“Come and Kneel and Dream” – Nayana Nair

.

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.

“As people change, I start to hope” – Nayana Nair

.

Today I am a bit out of luck.
Today the sun shines bright
on the stairs to your home.
Today I am forced to see.
But it’s only for today though.
On days ruled by fog, I will again get to hope
that you might be sitting there,
till I reach the first cold step.

I can smile for the few minutes – the time it takes
before I realize everything else
in this world, that is not you,
can make more beautiful shadows of you.
Just like how, sometimes, even i don’t need you.
I don’t need you to cling to you, to beg you,
to feel your love, to be in love, to waste away like this.

Even when I wait though, I hope to quit on you soon.
Even in waiting I actually do not need you.
I imagine the days when I will not need this routine.
As people change and leave, I start hoping
that maybe I will also change and maybe I will also leave,
maybe one day I will forget the way to this place,
and these stairs will be just stairs
and not a place you couldn’t be,
and maybe life could be just life
not a story you are missing from.

And maybe when I also leave
there would be two shadows, not one
on these stairs.
Everything that makes me ache now
will be just what they should be-
things that will never give anyone any grief.

“The ground I won’t find” – Nayana Nair

.

Even when I run away from you.
Even when I hate you from the depth of my heart-
the same depth where only you can breathe,
where I can allow no one but you.
Even then
you sit there, in front of me,
reminding me
how difficult it is
to destroy this love,
whose truth and strength
outlives
each sad, tragic moment that comes our way,
each moment of separation
that we are capable of creating from our ugly wants.
Once I couldn’t have imagined
the joy and frustration
of having a love like that.
A love that has no end
when end is all I want.
A love that tells me again and again
that I do not really know anything
and takes away the key of choice every time from my hands.
A love that will not even spare me to stay alive.
What a blessing! What a curse!
To have this bottomless hope.

“Breathing Cities and Statues” – Nayana Nair

.

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.

“Named after stars” – Nayana Nair

.

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.

“The Sun and the Sorrow” – Nayana Nair

.

The sun and the sorrow
were in my eyes.
I couldn’t see your face
as you bent down
and carefully separated
your words of love
from the pieces of me.

When I am in sorrow
I try to imagine
what you could have looked like
as you carefully took back
everything of yours.
I imagine an ugly indifference,
sometimes I imagine a tear.
I don’t know what to do
with this “not knowing.”

But in these painful retellings
I feel relieved at this uncertainty
that sometimes lets me remember you
as the part of me that I couldn’t help but love
even in my breaking.
But I also feel relieved at the ease with which
I can draw that cruel expression on your face
which won’t let me stay in love with you
any longer than this.

“To speak of your love” – Nayana Nair

.

The lights die out one by one.
The dark streets come alive,
I crush the melting remains of abandoned snowballs under my feet,
as you sidestep once again
to let the flower stuck in concrete grow a bit more.
I remember how you called such things ” kindness for my own sake”.
It always makes me laugh
when I look back at my own understanding smile,
as if really knew what it actually meant.

Another cold gust of wind touches me
and reaches you few second later
and I recall why I never liked to walked behind you,
why my heart couldn’t bear to see you any more,
why the excuse of love wasn’t enough for me.
It all comes back to me – all my pathetic emotions,
as you fold a bit more into yourself, your shoulders almost disappearing.

Stopping in your tracks, you let out another sigh,
and just when it seems you might give up and decide to break.
You don’t.
You keep on walking as if nothing can phase you out.

So I don’t follow you,
cause your strength has always broken me more than your tears.
Always when you let me have the right to complain and cry,
I looked at you and begged you not to make me another one of those
who can’t live without your sacrifices,
who can only speak of your love
in terms of the wounds you were ready to accept by their hands.

As I see you walk towards a home I won’t ever know,
a part of me imagined – you turning back, looking at me with those
kind eyes of yours, holding my hand.
I am relieved when you didn’t.
I am fine like this, with this manageable sadness that I feel
when you leave me cold in the same world I abandoned you in.

“I am afraid of the ones who still see hope in me” – Nayana Nair

They are beautiful people
with beautiful heart
and they really want to mend me
and that’s scary.

It is scary
because I can’t seem to feel
love or gratitude
for anyone who affirms
that I am as bad as I imagined myself to be.

It is scary
because my disease knows me
and my cure doesn’t.
And the better life sounds like hell
to my broken hearing.

It is scary
because when you hold me from breaking
I can barely stop myself from saying,
“leave me alone,
before i learn how to break you too”.

“harmless” – Nayana Nair

i slipped, fell, and cut my skin.
i didn’t want to care, but i did.
i couldn’t help but feel sorry for all the harmless things
that ended up being cursed at, blamed for
only because i ran towards them
with all that i had in me.
i recalled the formula of impact,
that never meant so much to me
till i realized that I also have a body
that follows every law ordained by nature.
that just because i can imagine and dream an eternity,
doesn’t make me or my feelings eternal.
i didn’t want to care about such things, but i did.
i cared so much that it hurt, even when it should’t.

“Portals” – Nayana Nair

the wafer breaks and crumbles
my teeth find a red muscle to kill
again my mouth bleeds
but no iron strikes my taste
so i wait for it
i wait for my imagined pain
to become real

i look at my hands
my unsightly weak hands
they are portals to my past self
how they weighed its emptiness even when they held you
how i knew that you won’t last, we won’t last
and i hated myself for knowing it

i wonder if my skin, my lips
gave you a premonition similar to that
did you know that we would end up sharing every hurt
and that it would never stop
that the we would continue to run even when the dream
ends
every cut mine, every drop of red yours
everything painful – only ours