“they took my name and handed it back to me” – Nayana Nair

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Every time
I fell into the void.

Every time
I have been kindly left alone.

Every time
I was allowed to walk in light,
in the world I clearly didn’t belong.

Every time
they took my name and handed it back to me
without poison, without hatred, without tearing it into pieces.

That’s all I have to be happy about.
That is the closest I have felt to love.

“Every evidence of your existence”- Nayana Nair

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The evidence of your existence –
they sometimes sound like trapped bubbles in ice,
a song no one wants to remembers,
a song that wants to burn itself down
on the steps of justice gone wrong,
wanting to stain the white marble of temples
that do not deserve worship.

They sound like dying ambition amidst flying hopes,
a revolution coming apart,
a future with limping walk and kind careful words,
a future fleshed out with beautiful breaking and selfish hands.

You told me “selfish” is a beautiful word,
told me that in the opening sentence to the goodbye,
that I am supposed to shout after your vanishing back,
to make the word “selfish” the first word,
to speak of that word with a smile.
And let the world wonder why you wanted to burn the world
for what you have never known, what you couldn’t have;
to never explain your heart, to never let their magnifying glass
and their dear sun around your tearful smile.

“Telling Signs” – Nayana Nair

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“Does rust affect plastic dreams?”
I ask my teacher in my sleep.
She takes out an axe and starts cutting down
the first mouth filled with wrong answers.
Two rows away
she wipes her brows and folds her sleeves,
she takes another deep breath
before she checks the attendance sheet
and finds the next dream to kill.

She tells me I should think more and ask more
and ask the questions that help me live.
She looks at the metal that grows out of my pores
and gives me another chance.
She says only if I would try to be better
than the people I am clinging to, I could grow up to be her.
I look away from the blood that flowing down her neck,
the parts of her that she intends to kill by holding other’s breath.

“What about my mother’s arms, weak weak exhausted arms?
Are those my telling signs?
Does that mean I don’t have to worry,
that I am just someone next in line?
What about you? Do you rust like me?
Would the color of my rust, would my weakened heart
make me worth protecting,
make me deserving of kinder words?

She told me “It will not get you respect or equality,
if that’s what you are looking for.
It can sure get you love, of some kind, for some time
but it is just a matter of time
before you see the end that only you can write.
And you would end up writing it
cause that painful end would be more truer and more yours
than any love that you find by compromise.”

As she walks past me, smiling lovingly,
as she spares my life, that now she owns.
As she dissolves my only way back,
I realize too late, that my chaos and my doubts
were more hopeful than an answer like this
that promises pain to everyone else but me.

“To speak of your love” – Nayana Nair

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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.

“A New Hate” – Nayana Nair

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Surely, I love you.
Why else would I need to find a new me?
Why else, after all these years, would my jagged ends
and my fearful heart
bother me, when I have finally learned to look at them
with the kindness I was not born with?
But do you have to necessarily know of this-
these messy feelings of mine?
You are making me change.
You are making me learn
a new hate towards myself , just by existing.
Just the possibility that I might be in your heart
kills me, makes me come alive, makes me want to
undo the ties that I have held me safe,
made me safe for the world.
As long as you are here, I can never go back
to the life where I exist with ease.
It is ridiculous how I am convinced
that I will be never myself if I am apart from you,
even when I know it is a lie.
Today, I carve another need in my heart,
that I once could live without.
Today I hate you a bit more.
But you don’t have to know that.

“Tell me it is not true” – Nayana Nair

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At the right turn
I faced another street
where someone I know once lived.
For all I know, their present
might still look like my ‘once ago’.
From where I stand and where I see
my present
is their “what a nightmare,
thank god it is not true/thank god it is not me.

Maybe with their shocked and sorrowful faces
they will ask me this
Tell me it is not true.
and I will probably tell them exactly that
because I do not want them to think
thank god is it not me
or “god has been kind to me. god loves me more.
Because maybe then, in that moment,
I may hate my lovely friend and my lovely god,
and the lovely lives that I am not part of.

So I take another turn,
seeking other roads-
roads where the ones I knows,
the ones with question
do not have to look at me.
And I do not have to see my tragedy, my loneliness
paint them as villain
when they are not,
when maybe they are the only ones that care.

“Personal Sun. Personal Shadow.” – Nayana Nair

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the green pastures
the white fences
the perfect fake loving gaze
the debts of kindness
the half that never completes itself for once
the ornamental lackings of my being

the personal sun, the privilege to look away
and never know the heart of one who can’t
the greed such that I can’t stop receiving

the ideals that I can live without,
ideals that are already falling short
to accommodate
my monstrous growth, my falls from grace,

All these,
everything that I say I don’t need
is also
all that I cannot give back.

It is easier for me
to live,
to be kind,
to understand,
to love
with a life of hypocrisy,
with a guilt weighing down my heart,
with the smile that I can get only because
the world is unfair.

It is easier for me to smile
at the knife stuck in my back.
It is easier to forgive
when I cannot forget my own blood stained hands,
my own reckless selfish heart.

“That poem doesn’t exist in this world” – Nayana Nair

Outside my body, outside myself
I feel
I can be the the girl
who walks to a stranger, smiles and asks his name,
who keeps her name in her mouth,
and doesn’t throw it away
along with the chewing gum in the nearest trash can.

Would she hold his hand?
I think she would.
But even then
would she be reminded of the the poem she wrote in seventh grade
the ugliness of people dripping from their hands
at nights, holding my breath,
crushing my 27 teeth under an unwanted kiss,
promising to kill me next time
“.
Probably not.
That poem doesn’t exist in this world,
let’s keep reminding ourselves that.

So yes, she holds this stranger
a bit more closer than she would have deemed wise
if she saw it how I would
and she would make promises- the kind lovers makes
before they know what love is.
He will ask about her life
and she will have no sad story to tell.
So she would talk about the recent window shopping-
the things she can’t have and things she can’t get
and she will not be talking in metaphors for once.

For once the one she wants to love
wouldn’t be obsessed with the wounds on her skin
to love, to treasure, to poke, to mock, to dig down further,
to own and to burn.
He will probably say something sweet about her smile
or maybe something boring about his work
and she would smile a bit more in either case.
Because she can smile here, in this world, in front of him,
without having to think about what his each word might hide,
what she is over-looking, what will be the tiny details
that will come back to hurt her, what will be the undoing of her heart.
She will smile cause she won’t have learned to be hate people beforehand,
she wouldn’t have learned to love a bit too late.

She would tell him that he is lovely,
and the blush in his cheeks will make her heart skip
and she would love him for loving him
and not because she is looking for an easy fix to her faltering mind.

You stand beside the fire” – Nayana Nair

In the rubble with nerves hiding sparks,
in the nest of sleeping explosives,
again it is you.
Again you are here to prove something
by doing something unasked for.

You build a place for warm tea,
for all our shivering ghosts to haunt.
You place the chairs that are not chairs
but buckets that cannot hold anything now.
There are chairs that are lying around just fine
but you don’t want them.
You don’t want the old purposes eating away
the beauty of all that is left behind.

You console the ones holding onto what is no longer there
but you don’t want the ones who want a way back to what it was.
You ask us questions with your bleeding lips
you want us to answer with something real,
not just words.
“You are cruel”,
you laugh when we say that.
You make us leave everything we are
just so that we can finally sit on empty buckets
thinking about the hands we cannot hold,
thinking about hands that are no longer hands.

“The city is no longer burning”, you tell us
as we place our empty glasses in front of our empty eyes
and tell us it is fine if we don’t believe it now.
“Sleep. Dream and stay for a while with the molten and bombed,
the lost and the dead that still have your heart.
Take your time.”

As we lay awake in our heart-wrenching grief,
as we lose ourselves to your favorite world of sleep,
you stand beside the fire
that keeps us alive.
You stand beside the fire
that is not actually fire
but your heart
that burns like sun.

We wanted to tell you, “You are kind.
You are too beautiful for this world.
Have our heart and burn it instead.”
But we couldn’t .
We knew these things were easy only in words,
that these were things we couldn’t do, yet.
That we have not smiled and laughed with bleeding lips,
helping while being hated.
That we were too selfish to be you.

“Temperaments and Thoughts” – Nayana Nair

We once loved this world
more than ourselves.
Now we just like everything
only as much as our own temperaments and thoughts permit.

The oranges reminds him of view from his broken home,
the sour taste of everything that should have been beautiful.

The glowing beads fill my mind with the images of meaningless gifts,
the faces of men and friends that always fall short
even in the face if my plummeting expectations.

Going out of our way to hide
is the measure of our love somehow.
We sit across each other for every meal
and talk about things that make sense,
everything and anything that can’t cause more harm
than the things close to our heart have already done.

I feel the rustle of a world buried deep in me,
he must feel the same.
But the world that is lost and the hope that is no longer mine
can only do so little.
There is a happiness that doesn’t look enchanting.
There is a kindness that isn’t grand.
There are things only we can be for each others
even if there are thousand things we can’t.

I would have told him “I love you”
if I didn’t know how hearing these words
have only made him cry.
He lets me love within the boundary
of my temperament and thoughts,
he stands by these walls and knows why they are for.