“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.

“truth as truth” – Nayana Nair

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even if i loved
it was all in vain
and if i couldn’t be loved
what good was i anyway

i utter such atrocities
hoping no one takes me seriously
yet hoping someone would cry.
i can’t tell from here
if i have broken anyone yet.
there is only blindness where i stand.
there is only light where i am allowed to be.
the lights stay on me.
the shadow of curtains comes down
on the momentary truth that hangs at my lips.

i wake up
and read about the dream i sold
looking for the cracks i made
but all i got was “pain looks good on her“.
i wonder if i am really that beyond hope.
my blood shines and my tears have wings.
my brokenness isn’t broken enough.
even in my honest moments
i only seem make pain more beautiful.
to be cared for, to be tended to
could it ever happen to me, should i even try.
to speak truth as truth
i wonder how that feels like.

“I hope you are as stupid as me” – Nayana Nair

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It takes an eternity.
It takes the courage of fighting
thousand bloodless wars.
It takes the the cruelty
of scratching through my own wounded skin,
breaking my own ribs that were made to protect
the soft things that keeps me alive.
It takes stupidity and few seconds
for my fingers to reach your lips.

You look up. Your gaze says something
that I do not understand.
Such beautiful hopes and possible disasters
come alive in your face.
My fear comes to the surface of my eyes
swimming in the black oil
glistening and waiting to burn.

“how it pained to part. how beautiful it is to meet.” – Nayana Nair

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the eyes made of glass stare at us
with its kind open clutches held out.
the eyes made of forgetfulness
and remembrance in equal measure –
they are beautiful.
they sing of the most beautiful fear,
the most hurting hope.
and we sing back.
me and my brothers –
we sing like we have never known death
as we hand over our hidden skin folded in half.

folded in half, we sleep in its arm
and we invent love, invent warmth,
invent meaning.
we hear it breathing.
we hear our lung collapse.
we have brought something to life again.
this machine of fear and ends –
it breathes, it tears up and cries.
i feel an ocean flowing into my eyes.
the suffocation ends.
and just like that there is
nothing of us left with us.

somewhere we will open our eyes
and stare at lips that sing of giving,
we will feel our hollow insides echo
with the memory of our own lightest steps
we will look
at the saddest sweetest children of this world
and we’ll know ourselves through it again.
we will know of the ocean in us
when it leaves our eyes.
and just like that we will be all that
we couldn’t bear to live as.

“Mechanisms” – Nayana Nair

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I have a thing about ends-
I cannot do it,
it has to be done to me.
It must happen.
Things must continue
till they rot and bleed.
First in places where no one can see
and then in places where no one can look away from.
And words must be said – cruel words.
They must be said by someone, but it won’t be me.

I rush up to the jar of those colorful wrong words
and choose first, all the words
that seem like hope but they aren’t,
while purposefully leaving behind
in the hand of others only those words
that seem like rage, but it is not,
it is more of helplessness,
but I do not tell them that.
So now, in my tears they see
the new monsters that they are made of,
the monster I can’t bear to be.

Even as they become problems
that they never wanted to be,
I must remain good, I must remain kind.
I must remain the one that held on.
I must save my illusions at any cost.
I won’t give the excuse of my weakness, of my broken heart,
of the fragile thread from which my existence is suspended,
of how I am already clawed open and torn apart by life,
or how I would rather at the end of it
want someone to hate than to mourn things that died
with all the good parts of me.
Or how I have always loved everything a bit too much.
I won’t give the excuses even I cannot believe in.

I refuse to give up
with spite and with malice even
because how can I ever walk towards any goodness in world again
knowing the feeling of the dying pulse of a miracle under my hands.
I am ready to suffer. I am ready to break every heart including mine.
I am ready to paint this world with monsters and be the evil one
but I refuse to do that killing.

“Listen and Obey and Lie and Pretend” – Nayana Nair

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Old dreams,
the old warm sweaters of dreams-
today is the day for burning them.
Someone hands me a matchstick,
hands me the common sense
of creating necessary ends.
And like the more faithful student I am
I listen and obey
and pour the flame on the fishes that are still caught
in the net of my dreams.
I pour the flame on the neck, on the wings
of the deity that sleeps in me.
And like the betrayer that I am
I clap and smile with ones who hold my hand,
the ones I must pacify, the ones I must give in to.
But I breathe in again the seeds of wishful thinking.
The air is filled with them-
with the tiny rebellions, with the stolen chances,
with all that isn’t but threatens everything that is.
The air is filled with hope, with freedom,
with everything beautiful and dangerous.
I smile knowing the demons I have set free.

“Everything in me seems to be made to hope” – Nayana Nair

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I stand in the shadow
of the great palms
of the red tiles that grow out of its soul
I stand watching the world go cold.

The broad roads of this city made of dust,
the river made out the minds, out of dreams –
this is my home,
till I learn to break away from its spell.

My tongue feels heavy
with the growing names I am supposed to learn,
with all the things I must not be to be loved by them.
I am almost expecting new things.
“this is a good time to run away”, says my ghost-from-the-city-of-sea.

My ghost-from-the-mountains-green laughs
at how desperately I want to be understood, to be seen
and yet how furiously I try to erase everything of myself.

Everything in me seems to be made to be hidden.
I hide my trembling fingers.
I hide my desperation and the mess it leaves in its wake.
I prepare myself for another show.
The show of trying. My trying is so beautiful
in how it is always hoping to be disappointed.

I wait under the neon signs of misspelled words
and think about the storm that will never arrive.
I wait with hope.
I wait with arms fed up of trying.

“The dream of life” – Nayana Nair

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I clip your favorite weather on my hair-
this everlasting rain,
these sad sad endings chasing their tails,
these graves of the dear, the most loved dogs,
the end of all songs.

I wear them
just how you wear on your neck
all the things I can’t forget-
my swelling hollow body, my soaring hatred for myself,
the stories I tell in my head, the hopes that never come true
cause I can’t bear to speak of them,
the sad sad beginnings beheading themselves.

In the land of ghosts, we waltz dressed in each other.
We dream of being alive.
Life seems so possible right now.

“I think of you” – Nayana Nair

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On this new morning, as this new cold finds my old bones,
I think of you.

Today when your name surfaces on the silent lake
I do not row towards it, I do not push it down.

I stare and breathe as the water moves
you and me.

I stare, without making my knuckles red,
without holding onto you or myself.

The mist of time and the storms of words-not-meant
they rise and settle and we part,

just as we rehearsed,
just as we have performed a thousand times in life.

I look back and see only a sunrise of a color you’d like.
I float a thank you, a broken oar towards you,

a hope for your life and some peace for mine.
All that I have loved has been eaten away by time.

Your body, your mind is now broken
into thousand scattered restless dots of dust

so when I think of you, in my mind
you are the life of the light. So unlike your presence in my life.

You remain that even as I lose my grasp
over the meaning and texture of love.

I forget what we were really like.
So I often get to miss you. You often make me smile.

“For every map you push into my hands” – Nayana Nair

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Can we really trust this map?
I don’t.
And I won’t
till you give me
the story of those who made it
or even of those who followed it
blindly, knowingly,
as they sang of their love under their breath,
as they shouted their own name in blizzards,
and found their past stubbornly standing
waiting for the impossible
at the shores that were made to crumble.

Tell me how small fishes nibbled at their tears
as they looked back at the shore, at themselves
they will never return to.
Tell me what happened of them.
Tell me about where they stopped,
where they left their breath lingering.
Print me a book of 300 pages, devoid of observable facts,
for every map you push into my hands.
Give me a glimpse of the heart
of the one whose words I must trust.

And once I see, I swear I won’t hold back.
Even if all I see are tears
I will take only steps forward.
Even if all I hear are dissolving laughter
I would chase their ghosts, I will call out to them.
I will lose myself, lose my voice
in chasing their fates.
I don’t know what’s the point of this
Maybe I just want to wander, maybe I just want to hurt
and smile for someone else
without a hope of getting something similar back.
To see, without being seen.
But I know I can only walk for this.
I can only walk like this.