“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.

“Named after stars” – Nayana Nair

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And if we are to delete, to remove,
to erase and whiten the papers
that are not a part of our hearts anymore,
then hand me the forms you want burned,
the words you wish you never heard,
and I’ll help you with your share of forgetting,
just like how you helped me memorize my own name once.

If we are to walk through the burning towns,
that we created with our own hands, which we named after stars,
to find something that is not poisoned by our time together,
then I’ll do the walking for you.

In a room filled with light
I imagine myself breaking apart, it will happen for sure,
but it doesn’t pain me yet.
But I fear the tears that will find your eyes,
the marks of flowing rivers, the civilization of sorrow
settling and flourishing on your face,
if you were to fall in love with something that is already lost.

I fear your loving nature.
I fear your heart to work for the impossible.
I fear you might see our past and mistake it for our future.
If you try to protect me even in our end,
I fear I will be left with no way out.

“Every evidence of your existence”- Nayana Nair

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The evidence of your existence –
they sometimes sound like trapped bubbles in ice,
a song no one wants to remembers,
a song that wants to burn itself down
on the steps of justice gone wrong,
wanting to stain the white marble of temples
that do not deserve worship.

They sound like dying ambition amidst flying hopes,
a revolution coming apart,
a future with limping walk and kind careful words,
a future fleshed out with beautiful breaking and selfish hands.

You told me “selfish” is a beautiful word,
told me that in the opening sentence to the goodbye,
that I am supposed to shout after your vanishing back,
to make the word “selfish” the first word,
to speak of that word with a smile.
And let the world wonder why you wanted to burn the world
for what you have never known, what you couldn’t have;
to never explain your heart, to never let their magnifying glass
and their dear sun around your tearful smile.

“I cannot tell the difference”- Nayana Nair

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“Long time ago” is a dangerous neighborhood.
All its season are holograms of perfect world,
the illusions of rain and snow and sun,
the illusion of hearts still beating under the non-existent skin.
The technician of this a weary magic
lives beside the empty park in the middle of my heart.
He knows the perfect days to make me cry, to make me see.
He invents new people, new details.
Sometime these are fake stand-ins for the what he has lost
in his war against me, all that I intend to forget.
Sometime they are what I failed to realize,
people I didn’t get to love.
Most days I can’t tell the difference
between the words I have forgotten
and the ones I will never hear
again.
This town
has post offices with stamps of words I no longer mean
stuck on its wall.
There cars and houses and roads and rivers
owned by people who will never die.
They all gather on my birthday
in the cemetery of one grave.
They sit on the endless green grass with their picnic baskets,
with the kids I will never have, with the pets I will never keep
and look into the eyes that will never look at me.
They smile knowing something I will never know.

“A beautiful day to finally write your name” – Nayana Nair

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On the broken lines of bold white,
on the burning roads far away from home
I knelt down
in the heap of my skirt made of fairy dust
and disappointments of all kinds.

I found a pretty crack
with space enough to be something of its own
and with a style that you’d agree with.
With my fingertips already crying red
I wrote you name
in the best writing I could.

Your name that couldn’t fit
beside mine, or the scorecards with better marks,
or a business card that was not a part of scam,
or with a number that could for once be reached,
or the nameplate that you kept losing
in the sleepy playgrounds of our eyes.

We missed you.

We missed you.
in the conversations
where we thought only of you
and yet couldn’t speak of you.
We thought of you
always with an ache,
always with a heart that wanted more of you
while wanting to forget the little that we had.

I wrote your name
and ran my fingers over them again.
A kid knelt down beside me
offering me a smile as he took in
a pain he couldn’t understand.
Today, of all days, I was not allowed to smile.

I walked away wondering
if he knew you,
if he now lives in your name,
if he knows someone who wrote like me,
who wrote words that will fit nowhere but here.
Your name could be anybody else’s.
You could have lived like everyone else
and yet…

“Melting a Rose” – Nayana Nair

In rooms like these
my hollowness becomes real.

It becomes an ant that won’t stop walking
with its tiny feet across the span of my hands,
a felling that won’t rest.

It feels like the rain
that falls and fills everything before me.
Leaving me alone. Alone to think of you.

And I.
again I find in you

a hope?
a reason to run away?

hope

I wrap your moonlight around me.
I melt this rose of tears.

I melt myself and my shields
so that you can see me as I see you.

In rooms like these,
with your hope in me

I can’t help but close my eyes

and dream of finding me in front of you
holding onto my heart

and you finally smiling back.

a reason to run away

I look at my bleeding hopes,
unlike you I have not yet learnt
how to not hurt.

So I bleed silently, fearing
I might be the wrong answer,

fearing the regrets that you might discover
the hurt you might know

due to the imperfections that I collect
and fill myself with.

Every time I dream of you
the rose in my heart melts a little more.

The melting drops burn my eyes.
There is only pain in the place where you used to be.

“What I Remember (28)” – Nayana Nair

As I grew up, whom I hate changed constantly, it changed more frequently than my dream for future roles.

Maybe that’s why I was so particular about what I hate and I did it with fervor for the first few years.

But as time went on that hatred turned into just another silence – my refusal to speak with anyone who I wanted to hate.

And now it has transformed to hating people while I pretend to get along with them. Curling inside with anger at the same jokes that I feel compelled to laugh on.

It is not an easy thing to do but it is still easier than all the alternatives. (The alternatives are my nightmare.)

Because even though my hatred has grown over time, I also find it in me that space to accept people at their ugliest, not loving them, just accepting that they too can live here, be here and do what I hate, and telling myself that I have to be fine with that.

I have come to hate this side of me the most – this cowardice dressed as generosity and understanding, where I do nothing but smile as my blood, my ideals burn and collapse.

Maybe that’s why I have hated myself most, with constant determination, without doubt. This hatred is my only light – my anger at myself, for not doing enough, for taking up fearing my uncertain volatile feelings and views, my own voice, more than I fear this world.

“where our days end” – Nayana Nair

She makes circles on the back of my hand.
She writes “love” again and again on my skin
so that I don’t forget her.
She writes “love” again and again with her fingers
so that she may not forget I am still not lost to her.
That I can be different as long as she sees me for me
and she lets me see an unaltered part of her once in a while.
Few more alphabets follow
of my name and hers
and all the names we wish we could forget
just the way we are forgetting to love
even when that is the only thing we want to remember.
I tap my fingers on the steering wheel
to a song that plays only in the past,
wondering why I learned these words that only give me pain,
give her pain, give us only half of each other
while we are missing more pieces than we were made of,
why my losses are more than my being,
why we have to stop here, by this cliff, every evening
waiting for our ghosts to take a step back,
to look back at us
and see the happy ending waiting for them,
why we are invisible to our ghosts
who only speak of names and futures that we have grown to hate?

“Talks of flowers” – Nayana Nair

She told me I feel like frozen tulips
and I do not know what she meant by that.
She never talks of flowers or future
or what I might be in this world
by myself or by her side.
So we pretend such words were never said.
We pretend that the meaning we give
to each other’s words
are true and real
and the only meaning we need.