“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.

“The things we hate are sometimes the only things that can be counted upon” – Nayana Nair

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Even in my nightmares I had a home,
I had the warmth of my own
love-yearning heart whose selfish haunting
was more powerful than the sorrow
of the world itself.
Even when the night came
and killed the song of every bird.
Even when god abandoned my shadow,
even as I dreamt the eyes I loved
drowning in blood, floating towards my end.
I could live,
I could still write poems
under the light of my pain.

“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.

“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.

“Weight of Snow” – Nayana Nair

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The light – yellow, diffused, and scattered – falls here everyday
on the cold marble of my home.
It is winter already, which means there must be places on earth now
where turning on taps is a useless exercise,
where a whole street wakes up early
to remove the snow piling up in them, around them,
snow continues piling far away from their settlements
where there is no need to clear them,
where the weight of snow doesn’t suffocate anyone.
There must be places now where people are forgetting things one by one.
Remembering an unreal ocean of fierce light,
forgetting ever being there.
How many places have I forgotten already?
I move two chairs into the circle of warmth
and wait for the evening cold to reach my skin,
to end this dream.
I stare at the empty chair.
I draw myself sitting there, staring,
as if I cannot live without an empty space beside me.
What was that space once?
It was something warm with skin and heart and voice.
It was light in human form, it was the most beautiful life.
But that empty chair in the sun, has been empty for so long
it couldn’t possibly have been me
who existed when it was something more than that.

“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.

“Not only ours” – Nayana Nair

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All the wildflowers of our soul,
all the drops of yellow suns
dissolve in the air of shrieks.
One by one we loose ourselves.
The moments of despair and pain
are not only ours now.

When I speak,
thousands sing.
When I am silenced,
when I accept suffering,
when I am trodden upon
thousands wake up
with bruises they do not deserve.

How should I live?
How should I forgive?
Knowing my pain is someone else’s as well.

“What I Remember (28)” – Nayana Nair

As I grew up, whom I hate changed constantly, it changed more frequently than my dream for future roles.

Maybe that’s why I was so particular about what I hate and I did it with fervor for the first few years.

But as time went on that hatred turned into just another silence – my refusal to speak with anyone who I wanted to hate.

And now it has transformed to hating people while I pretend to get along with them. Curling inside with anger at the same jokes that I feel compelled to laugh on.

It is not an easy thing to do but it is still easier than all the alternatives. (The alternatives are my nightmare.)

Because even though my hatred has grown over time, I also find it in me that space to accept people at their ugliest, not loving them, just accepting that they too can live here, be here and do what I hate, and telling myself that I have to be fine with that.

I have come to hate this side of me the most – this cowardice dressed as generosity and understanding, where I do nothing but smile as my blood, my ideals burn and collapse.

Maybe that’s why I have hated myself most, with constant determination, without doubt. This hatred is my only light – my anger at myself, for not doing enough, for taking up fearing my uncertain volatile feelings and views, my own voice, more than I fear this world.

“We are not made for any season” – Nayana Nair

The cold that we depended on
to hide our hearts
didn’t last long.
First our warmth, then our fire,
then our wild will-
one by one they convinced us
why we need them, that without them
we’ll never actually live.
One by one
everything we didn’t want to be
stood facing us, climbing higher and faster
on our ladders out of our hell.
I kept repeating my lies
and you kept repeating them back
and tried to call it love.

“Someone is waiting for me” – Nayana Nair

Fog swims over my study table.
The glasses grow cold and old
and useless.
Again I forget to drink the medicine,
the milk, the love that fills my phone.
Like I forgot to get vaccinated,
to close the door, to wear something warm
even after being reminded
how easy it is to die.
Someone is waiting for me
to say the words I do not mean.
But they love me
so I try not to hate them for that.
I sink back into my chair.
I sink somewhere in the fog.
I try not to struggle too much.
I try to live with all my heart
but it is so difficult.
So difficult
to accept, ingest anything.
So difficult
to forget that I am drowning.