“The step before silence” – Nayana Nair

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The abyss holds a celebration today.
There is a relentless sound
of chatter and song,
of footsteps walking out of sync
heading this way.

This way, this place
where we have always been stuck
a step before the end, a word before silence.
This desolate space,
where we live and breathe
and learn to never rely on lungs or love,
it is a festival here.

The balloons of hope
are learning to fly in this heavier air.
Small innocent hands are sculpting
something better than hell
out of all this fire and light.
So much is possible today.
Anything can be lived.

Today the empty cold sky looks down with envy
at all that should have been unbearable.
Today I look down at myself
and see something lovable in everything
that made my heart crumble once.

“prompts” – Nayana Nair

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i think of parasols.
i think of wearing my miniature body made of colorful frills,
holding my own soft innocence,
not like something that can be and will be lost
but like something that will never be destroyed,
like something one never gives a second thought about.
i think of never knowing fatigue, never resting.
my skin only knowing the sun.
i think of classrooms fitted with air coolers
i think of home and its beautiful cold floor
i think of places i knew i could always return to
once i was done with my playing, once i felt my hunger.
i think of the time that i lived not knowing not understanding
the appeal or the need of shadows.

i think of stones.
their small happy weight in my hands.
the deftness of my fingers and my wrist as i played.
my palm holding them together,
scattering them, collecting them.
my palm feeling the coldness of the evening,
knowing time through them.
i think of the stones that grew on the sides of broken roads
beside my source of earliest magic
-the touch-me-nots, the insects made of velvet,
and the lost fireflies.
i grew up in a broken forest
wearing stones as brittle as me.

i think of fruits.
their colors that i loved
even when i didn’t like what they were.
they tasted too mellow, too tame,
too transient to me.
their juices just carved a bit more hunger
in my stomach. my stomach that was already learning
to ask for more and more.
i carved their colors in my notebook.
i dreamt of drawing them up on my skin.
this was before i knew what a tattoo was,
before i learnt the dangers of carving things in you
that you can’t possibly love.

“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.

“Beautiful broken railings” – Nayana Nair

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I have eyes only for you.

I have broken railings,
I have erased all the warnings,
I have planted the seeds of wanting,
wanting more of you.

I have learnt to give into
the feeling,
of hoping to see and breathe
and live through
whatever it means to be with you.

Even though I am of this world
and hence hateable because of that,
guilty because of that.
Can’t you love me
as if I am the same as you?

Do you really know what I feel
when I say
I only have you.

“Rewrite love” – Nayana Nair

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How are you?
Are you still there where we learnt to leave?
Since you left
I have changed my address a few times already.
My heart doesn’t lie broken
on the streets that only you could walk.
I find it funny and interesting and sad
that once I believed in “one and only love”,
that once I believed that I have found
what the rest of the world could not.

My hands don’t feel like my hands now,
Now that my hands
have reached out for love even after you.
My mind doesn’t feel like my mind,
now that my mind can forget any hurt caused by love,
now that my mind can easily rewrite love as something else
something trivial, something passing by,
something non-existent,
the moment I am near another light-filled human
who only wants a breaking out of me.

I feel less like myself, the more I heal myself.
Whatever grows out of me
doesn’t want to be anything like the person you loved,
the person I was so proud to be,
the person who couldn’t live without wounds.

It hurts less in the body I am now in.
It hurts less to know finally
that I am more than enough
to fill the void of my own size – the everyday lacking
that I always felt I needed to do something about.

I find it funny and interesting and sad
that I could learn to live only by losing you,
by learning to walk away from you.

“I am still hearing things” – Nayana Nair

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I heard you got sick of your life.
I heard I am not the only thing you are leaving behind.
I am getting to know you more when you are not here.
I am getting to know in ways, I didn’t want to and shouldn’t have to.
But I am still hearing things,
so I am still changing my mind.

Sometimes I want to tell them that they are wrong.
Sometimes I almost stand up for you,
but I don’t.
What I know, whom I knew, the you I knew
seems to be one more rumour on restless mouths.

Anything I can say about you now
seems as ridiculous and as probable
as what is being said about you
by those whom I don’t want to believe.

But what do I want to believe?
The ones with melting mind like me, are probably
not the ideal people to hold any beliefs about you
or about anything, actually.

Someone like me should have had
nothing to with you.
I shouldn’t have to learn my ways
about living a world without you.
Or worse a world where you are everywhere.
Just not the way I remember.
Just not the way I want.

“The way complete beings find breaking” – Nayana Nair

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You look at me
and I look at you
the way broken things look at the hands of an angry god,
the way complete beings look down
at things that can never be their equal.

You and me, we take turns,
learning to feel pain, to give pain
reaching for the light in each other’s eyes,
making copies of each other’s memories
and spilling the ink on the originals.

You and me –
we are children left alone unsupervised with this steel instrument of love.
We now know of the blood and bone within our skin, thanks to this blade.
We now know how to keep distance when nothing keeps us apart.

When we lose our color, our teeth of milk and cruelty,
when the blade loses its shine
and looks like any other rust of this world,

only then we know the pain
of having walked past a life we could have had,

the journeys we could have walked,
the meaning we carried in ourselves for each other sake,
the meaning we never looked up
, never cared for.

“Breathing Cities and Statues” – Nayana Nair

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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.

“Why doesn’t anything break me” – Nayana Nair

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now that this was happening for real

i wonder why isn’t it like

the ground breaking into pieces too small to support any life,
why the all the dragonflies weren’t dropping dead?
why all the butterflies still exist in color?

why isn’t it like

lungs filled with tears or the dramatic beautiful drowning into myself.
why am I able to keep track of time?
why am I stapling and stacking papers with a preciseness i never had?

i accept everything way to easily, i suspect

maybe even the love that almost took my life was not that deep.
maybe my limits were just as harsh as the room
with broken air conditioner on the day of perfect weather.

but why?
why then don’t I remember

the days of perfect weather
where there must have been something
worth crying for, breaking for, killing for. why doesn’t anything break me.

why then

are there open windows filled with light still stuck on the walls of my heart,
why is there music in the world sadder than my own self.
why do I envy everyone who gets to have a real grief, real love.

why is it so, that

it makes sense for the color of end to be my favorite.
it makes sense that i am left with myself and i still feel safe and i still know hope.
i wonder this numbness or cold heartedness – what it will do to me?

what will it do to me?
what will i end up as?
(i am avoidant and anxious and selfish and cruel and “never yours” already)
what/who will you end up loving instead?
(if you die before me, in the arms of someone who could see you better than me,
should I cry or not? would you be still expecting my tears?
when should i stop keeping count of what i owe to you?)
what new thing will i learn to run away from?

i hear such words from my mouth a bit too frequently, for it to be just a mood.
sometimes it all adds up.
that all i can do is think of myself
and end up doing a bad job at it
just so that someone else wants to do it better than me
it so looks like love. but it makes sense that it isn’t.

“If even you came to me like that”- Nayana Nair

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Don’t call your love a help.
Don’t tell me you pity me.

If even Love came to me like this,
how shall I accept your feelings.

What would be left of me
if I could reach you
only because my sadness
made me worthy of light.

I can choose such love of yours
only if choose
to never part with this pain
that I have.

Though I wanted you beside me
you are beside me because I can’t walk,
because I am running into walls when you leave my hand.
And I keep getting new bruises,
fearing how your heart might change
if I learn to smile.