“nothing more, nothing else.” – Nayana Nair

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the last time i was young,
i was as young as the numbers i colored
on his last birthday card.
i remember the burning of birds
that followed our song of hope.

since then nothing was the same.
“the innocent” and “the sweet”
were the monsters that we killed
in the forests that grew in our house.
we killed a lot. we killed plenty.

hours swelled into years into decades
at every tear i tried to hide.
everything i tried to hide
grew as me, grew into me.

he grew into half a monster of kindness.
he devolved into an angel wielding my fear with smile.
it was the truest of love, without any doubt.
it was the only love of the world. the only one i would ever have.
knowing that helped. it helped me wish for nothing more, nothing else.

i grew my claws into the gentlest shapes.
i grew every contradiction in subtle ways.
i grew them nonetheless. that is how i hid.
in the light of his skin, my eyes learnt to love darkness
and yet when the day came, he asked me
to become someone from his memory,
someone untouched from the poison of our world.

he would pester me like a child
to show once again the trick of undoing,
to show the skin i hid from his fear,
to show the heart that he cannot accept.

“gentle things always begged for my fury”
he had said that once.
i remember the threat that lurked under his voice,
in that moment. in that moment,
i remember curling into myself in time,
before he learnt i was all that he couldn’t stand.
i remember choosing him foolishly.
i remember the violence of being chosen.

“what has changed”
i ask in my newest disinterested voice
and he smiled as if he was really not here.
his eyes looked at me as if i was already long gone,
as if he knew my every truth.
he reached out his hand and instead of new blood
i felt his new breaking.

“for a minute i am tempted to believe in this world”
he said in the voice we used to sing all our songs in.
and because i knew better. because i knew fear.
because i couldn’t lose my hidden flesh of hope
to entertain his momentary half-hearted wish to reform
i replied “there is nothing to believe.
there is only blood and flesh and lifeless spoils of war in me.
do you want to be free of me now?
why are asking for things i can never be, never give?”

i feigned hurt and looked at him
till he had to look away and laugh.
his laugh was filled, was welling
with something unfamiliar.
he looked in every direction but mine
as if letting me breathe in the relief of not being found
and the breathe out the disappointment of losing something unreachable again.
but i didn’t dare to breathe.

“blessed by the hands of time” – Nayana Nair

.

there.
see there.
that is the soft tree
made of sheep
from my dreams
that i told you about.
the one from which blood drips
the moment i find
the warm back of sleep.

there beside it
is the ink i never used.
the words
i couldn’t bring myself to say.
it is a cloud now.
it is now rain
or rather a promise of rain.
so it is safe.
and beautiful.
it is a reliable source for thirst.
it will stay there for an eternity.
it will only grow more.
it will probably
be the measure of my life.

it will be there
always overlooking
this faithless temple,
these buildings
filled with hollow books,
this smoke that leaves my body
as i burn again.
overlooking this farm
blessed by the hands of time,
where all the food i couldn’t stomach,
everything of this world
that i couldn’t accept
grows back again from the soil
for me to see.

sit here beside me
i will show you the world
that i am doomed to see,
since you want to know me.
see there, all that
was there in me
before i created new doors
in this world for you.
all this will remain with me
when you are gone.
and you will be gone
you just don’t know it yet.

“A pointless rebellion” – Nayana Nair

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I dreamt today
of being in love.

Even when I woke,
I toyed with that idea.

This thought
that there can be something
that can touch my heart
after you

seemed so ridiculous
that I knew I would be smiling
for the whole day.

That even if I won’t take your name,
just as I had promised myself,
you image would still swim on my lips.

To everyone, to even myself,
who claimed that forgetting is so so easy
this seems like a such a pointless rebellion –
this smile,
that won’t die.

My life runs from one day to other
holding the hand of your thoughts.
Such a let down this is-
to bury you and see this tree grow

that keeps singing your name, your meaning
in languages I haven’t learnt
and I sing along not knowing
that I am learning you again from scratch.
I am loving you again.

“Can of Worms” – Nayana Nair

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I have lived well.
I have lived a happy life.
I hold nothing but love for the world.
I wake up everyday hoping for…????
When I close my eyes I see…?????
and then I feel hopelessly …???????

what is it that i was supposed to say?
i know the right words, i know the truth
i just can’t seem to remember the lie
that was supposed to make everything easy.
i only remember the words that will wreck the world.

the words that grow in me
is another can of worms
another name that i should not utter
another stain on my character that is invisible
till i do not acknowledge it

or so i am told

i hate that they are right

“Sunrise on your soft cheeks” – Nayana Nair

.

The ends get broken here.
The land gives away.
I walk forward, asking the sea
what it wants to take from me.
Where should I cut myself,
what part should remove of me
that you would feel like home in me.
How should I hold you
so that you may sleep in peace.
What name shall I call you by?
What sound do you want to answer to?
Ask for whatever can keep you alive
and I will find it for you. I will make myself
into your wishing tree.
The ends break here. The ends cannot exist,
cannot breathe in me.
From my broken land you are born
and from my broken love you shall grow
and find places to breathe in every crack of this world.
Hold out your soft hands
and bless me my-center-of-universe,
smile at me my little god.
I need only that, only your existence
to know of peace.

“Love can only be a safe haven, if we keep this distance” – Nayana Nair

.

There is a kind of spell
that doesn’t let love sink into my heart.
It keeps it all suspended
between the layers
of admiration and disbelief,
of trust and that nagging doubt
that I don’t really want to think about.

Like so many, I also believed
that this love-
the shining weakness of my heart,
is safe in the growing cavity of my chest.
That, if the world doesn’t touch me
and I do my part, and never reach out
as well,
then this will be my own small forever.

It will never be hollow
till I don’t test its reality.
It will okay, till I endure
the mocking laughter in my mind
and never think about anything else.
After all, how can I lose a feeling of my making
in a world where only I exist.

But in a world where only I exist
there is also nothing to distract me,
nothing to make me forget the imaginary nature
of my meaning,
nothing else can prevent the ripping apart,
nothing to support the falling structures.
And as I guessed, as I always knew
without ever wanting to admit –
it is just one another thing
incapable of being an eternal something.

This afterimage of another soul
that I try to indulge in,
couldn’t have been anything more than this anyway.
From here, this distance,
from where I can be seen favorably and loved deeply,
this distance
where I can summon in me the spirit of sacrifice
for the idea of this one pure love that I must protect at all cost,
this distance
that gives me a chance at love.

This distance also means
that love never touches
the rocks that my tears have turned into.
It also means that
in hiding everything vicious,
I have also hidden everything that could be me.

Somehow I have learnt to be okay with the fact
that this smile that I get, the kindness I receive
is because the weed that grows on me looks more beautiful
than I can ever be.
I have already dissolved in the earth
to sustain this beautiful face that I am determined
to be remembered for.
It is too late for sincerity.
Now even my hopes have been poisoned.

“even in hope” – Nayana Nair

.

i remember
how i loved you

it was a love that i could keep
only if i was broken

maybe it was not love
but people like me can only hope

hope for “the almosts” and “the similar”
hope and be happy in our misunderstandings

i don’t remember
how you loved me, if you loved me

so maybe, even in hope
i was not as blind as i wanted to be

“Breathing Cities and Statues” – Nayana Nair

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When I try to imagine,
to recall the face of another human being.

I always see them standing opposite me
with an expressionless face, holding out their hand.

When they are ghosts of pasts,
they are breathing cities of peculiarities and possibilities.
I feel they were waiting for my hand to touch theirs.
I feel as if they have saved up their last smile for that moment.
The steps I couldn’t take, can now never take,
they look so easy, so worth it, so worth keeping as regrets.

But I never learn
because
when they are reflections of present,
they are breathing statues
and frozen hearts that couldn’t possibly beat.
I know that this hand is not for me,
that I have extinguished the smile on that face
just by being myself, just by existing.

Only the warm breath of passing time
can make me miss the world that could have been.
Only on the streets I cannot walk
grow my trees of faith.

But even then, even for the past
I barely feel any love.
What I feel is something similar to
the relief in the things that won’t change.
The pull I feel is for the trust that can never be broken,
my heart that I never had to give out,
the hand of every stranger that remained innocent thereby.

“It took me years, it took me you, to find a truth that was not a selfish reflection of me” – Nayana Nair

.

Once she had a bite of my fate
she became a restless ghost.
She looked like all my ugly wishes staring back at me
but she had a beautiful smile so it was more bearable to my eyes
than to wear my own desperate words on my unsightly lips.
She looked out of place, but in a good way
as if she was the invitation to some place where my light won’t die.
Even in her voice it was my own words
that asked me to leave, that told me to love for the last time.
As my shrieks danced in the empty corridors
she planted a seed of eucalyptus in my palm,
she covered my hand with hers,
and covered our hands in dirt.
She told me how, for years, only the smell of eucalyptus
could calm her mind,
it made her believe that there was a gentle cure
to every disease that hurt her heart.
As she spoke such words that were not extraordinarily sad
I felt my spine become soft.
I dreamt of her leaning against my back
relieved of her every pain
and maybe it was the only beautiful wish
that has ever been born from my heart.
Once I touched the shadow of her heart
I grew and bloomed and learnt to be the one
who waits, heals,
loves, and breaks without bounds.

“Names that feel weird on my lips” – Nayana Nair

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Now that I have grown in height
and I cannot forget my name
even if I want to,
no one comes looking for me
when I go missing.

When I go missing,
when I finally succeed in getting lost
I buy a new plant, walk through strange streets,
come back home with my worn out heels
and new pictures on phone,
takeouts from restaurants whose name
feels weird on my lips, knowing more roads
that can take me home.

I sit defeated and happy
as I realize getting lost means nothing
if I can breathe just fine in this world,
if everything here can be my home.

But still there is sadness in me
for losing everything
that only that small world could hold.