“Telling Signs” – Nayana Nair

.

“Does rust affect plastic dreams?”
I ask my teacher in my sleep.
She takes out an axe and starts cutting down
the first mouth filled with wrong answers.
Two rows away
she wipes her brows and folds her sleeves,
she takes another deep breath
before she checks the attendance sheet
and finds the next dream to kill.

She tells me I should think more and ask more
and ask the questions that help me live.
She looks at the metal that grows out of my pores
and gives me another chance.
She says only if I would try to be better
than the people I am clinging to, I could grow up to be her.
I look away from the blood that flowing down her neck,
the parts of her that she intends to kill by holding other’s breath.

“What about my mother’s arms, weak weak exhausted arms?
Are those my telling signs?
Does that mean I don’t have to worry,
that I am just someone next in line?
What about you? Do you rust like me?
Would the color of my rust, would my weakened heart
make me worth protecting,
make me deserving of kinder words?

She told me “It will not get you respect or equality,
if that’s what you are looking for.
It can sure get you love, of some kind, for some time
but it is just a matter of time
before you see the end that only you can write.
And you would end up writing it
cause that painful end would be more truer and more yours
than any love that you find by compromise.”

As she walks past me, smiling lovingly,
as she spares my life, that now she owns.
As she dissolves my only way back,
I realize too late, that my chaos and my doubts
were more hopeful than an answer like this
that promises pain to everyone else but me.

“If I Keep Walking” – Nayana Nair

.

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.

“Kissing your cold lips” – Nayana Nair

.

With his cold shoulder
melting into mine,

with his metal teeth and lips
soldered to the my mortal butter paper skin,

I trade his heavy existence
with my slowing heart.

He becomes a little more human, little more weak.
as I become a little less cold, little less teary eyed.

We both become a little bit of everything –
a mess of feelings and colors sitting out in cold storms

pretending to dig for ancient meaning on each other’s skin,
pretending to be furnaces and burning lighthouses.

“in the light that smiles nonetheless” – Nayana Nair

that’s where my anger lives

on the mud stains of a size 7 shoes
swimming on the white floor of my small apartment.

in the plants uprooted, in the marigolds strewn
and trampled on, in the light that smiles nonetheless.

on the streets where lives my fear – that finds me
and almost kills me, every time i hear footsteps behind me.

on the patronizing attitudes that i dutifully respond with gratefulness.
on the potential dangers, the possibilities of violence that every intimacy invites.
on the things i say yes to with a breaking heart.

in the mirror that only prizes my delicate frame and my weak wrist,
that tells me i would at least beautiful in the missing posters,
in the files housed in grim police stations,
in the videos and photos i would never get to know of (if i am lucky)

in the speeches that tell me i am safe
in the compartments and corners made for me.
soundproof corners where either
i would finally end up believing the facade, the lie of a safe world
or where i would learn how to stay silent to be spared the worst.

that’s where my anger lives

“The Year of Frost Starts” – Nayana Nair

You walk in with a cake of rust,
two hours late.
You kiss me ,
wait for me to smile,
to say thanks,
to make another offering of myself
at your shrine.

You tell me of love,
the only love that you cannot
get out of your heart.
This love that suffocates you these days
more than before.
How my face asks for too much,
even when my voice doesn’t.

I cross out and mess up the frosting
trying to hide the wrong name.
These days I don’t correct you,
or remind you of who I am,
and so you forget me just as I thought you would,
just as you promised you wouldn’t.

My half hidden sighs
tell me that I am just an appointment,
things that have to be done,
feel good pill of a the mean god
that you are.
The clearer I see this
the more I want to speak against you,
to hold you closer with my rage.

I want to speak of
all the facts I have on you-
the bitter candies from the assembly line
that my minds works overtime overnight,
to show you the moments
you hated yourself most
again and again and again.
I am weak like that.
I am mean like that.
And now I don’t want to be better.
I wasn’t like this always
but now this all I can be.

I don’t remember or expect a beautiful love,
now neither should you.

“Portals” – Nayana Nair

the wafer breaks and crumbles
my teeth find a red muscle to kill
again my mouth bleeds
but no iron strikes my taste
so i wait for it
i wait for my imagined pain
to become real

i look at my hands
my unsightly weak hands
they are portals to my past self
how they weighed its emptiness even when they held you
how i knew that you won’t last, we won’t last
and i hated myself for knowing it

i wonder if my skin, my lips
gave you a premonition similar to that
did you know that we would end up sharing every hurt
and that it would never stop
that the we would continue to run even when the dream
ends
every cut mine, every drop of red yours
everything painful – only ours

“To the one who who couldn’t change me” – Nayana Nair

The answers I hear
are never the words you speak.

The answers I hear answers are
poorly dubbed clips of proven cruelties and truth
that only a stranger to my pain could utter,
that only you could utter.

It is the thoughtlessness
with which you try to pronounce hope with ease in front of me,
even when you know the names of all the dead ends and dead smiles
where hope has always led me to.

It is the thoughtlessness with which you try to replace
the glowing shards of sad words from my crown
that I have fallen in love with-
my eternal friends who are as unwanted as me.

My crown and its sharpness are just walls for you
and my claims of love for who I am is just an act.

My dark feelings take up more space
than me or you combined
and yet you like to call me small.

Your light
only gives me new shadows to play with
and yet you call me weak.

The color of my eyes and song in my heart
don’t change for your liking
and my love for you doesn’t change.
Yet you call my passions temporary.

While my answers are the ones
that you cannot accept or even see.

My answers exist in a place where I exist
not in a place where you or me would like to be.

I hold onto your hands as much as I try to let go
-that is my answer
Those are the words that you cannot speak.

“Sitting across another spring” – Nayana Nair

Spring and love
are running around in a circle
in my mind.
My mind and its gray backdrop
die with a soft giggle.
The sky rains a gentle voice
saying my name on repeat.
A voice I pretend not to know
rings like a telephone in my room
as I stare at it from my bed.

Spring and love
are in my life again
and all I can do is wait for the world
to go back to the time of silence,
so I can go back to nursing my weak heart
and find something easy to do than love.

“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.

“The Scale of 1 to 10 (part 4)” – Nayana Nair

I have been collecting books on building sandcastles from the the remains of things humans leave behind. This is all I have ever read – how and where to find the stones called history, how to grind them so fine that they can forget themselves.
In my hands they become another extra leg of the ever wobbling chair that already looks like a monster, the miniature castle no one can live in, the gigantic dinosaur that won’t get the chance to destroy this world, the skyless blue that will keep dripping from the ceilings as long as people want to see the rain that won’t ruin the glow of their skin.

 "People burn lamps of clarified butter
  I've ignited the lamp of my heart.
  People swear on their faithfulness
  I've eaten the poison of separation.
  People lose their heart in love.
  People lose their heart in love.
  I've also lost myself.
  But still me getting extinguished
  Was liked by my beloved"
  -"Luttna", Cocktail
 "Giving and receiving scars is part of being human
  And I don’t think I was really scared of that.
  I clashed against things like I was going to break
  And I don’t think I was really scared of that."
  -"Green Nocturne", Nell
 "sometimes the roof of feeling leaks,
  we remember old thirst,
  but new clouds dance and rain,
  they kiss the forehead with chains of drops..
  it's the time to get soaked,
  a new weather is standing nearby,
  it's a small, but big thing.."
  -"Dhoop Ke Makaan Sa", Break Ke Baad
 "I guess that I
  I just thought maybe we could find new ways to fall apart"
  -"We are young", Fun.

I love to hold exhibitions where people can look at something beautiful enough to make them cry and not even realizing that they are looking at something they never wanted to see again, that they are looking at themselves the way they never wanted to.
They might not understand this, but I do.
The “unnecessary” that is so easy to cast away is the only thing that their heart wants. That is the only happiness that feels like happiness.

 "We imagined the future we saw together 
  on top of that high hill where a blue wind was blowing.
  We launched a big paper airplane which flew anywhere, 
  carried by the wind.
  You laughed loudly as you saw my distant look.
  Your hat was blown off by a gust of wind, so I ran to catch it"
  -"Control Tower", Galileo Galilei
 "The headlight that shines into my heart
  has become completely clean.
  All of your memories fade out.
  Inside the storm, my heart is green light"
  -"Eraser", Taeyeon
 "Cuz I taste you in every shot that I take down
  But I feel so hollow"
  -"Here Come The Regrets", Epik High

No one is innocent, no one is blameless.
Helpless they may be, ignorant more so.
But all who seek reality and stability have killed someone or something that was too weak to protect itself. That is how we become good enough, deserving, suitable to live in this world.
The ones who suffer grow up eventually. But they grow less and less each day.
So knowing this, how I am I supposed to hate these murderers? How can I not save all they burn as they cry?

 "Fear takes a hold of me and my heart grows heavy.
  And a sigh comes out of my mouth again.
  Time made me into an adult,
  but I don’t think it made me strong.
  Time made me into an adult
  but it made me that much more of a fool"
  -"Green nocturne", Nell
 "I am still the same person I was before
  I am here, the same person I was from before, but
  An overgrown lie is trying to swallow me whole"
  -"Lie", Jimin (BTS)
 "Here comes the rain
  So many scars never fade
  This is the price of war
  And we've paid with time"
  -"Fight the Night", One Ok Rock
 "Today is a winding road that's taking me to places 
  that I didn't want to go
  Today in the blink of an eye
  I'm holding on to something and I do not know why.
  I tried"
  -"Thunder", Boys like Girls

So when they start hearing voices, when they feel that none of their masks fit their faces filled with fear- they come to me.
As they wait reading magazines filled with faces, bodies, lives, circumstances that are better than theirs, I sculpt a lie for them.
I call it a lie, because that is easy to accept, easy to display in their living room. Unlike truth, seeing it or showing it does not involve damage estimation.
This is how I make a scratch on the face of reality even when my hands are tied. This is the only happy ending I can give them, the only happy ending they can accept.

 "This field is lined with the brave
  Souls in relief
  We'll fight fight till there's nothing left to say
  (Whatever it takes)
  Fight fight till your fears, they go away"
  -"Fight the Night", One Ok Rock
 "Yeah I'm walking on a tightrope
  I'm wrapped up in vines
  I think we'll make it out
  But you just gotta give me time
  Strike me down with lightning
  Let me feel you in my veins
  I wanna let you know how much I feel your pain"
  -"Thunder", Boys like Girls
 "So if by the time the bar closes
  And you feel like falling down
  I'll carry you home"
  -"We are young", Fun.

No one is innocent, no one is blameless.
But they are weak. We are weak.
I need to save them. So they can save me somehow.
In their tears, I see the tears that I have not learnt to shed.

 "Just give me a reason, just a little bit's enough
  Just a second we're not broken just bent, 
  and we can learn to love again"
  -"Just Give me a Reason", Pink
 "We fight, fight till we see another day.
  Whatever it takes."
  -"Fight the Night", One Ok Rock
 "Carry me home tonight"
  -"We are young", Fun.