“Come and Kneel and Dream” – Nayana Nair

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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.

“But maybe because it is you, you won’t laugh if I told you” – Nayana Nair

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Of all that I miss,
out of every

“I had it when I didn’t need it,
when I wasn’t ready to face my own needing, cause
my feelings for the delicate and genuine seemed hateful to me”,

out of everything that I tried not to know,
you are the one most precious to me.
Mostly it is because I didn’t really look at you
so I have only these regrets
to measure what you were.

And my regrets grow heavier
with every encounter I have with this world
that is filled with people like me.
My regrets grow heavier
even though I was so well suited, so ready
to live and thrive in this real world, where you were destined
to fail and wither and lose all that false light your prized.

My regrets grow heavier,
the more I realize how much this world needs
you and your friends,
with your false beautiful ideals sewed on your skins.
You would laugh if I told you
about the people I meet everyday,
people like me who can’t come in terms
with the world they have chosen.
I face their expecting eyes,
I feel their hands searching in me
for a glimpse of the world they have burnt.
But maybe because it is you, you won’t laugh at it.
Maybe you’d cry, cry in our stead,
cry for all that we cannot cry for.

When they search for miracles in me
I feel like a house with hidden doors and floors
with bodies holding goodness lying breathless within.
I fear when they find you behind every door-
a miracle with your face, an end with your smile-
then even these regrets won’t be mine.

So I try to be of use to them
all the time hoping
that they find the face of kindness only they know of,
only they miss, the one only they want back.
So that at least our mad hopes, will remain our own till the end.
So that we gain nothing but remember everything
and that remembering makes our hands, our hearts soft and breakable
and beautiful like yours, like everyone else like you
who did a world a favor by just existing.

“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.