“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.

“a bird flies” – Nayana Nair

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a bird flies
a blue sky now has to break

a fish, a boat, a storm
has been caught in my dream

a fire must be lit, i must feed myself
to the gods of flames, to the goddesses of smoke,
to the cruel demigods made of ashes

i am awake
and now i must make up new words
new feelings, now i have to make myself a human
now i have to break in acceptable ways

i am facing a human who smiles at me
now i have to give up on half of my blood to stay here,
now my ashes have to nurture the roots of this tree
that wishes to be nothing else but a shadow on ground

“Everything in me seems to be made to hope” – Nayana Nair

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I stand in the shadow
of the great palms
of the red tiles that grow out of its soul
I stand watching the world go cold.

The broad roads of this city made of dust,
the river made out the minds, out of dreams –
this is my home,
till I learn to break away from its spell.

My tongue feels heavy
with the growing names I am supposed to learn,
with all the things I must not be to be loved by them.
I am almost expecting new things.
“this is a good time to run away”, says my ghost-from-the-city-of-sea.

My ghost-from-the-mountains-green laughs
at how desperately I want to be understood, to be seen
and yet how furiously I try to erase everything of myself.

Everything in me seems to be made to be hidden.
I hide my trembling fingers.
I hide my desperation and the mess it leaves in its wake.
I prepare myself for another show.
The show of trying. My trying is so beautiful
in how it is always hoping to be disappointed.

I wait under the neon signs of misspelled words
and think about the storm that will never arrive.
I wait with hope.
I wait with arms fed up of trying.

“As if this all will end” – Nayana Nair

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There seems to be
a shadow of sadness in our every moment.
An another you, an another me
looking at each other through our eyes.
And they seem know something that we don’t.

“prompts” – Nayana Nair

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i think of parasols.
i think of wearing my miniature body made of colorful frills,
holding my own soft innocence,
not like something that can be and will be lost
but like something that will never be destroyed,
like something one never gives a second thought about.
i think of never knowing fatigue, never resting.
my skin only knowing the sun.
i think of classrooms fitted with air coolers
i think of home and its beautiful cold floor
i think of places i knew i could always return to
once i was done with my playing, once i felt my hunger.
i think of the time that i lived not knowing not understanding
the appeal or the need of shadows.

i think of stones.
their small happy weight in my hands.
the deftness of my fingers and my wrist as i played.
my palm holding them together,
scattering them, collecting them.
my palm feeling the coldness of the evening,
knowing time through them.
i think of the stones that grew on the sides of broken roads
beside my source of earliest magic
-the touch-me-nots, the insects made of velvet,
and the lost fireflies.
i grew up in a broken forest
wearing stones as brittle as me.

i think of fruits.
their colors that i loved
even when i didn’t like what they were.
they tasted too mellow, too tame,
too transient to me.
their juices just carved a bit more hunger
in my stomach. my stomach that was already learning
to ask for more and more.
i carved their colors in my notebook.
i dreamt of drawing them up on my skin.
this was before i knew what a tattoo was,
before i learnt the dangers of carving things in you
that you can’t possibly love.

“Understanding freedom” – Nayana Nair

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He broke my shackles with his blood
and took my hand,
my weightless hand, my almost wings,
and held them in the warm embrace of his own prayer.

As my hands created ripples for my own amusement,
as my hands broke the bread that I would now get to eat,
as I looked at flowers for hours at leisure,
and sang wordless songs without the fear of being heard
-he cried.
It was beautiful and sort of silly – his tears.

He cries at the smallest things
yet is unfazed at the moments that require tears.
Like this farewell, where with a smile
he recites his memorized list of wishes,
he recites the feelings of hope he has for the ones before him.

He looks at me. He looks at us all
and says “you are free. this is now a game without masters.
this is now a world where you are as good,
as deserving of respect
as anyone you stand with or stand against.
you are free. live. live such that
you would need no one to remind you of that.”

As we cried, he told us that
disappearing is what he always meant to do
that wanting his shadow around,
seeking his approval, and following his words
would undo everything he has done in this world.
Yet our tears won’t stop.

We didn’t know if these tears were of desperation,
of relief, of love, of being abandoned,
of being left without directions or heads that could
do the work of seeing and thinking for us,
in return of our submission.
He told us it is sometimes okay not to know.
He said it is okay to hate him
if it helps us to find a way that is our own.

It broke me to hear that because
he spoke as if being okay with being hated for saving
was an essential part of being good.
It was sad that he had to smile when he said it
as if he was not free to cry or complain for something like that.
Or maybe I have not understood freedom yet.

“Only sad poems spring from my mouth” – Nayana Nair

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When I think of you in an indefinite future
without me,

when I think of the past, this glowing mixture
of wax and webs, sticking to my eyes,
to my uncertain touch,
to my every new dream and hope for love;

when I cry, when I laugh, when I say even my own name
the mountains of stories, send me back your voice.
They say you will be cited as the reason
for my every my recklessness and my every holding back.

True to the prophesies of love
my skin wilts and dies and eats itself up.
My heart cries and cries and makes jokes about crying.
Nothing makes sense and yet everything is just as it should be.

And now I can call you my everything and
nothing in the same breath
and still know that even if I let your shadow swallows me whole
I can’t ever call all this love.
I won’t ever feel “love” for you again.

Yet only sad poems spring from my mouth,
when I think of you.

“As people change, I start to hope” – Nayana Nair

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Today I am a bit out of luck.
Today the sun shines bright
on the stairs to your home.
Today I am forced to see.
But it’s only for today though.
On days ruled by fog, I will again get to hope
that you might be sitting there,
till I reach the first cold step.

I can smile for the few minutes – the time it takes
before I realize everything else
in this world, that is not you,
can make more beautiful shadows of you.
Just like how, sometimes, even i don’t need you.
I don’t need you to cling to you, to beg you,
to feel your love, to be in love, to waste away like this.

Even when I wait though, I hope to quit on you soon.
Even in waiting I actually do not need you.
I imagine the days when I will not need this routine.
As people change and leave, I start hoping
that maybe I will also change and maybe I will also leave,
maybe one day I will forget the way to this place,
and these stairs will be just stairs
and not a place you couldn’t be,
and maybe life could be just life
not a story you are missing from.

And maybe when I also leave
there would be two shadows, not one
on these stairs.
Everything that makes me ache now
will be just what they should be-
things that will never give anyone any grief.

“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.”