“The Right Way” – Nayana Nair

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The monsters brought their shadows
as they climbed into my bed
and I gave them stories
that promised to make them human again.
I had talked them into the idea
of change and love and the broken petal
that became a flower overnight
in the embrace of a care so fierce it
that nothing in the world could stay broken
once they knew its warmth
;
just liked they talked me into
the ideas of strength and hiding and the stones
that teach the skin of blood, bruise and eventually a strength
so stubborn that it can never be separated
from our bodies, our sorrows, and our will to fight
.
But many hours and a sleep and a love later
we still found ourselves staring at the
broken windows of hope,
and the stone of disappointments
melting in the morning light like snow.
Each half of our heart now wouldn’t stop crying
and begging for the other half to change.
Every part of us was now contending with each other
on the monopoly of truth, the right way to love,
and the safe ways to die. Our surety of self was evaporating
faster than ever. We were being broken from inside,
scattered for good, while our skins now knew the same battles
of keep up a form, keeping our reality hidden.
But now we could at least now sit in a room
and look each other in eye and smile,
knowing we could never be separate from each other.
Knowing there is no hell or heaven we would go to alone,
no forgiveness only granted to one.
There was no sin or or grace in this kingdom of cries,
there is no beautiful escape from this knowledge of life.

“The Night Wind” – Nayana Nair

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The light bulb blooms.
The petals of light, the tungsten
burning red and hot- invites, sings, thinks only
of the memory of wings.
The burning, the bodies and their count,
the trivial data, the remains of feeble lives
pile up only to be blown away by the night wind.
Far way, the plastic chairs rustle like grass,
as everyone leaves with their lips
stained and bleeding with illusions.
In the silence of the backyard,
I alone hear the wings drop like rain.
I look at my own charred and mauled self
and ridiculously, think of love, only of love.
I realize something is truly wrong
with this world that I’m caught in.

“And everything is a miracle because you love me” – Nayana Nair

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A summer comes alive,
a branch flowers
at the touch of my hand.
My hands that were just held by you
they find all dead things,
all dark corners of life.
There is so much of life in these hands
that are now desired by you.
There is so much that can now
be brought back to life,
so much that can stop hurting.
There is no way to stop all this warmth
from spilling out of me anyway.
This world, this path of ruins,
this history of us,
existed for this moment maybe
so that we may learn the texture of hope
in each other’s skin,
so that we may see the rebirth of light
in each other’s eyes.

“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.

“maybe i’ll never know better” – Nayana Nair

.

the paper flowers in her hair
breathe for that one time
and wilt away.

she keeps walking,
keeps drinking
the colored sweet drink

with the bitter cold metal
melting her lips,
the taste of afternoon welded to her tongue.

her hands never rest, never stay still.
they twirl their laughter
around my fingers .

they find my shoulder, they color my cheeks.
they grow beaks, sprout wings; they rest on my elbow
and pecks at my tiny songs, my pale lips.

a rainbow is born in me, a wall collapses,
and again i forget the rust and the death, the lesson of danger
of fruitless love that i promised to remember all my life.

“Understanding freedom” – Nayana Nair

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He broke my shackles with his blood
and took my hand,
my weightless hand, my almost wings,
and held them in the warm embrace of his own prayer.

As my hands created ripples for my own amusement,
as my hands broke the bread that I would now get to eat,
as I looked at flowers for hours at leisure,
and sang wordless songs without the fear of being heard
-he cried.
It was beautiful and sort of silly – his tears.

He cries at the smallest things
yet is unfazed at the moments that require tears.
Like this farewell, where with a smile
he recites his memorized list of wishes,
he recites the feelings of hope he has for the ones before him.

He looks at me. He looks at us all
and says “you are free. this is now a game without masters.
this is now a world where you are as good,
as deserving of respect
as anyone you stand with or stand against.
you are free. live. live such that
you would need no one to remind you of that.”

As we cried, he told us that
disappearing is what he always meant to do
that wanting his shadow around,
seeking his approval, and following his words
would undo everything he has done in this world.
Yet our tears won’t stop.

We didn’t know if these tears were of desperation,
of relief, of love, of being abandoned,
of being left without directions or heads that could
do the work of seeing and thinking for us,
in return of our submission.
He told us it is sometimes okay not to know.
He said it is okay to hate him
if it helps us to find a way that is our own.

It broke me to hear that because
he spoke as if being okay with being hated for saving
was an essential part of being good.
It was sad that he had to smile when he said it
as if he was not free to cry or complain for something like that.
Or maybe I have not understood freedom yet.

“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.

“no colors, no flowers for me” – Nayana Nair

.

“he left me”
this is where I would have wanted everything to end,
at “he left me”…simple and clean
and yet carrying a sadness that can be forgotten
or remembered as something that just exists.
Exists not like floods but like rain.
Exists not like a story of love
but a story that had a possibility of some meaning.
“he left me” could have existed in me, in this world,
how words of no significance and no power exist.

But it didn’t end there.
What he did was simple,
but what he didn’t do
those are the things that exists like flood, like pain
that can exist without him.
He left me a leaf
and not a flower.
And knowing this, even if I forget him,
it won’t end
the pain I feel at the sight of flowers,
the anger the green fill me with,
the feeling of being wronged
at seeing everyone who gets both, while suffering less than me.

He left me a life that I am capable of living well
but a heart that won’t ever feel at ease
as long as I live wanting love for myself.

“Like no other” – Nayana Nair

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The food tastes better today.
The light today falls just right into me.
“This would be a day like no other”, I thought
as someone wished me a happy day on radio
before playing a song that shredded my remaining patience
into bright bitter words that fit me better.
And now armed with an unreasonable and off-putting frown
I walk towards the house where my love lived.
I knew on a day like this
she would still be somewhere far away from every world of mine
and my knocks would bounce back
from everything of hers she didn’t want.
I stood there talking to my friends
who differ from me only in the fact
that they don’t have to walk this world in hope and fear of change.
I pick another flower which will definitely end with
she remembers me, not
she will return, not
she is here, not
As my shoulders melts to fit
the memory of her outline,
the song changes to something that refuses to end with
i will forget her eventually
i will be fine like everybody else
i will find what it means to be me, by myself
and something about that was relieving.
The false belief that I will be stuck in time
even if it was with a memory of her, with false hopes
sounded better than hearing the approaching steps
of the day that will cure me of her.

“To speak of your love” – Nayana Nair

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The lights die out one by one.
The dark streets come alive,
I crush the melting remains of abandoned snowballs under my feet,
as you sidestep once again
to let the flower stuck in concrete grow a bit more.
I remember how you called such things ” kindness for my own sake”.
It always makes me laugh
when I look back at my own understanding smile,
as if really knew what it actually meant.

Another cold gust of wind touches me
and reaches you few second later
and I recall why I never liked to walked behind you,
why my heart couldn’t bear to see you any more,
why the excuse of love wasn’t enough for me.
It all comes back to me – all my pathetic emotions,
as you fold a bit more into yourself, your shoulders almost disappearing.

Stopping in your tracks, you let out another sigh,
and just when it seems you might give up and decide to break.
You don’t.
You keep on walking as if nothing can phase you out.

So I don’t follow you,
cause your strength has always broken me more than your tears.
Always when you let me have the right to complain and cry,
I looked at you and begged you not to make me another one of those
who can’t live without your sacrifices,
who can only speak of your love
in terms of the wounds you were ready to accept by their hands.

As I see you walk towards a home I won’t ever know,
a part of me imagined – you turning back, looking at me with those
kind eyes of yours, holding my hand.
I am relieved when you didn’t.
I am fine like this, with this manageable sadness that I feel
when you leave me cold in the same world I abandoned you in.