“The step before silence” – Nayana Nair

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The abyss holds a celebration today.
There is a relentless sound
of chatter and song,
of footsteps walking out of sync
heading this way.

This way, this place
where we have always been stuck
a step before the end, a word before silence.
This desolate space,
where we live and breathe
and learn to never rely on lungs or love,
it is a festival here.

The balloons of hope
are learning to fly in this heavier air.
Small innocent hands are sculpting
something better than hell
out of all this fire and light.
So much is possible today.
Anything can be lived.

Today the empty cold sky looks down with envy
at all that should have been unbearable.
Today I look down at myself
and see something lovable in everything
that made my heart crumble once.

“Other people” – Nayana Nair

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I have to always stop myself
because my mind is always running simulations
of things the way they aren’t and will never be.
Yesterday, as I fixed myself a “meal for the raving hungerless”,
you came to my mind. It was your turn now.
You were dropped into a pool of color.
A color that you never had in yourself.
In this new dark room
you were now a person
who might open a fridge late at night,
see its light and think of me.
And stands there awashed in the cold light
till his head is filled
with a new noise and many old feelings.
Till his hands are forced to shut the door
only to find himself
in the comfort of a warm hell.
“warm hell”…as always
the grandness of my being and my absence sound hollow.
Nothing like this could be really so important.
Nothing of mine could cause such lovelorn ache.
I am running around by myself, in myself
wearing masks having these feelings,
having wants that make no sense.
I always wonder about other people in this world.
How the fabric of such thoughts, such hopeless feelings
never seem to suit their skin,
even though I know everyone suffers the same.
I wonder if my reality
is equally incomprehensible, unimaginable to others.

“What a hopeless sadness have I ended up facing in her love for truth”- Nayana Nair

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How false this all is.
Let’s imagine something truer.
Something true like returning to the pain.
I imagined another world devoid of distant fires.
A room filled with moonlight and sorrow.
Here I heard myself speak of the pain
that I cannot forget, that I cannot stop to seek.
I heard myself stupidly ramble about
the cold settled in my stomach, the snow
that had no winter to name as its mother,
how I tried to seek another face
that could make looking at my own bearable,
how I broke everything but me
because that was the only way to really hurt myself.
I heard her cry.
I asked her again and again
how much more truer should my pain be
for her love to become real,
for my love to count.
But I only heard her cry.

“Something Simple” – Nayana Nair

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The evening melts into my drink.
“I must burn something of myself here.
I must burn to remember this, to remember her.”,
I keep repeating this to myself as I stand beside the dying fire.
Suddenly my teeth ache for something cold to sink into.
I remember the orange color that used to spread on my tongue
as I drowned myself in the glass bottles of artificial citrus,
running away from the summer that I had waited for.

I walk away from the fireplace,
putting a bit more distance
from the monster that ruled the mantle,
relived to have found something simple to talk about.
I sit beside her and speak in my human voice.
I tell her of this small thought,
this small honest flaw of mine she can play with.

She asks “was that how your childhood was like?”
I could have answered “that’s how my life is and will be”,
but it was more easy to ask “what color was your tongue then?”
She recites from memory a poem.
A poem on the beauty of transparent things,
on the cruelty of everything
that own you without leaving stains,
without giving you a chance to scrub them out of your soul.
She smiled and thus handed me something
that I can consider hers for a while.

“No other reason” – Nayana Nair

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There is an empty blue seat on the bus.
You can always find them – the empty seats,
they swim in abundance in front of your eyes
when you have nowhere to go,
no hurry, no person to reach.
But to find them as you rush in and push past
the people you don’t know
holding the warmest hand in this world
is a miracle I guess.

But today is not the day for a miracle.
At least no old miracles are to arrive.
The buses they rush past
as if they have never known me,
to be fair I don’t remember
the buses like I remember people;
to be fair roads are meant for the rush.
But the cars don’t mean you,
the slow bicycles don’t mean you;
the buses that keep arriving,
the last seat always empty-
to be honest, even they don’t mean you.
You are just dragged as an additional part
as an extension to a feeling that once made me whole.

You are added as an afterthought.
I only look for you in this world
when I have no place to go, no one to blame,
when no other reason comes to my mind
for the reason my heart has grown cold,
for my eyes seeking rain,
when I see people sit back and look out
from the window that once framed us as one.
Without feelings, without missing anything,
I think of you only to fill that space.

“These Roles” – Nayana Nair

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You smile
as you place the plates on table,
as you serve meals made of fire
in front of my body growing cold.

You smile
as you drag your feet
from the threshold of the door,
as you run towards the world,
as you swim back towards me.
Knowing, always knowing
that I also feel the weight of this water on us.
So you smile a bit more
and always rush to me to as if you are the lost child
when you also know the muddled one is only me.

I feel your doubts soften in my embrace
thinking of all that i have been and all that I ever could be,
all that you will ever love and never need.
And in my turn, I summon a smile thinking of what you are,
of the gentleness of your soul, of this genuine heart.
And just like our hands that are never still
trying to mimic and catch up to the heart of the other,
we are forever melting between these roles.
And because it is so,
because even this small me can save you with a smile.
I can love you even when you get wounded in my hold.
I can love you even with a guilty heart.

“Everything in me seems to be made to hope” – Nayana Nair

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I stand in the shadow
of the great palms
of the red tiles that grow out of its soul
I stand watching the world go cold.

The broad roads of this city made of dust,
the river made out the minds, out of dreams –
this is my home,
till I learn to break away from its spell.

My tongue feels heavy
with the growing names I am supposed to learn,
with all the things I must not be to be loved by them.
I am almost expecting new things.
“this is a good time to run away”, says my ghost-from-the-city-of-sea.

My ghost-from-the-mountains-green laughs
at how desperately I want to be understood, to be seen
and yet how furiously I try to erase everything of myself.

Everything in me seems to be made to be hidden.
I hide my trembling fingers.
I hide my desperation and the mess it leaves in its wake.
I prepare myself for another show.
The show of trying. My trying is so beautiful
in how it is always hoping to be disappointed.

I wait under the neon signs of misspelled words
and think about the storm that will never arrive.
I wait with hope.
I wait with arms fed up of trying.

“prompts” – Nayana Nair

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i think of parasols.
i think of wearing my miniature body made of colorful frills,
holding my own soft innocence,
not like something that can be and will be lost
but like something that will never be destroyed,
like something one never gives a second thought about.
i think of never knowing fatigue, never resting.
my skin only knowing the sun.
i think of classrooms fitted with air coolers
i think of home and its beautiful cold floor
i think of places i knew i could always return to
once i was done with my playing, once i felt my hunger.
i think of the time that i lived not knowing not understanding
the appeal or the need of shadows.

i think of stones.
their small happy weight in my hands.
the deftness of my fingers and my wrist as i played.
my palm holding them together,
scattering them, collecting them.
my palm feeling the coldness of the evening,
knowing time through them.
i think of the stones that grew on the sides of broken roads
beside my source of earliest magic
-the touch-me-nots, the insects made of velvet,
and the lost fireflies.
i grew up in a broken forest
wearing stones as brittle as me.

i think of fruits.
their colors that i loved
even when i didn’t like what they were.
they tasted too mellow, too tame,
too transient to me.
their juices just carved a bit more hunger
in my stomach. my stomach that was already learning
to ask for more and more.
i carved their colors in my notebook.
i dreamt of drawing them up on my skin.
this was before i knew what a tattoo was,
before i learnt the dangers of carving things in you
that you can’t possibly love.

“I think of you” – Nayana Nair

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On this new morning, as this new cold finds my old bones,
I think of you.

Today when your name surfaces on the silent lake
I do not row towards it, I do not push it down.

I stare and breathe as the water moves
you and me.

I stare, without making my knuckles red,
without holding onto you or myself.

The mist of time and the storms of words-not-meant
they rise and settle and we part,

just as we rehearsed,
just as we have performed a thousand times in life.

I look back and see only a sunrise of a color you’d like.
I float a thank you, a broken oar towards you,

a hope for your life and some peace for mine.
All that I have loved has been eaten away by time.

Your body, your mind is now broken
into thousand scattered restless dots of dust

so when I think of you, in my mind
you are the life of the light. So unlike your presence in my life.

You remain that even as I lose my grasp
over the meaning and texture of love.

I forget what we were really like.
So I often get to miss you. You often make me smile.

“with the right words, i can hide my unreasonable yearning for you” – Nayana Nair

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frozen time, open window

a cry of deer stuck in my throat
along with your name

the white spotless landscape of my heart
breaks again,

the summer keeps evaporating

my real smile surfaces and floats
like a dying fish, waiting for

needy hands, hungry lips,
hot oil, cold plate, and a decent death

the radio that plays on repeat
every song i hate,

the fork that traces the outline of my eyes

this empty life, my clean small bones
lying in the sunlit backyard of your world.