“Silent Dazzle” – Nayana Nair

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The words are brittle
the ones they ask me to eat.
I was told this is how you forget
but it really doesn’t work.
It always leaves a mark on me,
claiming a bit more of me.
My throat would have shined,
would have dazzled the world,
if they could see the shards of glasses that
are stuck inside, that decorate my wind pipe.
Only I know how my voice and my hunger
makes its way out of this maze.
Like the thief in the movies
avoiding the lines of red,
I move within my body
slowly, carefully,
afraid if what I might encounter next.
Next to this fear… words and speaking
and performing in front of this world
seems easiest part of existing.
My words pushed out into the world
are always wounded and broken.
And they lie on the ground,
in the hands that feel strange,
already losing half of their bodies,
their meaning already taking its last breath.

To speak is to see myself die in the hands of other
and yet be spared, only to live a bit more,
only to utter the next word.

Another piece of glass added to my collection.
Another drop of blood shimmering at its end.

“All this for nothing” – Nayana Nair

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And this is the sorry sorry state
in which I find myself
after everything is done.
The checklist can now be torn
and thrown away in this trash can
that sits like a queen in this empty street.
And I sit like an attendant beside it
filled with vomit and dread
and thoughts of “now what? now what?
now what?” circling my head
like vultures who prey on words born out of
insecurities. Insecurities that should have died long ago
if not for the people who love you
and who need you to have these flaws
to feel comfortable around you.

They are so convinced that they will drown
that the only thing they promise you is a death together
and it is actually very romantic…
to see them take a knife and peel of a layer of their skin
and hand it back to you so that you can do the same to them,
so you can smile at each other, convincing each other,
that this is what everyone does,
this is what goes on in everyone’s life,
that this is somehow normal,
that this is love.
Because it was still better than every other hollow feeling
that you get from this world
that would only leave you wanting for god-knows-what.

This is the road of betterment though.
So things have changed a lot. I don’t handle knives anymore.
I don’t leave my body unattended in hands of strangers.
I don’t curse at people who tell me that I need help
(though I still feel that I should give them an earful).
I have forced my way out of that life.
I have quit my demons. I have quit lOvE.
I have quit things that hurt me with the promise of life.
It is almost the end.

It was supposed to be fine now. But now,
no matter how much I ring the door of better life,
no one answers.
It is night and I hear voices calling me back.
There are people out there that I have promised to die with
and they will be here for me anytime.
And if I see them, I will probably walk into their arms
and all this will be for nothing.
I know I shouldn’t be crying over this.
If anything the world of sanity
seems to be as unreliable and as irresponsible
as my friends who fill their head with smoke
and drive into the nearest wall.

“I wonder whom you look at” – Nayana Nair

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You remain as the trace of green
under my dead fingernails.
You remain
even when I don’t.
And so it means I am also alive
even now
in a heart
maybe yours
or maybe someone else’s,
someone whom I won’t ever love,
or someone whom I can’t love again.
Someone whose existence and heart
I probably won’t ever know.
We all share the same fate, don’t we?

There is a forest of feelings that will never be returned,
there are flowers that could never bloom in love,
here are the words that are uttered only in that space.

Here is me – holding onto these words.
Here is me – looking at you.

“The truth doesn’t matter to me” – Nayana Nair

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And when asked if my words could be relied on,
if what I wrote was true.
I answered, “My life doesn’t know truth
as much as it knows love.
But when it comes to love, my words fails me,
I fail myself, before anyone else.
Failing is nothing to be proud of
and failing in love is like filling oneself
with doubts and faults that never existed before.
I can never be myself again.
My standing up or my lying defeated
may make a difference to the world,
my truth might matter to the everyone else
but not to me.

To me, what matters is already lost.
Now I just get to live a life of pretense –
play house, play life, play hearts
with people who seek truth in wrong places- in me.
If I asked if you can be relied on,
if you know the meaning of words you speak.
You might answer yes to keep my heart, to be better at love.
You might answer no and I will know it to be true even as I smile.
But nothing you say actually matters
the world will end and we will end long before that
and I will end before you-
because of you
or in spite of you.

You might turn out to be my last true love
or you might be the last nail in my heart.
But if I write a poem on eternal love
of someone whose shadows roughly look like ours,
know it is a lie we will never live up to,
but also know it is what I saw in us
even if it cannot be called truth,
even if it won’t be us.

“Tomorrow I will be complete” – Nayana Nair

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I saw my shadow
cowering in the corner of the derelict store room.
I could not bear to sit down beside it,
so I closed the door and waited outside.

Even as my eyes looked at the world,
I was aware of the one crying inside.
Even as I answered every question of the world
and laughed most appropriately at the words
that were said with with intent of making me smile,
all I could think of was “when would it be my turn?”.

I kept losing track of the doors I had closed.
I kept growing new shadows.
Against all my hopes,
all of them found their way to every grief possible
and eventually found a way to hide and cry somewhere new.

All I did meanwhile is to
wait for my turn to cry,
wait for someone to close the door and stand guard,
till I find and rearrange
the pieces of flesh remaining in my chest
to look something like a heart.

I kept repeating “Tomorrow, I will become a better person.
Tomorrow, I will be complete.
Tomorrow, I will realize I have always been complete.”
I kept repeating these words even when I knew that
anything and anyone that separates from me
is lost forever.
There doesn’t exist a way back to me in this world.

“now it is my turn” – Nayana Nair

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her touch – always a procession
of feelings that won’t leave her heart,
of everything she doesn’t have or even want words for.

i hold back her hand and it all quiets down-
the waves, the death, the crashing planes,
and the flying roofs.
the cities in her mind grow silent.
they- the tiny inhabitants, the ugly parasites
in her heart,
they look at me as if i am an enemy,
and yet smile at me, as if i am one of them.

they wait for her to smile at this, which she does.
she tells me she is fine. in the same tone
in which i use to tell her the same lie.
she leans in and touches my cheeks.
now it is my turn to go silent.
now my cities and their helpless monsters wait
to see where she leads this madness to.

“Someday. I believed, someday you would…” – Nayana Nair

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Because I realized I had a bit more time
than what I had estimated,
I put down my newly purchased book
on “beautiful ends that have changed the color of sky
for a few minutes, if not more”.

I called back home
and told the stranger on phone my name,
so they would not mistake me for a hope that has come alive.
That is not how ends should be put in place.

But even then, even after taking such precautions
I couldn’t help but speak like their father who never looked them in eyes,
like their friend who walked away and never stopped, never returned,
like the silence of the night when they told me
I must make up for all the wrongs that still burns their heart.

I just wanted to tell them one true thing about me
one real thing they could hold in their mind, in the place of me.
But I held the phone tightly in my hands
and said the words that matter in this world- every word that is not about me.

For those who are always melting into themselves (unlike me)
that is probably the only right I could do.
Unlike me, who is just a ball of fur, all ‘I’s standing against the wind.
Unlike me, whose aches look like bubblegum and Sunday dress worn wrong.
I don’t like me. I wanted to say those words.
But they are already the first words in every chapter on ends.
They would end up knowing anyway.

I heard them utter a replacement of “love you”
and just nodded along as if they could see me.
They probably could, their love was unreasonable like that,
just like my love.
I ended the call and started at the last sentence I wanted to finish-
“Someday. I believed, someday you would…”
There were so many ways to end that sentence. Choose one ailment.
Choose one person to become and suffer as.
Give them one reason for the life suffering they are to begin.

I saw them sitting on an old sofa, watching the repeat telecast
of shows that make no sense. This time I felt they were waiting for me.
I felt they wanted my chaos. They wanted my hundred storms sitting beside them
to feel safe, to feel at ease.
I felt they would know I have come back for them
and maybe for a second would want to hold me as theirs, as a thanks.

“Someday. I believed, someday you would see me as a human who loved you too much.
I wanted to be much more than that. But the only answer that eases the knots in me
is your face untouched by tears of my name.”

Today it seems there would be no beautiful ends.
Only ugly continuation. Only you and me sitting and waiting
for this show to make sense.

“For this hell keeps me from breaking for bigger and worse questions” – Nayana Nair

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“We must break our bones and lives
to create another spark –
this is what we owe to this world”
the voice on other side of my dear old wall
told me, told us all again.
And because we must do something about it,
we kept ordering another heart, another mindset,
another way, another “desperate somehow”
till our hands never felt comfortable with anything that is not new.
Would we stop, could we stop
if someone told us
that we are more than our failures?
I wonder even if I could believe those words
I wonder if such words mean much in this world.

Even if there was another place
to start a life that doesn’t run over me every morning
on the tracks that keep changing their shape and place,
tracks where I am just a new layer of metal, another layer of blood
that won’t give up, that cannot die yet,
saying hello to the ones who wake up beside me
as if death is another sleep for which they cannot lose time.
Even in that place, I feel I would suffer trying to define
and find my place even if no one asks me to.

“It took me years, it took me you, to find a truth that was not a selfish reflection of me” – Nayana Nair

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Once she had a bite of my fate
she became a restless ghost.
She looked like all my ugly wishes staring back at me
but she had a beautiful smile so it was more bearable to my eyes
than to wear my own desperate words on my unsightly lips.
She looked out of place, but in a good way
as if she was the invitation to some place where my light won’t die.
Even in her voice it was my own words
that asked me to leave, that told me to love for the last time.
As my shrieks danced in the empty corridors
she planted a seed of eucalyptus in my palm,
she covered my hand with hers,
and covered our hands in dirt.
She told me how, for years, only the smell of eucalyptus
could calm her mind,
it made her believe that there was a gentle cure
to every disease that hurt her heart.
As she spoke such words that were not extraordinarily sad
I felt my spine become soft.
I dreamt of her leaning against my back
relieved of her every pain
and maybe it was the only beautiful wish
that has ever been born from my heart.
Once I touched the shadow of her heart
I grew and bloomed and learnt to be the one
who waits, heals,
loves, and breaks without bounds.

“Saving only December” – Nayana Nair

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All the spring’s color
have been molten and poured
into the broken casts of summer.
They seep into ground, into autumn leaves
that falls in every space between you and me.
They sing something for us again
as we shiver and stop ourselves from giving in,
as you hold back from saying every word
that can fix me (at least for now).
I google how to kill feelings
that don’t let me eat or speak or smile.
I bite my lips trying to bury the words
that would shine in your colors, if you were to look at me.
If you were to look at me, you would be only sad
to know how unchangeable my heart is.

You tear sheet after sheet, rip them out of calendar
and hand them to me.
We burn 11 months, saving only December, because you never know.
There is a knock on our door, someone who is lost
brings in the chilled wind, the fine dust of snow,
and voices celebrating something we will never understand.
I wait for you to come back and settle into you warm sleep.
I sit at the foot of the sofa, and think about
the one time I dreamt of death.
I was looking out of window waiting for you
and you came back with new pair of eyes that never settled on me,
and when I was almost about to cry
you moved towards me with a dying sparrow in your trembling hands.
It lay on its side with its soft violent gasp for breath
that were perfectly in sync with mine.