“Shifting places” – Nayana Nair

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Somewhere far away, in the early hours
a window cracks by the shrieks of a woman.

Let’s wait, let it end, it will be nothing,
it will end up like all the other things made up in my mind.

It will end, it will end –
I chant under my breath.

But it doesn’t end.
Wave after wave, it rushes towards me, to the doors of reality.

And in response something in me cries back, something in me knocks back hard.
Now all I can think is – “I must run. If I run I can reach there.

If I run fast enough there will be little blood lost,
a little mind saved. If I run, I can make it in time before the worse begins.”

But the roads keep disappearing, the houses shift places, everyone laughs a little louder
as I move forward only to be yanked back and pulled down.

There is someone far away waiting for my help
and her flesh is just as weak as mine. Her throat must be sore, her heart must ache.

I wait and cry for an eternity
before I hear everyone walk away. Before I hear hope approaching.

Hope sounds like
wheels of a bicycle and the broken whistle of a kid.

It sounds like “are you alright? aren’t you cold?”
It looks with puzzled eyes at my clothes that are somewhat not right.

It tells me universal facts like
“if you lie there either cold will kill you or a oncoming truck”

Hope tells me I am not dead yet.
I hope she is alive as well.

“The places where I am not” – Nayana Nair

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Across this glass,
across the tired melting clouds of mist,
on the other side
there are trees and homes and forests
that are just like places on this side that I rest.

The places where I am not
look as sad as all the places I have been.
Everywhere, on every road there is always a person
who knows a way to break my heart,
and I always end up thanking them for it.

There are rooms where I put up
lights and posters and curtains
and lovers and music,
those are the rooms I want to die in-
with some beauty, with some consolation of meaning .

But always I find the reason for my end outside these walls.
Those reasons live under the brightest light on the darkest road.
And because I was told that the light that I don’t know of
is the one that saves all, even the hopeless ones like me.
So my legs forget how to stop,
my hands forget how to let go,
and my blood glitters for a moment under the light of lost hopes
before it turns black, before it invites in the cold
that I always thought belonged to the inanimate world.

I think of the room I won’t reach,
and the songs and the faces and this world
that I will not be given a peace of, to keep.

As the sky fills me up, pats me down,
and tucks me in the snow
across the white,
I feel someone stir from sleep.
The wail that my throat cannot make,
finds a home in that other world, in the other me
that unlike me
knows how to cry and how to be loved for it.

“How do you want to be saved?” – Nayana Nair

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I crawled to the window
in my dress torn by the claws and cries
of people who live in my nightmares.
They like clean living rooms, dark courtyards,
and cars with slashed tires sitting in their garage.
They have
“broken hearts” written down in forms as their identity
and broken chandeliers swept under their bed.
They crouch down and look at me
as the broken lights shine red,
as I see myself bleed beautiful rivers,
as my silent scream become winds, become ripples,
becomes the face that will forever make me cry.
They smile and ask me
“What do you wish? How do you want to be saved?”
while someone else burns the bed that I am crushed under
and asks me “Is this the what the warmth felt like in your mind?”
They drag me out into a forest,
where under the brightest tree of hope,
they stuff darkness into my throat, into my mind
and ask me “Do you still feel empty?”
They are unreal and of unsound mind.
They tell me living in me makes them so.
They wave goodbye to me with a smile,
offering me a sweet candy
for my silence and understanding
It is raining when I open my eyes.
I breathe in the world
where bleeding and burning is irreversible,
where it would lead to an end of some kind.
I crawl to the window
in my torn dress and my exhausted skin
and find myself staring
at people who used live in my nightmares,
people who look more real that the living me.
People who now own more than just my dreams.

“everything else” – Nayana Nair

“warm”
this word has become cold
sitting at the base of my throat
my throat burns
and my everything else?
my everything else
-my pretty flesh and my ugly insides-
who want me to be there
and at the same want me gone.
i guess they want me to change.
this is my new low
where my organs are my imaginary friends
the only ones I can talk to,
the only ones who need me,
the only ones I can disappoint,
my new friends who are learning
the weariness of living for me.
I ask around for a lover who has a love for knives
and tolerance for madness of all kinds.
I hear a hundred thousand sighs in me
when the new replacement of romance appears,
asks me my name and digs his sharp canine teeth
on the last bits of my happiness as a hello.
The hundred folded cranes look more like ravens
and the one who promises me an end is now my only hope.
Now things are easy
now that I can’t hear myself breaking
now that I have this strange loud laugh to hide behind,
this person stranger than me,
taking up the blame of everything I have done,
helping me hide from everything that I have killed in my life.

“the shadow at the foot of my bed” – Nayana Nair

today is the birthday of one another oddity of mine.
on a day like this,
few calendars ago
i learnt how to turn my helplessness into my charm.
i learnt to fill the glasses, the throats of everyone i know
with something sweet, with a taste they can’t name.
i learnt to become something that can’t be known or hurt.
in my bedroom i sit at the foot of my bed
trying to block out the presence, the weight
of the other half of my body
clinging, clawing, crying, dissociating.
i again forget where i am.
i again forget how to stop shaking.
if i walk a bit more into the darkness
i feel i won’t have to pretend to be the one
who has a say in what happens to her.
a hand slips into mine.
sometimes it rests on my waist,
and i force myself not to feel nauseated.
love him. love her. i tell myself repeatedly.
love. love. love. love till i can make up for all my lacks.
my love is my penance, my apology
to anyone who chooses me as their destiny.

“The Noise of Empty Heart” – Nayana Nair

I close your heart.
I stitch you back
in a same haphazard way
I do almost everything in life.
The same way I knocked down
every clumsy fragile landmark
that could have actually helped me at the end.

From your mouth I have come to know
that my hopes are tied to the throats of my saviors.
That you are disgusted as you see me
sitting on top of sleepless nights
as I help myself with another serving of self-pity
that I won’t be able to digest.
That I laugh a little too long at the every joke
that the world plays on repeat,
all the while the cruel thread that I am
I cut the skin, I cut the voice, I cut the air.

“this what i am, change me in an easy way, see this is how i am hurting, why won’t you look at me when you said you wanted was the real me”

I say as I try to crawl back into the hide of your love.

“i will stitch you back, if i have hurt you. if you want to hear goodbye, i will say it a thousand times. please, please stop crying. please for once hesitate before you ask for the door out. ask for once if it was easy to take in your sorrows, your demons, your cold shoulder. ask for once how i have fared, how i have come this far, how am i letting you go, letting you be, after loving you so badly. “

“Don’t tell me” – Nayana Nair

Unlike your descriptions,
the green doesn’t wait for the sun.
It doesn’t know what waiting is,
what the word ‘sun’ is, it doesn’t even know
that you are the its spokesperson.

I am not coming at your throat dear,
it’s just that
I feel, as time passes
that you see me more as that green
than your woman.

You cut my sentences
and give me used bottles of perfumes, of love
that I must wear.
The only thing you tell me about your day
is how women dote on you
and place you first in the list of men to seduce.

I remember I once said,
“please don’t tell me, i don’t want to know”
and you glared back,
lectured me on openness and honesty and strength of love.

“i don’t want to know”
I said it only once,
because my I was afraid to say it ever again.
And in my unreasonable fear, I understood
that in this life of pretend, I had also begun
to see you as another sun,
even when you are not.

So, I am not coming at your throat dear.
I am try to free myself from your hold,
from your twisted idea of love,
that is messing with my mind now.
I am someone without you as well,
and I don’t want to be convinced that I am not.

“Another Failure” – Nayana Nair

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If only yearning
was the correct word
for what I feel for you now.

There is a voice in me
that has taken over my throat
and it speaks what I never wanted to say.

It admits all weakness that you never knew I had.
What is the use of confessing
what no one even suspected?

I ask myself that
even as I continue to speak,
even if you are not here to listen.

Maybe your absence
has given me the courage
to do the right thing.

Now that you are gone,
now that you have changed
I have no reason to hide where I hid.

There is no love keeping me away from
the life that I always wanted,
that I could always have.

But the reason
of this freedom
also leaves me paralyzed.

Though there are many failures in my life
that I made you reason for,
now when I can do better without you, I see myself giving up.

How unfair it is to you, if I give up now.
How unfair it is to me, if I cant even taste the only fruits
whose sweetness you have not taken away.

Love was not that hard
and I do not want to add another line
to the poems and essays who blame love for everything.

That would be another lie, another failure for me,
if even when I am losing I seek someone
who is ready to sink with me.

“Essential” – Nayana Nair

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No suffering is born encased in a bubble of silence,
and maybe that’s why my throat hurts as I try not to scream.
But even when the world forgets to pay me any heed
and to all the parts I want to hide.
I continue to mistake the faults I am hiding
as the some essential part of who I am.
I mistake hiding as the purpose I was born for.

Knives of fingers

estrellas

Knives of fingers, the gods
Open with space every part
Of my body. My heart
Is hollow for blood,
My sculpted throat turns air
To voice, and dreams flare
In the cave of my skull.

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-“The Hollow Bargain“, Michael Spence