“The Remaining Beautiful Sculpture” – Nayana Nair

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The houses are all empty, the roads deserted,
the remaining beautiful sculptures,
in the overgrown lawns of this plastic world,
have no eyes and no intent to save anyone.

Someone tells me my new lines
and I nod and wait for my voice to arrive.
Someone else opens my cage and you are also
somewhat released from your prison.
We walk the small distance of this model road,
revising the conditions of our freedom in our head.

You hold my hand and it feels like nothing.
How perfect. How hollow.
But soon the sun will rise and fill us with light.
Soon it would all be beautiful.
I almost wanted tell you,
“this emptiness is such a beautiful catalyst
for reckless beginnings”. But I guess you already knew.

As we all wait for the sun,
you tell me you have a name and I nodded.
I realized I could not say the same about myself anymore.
I realized much later that you never told what it is, your name.
A name is such a hollow thing, to be filled up by the person only later.
I don’t know the order of importance of things in this world.
So I guess this must be normal.

As the sun came out of hiding, I was filled with words again
and the words that I wrote in that first light was,
we both could write poems that can break worlds.
we could be so much more than this. and maybe we are.
maybe we want to be something less. something simple.
something harmless. but is that even possible?

As I wondered what your real words looked like,
I uttered the words I was told to,

the houses are all empty, the roads deserted,
the remaining beautiful sculptures ,
in the overgrown lawns of this plastic world,
have no eyes and no intent to save anyone.
i won’t save you. i will be just like others.
i will look at you and wonder. i will smile and forget.
i will love and forget.
but i will remember you in your crudest form.
you will exist in my vocabulary like waves and perfumes
and home and roads. but you will remain.
i will make sure of it.

And with all the conviction and gratitude you replied,

that is enough. i can be saved just by that.

I believed you so much in that moment
that I wanted to mean every word I spoke
and maybe that was the moment my love was born
for you.

“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.

“When we meet again lets try burning some wings and maybe then we will be able to fly” – Nayana Nair

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The howevers have replaced the forevers
and it is a beautiful change.
Now we can let the dying thing die at peace.
The fleeting feelings and their fragile wings
could have dropped and turned to dust with time
I know,
but there is something frustrating about slow,
about things that don’t end
when they drag their feet to the wrong doors
pretending to look for answers,
when everyone stares at faces they cannot bear to look at
waiting for someone to end things for them.
I am also guilty of all this,
of thinking that making new promises
will give me enough pressure, enough motivation
to follow through the life that I don’t really want,
of holding on
when I have no mind to continue.
However isn’t this a good excuse, a god-sent moment
to finally separate our stories, to forget this mess
that will never fix by itself or even by our half-hearted trying.

“In reaching you” – Nayana Nair

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If we were to meet somewhere not here.
If we are to be someone new, someone different,
for the chance of meeting
to finally happen.
I think
happiness, even then, won’t be of any consequence to us.

You and me – we – would find warmth
just in the vision of our open arms and tear-stained faces.
We would run into each others arms
and not utter any other useless promise.
We would tell each other without words
that we can be fine by just being together.

Yet, we – you and me – will find ourseleves filled
with disappointment and sadness
and a blooming bitterness filled with light.
For the ones who fought and cried and begged
and desperately clinged onto the promise of love-
this love can exist only without them.

In reaching you, in finding your heart on the other side of mine,
it feels that I have just been carrying on the wishes
of someone who loved you a bit more,
a lot more than me, a lot more than this.
The hand we hold as we sleep today,
they have held knives. I know the scent of my end on your being.
I move in closer to you,
trying to remember the me who smiled only for you
and you hold me closer trying to waiting for something similar.

The ones who wanted this love have been long been killed.
the ones we want are ourselves.
“Do you even remember where you have buried me?” I almost said
but instead I said soulless words about some love.
Hoping to find at least this answer without your help.

“love me all your life” – Nayana Nair

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as his goodbye, he said to me,

“i don’t want to be yours.
but never stop being mine.
never forget me.
you promised to love me all your life.

be my happiness.
let your tears,
let my shadow reign over your heart.
be my happiness.
never chase away the rain that i am leaving in you
never look for another heart
.

be my value, be my worth,
be my pride.
you don’t have to be my love
to have a place in my life.
you can be nothing to me
and still be my treasure at the same time.

i don’t want to be yours
but it would heal my wounds, my ego
to know you will be broken without me
your brokenness will make me more complete
than your love could.”

“The moon shines on us” – Nayana Nair

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When I talk of the moon that shines on us in our sorrow,
as we promise to do better and be better,
I am again omitting something
that needs to be said.
Something that everyone reading us should know,
before they tell us the best course to reach happiness from here,
before they believe us when even we have learnt not to.

I am omitting that we are comfortable in our sorrows,
that happiness is an alien land.
We would rather break our hearts
than visit that place where we don’t fit in.

I am omitting that
we are obsessed about fitting in
as much as we are
about doing it without changing anything about ourselves.
So we will only be what we have always been.

I am omitting
that our love is primarily
about navigating life with heavy hearts
just to reach moments like these
where we feel we can be forgiven as long as we forgive.

The moon that shines on us in our sorrow
also shines
on the absurdity of this refuge that protects us from nothing,
on this love where there is no place for ‘better’.
Even when we know that this is a cycle of pain and deception
we revel in the fact
that this won’t end like everything else in this world.

“Without a reason, in this world” – Nayana Nair

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I sat in the shade of a tree that had no fruit,
no yellow buds, no promise of any spring.

Some broken ants with their broken sense of direction
crawled to me, and stared at me
as if their answers lay in my broken being.

My being, they say, are just colors-
the brightest colors of everlasting longings.
They say I am not even a half of a being,
so I cannot wish to complete or be completed
as long as I am me.

But now that I have stopped waiting,
stopped begging for a use in this world,
I feel that it is okay to exist like this.

I feel I can look back at the ants,
at the ones I can never complete
and tell them I don’t have their answers.
I feel I can tell them my truth
without wanting to “not exist”.

“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.

“The last song at karaoke” – Nayana Nair

In the pool of lights,
the green and yellow glitter swam in the air
and you said – “This is what our life would be like.
This is what our happiness would look like.
This is the forever, this is the everyday love
that I can offer you my love, in return for your heart.
This grace is ours to keep,
if you choose to revolve around me,
just as I have chosen to see only you.”

As you held my hand and waited
I realized all I needed was
a word of affection,
a promise of love, of any love I was capable of.
That was all I needed to make you mine.
But the easy lies, the half-meant overused words
were nowhere to be found in me.
I wanted only you and yet I couldn’t utter a ‘yes’.
Of all the things I could do, I stupidly chose to cry.
I knew my place in this world too well
to admit wanting anything as lovely as you.

As you smiled and wiped my tears
and picked the another happy song, I wished you would have
said “If you cannot love me, better get ready for a lifetime of hating yourself”
instead of saying “It is fine.”

“Pamphlets” – Nayana Nair

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In the age of breaking,
all my classmates
swarmed to the dead pools in summer.
They ironed their skin with the heat I couldn’t bear.
With a smudged color on their lips,
their never resting pupils,
the pamphlets of their anxious laughter
that they passed to each other,
the crumpled remains they walked upon
they looked like imitations of greek statues
and love stories gone wrong.
They looked like people who joke about drowning and dying
and the love that killed them in their sleep.
“They are too young to know about love and pain”
someone said on TV,
even as we built an ugliest everlasting fire
out of the promises the world couldn’t keep.