“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.

“If I Keep Walking” – Nayana Nair

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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.

“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.