“nothing more, nothing else.” – Nayana Nair

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the last time i was young,
i was as young as the numbers i colored
on his last birthday card.
i remember the burning of birds
that followed our song of hope.

since then nothing was the same.
the innocent and the sweet
were the monsters that we killed
in the forests that grew in our house.
we killed a lot. we killed plenty.

hours swelled into years into decades
at every tear i tried to hide.
everything i tried to hide
grew as me, grew into me.

he grew into half a monster of kindness.
he devolved into an angel wielding my fear with smile.
it was the truest of love, without any doubt.
it was the only love of the world. the only one i would ever have.
knowing that helped. it helped me wish for nothing more, nothing else.

i grew my claws into the gentlest shapes.
i grew every contradiction in subtle ways.
i grew them nonetheless. that is how i hid.
in the light of his skin, my eyes learnt to love darkness
and yet when the day came, he asked me
to become someone from his memory,
someone untouched from the poison of our world.

he would pester me like a child
to show once again the trick of undoing,
to show the skin i hid from his fear,
to show the heart that he cannot accept.

“gentle things always begged for my fury”
he had said that once.
i remember the threat that lurked under his voice,
in that moment. in that moment,
i remember curling into myself in time,
before he learnt i was all that he couldn’t stand.
i remember choosing him foolishly.
i remember the violence of being chosen.

“what has changed”
i ask in my newest disinterested voice
and he smiled as if he was really not here.
his eyes looked at me as if i was already long gone,
as if he knew my every truth.
he reached out his hand and instead of new blood
i felt his new breaking.

“for a minute i am tempted to believe in this world”
he said in the voice we used to sing all our songs in.
and because i knew better. because i knew fear.
because i couldn’t lose my hidden flesh of hope
to entertain his momentary half-hearted wish to reform
i replied “there is nothing to believe.
there is only blood and flesh and lifeless spoils of war in me.
do you want to be free of me now?
why are asking for things i can never be, never give?”

i feigned hurt and looked at him
till he had to look away and laugh.
his laugh was filled, was welling
with something unfamiliar.
he looked in every direction but mine
as if letting me breathe in the relief of not being found
and the breathe out the disappointment of losing something unreachable again.
but i didn’t dare to breathe.

“Feeding life” – Nayana Nair

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The crumbles of the day are out of my hand.
They fly towards the birds
who now only know how to sit and wait.

It is morning
and the birds have been dragged
to these grounds of freedom
again.
Again they have been given this abundance of sky,
again they will realize only the abundance of their own fear.

I color their feathers with the dyes of attention.
A friend of mine force feeds them something
that tastes very similar to the sweetness of a tender care.
But they cry and choke and try to wriggle out of his torn hands.
They are much more gentle on me.
My tears never dry,
so they are afraid of me in more softer ways.

I stupidly burn words and meanings into everything we do.
I move my hands on their feathers,
over this soft life that sees me as another bother.
I feel him smile as a kiss of blood blooms on his cheeks
as a beak stills, as they stare back at him.
They wait for him to stop smiling.
They wait for his love
to be withered by their tests of violence.
They wait for a long time.

It is evening.
It is again a moment of miracles
that never quite happen till they actually do.
We wait something to take flight.
We wait for life to find its legs.
We wait for a long time.

“I hope you are as stupid as me” – Nayana Nair

.

It takes an eternity.
It takes the courage of fighting
thousand bloodless wars.
It takes the the cruelty
of scratching through my own wounded skin,
breaking my own ribs that were made to protect
the soft things that keeps me alive.
It takes stupidity and few seconds
for my fingers to reach your lips.

You look up. Your gaze says something
that I do not understand.
Such beautiful hopes and possible disasters
come alive in your face.
My fear comes to the surface of my eyes
swimming in the black oil
glistening and waiting to burn.

“how it pained to part. how beautiful it is to meet.” – Nayana Nair

.

the eyes made of glass stare at us
with its kind open clutches held out.
the eyes made of forgetfulness
and remembrance in equal measure –
they are beautiful.
they sing of the most beautiful fear,
the most hurting hope.
and we sing back.
me and my brothers –
we sing like we have never known death
as we hand over our hidden skin folded in half.

folded in half, we sleep in its arm
and we invent love, invent warmth,
invent meaning.
we hear it breathing.
we hear our lung collapse.
we have brought something to life again.
this machine of fear and ends –
it breathes, it tears up and cries.
i feel an ocean flowing into my eyes.
the suffocation ends.
and just like that there is
nothing of us left with us.

somewhere we will open our eyes
and stare at lips that sing of giving,
we will feel our hollow insides echo
with the memory of our own lightest steps
we will look
at the saddest sweetest children of this world
and we’ll know ourselves through it again.
we will know of the ocean in us
when it leaves our eyes.
and just like that we will be all that
we couldn’t bear to live as.

“i cry blood and drink blood. i live another day. still shamelessly wanting.” – Nayana Nair

.

I am a fearful soul.
I can only hold the hands
that can break under my grip,
hearts that do not know
of their power over me.

I fear, no one would believe
in my fragile nature,
nor pity my deteriorating state
once I start breaking others
before eventually breaking myself.

My breaking is not my secret
even if it is an act that is remembered
only by my own hands, my own skin.
It remains a fabled tale
of the last death without spectators.

It lives to dissolve into the stronger truths,
it dissolves into the concrete results
that are now engraved with names
that were breathing just yesterday.

I walk to them
with cruel empty hands,
with loud disrespectful steps,
with brazen breath daring to still flow.

I take their name with my own,
with a sadness,
as if some part of me
has died with them as well.
As if I know anything about dying.

“Love is like that for everyone” – Nayana Nair

.

I washed my face
and with the water dripping
from my messy bangs onto the dress
that I never planned to ruin
I stared at the ant on the wall.
I listened to the sound of you
falling in love again just across the wall.

I held in the meaning of this
along with my breath.
I blew at the ant wondering
if I can be a force to be reckoned with
a hurricane for someone else.
Maybe not. I felt a sense of camaraderie
with the legs of prey today.
So maybe not today.

Or maybe never.
I feel you would laugh
even if I tried to be one.
I feel a storm. I always feel it at my back
whenever I turn away from you.
I wish I could fear for you, worry about you
in those moments
and not think about the knives
that leave your hand
always to find me. Though you say
you never meant it to be that way.

I fear most – the words of love from your lips,
because they are never for me,
but always said within my earshot
And though you say love is like that for everyone,
but do you really fear the same things as me?
Do you pray to the gods of bathroom ants
for forgetfulness, for survival
as if love is force that will always be against you?

“The roads that I promised never to walk on” – Nayana Nair

.

There are so many things that I wait to see again
and none of them will do my heart any good.
There are mountains and flags and footsteps
all settled into the sleep, lost in this busy blue.
Some call it drowning. Some call it the end of things.
Some wait for it to rise and become the lonely peak once again.
Some like me float my boat on this ocean
all dressed in sad flashy optimism
with my poor eyesight and a grainy foresight
ready to cry.
Some like me wait for the things they fear,
wait for the things that break, that tear.

All beautiful things of past are now buried
under a common grave with no stone, no epitaph.
I can’t tell apart my love from theirs.
My growing years, my diminishing heart,
the roads that I promised never to walk on,
the hands I promised never to leave-
they call it theirs.
They hold it in their arms
whenever after years of aimless floating
their boat gets caught by a shadow
that wants them.

Meanwhile I am afraid of holding back anything
that tries to stop me. Every pull frightens me
that I might love something that is not mine
that I will never know if this happiness is just
my sickness of water, sickness of search and waiting.
I can never look anyone in the eye
in the fear of seeing someone else’s tears,
in the fear of seeing my own corruptibility reflected.

And yet I can’t seem to end this search
for there are so many things I fear I will never feel again
if I end it all here.
Though they happen to be the same things
that I am incapable of believing in ever again.

“Come and Kneel and Dream” – Nayana Nair

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Come and kneel here my child.
This is our new lord, our new god.

Come here and learn his face,
learn all things he doesn’t like to see in us.

Promise me that you will never try
to be a reflection of him, never hold him in your heart.

Even as you bow to him, to powers of cruelty
repeat to yourself again and again,

that no god ever killed freedom; no savior,
no beacon of light, no provider of grain owns your soul.

This is all that I have managed to do so far-
silently witnessing and persevering.

Cowardly, I have survived without giving in, without opposing,
without saving, without killing anyone, protecting just you and me.

To bow my head with tears in my eyes
is the only thing I could do with the strength the new gods left in me.

I do not know what to ask from you, what to teach you
but somehow you must outlive all those who prey on all things good.

My crimes of silence and tolerance leaves me no right
to speak of peace or love or future

but I feel fear and hope thinking of you.
You – who has never seen the world with open sky and kinder hearts

will either dream of a strength drawn out of blood of others
or you might just realize the value of everything that people call weak now.

Come and kneel here my child, in front of all those who teach us
to build our own prisons and build them bigger thrones.

All those who hold our lives hostage binding us with our own fear-
look at them and imagine a world where they don’t exist; not even within you.

“Chorus” – Nayana Nair

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Sometimes when I forget to live, to see ahead,
I find myself back again in the house of wood
beside my child made of sand.
He looks like me most of the days,
sometimes she looks like him.
They are often speaking like chorus of brokenness.

Some days they tell me that they are not mine,
that they are not children, that I am not me.
I ask them
then why do I feel the way I do?
why do I hurt the way I hurt?
And hearing this
they become the sand that I can only cry upon.
They don’t come alive
until another time.

But until that, I must be me,
and see things not being themselves.
The sand that was a life a second ago,
it melts, it grows wings
and opens its eyes and burns as sun.

Sometimes it opens it eyes and starts crying in my arms.
It tears my skin, it makes me smile
all my dying parts wake up
but in a world where no such beautiful haunting exists
where I have no reasons to cry
only tears that never stop.

“As if out of a dream” – Nayana Nair

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The leaves flew back to their trees.
The fruits became never eaten, never ripened, never born.
The papers on my desk forgot how to exist for themselves.
For a moment I feared maybe this is how
the past love, the healed hurt returns.
But it wasn’t so.

That day, on that bleak morning
you looked at me
and my heart learned to believe again.
My lips reached out to learn your name.
Your name, as if out of a dream, settled on my shoulders
and told me I can rest.

On that morning, that should have been like the hundred others,
I learnt that in spite of my bitterness and my disappointment
I wanted to believe in this world.
And even in my denial I was waiting for a moment like this.

A moment in which my broken and incomplete heart
is returned to its original state of trust, as if by a miracle,
by your gentle touch of understanding.
I feared calling it love, when I knew that it already was.
No other word would suffice.