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“All the boxes are checked” – Nayana Nair

It hurts a bit more naturally
and less violently,
now that betrayal has a range,
has not one but many faces.
Now I need not figure what I did wrong.

All the boxes are checked:

family, family, friends, not friends,
thank-god-we-were-never-friends friends,
i-am-sad-i-stood-up-for-you friends,
people who marked my skin with their name
to own me
while i slept in their arms
(another golden cup added to collection of people hard to get,
people who won’t die if thrown away or left alone)
loves whom i am tied to,
the ones who demand smile and sometimes a bit more,
always a bit more.

They know the feel of my hand and love how it heals.
They hold my hand in their sleep
in their nightmares, in the storms of passion
that they need a person to aim at.
They break my wrist
in my nighmares, in my awareness of my fruitless love.
When I am at verge of crying,
they tell me to not give them a hard time
and to act like the refuge that I am supposed to be.

So I tell them “I love you”
and this lie hurts a little less everyday
as my heart becomes the stone pedestal
all my loves stand on.

“the broken-hearted” – Nayana Nair

the broken-hearted know no love
for anything or anyone
that is not the one breaking their heart.
they see through you.
even when they say hello
they almost get your name wrong,
you can tell it from the look in their eyes.
they drink and fill every room with songs
that were not so hard to bear
when they were just noises that radio made.
they tell you in their drunken stupor that no one cares.

they say no one cares
even when you call the cab, drag them home,
hurt your hand in the struggle,
scrape more than skin, lose more than patience,
leave them on a bed not made
for weeks probably, you don’t want to guess or know.
so you close the door, climb down the stairs
shut down the part of mind reserved for them,
but remember how they have been liking and sharing
too many dark poems, how those poems
speak in their voice in your mind.
so you climb back, remove every blade and knife
and realize it is just the beginning.
you feel exhausted by the inexhaustible list of things
that can help end a life,
that can serve as a full stop.

so you sleep on the couch
or pretend to,
till your head hurts from pretending.
now that you want something true
you call your love
and tell him that you don’t know
how to handle this,
how to sleep and yet keep an eye
on the one whom you suspect is waiting,
waiting for you to close your eyes for a second
to make an exit that doesn’t exist.
he tells you that they are beyond hope
at the same time
he forwards articles that could give you hope.
he tells you to sleep tight knowing you won’t.

when you wake up at the sound of tears
being microwaved for breakfast,
you see another day that won’t be right.
you see them trying not to break
yet breaking and abandoning everything around them
so that their hurt can be felt by the world.
they look at you and smile
while they pour another glass
toasting “another drink for the world that doesn’t care,
another drink for the loveless me.”

the broken-hearted know no love
for anything or anyone
that is not the one breaking their heart.

“your desire would burn away” – Nayana Nair

i read this on a torn sheet of paper
that was lying, waiting (possibly for me?)
in that empty hall, that on a normal day has never known empty.
and being who i am, this again had to be an easy answer from a higher power.
being who i was i believed that the confusion in my mind
rocked every throne in heaven.
so again i assumed as i said i never would,
that these must be the words that could solve me.
never mind the context, never mind the book or it’s title.
there is so much missing and this paper still remains
it might mean something,
it must mean something,
everything had to mean something for me to somehow go on.
it said “your desire would burn away,
the moment you let it have your words”
so i uttered your name with the place you have in my heart.
i mustered up enough courage to speak of the place i wanted in you.
it sounded dubious and shallow.
it sounded so much like me
that i thanked myself for not saying it to you.
i made a clean tear through that piece of paper
for being too right and being too wrong
and walked away wanting now to become a better vessel,
the person on whose lips these words would really sound the way they felt
i walked away waiting for my mind and your heart
to become good enough for those feelings.

nothing burns away.

“5 mins away” – Nayana Nair

As she places her coffee cup on the table,
her eyes sting and ribs hurt
to see the beautiful vase of her life
dearly holding onto the oldest withered flowers of her life.
Flowers were not meant to do this,
she knew.
She also knew
she need not be like this,
things need not be this way.
The market is just 5 minutes away.
When she has enough money to buy new gardens
why lament on handful of roses,
why think about people she can now never love.
But the decision to forget or remember
was never in her hands.
And now she cannot step out and face the world –
the same world who witnessed her pride and confidence
in another human whose faults she refused to see till the end,
the one she called her love.
She felt she owed answers to every one-
for loving the wrong one,
for loving the wrong way,
for seeking a new love,
for saying yes to someone better than her,
for her dissatisfaction
that eats through every heart she tries to love.
She didn’t want to go out and apologize
for wanting.

“Our Game” – Nayana Nair

if i could understand you somehow
i am sure my feelings would make sense

something in you is at odds with you
something in you makes me hate you

but as you pretend that you are stronger than your monster
i pretend that my love is bigger than any wrong that you can do to me

that’s our game
that’s our love

i pretend even when i hold you through your nightmares
i pretend even when i realize i am weaker than my love

for when you take my name in between the storm of your sobs
i realize i can keep walking to you

through my own breakdown
through everything

i can keep walking towards you
as long as you take my name

“Dissociate” – Nayana Nair

my other head
bleeds and falls off
as does my bloody knife

i can no longer call myself a victim of life
now that my sin is set in stone

few more hours for the sun to rise
few more hours i must bear the company of my face
in few more hours the world will love me
now that i look like them and kill like them
they will surely love me
for having one less brain and one less mouth

my eyes look back at me
not accusingly but with pity
of what have i done to myself
but i dare not cry
and act as if i am the one being wronged
my tears- i’ll be burying them under the red petunias
that you loved

my hearts beats furiously
as if running towards something, perhaps an end
end of me? end of her?
it feels wrong saying “her”, “you”
as if a knife is all it takes to set things conveniently wrong

i close the door and leave my open mouth
and questioning eyes on the kitchen table
i break a nail and break my heart
as i dig two graves for myself

“Folds” – Nayana Nair

You are gone
and I try to hold the spoon like you used to.
I chew my food with my left molars as you did.
The ghosts that I have wronged, that I have forgotten
now include half of my teeth, teeth you would have never used.

You are gone
and you are happy (probably).
So I memorize name and phone number
of your every friend,
I recall the fondness you had for them.
I wear your feelings when I meet them,
I wear your feelings even when they won’t fit me.
I wonder if they noticed how I was spilling at some places,
how I was non existent in other folds-
folds that used to hold you so well.

You are gone
and I am gone (or that’s what I think).
I am my work, I am my songs,
I am the adjectives you made for me,
I am the report cards, I am the dust that settles on it,
I am the afternoon TV shows, I am the language I don’t understand.
I am what I am fond of.
I am mostly just you.

You are gone
and I fear
there is no one that can
stop me from growing
into you.

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