“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.”

“my most beautiful ruined self” – Nayana Nair

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the woman with red lips ,
with her body
flattened on the thickest
shiniest paper
stands dead, stands tall,
as big as the most reflective bone,
the most visible
and most sought assembly of bricks,
grown on the most affluent dreams.
she wobbles like a rootless tooth
when the wind blows.
inside the low blood walls,
across the road
that have never been stepped on,
she stands, she towers
and never dares to look down
on anyone but herself.
she smiles the smile that would have been
a sunrise-finally-felt
if only it was really meant.
if only it was all true
it wouldn’t have been
heart breaking to be looked at.

“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.

“The best way to disappear” – Nayana Nair

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My emptiness is finally put to use.
The fishes swim in me –
the luminous disfigured creatures of depth
and the beautiful dying ones of light,
fill me up one by one.

I teach them songs of sorrow.
I hold them in my endless embrace
singing them back to life
and in return they let me feel like someone
who can protect, love, and shield.
They let me feel things no human ever could.

Even though I hate to be seen
I smile as my body is put on display.
My skin, the strongest glass.
My skin, the weakest beams.
The shallowest of oceans I become.

Humans hold hands, hold themselves
as they stand before me.
They find possibilities, mysteries, awe
in all that I hold inside,
in all that isn’t me.

“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.