“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.

“It was difficult to believe that I could be loved just as I am. It was odd that we had to be told. ” – Nayana Nair

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The frame of winter breaks
the snow drips, flows, and climbs
like a relentless silver creeper,
like a god finally on its way
to end the reign and terror of heaven.
Our eyes stare, amazed at the cold white spiders
running across the face of the sky;
the music and the metal dissolving the distant names,
dissolving the knives we decorated our heart with.
We could all feel an equal summer light
embracing our backs silently.

“A spring that tries to breathe” – Nayana Nair

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The ripples spread out and march
towards the far end of happiness.
They die and are born again
under the wish of my yet-to-break mind.
I am carried to the place that was never made for my sake
but yet seems to be made out of a piece of me, of my own heart.

The far end of everything
has this one branch and this one bird.
This one song that seems
to be something sent by the heavens,
something that can’t be given in my hands,
something too precious, too beautiful to be bestowed to me.
Maybe for a reason, that I will realize too late.
But how do I stop before that.

I am always at the far end of wanting.
The perfect distance to always be aware,
to know what could be and yet know what isn’t.
At this end also, inside me, inside this hollow haunting,
is also a tree, a bird, a song.
Even if made of dust
it is my own drowning lighthouse-
my only spring that tries to breathe, retain its humble peace
before I reach my ruin. Before I learn why I must give up
what I always knew I can’t have.

“Your embrace keeps this world together” – Nayana Nair

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This moment
of you wrapping your heart,
your warm sound around my existence,
around this body that will sooner or later
yearn for you
even when it lies buried in soil.
This moment
is all I want to be made up of.
This heart of mine races
and stops and tears itself down
only for you
and I would not have it any other way.
This world
where my shadow gets to rest with you
is my only heaven, is my only home.

“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.

“your desire would burn away” – Nayana Nair

i read this on a torn sheet of paper
that was lying, waiting (possibly for me?)
in that empty hall, that on a normal day has never known empty.
and being who i am, this again had to be an easy answer from a higher power.
being who i was i believed that the confusion in my mind
rocked every throne in heaven.
so again i assumed as i said i never would,
that these must be the words that could solve me.
never mind the context, never mind the book or it’s title.
there is so much missing and this paper still remains
it might mean something,
it must mean something,
everything had to mean something for me to somehow go on.
it said “your desire would burn away,
the moment you let it have your words”
so i uttered your name with the place you have in my heart.
i mustered up enough courage to speak of the place i wanted in you.
it sounded dubious and shallow.
it sounded so much like me
that i thanked myself for not saying it to you.
i made a clean tear through that piece of paper
for being too right and being too wrong
and walked away wanting now to become a better vessel,
the person on whose lips these words would really sound the way they felt
i walked away waiting for my mind and your heart
to become good enough for those feelings.

nothing burns away.

“Backseat” – Nayana Nair

we get onto the car
that we wish was stolen
i look at her (not my lover, yet),
at him (my friend – we share the same passion
of finding new things to be disappointed about),
i look at the the small bags we have packed
and realize that this is far too less to start a life
i count them as i get in
i realize one of us probably
has nothing worth carrying around in life.

she keeps telling me that unlike us
she has to take care of things
so she is bound to be late
she says this while she texts the food preferences
of her beloved pet
to someone who owes her one
(i feel something similar to jealousy seeing this).

and he keeps changing the radio station
as if he knows what he is looking for,
as if he has grown up on radio songs and commercials,
but he hasn’t.
he says that is what makes it more romantic,
the unknown that was always in front of you
to finally acknowledge something
that shouldn’t have been invisible from the start.

i just look at them, making mental notes,
calculating the chances that we might come to our senses
(that would be pretty sad, if that happens).
i keep looking back
as if i was being abducted,
dragged out of heaven against my wishes.
but it is no heaven
(not anymore).

so i sleep in the backseat
hiding my tears under the blanket of darkness-
since i do not want to recall every thing
that made this place and my body unholy, unbearable;
since i don’t want ask these two
about what they are running away from.
i wonder if i will ever know a home
that won’t drive me away.

“let me hold you close” – Nayana Nair

my heaven
would have flowers in blue,
a storm of sunshine,
a road that runs like the soft song
that you once made me hear,
a sparrow that never stays still.

obviously
i do not know what it would be like
to live in such a heaven.
whether i would really be at peace there.
but through the walls of stone
that i could never scale
it looked so beautiful-
the world that you lived in.

but i cannot break what i am
nor can i chase away the shadows that i depend on
it is too late for that.
so before i close my eyes for the last time
let me hold you close.
become my last memory,
become my heaven.

“Cutouts of Star Factories” – Nayana Nair

Though the sky is filled with lights
the nights on this land are lonely as ever.
Again I am in love
with a part of sky,
with things that we call heavenly
only because they are out of our reach,
only because they are not ours to keep,
because every god seems to love them more.

I end up on websites or with books that say
“this is how the universe looks”
“this how the stars are born”
“this is the most beautiful cloud you will ever know”
“this is something your tearful eyes can never see”.
That for every drop of light
there are an expanse of emptiness
which we cannot imagine.
That we are small and we are insignificant.

Funny how the love for things
that I thought couldn’t possibly hurt me
also takes me down the same path.
The path that I walked once
holding the hands of someone
made of flesh plastered with signs
of caution and warnings.

But it is different now.
I guess the difference lies in who tells this news to me.
If I am nothing, if this hurt that I feel because of you
is of minor importance,
if I have a life that will be easily forgotten,
then I do not have to kill myself only to be remembered well.
And maybe,
just maybe
I can forgive you for being human
and myself for not being humane enough.

“Rainbows and Reflection” – Nayana Nair

I always thought
that I could be happy,
really happy,
forever happy,
if only I could make myself love happiness.

Though I approached this strange kid,
though I pretended to be good
and as holy as humans can be,
I had nothing to say this ever smiling child.
All the standard stories
I had prepared for this heavy chore
of presenting myself to this world,
were not for her ears.

I could never make myself fill her head with such darkness.
Why should she know of the categories of suffering and where I fit,
about the worth that every person has to earn.
This kid looked at rainbow and reflections with marvel,
prayed before every meal, believed in every story told.
There was nothing I could say to her.
I could not make her see me, befriend me, understand me
without changing her into me.

Only my love for this happiness
stands in my way
of the heaven I have dreamt in futile.