they will drown
that the only thing they promise you is a death together
and it is actually very romantic…
to see them take a knife and peel of a layer of their skin
and hand it back to you so that you can do the same to them,
so you can smile at each other, convincing each other,
that this is what everyone does,
this is what goes on in everyone’s life,
that this is somehow normal,
that this is love.
Because it was still better than every other hollow feeling
that you get from this world
that would only leave you wanting for god-knows-what.

This is the road of betterment though.
So things have changed a lot. I don’t handle knives anymore.
I don’t leave my body unattended in hands of strangers.
I don’t curse at people who tell me that I need help
(though I still feel that I should give them an earful).
I have forced my way out of that life.
I have quit my demons. I have quit lOvE.
I have quit things that hurt me with the promise of life.
It is almost the end.

It was supposed to be fine now. But now,
no matter how much I ring the door of better life,
no one answers.
It is night and I hear voices calling me back.
There are people out there that I have promised to die with
and they will be here for me anytime.
And if I see them, I will probably walk into their arms
and all this will be for nothing.
I know I shouldn’t be crying over this.
If anything the world of sanity
seems to be as unreliable and as irresponsible
as my friends who fill their head with smoke
and drive into the nearest wall.

“This ground that we stand upon” – Nayana Nair

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Dear &^%$,

Have you found a way
to leave everything
that you call your ground-
your ground of anger,
of rusting armour of indifference,
of the trauma the heartless giants planted in your heart,
the compass that shows all the wrong directions
and always takes you to the nearest cliff, again and again.
Have you found a way to be better, to live better?
I haven’t yet.

Yesterday I listened to a stranger talk for hours
about how it can be done,
how it will end when we want it to.
It made me wonder if maybe we are not yet ready
for this groundless life.
Maybe that is our only issue.

All that can save us is so temporary, so transient.
Yet the thing that ruins us, is ours to keep-
not like the sun, but like the demon that needs our skin to live.
I wonder if we just need to be needed that badly.
Is that why we choose to cry than to change?
Is that why we choose to hold onto the wave that is drowning us-
just because it is here, because it is ours till it kills us.
Among many other things I also wonder what made us like this.
To be honest I am afraid to know.

What are you afraid of today?
Do let me know.

Yours,
$%^&

“Only sad poems spring from my mouth” – Nayana Nair

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When I think of you in an indefinite future
without me,

when I think of the past, this glowing mixture
of wax and webs, sticking to my eyes,
to my uncertain touch,
to my every new dream and hope for love;

when I cry, when I laugh, when I say even my own name
the mountains of stories, send me back your voice.
They say you will be cited as the reason
for my every my recklessness and my every holding back.

True to the prophesies of love
my skin wilts and dies and eats itself up.
My heart cries and cries and makes jokes about crying.
Nothing makes sense and yet everything is just as it should be.

And now I can call you my everything and
nothing in the same breath
and still know that even if I let your shadow swallows me whole
I can’t ever call all this love.
I won’t ever feel “love” for you again.

Yet only sad poems spring from my mouth,
when I think of you.

“But maybe because it is you, you won’t laugh if I told you” – Nayana Nair

.

Of all that I miss,
out of every

“I had it when I didn’t need it,
when I wasn’t ready to face my own needing, cause
my feelings for the delicate and genuine seemed hateful to me”,

out of everything that I tried not to know,
you are the one most precious to me.
Mostly it is because I didn’t really look at you
so I have only these regrets
to measure what you were.

And my regrets grow heavier
with every encounter I have with this world
that is filled with people like me.
My regrets grow heavier
even though I was so well suited, so ready
to live and thrive in this real world, where you were destined
to fail and wither and lose all that false light your prized.

My regrets grow heavier,
the more I realize how much this world needs
you and your friends,
with your false beautiful ideals sewed on your skins.
You would laugh if I told you
about the people I meet everyday,
people like me who can’t come in terms
with the world they have chosen.
I face their expecting eyes,
I feel their hands searching in me
for a glimpse of the world they have burnt.
But maybe because it is you, you won’t laugh at it.
Maybe you’d cry, cry in our stead,
cry for all that we cannot cry for.

When they search for miracles in me
I feel like a house with hidden doors and floors
with bodies holding goodness lying breathless within.
I fear when they find you behind every door-
a miracle with your face, an end with your smile-
then even these regrets won’t be mine.

So I try to be of use to them
all the time hoping
that they find the face of kindness only they know of,
only they miss, the one only they want back.
So that at least our mad hopes, will remain our own till the end.
So that we gain nothing but remember everything
and that remembering makes our hands, our hearts soft and breakable
and beautiful like yours, like everyone else like you
who did a world a favor by just existing.

“Goodbye to all the warm things” – Nayana Nair

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The white curtain, the whistling wind
doesn’t vanish,
no matter how many times
I close my eyes.

The chill under my feet
slowly turns into the ice within my bones.
The hope within my heart
blinds me a bit more.

For every step I take
another cold molecule of my sense of self
breaks away from me.
Every step is an unavoidable mistake.

All warm things are now resting
in the rooms of past-
the melting summer and the stickiness left by
the kiss of ice cream at the corner of my lips,

the one tree that I burnt for three winters,
the big windows, the big dreams
that almost burnt a hole in my heart
as I wrote down hollow words recited by my teachers,

the warmth on my skin
as your eyes fell on me,
that whole minute for which you were
the closest star to earth, my new sun.

But every step is an unavoidable mistake.
Every step is a goodbye.
Every sun that my eyes create, falls
too easily from its branch.

No matter how many times
I close my eyes.
it doesn’t vanish-
this world that now I can no longer love.

The light that will never fall on you
is the light I will never see.
Isn’t it beautiful – this cold
that takes me a bit closer to you, even if like this.

“The way complete beings find breaking” – Nayana Nair

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You look at me
and I look at you
the way broken things look at the hands of an angry god,
the way complete beings look down
at things that can never be their equal.

You and me, we take turns,
learning to feel pain, to give pain
reaching for the light in each other’s eyes,
making copies of each others memories
and spilling the ink on the originals.

You and me –
we are children left alone unsupervised with this steel instrument of love.
We now know of the blood and bone within our skin, thanks to this blade.
We now know how to keep distance when nothing keeps up apart.

When we lose our color, our teeth of milk and cruelty,
when the blade loses its shine
and looks like any other rust of this world,

only then we know the pain
of having walked past a life we could have had,

the journeys we could have walked,
the meaning we carried in our selves for each other sake,
the meaning we never looked up
, never cared for.

“Weight of Snow” – Nayana Nair

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The light – yellow, diffused, and scattered – falls here everyday
on the cold marble of my home.
It is winter already, which means there must be places on earth now
where turning on taps is a useless exercise,
where a whole street wakes up early
to remove the snow piling up in them, around them,
snow continues piling far away from their settlements
where there is no need to clear them,
where the weight of snow doesn’t suffocate anyone.
There must be places now where people are forgetting things one by one.
Remembering an unreal ocean of fierce light,
forgetting ever being there.
How many places have I forgotten already?
I move two chairs into the circle of warmth
and wait for the evening cold to reach my skin,
to end this dream.
I stare at the empty chair.
I draw myself sitting there, staring,
as if I cannot live without an empty space beside me.
What was that space once?
It was something warm with skin and heart and voice.
It was light in human form, it was the most beautiful life.
But that empty chair in the sun, has been empty for so long
it couldn’t possibly have been me
who existed when it was something more than that.

“a piece of writing…that should have been me, but is not” – Nayana Nair

.

I look out of windows of places that I want to escape
and only after 24 hours, only after 12 years
in a poem about crows, in an essay about public school,
in a story, in a ruin not mine
do I find the space to figure out, to sketch
what I would have thought of, if I allowed myself to think.
If I allowed myself to feel, what I would have loved,
what I would have gladly run away from.
The lives that I couldn’t start, the roles I couldn’t end
they leave my skin and become the masks they always were.
I carefully place these masks
on the words that have nothing to do with me
My words
they only hold the mould
that were too painful for me to confirm to or accept.