“I looked for you” – Nayana Nair

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In the orange forest of drowning suns
I saw your face in the light going out first.
I stood with my empty nets, on a boat, with oars
that won’t budge, won’t sail away from your closing eyes.
I played this only memory I had of you
throughout my journey back.
When my feet found a ground to breathe again,
you had already grown bigger, sadder, scarier,
sorrier presence in my life.

Through my dinner that night,
I thought up names you may have had,
the people you may have loved,
the heartaches you thought would never end.
I thought of how easily things end,
how nothing in our heart
can save our heart from this lonely end.
Were you thankful or sad that you had to know this,
to share this realization
with a stranger made of cold eyes and numb limbs?

That night I looked for your body in every ocean I had in me.
I don’t know what was the point of this search
but I knew I had to do something about you,
that my feet had to walk distances because of you,
that something in me must hurt more than it did now.
That finally I had to die with you,
to know what I don’t know now,
to know even a fraction of your pain.
I was sad and relieved that my need to know you
ended there – with that thought,
with the steps I cannot take.

“River of light” – Nayana Nair

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There are universes
spinning around us
and they will see
how we break down.
They will not know our names
just like we don’t know theirs.
And when they come for us
falling onto our beautiful blue home,
falling into our storming seas and falling heights,
we will still believe that this beauty will save us
and in some ways it will.
In some ways it won’t.

But for today
the universe around us
inspires us to love, fill our hearts
again and again,
it cradle us tonight,
carries us from one unbearable moment to anohter
through the tunnels of serene silence,
through the river of light.

If this all is an apology for what is to come,
just like the offerings of the sad heart before it broke me once,
then maybe we don’t deserve this kindness,
maybe we are given, gifted, cared for a bit too much
in the name of the eventual end that is waiting for us far ahead.

“Always Shining” – Nayana Nair

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Are they finally drowning?
The sails, the flags, the songs
the party, and the expensive backless silks.
The rings and guns and blood shining.
Always shining.
They are finally coming for us.
We will again have someone’s face in front of us
at least for a while
and we will sing songs
that they have no choice but to listen to.
The cries and shrieks and the stories
that we had saved in us will not go waste.

They have not yet seen us
rotting
feets and feets below them
but somethings take time.
The water will fill them
but they will never grasp
the slow violence and its finality.
They will look above at the lost sky,
they will not know what they are looking for
as the concepts of hope and god and saving
becomes grayer in their head.
They will keep struggling
feeling all promises becoming breathless in them
and they will miss the point of saying goodbye.
We always do.

Darling, they are coming
our children, our neighbors, our dear strangers,
our ministers, our wood, our sky, our eyes,
our new memories.
Now we can die together and actually die
and not be haunting blue in this green ocean.
I missed living dear
but I missed them more –
everyone, everything taken away from us.
We have waited patiently, wishing them life.
We have prayed for them to stay away from wherever we are.
But now they are coming
and I cannot help but selfishly smile
at seeing everything coming back to us.

You stand beside the fire” – Nayana Nair

In the rubble with nerves hiding sparks,
in the nest of sleeping explosives,
again it is you.
Again you are here to prove something
by doing something unasked for.

You build a place for warm tea,
for all our shivering ghosts to haunt.
You place the chairs that are not chairs
but buckets that cannot hold anything now.
There are chairs that are lying around just fine
but you want don’t them.
You don’t want the old purposes eating away
the beauty of all that is left behind.

You console the ones holding onto what is no longer there
but you don’t want the ones who want way back to what it was.
You ask us questions with your bleeding lips
you want us to answer with something real,
not just words.
“You are cruel”,
you laugh when we say that.
You make us leave everything we are
just so that we can finally sit on empty buckets
thinking about the hands we cannot hold,
thinking about hands that are no longer hands.

“The city is no longer burning”, you tell us
as you place our empty glasses in front of our empty eyes
and tell us it is fine if we don’t believe it now.
“Sleep. Dream and stay for a while with the molten and bombed,
the lost and the dead that still have your heart.
Take your time.”

As we lay awake in our heart-wrenching grief,
as we lose ourselves to your favorite world of sleep,
you stand beside the fire
that keeps us alive.
You stand beside the fire
that is not actually fire
but your heart
that burns like sun.

We wanted to tell you, “You are kind.
You are too beautiful for this world.
Have our heart and burn it instead.”
But we couldn’t .
We knew these things were easy only in words,
that these were things we couldn’t do, yet.
That we have not smiled and laughed with bleeding lips,
helping while being hated.
That we were too selfish to be you.

“I want you to see the world” – Nayana Nair

i will read you another story
so that you may know
that faults and lacks of humans are common and in abundance,
how ordinary are expectations-not-met.

i will read till my eyes close
till you can see all there is to see,
till you see everyone around you
who are disappearing into silence,

till you see all the kind words you could have said to them,
till you see that these words, that make you cringe,
how important they are
how easy they are to say, how difficult to mean

till you learn to mean these words that save lives,
till you learn to listen to others,
till you grow the eyes
that can see the world before it is lost.

though there is another story for another day
about how to save yourself from all that you have saved.

“Fumbling for better words, better me ” – Nayana Nair

I find myself trapped
between forgiveness and frustration.

How often have I said
that I want to be your strength.
How easy it was to say it
when I didn’t really know you or me.

But now
when your breaking and my sadness
is of your making
I am fumbling for better words-

words that can show my heart
that aches for you and because of you,

words that don’t forget or diminish your own hurt
while talking about the parts of me that are finally dying
after loving you for so long,

words that show my hatred for my brittle self,
for my heart that is not big enough
for real pain or real forgiveness.

Now I don’t know to talk about saving you,
about loving you in spite of the demon you warned me about,
the part of you that is stronger than me and you,
together or apart.

As I kiss you
I hear the other part of you
digging playgrounds in rain, erasing you furiously from
your skin, coloring each bruise with paint of happiness,
clawing me, scaring me, making me scared for you.

As I kiss you
I want to stand with you in your nightmare
I want you to have someone beside you for once.
As I kiss you
I want to run far away from your world
and forget this love.

“Black Pond” – Nayana Nair

As I climb,
my steps remembered the shoes I once had
the ones that didn’t hurt so much
and how hands of mine that hacked through them
just to become my own person,
some sort of grown-up.
I climbed over the yellow soft dress
and the light that it caught
just to get this, this body that looks held together
but is not
(this body knows only how to fall apart),
just to get few more shadows that ruin my beautiful wrist
with their persistent passion.
They claw through me, to see how I am made,
how I look and speak once I break.
A stranger once left me at the bottom of a black pond
and called it love just so that I won’t cry
and in return I called him my love
just for few breaths, just for my life.
I climbed over the right to mean the word “love” thereafter
and the dream of knowing a heart other than mine.
I breathe as if I have sinned
yet I walk like I am happiness and determination in flesh.
I cling to all the bitter bits of this world
as if they would ultimately save me.
I climb over, get over, and forget
so easily, so bitterly
that each feeling of mine is just a shade
of resentment.

“Eventual Fall” – Nayana Nair

She just laughed and said
“you are not really intelligent,
you know that right?”
as she packed her bag,
making space for her only notebook, with difficulty.
I wonder if she really needs all those the things.
She is not a careful person,
I know that because her list of priorities is horizontal-
everything is important, everything is equally dispensable.
I hear a song breaking at the bottom of her lungs,
when she talks of the new thing that she will love forever
when I know she won’t.

She lets me know for my own good “geniuses are not made by effort,
love doesn’t happen by hard work,
quit swimming and struggling when you are on land.”
She takes me by hand, teaching me how to walk,
teaching me her pace.
Her pace unsettles me. She gives cruel names
to my innocent actions as she smiles.
She smiles at me while I wait for my forever to end.
And only because I hate myself
for not wanting to love her sometimes
I smile back.

I wonder how far my determination can take us.
As she finally boards the train home, after missing out on a few,
she says “stop struggling, when i am with you,
i know your heart, even when you don’t.
it hurts to see you like this,
things will eventually fall in their place.”
I wonder if she is pushing herself, within the limits of who she is,
to save something of us, to save something of me.
I wonder how she can love me, if she knows how petty my heart is.
And because I do not know the answers to her,
I wait for us to fall into the places.
I think of her and find it easier, this wait.

“hope is a bird with nine lives and slow deaths” – Nayana Nair

Now that we are an year apart.
Now that everyone has been talking about
new beginnings and second chances,
I let myself be myself,
let myself be swayed
at the hope, at the thought of the ONE.

But being myself
also means to be keep my heart broken.
It means to leave every crowded room
to find the corridors where I can be finally alone
with the mistakes I am about to make.

I hold someone who could have been you but is not.
I cry the same tears that once made you pity me.
I jot down a name and a number
and a weakness, a need
where I could fit myself into.

And as I lay in bed
I feel something sad and beautiful in my heart-
an end that I am creating for myself.
This is how love has always been for me,
so I let it be and smile
as I kiss another stranger
who won’t be able to save me from anything.

“Fossil” – Nayana Nair

Drop by drop the wax fills
the bucket of broken butterflies.

I am falling into another sleep,
into another death that is warm,
that embraces me like no lover ever has.

I feel the pain in my wings, and unlike other days
I try to think that this will never pass.
That I will remain like this, with a bit of pain always there
in my shoulder blades, under my ribs, aching for a memory that floats
above my body, above my existence.

Someone holds my hand and I let them.
I was always afraid of living and dying alone.
I guess there are many like me.

Years from now they will find us
and probably write stories
about how we loved each other even in death.
As they look at our almost ruined and almost saved faces
they won’t know how we died heartbroken,
how we held onto each other
but never dared to look at each other
or ask the names we had started to hate.
How our skins melted into each other only because
we had nowhere else to be.
That even as light broke free from our eyes
we didn’t want to look like failure.