“To stay” – Nayana Nair

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The city of wax and sun was,
for the lack of better words,
like living in a home that will vanish
and does vanish-
the vanishing always a spectacle and a sorrow.
The nights were all about
breathing religiously every second
to catch a brick, a bell, a railing to hold onto,
the dear gods carved in stones,
the plate touched by my mother.
Breathing in again and again
and coming up all empty,
we used to wait for sun and dread its heat
always worried and excited
about the drops and vapors we would catch
and all that we were going to lose.
Since nothing apart from the breathing would survive,
since the new-born stone and grass
knew nothing of death or its mark,
there never was a funeral,
no graves, no photographs to devote our tears to.
All our oceans would rise within us
falling at the steps, the stones, the memories
of everything that cannot prove its reason to stay
anymore.

“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.

“I nod with a smile knowing what it means” – Nayana Nair

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The sea in the cold basement
rises and falls and collapse around his moon eyes.
Last year, he was a deer forever running into shining lights.
Only yesterday, he was melting the roads he walked on.
Today his hands are cold and yet steady.
He speaks of himself, of me, of this world
in a voice of wind and thunder and love.
And after being other thousand things
I also have become today this light
that can find its origin to him.
The white perfect sails
of all that was and all that could have been
are drowning on every horizon.
“But nothing is ever lost.” he says,
“Everything comes back. Everything continues
to illuminate some life somewhere.”

“Other people” – Nayana Nair

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I have to always stop myself
because my mind is always running simulations
of things the way they aren’t and will never be.
Yesterday, as I fixed myself a “meal for the raving hungerless”,
you came to my mind. It was your turn now.
You were dropped into a pool of color.
A color that you never had in yourself.
In this new dark room
you were now a person
who might open a fridge late at night,
see its light and think of me.
And stands there awashed in the cold light
till his head is filled
with a new noise and many old feelings.
Till his hands are forced to shut the door
only to find himself
in the comfort of a warm hell.
“warm hell”…as always
the grandness of my being and my absence sound hollow.
Nothing like this could be really so important.
Nothing of mine could cause such lovelorn ache.
I am running around by myself, in myself
wearing masks having these feelings,
having wants that make no sense.
I always wonder about other people in this world.
How the fabric of such thoughts, such hopeless feelings
never seem to suit their skin,
even though I know everyone suffers the same.
I wonder if my reality
is equally incomprehensible, unimaginable to others.

“even if you become my story, my only story, as the rest of me dissolves” – Nayana Nair

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Even if this moment casts me to hell*,
even if this is a seed of hurt
that will soon be my new skin,
as long as your spirit embraces me
there would be only spring,
there would only be morning birds,
and silent roads filled with your sweet footsteps.

“nothing more, nothing else.” – Nayana Nair

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the last time i was young,
i was as young as the numbers i colored
on his last birthday card.
i remember the burning of birds
that followed our song of hope.

since then nothing was the same.
“the innocent” and “the sweet”
were the monsters that we killed
in the forests that grew in our house.
we killed a lot. we killed plenty.

hours swelled into years into decades
at every tear i tried to hide.
everything i tried to hide
grew as me, grew into me.

he grew into half a monster of kindness.
he devolved into an angel wielding my fear with smile.
it was the truest of love, without any doubt.
it was the only love of the world. the only one i would ever have.
knowing that helped. it helped me wish for nothing more, nothing else.

i grew my claws into the gentlest shapes.
i grew every contradiction in subtle ways.
i grew them nonetheless. that is how i hid.
in the light of his skin, my eyes learnt to love darkness
and yet when the day came, he asked me
to become someone from his memory,
someone untouched from the poison of our world.

he would pester me like a child
to show once again the trick of undoing,
to show the skin i hid from his fear,
to show the heart that he cannot accept.

“gentle things always begged for my fury”
he had said that once.
i remember the threat that lurked under his voice,
in that moment. in that moment,
i remember curling into myself in time,
before he learnt i was all that he couldn’t stand.
i remember choosing him foolishly.
i remember the violence of being chosen.

“what has changed”
i ask in my newest disinterested voice
and he smiled as if he was really not here.
his eyes looked at me as if i was already long gone,
as if he knew my every truth.
he reached out his hand and instead of new blood
i felt his new breaking.

“for a minute i am tempted to believe in this world”
he said in the voice we used to sing all our songs in.
and because i knew better. because i knew fear.
because i couldn’t lose my hidden flesh of hope
to entertain his momentary half-hearted wish to reform
i replied “there is nothing to believe.
there is only blood and flesh and lifeless spoils of war in me.
do you want to be free of me now?
why are asking for things i can never be, never give?”

i feigned hurt and looked at him
till he had to look away and laugh.
his laugh was filled, was welling
with something unfamiliar.
he looked in every direction but mine
as if letting me breathe in the relief of not being found
and the breathe out the disappointment of losing something unreachable again.
but i didn’t dare to breathe.

“Feeding life” – Nayana Nair

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The crumbles of the day are out of my hand.
They fly towards the birds
who now only know how to sit and wait.

It is morning
and the birds have been dragged
to these grounds of freedom
again.
Again they have been given this abundance of sky,
again they will realize only the abundance of their own fear.

I color their feathers with the dyes of attention.
A friend of mine force feeds them something
that tastes very similar to the sweetness of a tender care.
But they cry and choke and try to wriggle out of his torn hands.
They are much more gentle on me.
My tears never dry,
so they are afraid of me in more softer ways.

I stupidly burn words and meanings into everything we do.
I move my hands on their feathers,
over this soft life that sees me as another bother.
I feel him smile as a kiss of blood blooms on his cheeks
as a beak stills, as they stare back at him.
They wait for him to stop smiling.
They wait for his love
to be withered by their tests of violence.
They wait for a long time.

It is evening.
It is again a moment of miracles
that never quite happen till they actually do.
We wait something to take flight.
We wait for life to find its legs.
We wait for a long time.

“What a hopeless sadness have I ended up facing in her love for truth”- Nayana Nair

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How false this all is.
Let’s imagine something truer.
Something true like returning to the pain.
I imagined another world devoid of distant fires.
A room filled with moonlight and sorrow.
Here I heard myself speak of the pain
that I cannot forget, that I cannot stop to seek.
I heard myself stupidly ramble about
the cold settled in my stomach, the snow
that had no winter to name as its mother,
how I tried to seek another face
that could make looking at my own bearable,
how I broke everything but me
because that was the only way to really hurt myself.
I heard her cry.
I asked her again and again
how much more truer should my pain be
for her love to become real,
for my love to count.
But I only heard her cry.

“on the questionable ways to feel alive” – Nayana Nair

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another bird breaks into light
and the someone applauds.
a fire is born in the clouds.
a wind filled with cries
flows in through windows of happy castles.
everything painful is now essential.

i sign my writing with assurances
that it is not too much, this much i can handle,
this much i can live.
i stand tall, i persist in light
with the heartiest smiles
all the time planning on the next crack
that i dream to give birth to,
the next tear that i will paint on myself…
all the while knowing there is something wrong.

something is wrong
with the way i live and the way i feel,
with the things that i see and want.
but has knowing ever helped.
knowing just makes me more reckless.
knowing makes me want to fly again
even though i know
i will be shot down by my own arrows.

“don’t ask me. i don’t know what’s my problem just like you.” – Nayana Nair

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i would wake up
and find myself again in another room
with another stranger (obviously broken)
and i would try to remember the night before,
the season before, the feelings before
i ended up here. i fail to recall the pain that drew me here,
i fail to remove this person from the mess of all the words
that has been said to me before. before is now a continuum.
and “you”, “me”, and “us” and “we”
are just terms that point nowhere, to nothing
but they carry too many people inside, the seams of these words
are always coming apart, there is too much weight to these light words,
they leave our shoulders and heart broken.
how lovely it would be to be singular again.
how simple everything could be.
but everything tends to flow, tends to merge,
tends to find roots every time it taste defeat, it finds ground.
it is still somehow good. though good is maybe a relative term.
but then everything is relative, even us. me and you are different
only when we are placed far apart in time and space.
as i drown diaries and memories in the waters
of the forests that you used to visit, i find myself
walking as you, sharing your skin of fear,
speaking the broken language of your dreams.
as you, i end up drowning a lot more, losing a lot many
things than i had planned to. it doesn’t hurt, honestly,
when that happens. a lot of things should hurt
but they don’t. and i feel that is my tragedy. i used to feel every loss
even of others and i loved it. and now because i feel nothing
i have taken up jobs on the excavation sites of pain of strangers
that are dying from numbness. my presence seems to help,
at least diverts attention. the “too much” about me helps everyone but me.
i have an excess of blood, an excess of heart
however implausible that might seem. but it is so. i have learnt that
after numerous burnings and denial. all that breathes,
all that seems to be made of magic and speaks in voice of thunder,
anything that we don’t understand
we have burned them enough. we are burning too much of ourselves.
but that is not my problem. at least not my only problem.
i have never had a definable problem. but we can talk as if they are,
as if everyone can be broken down into components
of their loss and yearnings and lacks,
their playlist and bookshelves and friend list,
the people we hate and love and can’t stop to obsess about-
the people we are dying to forget and living in remembrance of.
we sound so noble tonight when we talk like this .

as if we are above the shallow plains of life.
i will forget your name though, and you will also forget
or at least would want to forget a lot about me
that is a totally different type of shallow, isn’t it.
we have shared so much and we will hate ourselves for it.