“Getting better and better” – Nayana Nair

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I don’t trust myself with water these days. Of late I have found my arms devoid of the will to struggle. I seem to be getting better and better at abandoning myself.

I now only stand rooted at places where life comes easy. I only linger in spaces where not-breathing is more difficult than breathing. Against my best efforts, all I do is try to live.

The ways to live, the painful familiarity of the world, this stone stuck in my shoe, pressing against my sole, it all used to be unbearable. For long I tried to find a way to live with it. I always failed to find its use.

But now I know how to surround myself in the suffocation of it all, to fill my mind with the smoke of this crude life as I learn to see from scratch again. Hold parts of me captive somewhere, till the rest of me can chip away at my spirit that only sings of blood and end.

Today, in the hot summer afternoon, covered in breaking illusions, I walked away from the lake where my past swims. I learnt of one more pain. I found a road I had never seen, a garden never tended to, a foot of mountain where there was abundance of fruits and all new reasons to live.

“he, whose hands only know how to build. he, who only remembers grace.” – Nayana Nair

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there is a garden
wilting and blooming
in the most lovely ways.

your hands water them,
bring them up
in the softest light.

in the dying wind
you teach them love
and the geography of pain,

the correct way to place
names on lost tongues
and people in failing heart.

the world is ending
in the background
but you never take notice.

how lovely you look
as you worship this life
that has only broken you.

“framing our dreams in the living room of my life without you” – Nayana Nair

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and hope shall play
on the beaches that you drew.
it will run
along the cold melting lands,
holding your hands,
smiling with lips
that curve like mine,
that opens like yours.
a song shall arrive in the air
a laughter, a tear will arrive in our hearts
again to knock, again to let in life.
we will look at our skin
that breaks in the same design
and we will rejoice.
we smile about something
that was once insufferable.
we will hold each other
laughing about how
nothing can make us
let go, nothing can make us
give up on this.

“Because anyway I had already lost myself in more ways than I had ever imagined” – Nayana Nair

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My tiny life holding its tiny fist
stood at the gates of a thatched school.
The broken lies and lesson flew out of windows
with their sharp painful wings.
And though my heart despised such birds,
hated the thought of growing
in the presence of their mocking chirps,
I still walked. I walked
because the winds were strong,
and my eyes were pricked with the image
of the ones with warm leaving in hurry,
because i too wanted
to be at a place where “i need to be”
even if it was filled with cruel noise,
even if my skin was shrinking in fear,
and maybe precisely because I was going to lose myself
some part of me wanted to know who would care.
I walked towards walls, windows, and wells closed (for now).
I looked in and saw faces and their lips
that sculpted words without breaking.
I looked at the empty place waiting for me.
I could already see – my bending spine and twisted tongue.
I could feel my heart already learning not to care anymore.

“the door opens, and i let in whatever comes in, whatever comes back” – Nayana Nair

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a rose sits at the center of the table.

the surface of wood is sinking,
going under, losing the feeling of its own legs.

everything that i pick up from the world
(the alien objects with the scent of decaying lemon)

their destination is this – this piece of furniture.
everything in this one room life can trace its origin back,

back to a person who is not me. i have been gifted life
and the tools to live. i have been gifted the recipes-

the best way to mix, bake, boil, and burn. every surface of rest
speaks and has a face, their face. their face frowns

at the taste of food i make and my inability to eat. the three meals i cook
never reach my stomach. i can only hope for sleep after these

pointless rituals of remembrance. hunger
is the last thing on my mind. on the mornings when i wake up

with eyes open for a change, i see the clutter for what it is. i see
the shrine and offerings and gods of past. i feel i am not really praying

but begging them to come back. “how to revive a god, how to be looked at again”
these are the thoughts that flood in me

every time an offering is rejected, every time the room remains dead.
the door opens only for me, only by me. a rose again breathes its last

in my hand. there is life i realize. there is life everywhere. but also
there is the end to it. both cannot be had at will.

the wait for both is never without pain.

“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.

“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.

“truth as truth” – Nayana Nair

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even if i loved
it was all in vain
and if i couldn’t be loved
what good was i anyway

i utter such atrocities
hoping no one takes me seriously
yet hoping someone would cry.
i can’t tell from here
if i have broken anyone yet.
there is only blindness where i stand.
there is only light where i am allowed to be.
the lights stay on me.
the shadow of curtains comes down
on the momentary truth that hangs at my lips.

i wake up
and read about the dream i sold
looking for the cracks i made
but all i got was “pain looks good on her“.
i wonder if i am really that beyond hope.
my blood shines and my tears have wings.
my brokenness isn’t broken enough.
even in my honest moments
i only seem make pain more beautiful.
to be cared for, to be tended to
could it ever happen to me, should i even try.
to speak truth as truth
i wonder how that feels like.

“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.

“Last Kindness” – Nayana Nair

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“You were almost my whole world”, he said,
waiting for me to say something-
an excuse, an apology, a lie that would make him
as important as I seem to be in his words.

His belated words are always beautiful,
his love always drips at the corners of every end
that I try to carve out of us.
Once it was an assurance to know all our ends are fake.

Once I was made of dreams,
once he was made of songs,
and now we are back to being mere flesh
that we can’t accept each other for.

Now we are pretty sure
we can live without dreams that hurt
and that there are other songs, better sounds
that won’t cut us up before we are dead.

Yet he tries to care for the one he no longer wants
as I try to stay silent for his sake, for my sake,
for an end that doesn’t drag on.
Or is it to look pitiful and arrogant in his eyes.
His eyes liked me best when I couldn’t be wavered,
when I seemed something more than just a needy heart.

I wonder why we try to look humans even as we part,
why we must show the faces we have grown to hate ourselves for
and act like lovers in pain, like this is the end of our lives.
When love was the last thing we needed,
seeing it was the only thing we were ever ready to give up on.