“the open doors don’t mean much now” – Nayana Nair

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the towers
are open to the public now.
the crowd can now crow
and row and climb
to the better views-
a softer light,
a smaller distant world,
the illusions of gods
growing on our own earthly skin.
this radiance
was supposed to mean something else,
something more, something new though.
but these deafening footsteps,
this meaningless chatter,
these houses now growing like shrooms,
the clothes now drying on every step,
the resurgence of life and the blooming bruise,
the grass growing, the herds living
and dying in the shade of the tower-
they only make me cry.
even in their most wretched moments
they still remain things i can’t have.
the singular monument of hope
and its playground of chaos
and me, the only child
who doesn’t belong,
looks up at the promised sky,
feeling a new hollowness creeping.
feeling myself break
for the same old things in new ways.

“When we all meet” – Nayana Nair

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The silence was deafening
because there were people in it.
There was a tiny space made of granite,
a smallness born out of the spacious halls
now crowded with people.
the air stale with staring. The long moments
of confused and alienating gazes.
The wait. And for what?
Everyone knew they must speak,
only then a god will be formed,
only then we’ll have a reason to meet again.
But they were afraid of everything.
which was not really a problem.
They also felt among many other things
that only they felt and knew fear,
that fear kept only them as a pet to be played with.
They felt good and miserable when they though that.
They also felt special.
And because we were all special and doomed
and carried poetry in us to be looked at, to be listened to
we all stood there staring.
We stood shoulder to shoulder, sorrow to sorrow
trying prove to others that we knew life,
and that once, once we really did live.
But all we were seeing and feeling
under our feet, in the hollow of our hands
was that place, the house on the slippery slope,
the home we could never leave.
We were all there alone. Trying to avoid the weight
of another person who might just end it all for us
by saying something stupid as
“you are a bit too much for me”
and “this generation is not capable of love”
and “poverty is a state of mind”
Or something as true as
“this was a bad idea”,
“you do know that we will never meet again, don’t you?
at least we are all praying for that.”

“such love” – Nayana Nair

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is there a permanent thing,
a person whose name sounds like “forever”
something that can we have it if we try,
if we bleed enough, if we follow all signs.
or did we invent god
just because such things don’t exist,
such hope, such love won’t come by.

“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.

“Home of Blindness” – Nayana Nair

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I have to sing
and keep singing,
have to keep begging people to dance within my heart,
within the confines of these bricks,
with the parts of me that can’t die
and parts of me that I wish I still was.
I have to keep inventing reasons and occasions
I have to paint every meaning within me
in the boldest loudest colors.

Because the moment it all stops
I will hear the shouts again.
There is no silence in this world.
Outside, everyday
the fearful children of a fearless god
shout his name again and again.
Asking for reason, for rain,
for roses carrying their name.

I also once stood there, in the dark corridors,
on burning roads
asking god to love only me,
to hold my hand, to save me alone.
It is a very dark road,
the one we take to find
the light that will only belong to us.

And there is only this home of blindness
far away from all the crying and ceaseless hoping
where I can use these eyes of mine
for something more than holding and spilling tears,
where I get to sing for the god within the song.
I worship these walls that hold me in my place.
I worship all of your laughs, all the steps the never stop.

But I am still afraid
because tears still come easy to me,
because even this borrowed light whispers the name of one
who I still hope to reach.
The one who should exist somewhere outside these walls.
But I can only be here in this world of his
if I don’t run to him all the time.
I can be his, without falling short or falling apart,
only if I substitute what he has made for what he is.

“There is no undo button in this world” – Nayana Nair

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I remember you almost every day.
I remember you when I wake up and cannot go back to sleep,
when my skin feels heavy and my eyes melt into tears.
I remember you when I find my way to the impossible happiness
that shouldn’t exist for someone like me.
And in those moments I do something worse-
I end up asking heaven for forgetfulness of some kind.

Even when I know forgetting won’t save you,
apologizing won’t save you,
charity to strangers in your stead won’t save you,
becoming a better person won’t save you.
But even then I remain selfish
Even then I wish for a painless way out.

I become guilty of one more crime
every time I wish to erase the memory
of you falling apart in my hands.
The more I wear my clean clothes,
the more the world believes in the goodness I now have in me;
The more I know that there is no way forward for me
just as there is no way back.

You still remain the unuttered name in my prayers.
And all that my prayers do
is to show me the hurt I can never take back.
The god who refuses to save you
is also the one who keeps me alive.

“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?

“this peace, this staying, this wanting” – Nayana Nair

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I have spent 10 years
of my life decorating my wooden coffin,
giving food, giving faces, and adding height
to my imaginary friends
and painting forgiving smiles on my imaginary gods.

I won’t mind if someone out there decides to call me
“coward” or “delusional” or “hopeless” or “sorta weird”
I won’t mind if this qualifies
to be called “running away from reality and life”.

Even if I ignore the words like these,
even when I have found a way to survive alone
I am still left with these corrosive, acidic feelings.
Feelings don’t help – when all they do is
speak, wail louder each day.

They remind me again and again
that even a beautiful death is a death,
that loneliness is still loneliness,
that in spite of the ribbons and flowers and posters
the smile on my face is still not as bright
as the one love used to give me,
even if I have now less reasons to cry.

It is not easy – this peace,
this staying away from the want to be seen, to be loved,
this wanting to cry over something again.
It is not easy – to keep myself awake and alive
when feeding myself, seeing the light
only makes my fears stronger.

“Always Shining” – Nayana Nair

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Are they finally drowning?
The sails, the flags, the songs
the party, and the expensive backless silks.
The rings and guns and blood shining.
Always shining.
They are finally coming for us.
We will again have someone’s face in front of us
at least for a while
and we will sing songs
that they have no choice but to listen to.
The cries and shrieks and the stories
that we had saved in us will not go waste.

They have not yet seen us
rotting
feets and feets below them
but somethings take time.
The water will fill them
but they will never grasp
the slow violence and its finality.
They will look above at the lost sky,
they will not know what they are looking for
as the concepts of hope and god and saving
becomes grayer in their head.
They will keep struggling
feeling all promises becoming breathless in them
and they will miss the point of saying goodbye.
We always do.

Darling, they are coming
our children, our neighbors, our dear strangers,
our ministers, our wood, our sky, our eyes,
our new memories.
Now we can die together and actually die
and not be haunting blue in this green ocean.
I missed living dear
but I missed them more –
everyone, everything taken away from us.
We have waited patiently, wishing them life.
We have prayed for them to stay away from wherever we are.
But now they are coming
and I cannot help but selfishly smile
at seeing everything coming back to us.

“Even when things are right” – Nayana Nair

“The sky is your canvas”,
the book to all ailments said,
“there is a joy in filling it up with life.”
But as I finished my 157th sketch,
as I finished my 300th one,
as I finished the one with no count attached
(the one I called “the limits that were stronger than me”),
as I write over all that I had drawn,
as the clouds dragged themselves painfully
crawling to some better place,
like everything else in my life
the sky remained unchanged.

And when I lost my hands to fate, to slow corrosion,
to the burden of creation,
to the lady in white who couldn’t even lie that “it won’t hurt”,
to the painful work of making up things that I want,
things that would want me back, or at least won’t walk out,
to the hunch that said something is seriously wrong
with the kind of life I have.

I wished for the man in the sky
to wake up and get to work,
to make me some rain,
to drop an ocean of crystal on this world,
to paint a heaven on this cheap sky of this miserable man.

Because trying on some days, on most days now,
feels like living against the wishes of the world.
I can’t help but break a bit, cry a bit
even when things are right,
because they right only because of my efforts.
Can you give me something that I don’t have to work hard for,
something that was made for me,
something that I can keep.
A thing, a person, a sign
that I can hold in my hand
that tells me that you want me to be happy,
that you want me to smile,
that I am not abandoned after all.