“Earphones” – Nayana Nair

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I cannot paint

your silhouette moving through the rain toward me-
all the blue that lingered in the light rain, on my skin, in the wait for you.

The color that fills my mind when I recall
how your cold hands met mine, my frozen shivering love hungry hands,
and nothing was cold anymore,
nothing was insufferable,
as long as you and me stayed like this,
accepting the ache that comes with staying.

The song, the familiar and strange tune, that became beautiful
by the time it played for 35th time, by the time our cola lost its fizz,
by the time the untouched food looked comforting,
by the time I found that knowing you and your everything
was as painful and liberating as putting myself into words.

The tension
of the stretched earphones between our head and our aching necks,
a moment of sadness, of a great love, of a great end
played itself before us again and we promised ourselves- we won’t ever be there.
And yet as you mocked the world for its weakness
I cried for the same weakness you and me hid in ourselves.

The cold wind that went through me, as you walked past me,
my pride- ground and powdered, spilling out of me,
blinding and confusing people around me,
making me look desperate, pitiful, and empty
as I chased you through streets where we were never supposed to be.

I cannot draw them, so I write.
I write
how we stood together
in every room,
on every patch of earth
for the longest time
and saw within our reach
something that was beautiful and fragile
and no one’s to keep
as long as we saw each other only,
as long as we could smile at what we saw.

I remember you as you stayed still,
breathing carefully
as we let fate make something out of us.
I remember your eyes
asking me with a smile to confirm the reality of what we had,
of what we are.

I wonder how you remember me now.
Now that we are living our lives trying only to prove
that we have lost nothing of ourselves in losing each other.

“Walking towards you on the crutches of fear and hope” – Nayana Nair

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I keep waking up to a different reality,
a different you
and everything that you have been till yesterday
seems like something my mind made up
and all the love you have in your heart
seems little less mine.

But I keep walking towards you
even when I know I probably should not.

I keep waiting
for words of truth,
or words of sincerity,
or words of past that I believed in
to find their way back to your mouth.

I keep hoping that
words will be enough, that you will be enough
for this love to breathe again.

But I am also afraid that nothing you give up,
nothing I give up
can get back what we had, even if we tried.

“I cannot tell the difference”- Nayana Nair

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“Long time ago” is a dangerous neighborhood.
All its season are holograms of perfect world,
the illusions of rain and snow and sun,
the illusion of hearts still beating under the non-existent skin.
The technician of this a weary magic
lives beside the empty park in the middle of my heart.
He knows the perfect days to make me cry, to make me see.
He invents new people, new details.
Sometime these are fake stand-ins for the what he has lost
in his war against me, all that I intend to forget.
Sometime they are what I failed to realize,
people I didn’t get to love.
Most days I can’t tell the difference
between the words I have forgotten
and the ones I will never hear
again.
This town
has post offices with stamps of words I no longer mean
stuck on its wall.
There cars and houses and roads and rivers
owned by people who will never die.
They all gather on my birthday
in the cemetery of one grave.
They sit on the endless green grass with their picnic baskets,
with the kids I will never have, with the pets I will never keep
and look into the eyes that will never look at me.
They smile knowing something I will never know.

“Dry Rivers” – Nayana Nair

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The river is finally running dry.
I heard someone rejoicing to hear this.
What is a river without it’s water?
I am told it is money, it is development,
it is more money.

Another colony, dozens of businesses springs up.
There is nothing to be sad anymore.
I walk on the roads trying to trace
the skeleton of what is lost.

Now, I know the names of few more rivers
that are nowhere to be seen on maps.

The numbers of such ghost keep increasing.

There is a language that no one cares for.
There is a city that forces everyone to leave.
There are words that don’t sound fancy anymore.
There is an accent that needs to be exorcised from tongues-
the identity of what we are is a secret,
something we can be killed for.

But it is the season, the world
where rivers dry out beautifully,
where aches turn into anger, into revenge,
into art, into denials,
into search for something new.
But rarely does it turns into tears.

How is it we have so much to lose,
so much that is already lost
and yet have so little to grieve about.

“I want you to see the world” – Nayana Nair

i will read you another story
so that you may know
that faults and lacks of humans are common and in abundance,
how ordinary are expectations-not-met.

i will read till my eyes close
till you can see all there is to see,
till you see everyone around you
who are disappearing into silence,

till you see all the kind words you could have said to them,
till you see that these words, that make you cringe,
how important they are
how easy they are to say, how difficult to mean

till you learn to mean these words that save lives,
till you learn to listen to others,
till you grow the eyes
that can see the world before it is lost.

though there is another story for another day
about how to save yourself from all that you have saved.

“Assignment” – Nayana Nair

There was that pile of paper
I could
never keep safe.
The crossed out, always crossed out words,
words always out of order,
words turned beautiful
only because they dissolved
in my frustration.
Only because now I cannot read them
without effort.
I must make something out of them
something that couldn’t possibly be mine.

The blue ink dripping,
forming planets on unexpected letters,
forming planets on my hands.
I would take them to class
and look at them as if now I meant something more,
now that I was suffering for something I want.

I raised my hands to answer a question
I have already answered hundred times.
I sat down and swallowed my teacher’s frown.
He didn’t have to teach me
that right answers matter
only when they come from right mouths.
(I once got an A only because I forgot to put my name.)
I knew there was nothing I could learn
by swallowing frowns everyday,
but still I dragged myself, my broken planets,
my half burnt poems in my half burnt hands
to the one who doesn’t think twice
before asking me

to hate myself better.

“Someone is waiting for me” – Nayana Nair

Fog swims over my study table.
The glasses grow cold and old
and useless.
Again I forget to drink the medicine,
the milk, the love that fills my phone.
Like I forgot to get vaccinated,
to close the door, to wear something warm
even after being reminded
how easy it is to die.
Someone is waiting for me
to say the words I do not mean.
But they love me
so I try not to hate them for that.
I sink back into my chair.
I sink somewhere in the fog.
I try not to struggle too much.
I try to live with all my heart
but it is so difficult.
So difficult
to accept, ingest anything.
So difficult
to forget that I am drowning.

“where our days end” – Nayana Nair

She makes circles on the back of my hand.
She writes “love” again and again on my skin
so that I don’t forget her.
She writes “love” again and again with her fingers
so that she may not forget I am still not lost to her.
That I can be different as long as she sees me for me
and she lets me see an unaltered part of her once in a while.
Few more alphabets follow
of my name and hers
and all the names we wish we could forget
just the way we are forgetting to love
even when that is the only thing we want to remember.
I tap my fingers on the steering wheel
to a song that plays only in the past,
wondering why I learned these words that only give me pain,
give her pain, give us only half of each other
while we are missing more pieces than we were made of,
why my losses are more than my being,
why we have to stop here, by this cliff, every evening
waiting for our ghosts to take a step back,
to look back at us
and see the happy ending waiting for them,
why we are invisible to our ghosts
who only speak of names and futures that we have grown to hate?

“What I Remember (25)” – Nayana Nair

There is something beautiful about people
who lose themselves
when they lose someone.
The layer of sanity that cracks,
the heart that lets the past take over-
is a feeling I would never understand.
And all I do in such weather
is wait.
Wait
for my coping mechanism to kick in,
to take the decision away from me,
and let me forget the meaning of loss.

I read another funeral in my lines of fate,
another goodbye in the text not returned,
another scene with poor lighting
standing where I would be least hurt,
saying words I do not mean,
words that go well with my rock heart-
staying true to my widely advertised image.

But I am not unfamiliar with wet cheeks and sleep that follows.
I have cried for minor cuts and burning bruises,
at the wrong weather, at the curbs on my freedom,
in the argument that felt like a arrow I can’t take out.
I have cried a bit more, a lot more
than these small disruptions in life deserve.

I wonder if they would have broken me,
would have shaken me like this
if all whom I have lost were beside me.
If everyone who hid their farewell
in their lemon scented “love you” cards
could stick by a little more,
would I have cared for
or cried for the rains that won’t stop?

As I scatter in wind
the feelings that I dare not keep.
I feel a soft kiss of understanding
asking me to stop.
If only I could.

“maintain my world” – Nayana Nair

and this sad premise is not a commentary
on how rotten the world is
but an observation
that we have a pattern that is hard to break.

that people often misinterpret the habit of one thing
as a proof of its superiority over everything else in world.

that words can move your heart,
sometimes for worse.
it can move you towards hatred, towards fear
towards anger that is not your own.

that the wish to be right
makes us forget how to wear someone else’s shoes
or their color or their nationality or their body.
a body that is no longer their own – now that
they are just a sack of blood, a sacrifice
to please our personal gods – our thirst of power
and the “better world” that no one else wants.

this sad premise is not a commentary
on how rotten the world is
for i do not have the courage to write the worst
or to imagine how i am right now walking
over faceless nameless beings to maintain my world
just like you.