“Breathing Cities and Statues” – Nayana Nair

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When I try to imagine,
to recall the face of another human being.

I always see them standing opposite me
with an expressionless face, holding out their hand.

When they are ghosts of pasts,
they are breathing cities of peculiarities and possibilities.
I feel they were waiting for my hand to touch theirs.
I feel as if they have saved up their last smile for that moment.
The steps I couldn’t take, can now never take,
they look so easy, so worth it, so worth keeping as regrets.

But I never learn
because
when they are reflections of present,
they are breathing statues
and frozen hearts that couldn’t possibly beat.
I know that this hand is not for me,
that I have extinguished the smile on that face
just by being myself, just by existing.

Only the warm breath of passing time
can make me miss the world that could have been.
Only on the streets I cannot walk
grow my trees of faith.

But even then, even for the past
I barely feel any love.
What I feel is something similar to
the relief in the things that won’t change.
The pull I feel is for the trust that can never be broken,
my heart that I never had to give out,
the hand of every stranger that remained innocent thereby.

“Home of Blindness” – Nayana Nair

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I have to sing
and keep singing,
have to keep begging people to dance within my heart,
within the confines of these bricks,
with the parts of me that can’t die
and parts of me that I wish I still was.
I have to keep inventing reasons and occasions
I have to paint every meaning within me
in the boldest loudest colors.

Because the moment it all stops
I will hear the shouts again.
There is no silence in this world.
Outside, everyday
the fearful children of a fearless god
shout his name again and again.
Asking for reason, for rain,
for roses carrying their name.

I also once stood there, in the dark corridors,
on burning roads
asking god to love only me,
to hold my hand, to save me alone.
It is a very dark road,
the one we take to find
the light that will only belong to us.

And there is only this home of blindness
far away from all the crying and ceaseless hoping
where I can use these eyes of mine
for something more than holding and spilling tears,
where I get to sing for the god within the song.
I worship these walls that hold me in my place.
I worship all of your laughs, all the steps the never stop.

But I am still afraid
because tears still come easy to me,
because even this borrowed light whispers the name of one
who I still hope to reach.
The one who should exist somewhere outside these walls.
But I can only be here in this world of his
if I don’t run to him all the time.
I can be his, without falling short or falling apart,
only if I substitute what he has made for what he is.

“Half of my Winters” – Nayana Nair

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I wanted to play this winter song
on the brightest day of spring.
Maybe at least in that way
I will be able to mourn for something
that I should have been happy to leave behind.
But the snowflakes in me
drift into the world
and become butterflies of someone else’s heart.
All my songs now belong to sun,
they belong to scent of summer fruits,
they fall as unpredicted rain
on the windows I closed just in time.
Anyway, I had to learn this sooner or later.
How can I keep believing in my own feelings,
on the things that were supposed to never change, never melt
after losing half of my winters to the green winds of change.
As I place all my “old dreams that don’t suit the new me”
away from my reach,
I wonder if the only way to save the dignity of my old sincerity
is to lock it way from my own skeptical, mocking eyes?

“There is no undo button in this world” – Nayana Nair

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I remember you almost every day.
I remember you when I wake up and cannot go back to sleep,
when my skin feels heavy and my eyes melt into tears.
I remember you when I find my way to the impossible happiness
that shouldn’t exist for someone like me.
And in those moments I do something worse-
I end up asking heaven for forgetfulness of some kind.

Even when I know forgetting won’t save you,
apologizing won’t save you,
charity to strangers in your stead won’t save you,
becoming a better person won’t save you.
But even then I remain selfish
Even then I wish for a painless way out.

I become guilty of one more crime
every time I wish to erase the memory
of you falling apart in my hands.
The more I wear my clean clothes,
the more the world believes in the goodness I now have in me;
The more I know that there is no way forward for me
just as there is no way back.

You still remain the unuttered name in my prayers.
And all that my prayers do
is to show me the hurt I can never take back.
The god who refuses to save you
is also the one who keeps me alive.

“How do you want to be saved?” – Nayana Nair

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I crawled to the window
in my dress torn by the claws and cries
of people who live in my nightmares.
They like clean living rooms, dark courtyards,
and cars with slashed tires sitting in their garage.
They have
“broken hearts” written down in forms as their identity
and broken chandeliers swept under their bed.
They crouch down and look at me
as the broken lights shine red,
as I see myself bleed beautiful rivers,
as my silent scream become winds, become ripples,
becomes the face that will forever make me cry.
They smile and ask me
“What do you wish? How do you want to be saved?”
while someone else burns the bed that I am crushed under
and asks me “Is this the what the warmth felt like in your mind?”
They drag me out into a forest,
where under the brightest tree of hope,
they stuff darkness into my throat, into my mind
and ask me “Do you still feel empty?”
They are unreal and of unsound mind.
They tell me living in me makes them so.
They wave goodbye to me with a smile,
offering me a sweet candy
for my silence and understanding
It is raining when I open my eyes.
I breathe in the world
where bleeding and burning is irreversible,
where it would lead to an end of some kind.
I crawl to the window
in my torn dress and my exhausted skin
and find myself staring
at people who used live in my nightmares,
people who look more real that the living me.
People who now own more than just my dreams.

“Minimum Limit of Thirty” – Nayana Nair

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And when we had run out of pleasant things to talk about
I asked him things he didn’t ask me,
things he didn’t want to be asked.
But I was bored of the all this peace,
all the ants that crawled into him, into me
maintaining separate lines,
to reach the places in us
we both didn’t want the other to see.
I guess I wanted him to be different,
I had more than enough people
who wanted to love me without knowing me.
I guess I wanted to be difficult.
For once I didn’t want to be the easy conversation,
the easy way out of pain.

I asked him
when the waves of life try to reach his foot,
what does he do?
Who does he think of?
Whom does he drown in his mind
every time, every moment
to avoid knowing what he really feels?
Does he almost hold that hand,
does he almost save the one who will kill him first,
who has always killed him
without hesitating?

He seems to be the type who would do stupid tings
on repeat at least thirty times
before giving up on the one
whose love didn’t surface
even after the thirty wounds, or bloody hands,
or hundred considerations.
He looks so breakable and so happy
I wonder if in the hollows of his heart
where his anger and disappointments hides,
are there flower beds of daisies,
and a heart that can never be broken?

Is this how I look-
like him, plagued and haunted by beautiful dead thing?
Is that why he smiles at me without saying a word?
Is that why I can’t smile back?

“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 don’t want 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 a 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 we 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.