“Creature of Claw” – Nayana Nair

How long should I bleed
for the one who holds the knife.

I pluck another flower of kindness
to appease the one who won’t even smile for me.
He looks at it and tells me the tested foolproof ways
to kill this useless plant that grows in me
and cracks his shield.

He tells me he will love me more
if I will cut his skin
instead of making him look as bad as he is,
if I struggle a bit to get back at him
rather than struggle to know him like this.

He says
“i would like us to be peas of the same pod,
i would like us to be the insects with same appetite,
i would like you so so much more,
if you would help me rule this world
that doesn’t listen to me. if you could speak
the same words as i do, words dipped in careless anger
rather than the ones served with pity.
don’t tell me the danger of my dagger
by slicing away your skin. you feel more like an enemy now.
the more you bleed to make me suffer,
to make me give up, the farther you get
from the person i could love.”

How long should I bleed
for the one who holds the knife
to stop him from cutting his own heart.
This will hurt him, he knows,
eventually if not now.
Yet he is becoming a creature of claw with a paper skin,
he is growing a dream
from the horrors he has only read.
The unnatural pauses on his lips,
the look of helplessness in his eyes
makes me wonder if he even knows how to stop.

“the broken-hearted” – Nayana Nair

the broken-hearted know no love
for anything or anyone
that is not the one breaking their heart.
they see through you.
even when they say hello
they almost get your name wrong,
you can tell it from the look in their eyes.
they drink and fill every room with songs
that were not so hard to bear
when they were just noises that radio made.
they tell you in their drunken stupor that no one cares.

they say no one cares
even when you call the cab, drag them home,
hurt your hand in the struggle,
scrape more than skin, lose more than patience,
leave them on a bed not made
for weeks probably, you don’t want to guess or know.
so you close the door, climb down the stairs
shut down the part of mind reserved for them,
but remember how they have been liking and sharing
too many dark poems, how those poems
speak in their voice in your mind.
so you climb back, remove every blade and knife
and realize it is just the beginning.
you feel exhausted by the inexhaustible list of things
that can help end a life,
that can serve as a full stop.

so you sleep on the couch
or pretend to,
till your head hurts from pretending.
now that you want something true
you call your love
and tell him that you don’t know
how to handle this,
how to sleep and yet keep an eye
on the one whom you suspect is waiting,
waiting for you to close your eyes for a second
to make an exit that doesn’t exist.
he tells you that they are beyond hope
at the same time
he forwards articles that could give you hope.
he tells you to sleep tight knowing you won’t.

when you wake up at the sound of tears
being microwaved for breakfast,
you see another day that won’t be right.
you see them trying not to break
yet breaking and abandoning everything around them
so that their hurt can be felt by the world.
they look at you and smile
while they pour another glass
toasting “another drink for the world that doesn’t care,
another drink for the loveless me.”

the broken-hearted know no love
for anything or anyone
that is not the one breaking their heart.

“piano” – Nayana Nair

years from now
i hope my living room
has a space for a lovely piano.
i hope my fingers
would play something beautiful on it.
that here i would smile
and not know of the passing time.
that i would learn to love my walls
as much as the world that stands on the other side.
as my child misses me, cries for me,
tries to keep me alive when i am not,
i hope she feels this music she can’t hear,
i hope she sees the future i couldn’t finish living,
i hope she knows
that my warmth is more than my skin
and my blood running under it.

“What I Remember (23)” – Nayana Nair

i try
to sleep,
to forget
the pain near my spine,
to forget
all the hours in front of me
that i have no use of.
i look at my palm
from near and from as far
as my hands can extend.
i notice how my hands have changed.
do i like it better now?
i wonder if it possible
to like anything about my body now.
i remember once deciding
not to at least hate this skin
that has use for everyone but not to me.
i remember saying “as long as it makes you happy”
at the same time thinking “i don’t think you care for my happiness”.
i stop myself from finding more things that make me confused or miserable.
i unlock my phone.
it’s 8 already-
more and more notifications,
…5GB extra.. Alert:You have spent…
…has added a new post …added a new story
airplane mode, the notifications continue to pile up in my head-
all the words that i will never get to see
that i always expected even when i knew i shouldn’t,
it has been long… …sorry, for making you feel alone…
today i saw something and was reminded of you.
even though we are not together, it is not your fault…
thank you for being there for me… …it must have been tough…
don’t hurt yourself
i feel smaller knowing that even the words i want
are only words of consolation,
just confirmation that i am not the worst.
i look at my hands again and wonder
if my hatred for myself colors my skin.
is that how everyone gets know
that i don’t have the courage
to ask for fair,
for loyalty, for answers?
is that how i look?
someone who doesn’t have the voice
to ask anything anymore.

“Cheap Literature” – Nayana Nair

Don’t ask which part of me
are easier to love.

I have tried so hard
to become someone who cannot be be loved
without effort or tears.

My faith in love,
my faith in those who love
or it’s absence
is not so difficult to explain.

Clue: Every pop song that leaves you in shambles.
Clue: The books that you call cheap literature.
Clue: The lovers who want to get to the happy ending fast, so they can think about and focus on more important stuff.
Clue: The sappy feelings that you are not interested in.

Those who first talk of my skin and my volume when they talk of love.
(I mean you.)
Those who think that my view of the world, and how the world views me
is just a phase that won’t hopefully be their burden for life.
(I mean you.)
Those who tell me about my selfishness, my unreasonable fears, my unstable suspicious tiring mind over lunch as they run their blade over every bit of exposed skin of mine. Those who are satisfied when I don’t even wince as I bleed, just the way I have been trained.
(I mean you.)
You have made this whole process
more difficult than it should be.

Don’t ask me the easy way.
I might just begin to hate you for that question.

“Summer Mood” – Nayana Nair

my feet relentlessly insist
on burning themselves
for the sake of summer mood.

i wear a shirt too big for me.
a wear a smile a bit too small.
i wear the worry of my parents on my neck.

i feel their fear
when i smile back at strangers.
i pretend to be the sand that no one can hurt.
i pretend to be the sea that doesn’t end.
i pretend no man in this beautiful scene
would hurt someone like me.

but my feet, they burn, they bleed.
my feet that only wanted freedom
from the moment i was born,
now they make me feel like the mermaid
who was not wise enough.

i feel like i am losing a part of myself
every time a stranger asks for my name,
every time they accidentally touch my skin
to fill me with shame and sin.
i pretend to be cool, to be understanding,
to be blind
as i feel like the monster
that brings out the worst in people.
as i erase my memories everyday
to put faith in people whom i find hard to trust.

“Now playing: the ominous names you are yet to know, yet to resent” – Nayana Nair

I board the train that I could
thinking,
only thinking about the one I couldn’t.
There are only tunnels, only darkness,
no network,
only cold metal that I rest my head
hoping for my fever to come down,
only windows that turn into mirror.

In those momentary mirrors
I always look like someone on life support.
In the crowd that no longer suffocates me
I cling to the wires that fill my ears
with the sound of past, with love that will never come back,
with the love that I will never be,
with everything I can’t bear to talk about nor forget.

Though it pains me to look at myself for more than 2 seconds,
I force myself to withstand my stare.
For if I take my eyes away from me
I end up looking into eyes of strangers
who twist and distort their faces
asking for a reason they can understand
or they end up looking away,
their heart as fragile as mine.

We all act as if we can know each other by a glance,
as if we would prefer to be the backdrop, the wallpaper
than to find eyes that can actually see us,
than to know one more human who is hell bent on proving
the brittleness of our species.
I understand their heart, their fear all too well.
My skin remembers what their heart has forgotten.
Though I don’t think anyone really forgets things like these.

“Fossil” – Nayana Nair

Drop by drop the wax fills
the bucket of broken butterflies.

I am falling into another sleep,
into another death that is warm,
that embraces me like no lover ever has.

I feel the pain in my wings, and unlike other days
I try to think that this will never pass.
That I will remain like this, with a bit of pain always there
in my shoulder blades, under my ribs, aching for a memory that floats
above my body, above my existence.

Someone holds my hand and I let them.
I was always afraid of living and dying alone.
I guess there are many like me.

Years from now they will find us
and probably write stories
about how we loved each other even in death.
As they look at our almost ruined and almost saved faces
they won’t know how we died heartbroken,
how we held onto each other
but never dared to look at each other
or ask the names we had started to hate.
How our skins melted into each other only because
we had nowhere else to be.
That even as light broke free from our eyes
we didn’t want to look like failure.

“Born Like This” – Nayana Nair

“i was born like this”, I lie,
when I really want to say

“the normal ones, the sane ones
are surprisingly excellent at
breaking anyone without any guilt whatsoever.

i no longer have strength
to leave them, or beg them,
or handle the repercussion of wanting them.

i fear them only when i cry
though i am not exactly sure why it should be so.

the positivity, the kindness, the unity, the charity, the world peace
that they talk about
looks so beautiful when put in action
for example,
there are holes in me though i have never seen a bullet in my life
and i am not allowed to say it is their doing
“it is a result of my negative thinking and bad karma” i parrot
like i have been taught to.

this burnt skin, this distrustful heart,
the layers of clothes that are prerequisite of proving my modesty
if god-forbid i let loose an animal in someone just because i exist,
the logs of missed calls and blocked calls and blocked memories
that are the only things protecting me now.
this is how i was born.

Though absurd, it sounds like truth the more I say it.
This is how I hurt whatever is left of my heart.

“What I Remember (21)” – Nayana Nair

I prod and push the glass slowly, carefully
to the edge of the table,
where your glass stands.
At the edge where you place your suitcase,
where you always tie your laces once again
just to be sure.

That is the place you tell me to love
when you think I might lend something of me
to keep such place alive,
to keep you warm while you keep the door open
like the way the you like them to be.

This is the place you tell me to forget
when the color of my skin doesn’t match the color of your new sky,
when your new birds keep singing songs
of ‘soulmates’ with better specification
when it becomes your new caller tune,
when you think of the best version of your life.
You think of that too often, quite loudly
for me to really forget anything.

This is all I remember of you:

i never thought you were weak enough to need anyone or anything.”
i thought you were wise enough, i thought you were better than your gender.
call me. meet me. i am feeling down.
call me. meet me. listen to me, no one else does. only you have ever cared.
call me. meet me. i want us to end.
you are too much for me. you are too little in the eyes of anyone in this world.
you are so close to having my fickle demanding unfair love, why do you ruin everything by being yourself.
i would have loved you for 2 more years, if you were not messed up.

When I think of the glasses, of my life, of everything
that I dangerously left at the edges
just to be your equal, just to make sense of you-
I am glad I have claimed back my madness
instead of trying to understand yours.
I am glad I do not have to live my life
compensating for your weakness, calling it love.