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“Away from the City of Saints” – Nayana Nair

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so the saint i read about
walked this land,
looked at this river, looked at this sky,
and stood where I stand.

in the cases of glass there are letters,
there are feelings i cannot understand.
they say he made this place with love
here his everything ends, where his nothing began.

but the glass turned into mirrors
his writing became face of mine.
i was pricked by the bitterness
that were not supposed to be in his words.

how can he say the things we say?
how can his cruelty be pardoned for his principle?
why can i not call him hero
like i used to, like everyone still does?
why his truth makes me shrink away from every other truth?
why does his life disappoint me so much?

i came here seeking nothing
but i left losing a lot
and doubting a lot.
on my way back
i left the what he once gave me
and finally picked up what i should have.

“To know this world” – Nayana Nair

The world is not really like what the map tells you,
what the news tells you,
what YouTube tells you, what your people tell you.
To know what you really feel about something
you have to ignore all the hearsay, all the generalization.
To really know something or someone,
sometimes you have too forget yourself first.

“How people live” – Nayana Nair

I sat there crying.

It hurt to know,
how people live,
how they smile,
how they could look at each other,
how they felt welcome wherever they went,
how they could sing along
and not be reminded of all the sadness
that song carried in itself.
How my desolate riverside
was their ‘beautiful view’,
their ‘venue for celebration’.

I saw it and cried
for I realized
that this life could never be mine.
I cried because I realized
something must be wrong with me
to not want this life.
I cried because I couldn’t understand
how to set things right.

“Keep me inside” – Nayana Nair

I can help you count everything you have.
These objects have no meaning to me
but I know something about life
even if I don’t know everything.
I know that your hands
will stop shaking
only if they keep counting,
only when you have confirmed
that you have not become poorer
that you were a minute ago.
I know that you don’t enjoy being like this,
even though people say you are weird on purpose.
I know that you have stars on your ceiling,
only because the ones in the sky
have abandoned you too many times.

***

So I will not tell you
how to live your life.
I will not force
the disease of my heart
into yours, in the name of cure.
Build walls all you want,
but keep me inside them with you.

“Connecting Flight” – Nayana Nair

I hold my fist close to my heart,
I hold your hand tighter than ever.
How long has it been since we last saw each other?
How long before we meet again?
These few hours that separates
our periods of separation,
these hours have become minutes,
have become question marks
that we pretend we can’t see,
have become the silhouette
of the better women of your stories,
have become the words I never got to hear.
They remind me of your skin that bloomed and withered
without knowing my skin.
I have told myself numerous times
that it doesn’t matter.
I have tried my best not to be bothered,
but it is becoming more difficult
to feel that I am still loved by you.
And again you kiss me with caution,
hold me close, only to let go.
Again all I see is you
moving towards something I cannot understand,
leaving me in a life that I cannot accept.

“Smile and Call it Love” – Nayana Nair

From the day that I resolved
to create a door in my life
for you to move out me,
to forget you,
to even hate you, if it becomes necessary.
I thought resolve was all I needed
to get rid of the poison that you had become,
to create space for myself to grow into,
if I had to grow without love or understanding anyway.

I sorted myself and my memories
keeping only the ones that would help me
convince myself that you were bad for me,
that your love could blossom only
in the season of your selfishness,
the season where I was expected to wilt for your sake
and smile when you called it love.

I tried to remember
everything that I read in your mannerisms everyday,
everything I had overlooked as visions caused by my paranoia,
everything that came true,
everything that would have been true, only if I had let you.

I know,
I know that you were not evil,
but only human.
I know that I may have made you bleed
more that I can admit.
But I am also only a human.
Maybe I could have accepted your human nature
if my weakness, my complexes, my cruel words
could have been understood by you as well.

At some point
there was nothing you could do for me
than to remind me of my monstrosity everyday,
than to wait for me to breakdown.
At some point
there was nothing that I could do
than to walk away
and try to hate you.

“Just Poems” – Nayana Nair

My mind that understands
is chained and crippled by its understanding.
It only tries to understand new words
by comparing it to
what has already written or read.
It only understands feelings in terms of
the pain it has given
or all it has suffered.

-o-

So when I stand in front of the doors of a poem
feeling the sting of December winds on my back.
When I ring the doorbell
and hear from other side “May I come inside?”
I immediately know that this not something
that I understand,
that there is a difference
in reading as if
sitting on the couch in a stranger’s house
waiting to be entertained
and reading as if
I have let the stranger in my own mind
and allowed him to change
the view I have of this world.

-o-

Some poems are not just poems.
They are voices that never die
because they have never been born.
They are ghosts that we have always wanted to haunt.
They are names we give to our own suffering,
a closure that only we can give to ourselves.

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