“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.

“The Remaining Beautiful Sculpture” – Nayana Nair

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The houses are all empty, the roads deserted,
the remaining beautiful sculptures,
in the overgrown lawns of this plastic world,
have no eyes and no intent to save anyone.

Someone tells me my new lines
and I nod and wait for my voice to arrive.
Someone else opens my cage and you are also
somewhat released from your prison.
We walk the small distance of this model road,
revising the conditions of our freedom in our head.

You hold my hand and it feels like nothing.
How perfect. How hollow.
But soon the sun will rise and fill us with light.
Soon it would all be beautiful.
I almost wanted tell you,
“this emptiness is such a beautiful catalyst
for reckless beginnings”. But I guess you already knew.

As we all wait for the sun,
you tell me you have a name and I nodded.
I realized I could not say the same about myself anymore.
I realized much later that you never told what it is, your name.
A name is such a hollow thing, to be filled up by the person only later.
I don’t know the order of importance of things in this world.
So I guess this must be normal.

As the sun came out of hiding, I was filled with words again
and the words that I wrote in that first light was,
we both could write poems that can break worlds.
we could be so much more than this. and maybe we are.
maybe we want to be something less. something simple.
something harmless. but is that even possible?

As I wondered what your real words looked like,
I uttered the words I was told to,

the houses are all empty, the roads deserted,
the remaining beautiful sculptures ,
in the overgrown lawns of this plastic world,
have no eyes and no intent to save anyone.
i won’t save you. i will be just like others.
i will look at you and wonder. i will smile and forget.
i will love and forget.
but i will remember you in your crudest form.
you will exist in my vocabulary like waves and perfumes
and home and roads. but you will remain.
i will make sure of it.

And with all the conviction and gratitude you replied,

that is enough. i can be saved just by that.

I believed you so much in that moment
that I wanted to mean every word I spoke
and maybe that was the moment my love was born
for you.

“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.

“How do I reach there?” – Nayana Nair

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I am 90% chaos.
I am also the protector of my chaos.
I am torn between the ideas of
freedom and perseverance.
I am still doubtful how I can save myself
if I hate the the thousand parts of me
that have a mind of their own,
if I try to silence the rising waves
to save this one piece of land that I can walk on
and if I wanted more, maybe even reclaim whatever now sits
in the windows of museum submerged and lost in past.
Past is a point far ahead and deep beneath.
How do I reach there?
When will I reach there?-
that is all I think.
How do I save myself from a mind like that?

In my mind, present is just seeing the lacks and absences
materialize into new shapes, into my new arms, into my new stomach,
into the new hole in my heart, into a lungs made of holes.
In another world I am maybe breathing in happiness with each smile,
but not here.
Here I hate myself for forgetting, I hate myself for remembering.
Here I hate myself for speaking too much,
here I hate myself for never speaking out and standing up.
Here I must still protect what I hate-
each living and dead molecule of me.
If only my hate was truly hate
and not just love waiting to happen.
There are easier answers for hate.

I wonder if I learned to look at sky
and learned to yearn for it,
maybe a point far ahead and up above- a future
might exist for me as well.
If only yearning and wanting could be assigned values.
If only looking up and finding a simple sky happened that easily.

“The closest far away” – Nayana Nair

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She let go of me
and took a step back,
as I ran around all the space
that would be me,
all the life that would be ours.

From far away – the closest far away,
she looked at my childish smile.
She smiled a bit more, and I felt that,
the lovely curves of her lips on my heart.
Her smile always miraculously
makes me breathe more easily.

In this room, in this warmest freedom
that she has weaved from the most colorful threads
of her spirit,
here, I see her for all she tries to be,
for all she is thereby.
Here, I want to be seen her.
Here, I want to be something more than my wants,
something more meaningful than just free.

I move back into her embrace and ask her to take anything,
anything beautiful she finds in me,
to keep all my goodness, however few, in her care.
I wanted her to grace a part of me with her identity,
I wanted my existence to be inseparable from hers.
But her will, her love turned out to be greater than mine.
Even when I left a part of me in hers, she refused to call it hers,
the world punished me, for my greed, by calling her mine.

“Embracing me” – Nayana Nair

On my closed hopeless eyes
you placed your lips
and something in me broke open.
And I burst from within,
from all my prisons.
From all my pseudo homes
I heard myself crying.

I heard the the noises of television
in the heavy air of my living room
die out, I heard myself breathe.
I heard the knocks on my door
and found all my lost selves
staring at me one second,
embracing me the next.

They told me
it could be the blue moon,
it could be the cyclone that is running wild,
it could be the end of earth predicted too many times,
it could be flowers-that-no-one-loves blooming in our land,
it could my restlessness and fear of being left behind,
it could be you.

As you sink into the couch,
forgetting the nail you painted seconds before,
as you look around frantically for remote,
as you leave the evidence of beautiful color
on my skin,
I realized,
that I found in myself the honesty to say out aloud,
to tell you, to accept that it is probably you.

“What I Remember (25)” – Nayana Nair

There is something beautiful about people
who lose themselves
when they lose someone.
The layer of sanity that cracks,
the heart that lets the past take over-
is a feeling I would never understand.
And all I do in such weather
is wait.
Wait
for my coping mechanism to kick in,
to take the decision away from me,
and let me forget the meaning of loss.

I read another funeral in my lines of fate,
another goodbye in the text not returned,
another scene with poor lighting
standing where I would be least hurt,
saying words I do not mean,
words that go well with my rock heart-
staying true to my widely advertised image.

But I am not unfamiliar with wet cheeks and sleep that follows.
I have cried for minor cuts and burning bruises,
at the wrong weather, at the curbs on my freedom,
in the argument that felt like a arrow I can’t take out.
I have cried a bit more, a lot more
than these small disruptions in life deserve.

I wonder if they would have broken me,
would have shaken me like this
if all whom I have lost were beside me.
If everyone who hid their farewell
in their lemon scented “love you” cards
could stick by a little more,
would I have cared for
or cried for the rains that won’t stop?

As I scatter in wind
the feelings that I dare not keep.
I feel a soft kiss of understanding
asking me to stop.
If only I could.

“Summer Mood” – Nayana Nair

my feet relentlessly insist
on burning themselves
for the sake of summer mood.

i wear a shirt too big for me.
a wear a smile a bit too small.
i wear the worry of my parents on my neck.

i feel their fear
when i smile back at strangers.
i pretend to be the sand that no one can hurt.
i pretend to be the sea that doesn’t end.
i pretend no man in this beautiful scene
would hurt someone like me.

but my feet, they burn, they bleed.
my feet that only wanted freedom
from the moment i was born,
now they make me feel like the mermaid
who was not wise enough.

i feel like i am losing a part of myself
every time a stranger asks for my name,
every time they accidentally touch my skin
to fill me with shame and sin.
i pretend to be cool, to be understanding,
to be blind
as i feel like the monster
that brings out the worst in people.
as i erase my memories everyday
to put faith in people whom i find hard to trust.

“please leave” – Nayana Nair

please leave.
i am so fed up of this love
that only exists in my head.
my heart is a glacier, my skin a floodplain
and yet
i speak of home and family
as if i am filled with warmth till my brim.
what do i know of love?
what do i know of love, to hold you back?
we have held hands long enough,
it is okay to let go now.
how long are you going to nod along?
your phone has been ringing for an eternity,
it is okay to say the goodbye
that you have been swallowing for my sake.
don’t start loving me
for putting your freedom back on your plate.
i just don’t want to see you
die like this because of me.
i am fed up people giving up on themselves
to love someone like me.
so, please leave.

“What I Remember (18)” – Nayana Nair

today’s sadness is brought upon
by the increasing count of the words
that i have forbidden myself to speak.

today’s sadness is brought upon
by the particularly sad song
that i have chosen to listen.

today’s sadness is partially due to the strangers with sweet eyes,
partially due to my angels with weak hearts,
and also the fact that i must love (and have loved) everything wrong
without causing pain to anyone but myself.

i must write without baring myself.
i must write to never let myself forget what i can’t speak.

do not write this, do not be mean, do not be ungrateful
do not blame, no names, no dates, do not put anyone’s weakness on show

all such favors that i must do
for the sake of my perpetrators and my protectors.

i must act like a better person, even when i am not
in my fingers i am told to hold
everyone’s shame and everyone’s guilt,
and find my freedom in that.

today’s sadness is a breather,
the rare moment i allow myself to see
how messed up all this is,
before i turn off the light
only to stumble through life again.