“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

.

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.

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

.

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

.

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.

“I have learned to gaze lovingly” – Nayana Nair

.

The fishes peep at me
through the pink sewer grates,
the filth and dirt and greed of city
eating their eyes,
the loneliness scratching at their fins.

I look at them
as if they are a painting
hung on an illuminated wall –
the last standing wall.
The vapors of dissipated life, dissolved flesh
spread all around it – the waste of everyday life
the waste of silent war.

But it lasts only a moment
my gift of vision, my ability to detach
only lasts so long.
The hunger in my bones, once again,
makes me look away.

I get up and walk.
I move my feet to the beat of the song
being spun in my corrupted mind
I am tempted to increase the volume
to find a pitch that resonates with the air here.
The point where everything bleeds and nothing heals
what will happen to me there,
what will happen to all of us I wonder.

But I have walked these roads before
I now know more than anything
that I only yearn to live.
Slowly, I have learned to protect my ailing tissues.
I have learned to gaze lovingly at my broken mind.
So, I press pause.
I continue to persevere.

“Something Simple” – Nayana Nair

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The evening melts into my drink.
“I must burn something of myself here.
I must burn to remember this, to remember her.”,
I keep repeating this to myself as I stand beside the dying fire.
Suddenly my teeth ache for something cold to sink into.
I remember the orange color that used to spread on my tongue
as I drowned myself in the glass bottles of artificial citrus,
running away from the summer that I had waited for.

I walk away from the fireplace,
putting a bit more distance
from the monster that ruled the mantle,
relived to have found something simple to talk about.
I sit beside her and speak in my human voice.
I tell her of this small thought,
this small honest flaw of mine she can play with.

She asks “was that how your childhood was like?”
I could have answered “that’s how my life is and will be”,
but it was more easy to ask “what color was your tongue then?”
She recites from memory a poem.
A poem on the beauty of transparent things,
on the cruelty of everything
that own you without leaving stains,
without giving you a chance to scrub them out of your soul.
She smiled and thus handed me something
that I can consider hers for a while.