“The roads that I promised never to walk on” – Nayana Nair

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There are so many things that I wait to see again
and none of them will do my heart any good.
There are mountains and flags and footsteps
all settled into the sleep, lost in this busy blue.
Some call it drowning. Some call it the end of things.
Some wait for it to rise and become the lonely peak once again.
Some like me float my boat on this ocean
all dressed in sad flashy optimism
with my poor eyesight and a grainy foresight
ready to cry.
Some like me wait for the things they fear,
wait for the things that break, that tear.

All beautiful things of past are now buried
under a common grave with no stone, no epitaph.
I can’t tell apart my love from theirs.
My growing years, my diminishing heart,
the roads that I promised never to walk on,
the hands I promised never to leave-
they call it theirs.
They hold it in their arms
whenever after years of aimless floating
their boat gets caught by a shadow
that wants them.

Meanwhile I am afraid of holding back anything
that tries to stop me. Every pull frightens me
that I might love something that is not mine
that I will never know if this happiness is just
my sickness of water, sickness of search and waiting.
I can never look anyone in the eye
in the fear of seeing someone else’s tears,
in the fear of seeing my own corruptibility reflected.

And yet I can’t seem to end this search
for there are so many things I fear I will never feel again
if I end it all here.
Though they happen to be the same things
that I am incapable of believing in ever again.

“I’m all for sad feelings. I’m all about hard love.” – Nayana Nair

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All I could do
was to wait
for the stone of doubt
and my rippled heart
to settle.

But my surface never knows peace
the veins of leaves, the claws of birds,
they touch me and demand an expression
and I play along. I give way to them.

I am learning giving way, giving in
is what people call love.
And the core of what I am, therefore,
doesn’t believe in love.

The tired core of me would have probably
believed in love if it was not so easy to get,
a love that was never a win-win situation,
that demanded a bit more hurt,
that asked me to see someone outside of myself.

“Paintings of springs and fault lines. Sketches of lost mothers.” – Nayana Nair

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She sings.
An echo, a heartbreak maybe,
something piercing, something invisible,
something not ours-
this is all that we are allowed feel
(as long as we want to feel).

She is everywhere.
She sleeps, buried under the heavy weight
of water and floating globes of life and
drowning boats and oil.
She is everywhere.

Yet her voice outlines every step we take.
Every dying step is a step lost to her name.
Running away is beautiful in this city.
The traces of our writhing, crawling, changing bodies,
painted on every stone, every wall,
doesn’t let us forget the dust of the world
we crushed by our hands,
doesn’t let us forget the word “home”.

All our journeys branch from her heart.
We sit huddled with out feet in water,
with our hands over fires dying out
and talk of her. Always her.

“If I Keep Walking” – Nayana Nair

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From wherever it may be,
if I keep walking straight
and try not to think of the destination,
eventually I feel the pavement turn to dust.
Slowly, stones dating to the oldest dates
in the recorded history of my life
start appearing one by one.

They sprout new mouths, they learn new words,
they grow into roads, into pillars,
into gateways, and into the walls of the places
where I am no longer welcome.
The fabric of present, my strange choice of words,
my skin that doesn’t belong to this time
all such things make me an alien, make me a pitiful stranger
in a place I know more than myself.

My laughter lives in those places,
with people who can’t find their way to me,
just like I can’t find my way to them.
I hold onto the walls when my tears start killing me,
I tell myself, it will be fine, if I just keep walking.
I tell myself, I will eventually remember my way out of this moment,
as I always have.

But now I can’t. I don’t want to. Maybe I am not meant to.
Maybe the answer lies in never forgetting,
maybe that’s the love I am meant to have.
Maybe waiting is the answer that will suit my weak heart,
since pretending can only get me this far.

I sit on the benches of deserted parks with with my bloodless heart,
and I imagine melting here in this imaginary sun.
I feel happiness might have been something like that,
but I can’t remember it, even though it was once mine.

“Hope and Wait” – Nayana Nair

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I looked at you for a long time
and for a long time you pretended to sleep.

For a long time
you closed your eyes,
even when tears spilled,
even when laughter almost made out.

I placed my hand in yours and waited.

I hoped even when you pretended to be stone,
pretended to be wax, pretended to be mine,
pretended to want me gone.

I hoped, I waited to held in your arms.

I hope.
I wait.
I pretend to do all this with ease.

I pretend to be a shelter
as I hunger melts my stomach,
as words melt my mouth.
I do not know what you pretend to be.
Not yet.

I wonder
if I let my eyes close,
if I chose my weakness,
if I hide,
will you take my place, place your hands in mine
and pretend to wait?

I won’t mind such lies and such pretense.

*I wonder if our lives could change
if we didn’t feel burdened
by truth and lies all the same.

“All the boxes are checked” – Nayana Nair

It hurts a bit more naturally
and less violently,
now that betrayal has a range,
has not one but many faces.
Now I need not figure what I did wrong.

All the boxes are checked:

family, family, friends, not friends,
thank-god-we-were-never-friends friends,
i-am-sad-i-stood-up-for-you friends,
people who marked my skin with their name
to own me
while i slept in their arms
(another golden cup added to collection of people hard to get,
people who won’t die if thrown away or left alone)
loves whom i am tied to,
the ones who demand smile and sometimes a bit more,
always a bit more.

They know the feel of my hand and love how it heals.
They hold my hand in their sleep
in their nightmares, in the storms of passion
that they need a person to aim at.
They break my wrist
in my nighmares, in my awareness of my fruitless love.
When I am at verge of crying,
they tell me to not give them a hard time
and to act like the refuge that I am supposed to be.

So I tell them “I love you”
and this lie hurts a little less everyday
as my heart becomes the stone pedestal
all my loves stand on.

“Dissociate” – Nayana Nair

my other head
bleeds and falls off
as does my bloody knife

i can no longer call myself a victim of life
now that my sin is set in stone

few more hours for the sun to rise
few more hours i must bear the company of my face
in few more hours the world will love me
now that i look like them and kill like them
they will surely love me
for having one less brain and one less mouth

my eyes look back at me
not accusingly but with pity
of what have i done to myself
but i dare not cry
and act as if i am the one being wronged
my tears- i’ll be burying them under the red petunias
that you loved

my hearts beats furiously
as if running towards something, perhaps an end
end of me? end of her?
it feels wrong saying “her”, “you”
as if a knife is all it takes to set things conveniently wrong

i close the door and leave my open mouth
and questioning eyes on the kitchen table
i break a nail and break my heart
as i dig two graves for myself

“let me hold you close” – Nayana Nair

my heaven
would have flowers in blue,
a storm of sunshine,
a road that runs like the soft song
that you once made me hear,
a sparrow that never stays still.

obviously
i do not know what it would be like
to live in such a heaven.
whether i would really be at peace there.
but through the walls of stone
that i could never scale
it looked so beautiful-
the world that you lived in.

but i cannot break what i am
nor can i chase away the shadows that i depend on
it is too late for that.
so before i close my eyes for the last time
let me hold you close.
become my last memory,
become my heaven.

“What I Remember (12)” – Nayana Nair

hailstones.
that’s what i remember.
when the stones fell
onto the already breaking roofs of our class,
the girl who sat three rows ahead
stopped reading.
everyone who was busy day dreaming,
who had shut their ears to every useless fact that we come to learn,
knew how to listen to this,
to this violence that could hurt but won’t.

i sat there listening,
wondering if my skin would also be able bear
what this tin sheet roof can,
if my classmates would look at me
understand their violence that could break me but hasn’t yet.

maybe it was our silence,
maybe it was the teachers glare
that made it stop,
made the loud shrieking rain to end.
and when she left
the stones had already turned into dripping water.
the kids wanting to forget
the trauma of being silenced,
of having their dreams interrupted,
of being reminded of their helplessness
recited incidents that didn’t happen,
tried to laugh a little louder than usual,
made another joke at the expense of someone like me
and so my only memory of hailstone
was also reduced to the din of students (who never liked me).

i closed my books and pretended to be asleep
while everyone ate and talked to their friends.
i waited for everyone to leave
so I could eat alone
without being ashamed for being left alone.
“hailstones”.
i said the word aloud in that empty classroom.
i had one more words now
to describe these kids who scared me by their meanness,
who made me like the prospect of loneliness.

“Crystal” – Nayana Nair

the crystals
where our future
was supposed to be hidden in,
turned out to be just stones.

we didn’t have enough magic
to make a stone speak.
we turned out be just as human
as we always suspected we were.

and now we have no one to ask
no one to give us false hope
no fiction, no roles,
no ghosts to fear.

we are back to fearing ourselves.