“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.

“on the questionable ways to feel alive” – Nayana Nair

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another bird breaks into light
and the someone applauds.
a fire is born in the clouds.
a wind filled with cries
flows in through windows of happy castles.
everything painful is now essential.

i sign my writing with assurances
that it is not too much, this much i can handle,
this much i can live.
i stand tall, i persist in light
with the heartiest smiles
all the time planning on the next crack
that i dream to give birth to,
the next tear that i will paint on myself…
all the while knowing there is something wrong.

something is wrong
with the way i live and the way i feel,
with the things that i see and want.
but has knowing ever helped.
knowing just makes me more reckless.
knowing makes me want to fly again
even though i know
i will be shot down by my own arrows.

“Painting water lilies” – Nayana Nair

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There was a lot of burning that day, I remember.
The black skies still cling
to the corner of my eyes.
But I don’t know fire as intimately as you do.
When I flip through your notebooks,
I only find essays made of water.
The color from my nails seep into the page.
They find the most fragile words,
the true and weak words,
words with a faint crack
similar in the shape
to the one that adorns your heart.
My nails, my cheeks become pale
as all my colors flow out of me,
as if by some urgent need,
to bloom over these words, over you,
to aid you in your hiding,
to shield you silently.

“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.

“Stay Away” – Nayana Nair

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Descend here
in the this pit made of fire.
Come and die here
with me
and then, only then
I will believe in your love.

I know I am made of fire
and you are nothing but wood.
I know you will burn,
I know it hurts. I can see it in your face
and that’s the appeal.
It shows that its meant to be.

There is only this love that I want.
It need not be from you.
It need not be like this.
But now that we are here
and since life is short,
I can make do with you.

I can make do with love
that looks at me
as if I have lost my mind,
as if I could be better than this.
I wonder if you could reason out all this,
I have given up long ago.
I won’t be surprised if you choose yourself
over this madness.
In fact I am sort of counting upon it.
Save yourself. Stay away.
And now don’t ever talk about love so easily.

“Paintings of springs and fault lines. Sketches of lost mothers.” – Nayana Nair

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She sings.
An echo, a heartbreak maybe,
something piercing, something invisible,
something not ours-
this is all that we are allowed feel
(as long as we want to feel).

She is everywhere.
She sleeps, buried under the heavy weight
of water and floating globes of life and
drowning boats and oil.
She is everywhere.

Yet her voice outlines every step we take.
Every dying step is a step lost to her name.
Running away is beautiful in this city.
The traces of our writhing, crawling, changing bodies,
painted on every stone, every wall,
doesn’t let us forget the dust of the world
we crushed by our hands,
doesn’t let us forget the word “home”.

All our journeys branch from her heart.
We sit huddled with our feet in water,
with our hands over fires dying out
and talk of her. Always her.

“Pamphlets” – Nayana Nair

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In the age of breaking,
all my classmates
swarmed to the dead pools in summer.
They ironed their skin with the heat I couldn’t bear.
With a smudged color on their lips,
their never resting pupils,
the pamphlets of their anxious laughter
that they passed to each other,
the crumpled remains they walked upon
they looked like imitations of greek statues
and love stories gone wrong.
They looked like people who joke about drowning and dying
and the love that killed them in their sleep.
“They are too young to know about love and pain”
someone said on TV,
even as we built an ugliest everlasting fire
out of the promises the world couldn’t keep.

“May be the only right in the world” – Nayana Nair

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I didn’t think that
I ever wanted to do such a thing.
But then it has a sense of it’s own,
a logic that keeps changing its shape-

it is wings of warmth, the fire in heart.
It is the fire that you want to get away from,
the endless trail of ashes that follows you.
It is your thought and voice and life spent away
only for the sake of a fire to burn even more of you.
On some days the fire is too magnificent, too beautiful.
On those days I feel it was right,
may be the only right in the world,
that everything of mine should belong to this light.

Is this how gods are made?
Is this how loves are lost?
Is this how I create a life
that I can’t bear to look at?
But can I abandon it all?

“Kissing your cold lips” – Nayana Nair

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With his cold shoulder
melting into mine,

with his metal teeth and lips
soldered to the my mortal butter paper skin,

I trade his heavy existence
with my slowing heart.

He becomes a little more human, little more weak.
as I become a little less cold, little less teary eyed.

We both become a little bit of everything –
a mess of feelings and colors sitting out in cold storms

pretending to dig for ancient meaning on each other’s skin,
pretending to be furnaces and burning lighthouses.

“Windows that cannot be closed” – Nayana Nair

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Slowly I plucked each tooth of mine,
I tore my tongue out
and he called me beautiful.

He called me beautiful
so I left my clothes roll down.
I let my skin, my guards, my skeleton
touch his floor.
I sat there watching him
build a fire out of it all.
The fire was too cold for me
so I didn’t smile.

He told me he only speaks the language of rough,
that his heart beats and falls slower than the rest.
I told him I have known many like him.
I told him I didn’t mind.
He seemed to mind that a bit
but he also seemed to be a bit relieved.

As I sat under the the waterfall
of his blue curtains,
I felt thousands of eyes
at my back, behind windows that couldn’t be closed.
There were always windows behind my back
anywhere I sat from the day I was first told
that I was the type of beautiful
not worth keeping and staying around.

Those eyes
filled with lust, question, resentment
filled with hatred, filled with violence,
filled with sweet words for my ailing heart,
filled with knives for soft skin, for the right time,
were my burden
so I knew
at least this was not his fault.

I asked him
what he could give, what he could make me forget.
He didn’t answer and seemed a bit lost.
I wondered if he also couldn’t think or speak clearly,
if there were eyes on his back
that he never spoke about.