“When we all meet” – Nayana Nair

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The silence was deafening
because there were people in it.
There was a tiny space made of granite,
a smallness born out of the spacious halls
now crowded with people.
the air stale with staring. The long moments
of confused and alienating gazes.
The wait. And for what?
Everyone knew they must speak,
only then a god will be formed,
only then we’ll have a reason to meet again.
But they were afraid of everything.
which was not really a problem.
They also felt among many other things
that only they felt and knew fear,
that fear kept only them as a pet to be played with.
They felt good and miserable when they though that.
They also felt special.
And because we were all special and doomed
and carried poetry in us to be looked at, to be listened to
we all stood there staring.
We stood shoulder to shoulder, sorrow to sorrow
trying prove to others that we knew life,
and that once, once we really did live.
But all we were seeing and feeling
under our feet, in the hollow of our hands
was that place, the house on the slippery slope,
the home we could never leave.
We were all there alone. Trying to avoid the weight
of another person who might just end it all for us
by saying something stupid as
“you are a bit too much for me”
and “this generation is not capable of love”
and “poverty is a state of mind”
Or something as true as
“this was a bad idea”,
“you do know that we will never meet again, don’t you?
at least we are all praying for that.”

“To stay” – Nayana Nair

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The city of wax and sun was,
for the lack of better words,
like living in a home that will vanish
and does vanish-
the vanishing always a spectacle and a sorrow.
The nights were all about
breathing religiously every second
to catch a brick, a bell, a railing to hold onto,
the dear gods carved in stones,
the plate touched by my mother.
Breathing in again and again
and coming up all empty,
we used to wait for sun and dread its heat
always worried and excited
about the drops and vapors we would catch
and all that we were going to lose.
Since nothing apart from the breathing would survive,
since the new-born stone and grass
knew nothing of death or its mark,
there never was a funeral,
no graves, no photographs to devote our tears to.
All our oceans would rise within us
falling at the steps, the stones, the memories
of everything that cannot prove its reason to stay
anymore.

“The best way to disappear” – Nayana Nair

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My emptiness is finally put to use.
The fishes swim in me –
the luminous disfigured creatures of depth
and the beautiful dying ones of light,
fill me up one by one.

I teach them songs of sorrow.
I hold them in my endless embrace
singing them back to life
and in return they let me feel like someone
who can protect, love, and shield.
They let me feel things no human ever could.

Even though I hate to be seen
I smile as my body is put on display.
My skin, the strongest glass.
My skin, the weakest beams.
The shallowest of oceans I become.

Humans hold hands, hold themselves
as they stand before me.
They find possibilities, mysteries, awe
in all that I hold inside,
in all that isn’t me.

“What a hopeless sadness have I ended up facing in her love for truth”- Nayana Nair

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How false this all is.
Let’s imagine something truer.
Something true like returning to the pain.
I imagined another world devoid of distant fires.
A room filled with moonlight and sorrow.
Here I heard myself speak of the pain
that I cannot forget, that I cannot stop to seek.
I heard myself stupidly ramble about
the cold settled in my stomach, the snow
that had no winter to name as its mother,
how I tried to seek another face
that could make looking at my own bearable,
how I broke everything but me
because that was the only way to really hurt myself.
I heard her cry.
I asked her again and again
how much more truer should my pain be
for her love to become real,
for my love to count.
But I only heard her cry.

“The things we hate are sometimes the only things that can be counted upon” – Nayana Nair

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Even in my nightmares I had a home,
I had the warmth of my own
love-yearning heart whose selfish haunting
was more powerful than the sorrow
of the world itself.
Even when the night came
and killed the song of every bird.
Even when god abandoned my shadow,
even as I dreamt the eyes I loved
drowning in blood, floating towards my end.
I could live,
I could still write poems
under the light of my pain.

“Our Favorite Story” – Nayana Nair

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We both were people looking for blood.
Looking for the vessel, a flesh
to fill our favorite story
of the most sorrowful love.
All that we dreamed of
was hurt at first sight.
This was never about love.
This was never about us.
The moment, the feeling
that could outlive us
after taking our lives,
we have only yearned for it.
How wonderful
that we are finally here.
Here to start this spectacular thing
that will be the end us.

“Never ever” – Nayana Nair

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the ice and the snow
they will never ever settle.
i will never forget this day.
the birds will never rest on my branches.
my heart, my love like this will die away.

“The moon shines on us” – Nayana Nair

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When I talk of the moon that shines on us in our sorrow,
as we promise to do better and be better,
I am again omitting something
that needs to be said.
Something that everyone reading us should know,
before they tell us the best course to reach happiness from here,
before they believe us when even we have learnt not to.

I am omitting that we are comfortable in our sorrows,
that happiness is an alien land.
We would rather break our hearts
than visit that place where we don’t fit in.

I am omitting that
we are obsessed about fitting in
as much as we are
about doing it without changing anything about ourselves.
So we will only be what we have always been.

I am omitting
that our love is primarily
about navigating life with heavy hearts
just to reach moments like these
where we feel we can be forgiven as long as we forgive.

The moon that shines on us in our sorrow
also shines
on the absurdity of this refuge that protects us from nothing,
on this love where there is no place for ‘better’.
Even when we know that this is a cycle of pain and deception
we revel in the fact
that this won’t end like everything else in this world.

“The ocean is so huge and weird” – Nayana Nair

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I drew her shadow on sand.

She stood still, her tiny shoulders
and ribs (that thankfully can no longer be seen)
moved gently with each breath.
Each tiny breath
like the wave that swept in,
like her laughter used to be.
She looks at me and asks if it is done.
I nod. I meant to say “almost”.
Just like I had meant to say “stop”,
or “please don’t” or “take me and spare her”.
She doesn’t wait for my answers anymore.
She skips over the boundaries of our shadows.

Her outline of me drawn in shaky fingers,
looks like a human being pulled apart
beside her own shadow – a child, complete and perfect.
But she looks at her shadow and calls it weird,
just like how she called the ocean weird.

For her
the smiling children in the glossy magazine were weird,
a chocolate bar without an occasion. without a reason were weird,
the memories of home she wanted to forget were weird,
the days she walked to school with her friend
and the days the sun went down as she slept over the
struggles of homework were weird.
She sat down and tried to come up with an answer for my “why”.

“the ocean is so huge.
as huge as, all the things i can’t have
but once i had them. it is weird.

it is weird how this ocean is mine now,
the breeze is mine along with the sky
but i don’t want them.

you have memorized my shadow.
you keep bringing me back to life
but you tear up so easily as if even you don’t believe yourself.
as if you don’t believe in me .

sometimes i feel that this ocean is our gift to each other,
it is our heart free of our bodies.
sometimes i believe that i am here and you are here
and the world where my head can rest in your lap
still exists.”

“The Sun and the Sorrow” – Nayana Nair

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The sun and the sorrow
were in my eyes.
I couldn’t see your face
as you bent down
and carefully separated
your words of love
from the pieces of me.

When I am in sorrow
I try to imagine
what you could have looked like
as you carefully took back
everything of yours.
I imagine an ugly indifference,
sometimes I imagine a tear.
I don’t know what to do
with this “not knowing.”

But in these painful retellings
I feel relieved at this uncertainty
that sometimes lets me remember you
as the part of me that I couldn’t help but love
even in my breaking.
But I also feel relieved at the ease with which
I can draw that cruel expression on your face
which won’t let me stay in love with you
any longer than this.