“I think of you” – Nayana Nair

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On this new morning, as this new cold finds my old bones,
I think of you.

Today when your name surfaces on the silent lake
I do not row towards it, I do not push it down.

I stare and breathe as the water moves
you and me.

I stare, without making my knuckles red,
without holding onto you or myself.

The mist of time and the storms of words-not-meant
they rise and settle and we part,

just as we rehearsed,
just as we have performed a thousand times in life.

I look back and see only a sunrise of a color you’d like.
I float a thank you, a broken oar towards you,

a hope for your life and some peace for mine.
All that I have loved has been eaten away by time.

Your body, your mind is now broken
into thousand scattered restless dots of dust

so when I think of you, in my mind
you are the life of the light. So unlike your presence in my life.

You remain that even as I lose my grasp
over the meaning and texture of love.

I forget what we were really like.
So I often get to miss you. You often make me smile.

“For every map you push into my hands” – Nayana Nair

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Can we really trust this map?
I don’t.
And I won’t
till you give me
the story of those who made it
or even of those who followed it
blindly, knowingly,
as they sang of their love under their breath,
as they shouted their own name in blizzards,
and found their past stubbornly standing
waiting for the impossible
at the shores that were made to crumble.

Tell me how small fishes nibbled at their tears
as they looked back at the shore, at themselves
they will never return to.
Tell me what happened of them.
Tell me about where they stopped,
where they left their breath lingering.
Print me a book of 300 pages, devoid of observable facts,
for every map you push into my hands.
Give me a glimpse of the heart
of the one whose words I must trust.

And once I see, I swear I won’t hold back.
Even if all I see are tears
I will take only steps forward.
Even if all I hear are dissolving laughter
I would chase their ghosts, I will call out to them.
I will lose myself, lose my voice
in chasing their fates.
I don’t know what’s the point of this
Maybe I just want to wander, maybe I just want to hurt
and smile for someone else
without a hope of getting something similar back.
To see, without being seen.
But I know I can only walk for this.
I can only walk like this.

“What I want to say, what I want to ask is something else” – Nayana Nair

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Today I am glowing with your gentleness –
the miracle that I thought was lost for good.
Today all the songs are about
the open sky of your heart,
about the wind that blew through me to you,
through the rooms of your childhood,
through the ghosts in my eyes which you could see too,
through your ruffling shirt made of bluest words
enveloping me, making a new sun for me
with the easy way you leaned in,
with the kiss that reached me,
even in all my hiding places.
So sad no lips were involved, yet so beautiful
that I can remember it without
the memory and weight of flesh.
It pains me somedays, somedays makes me regret
all the things that vanished, all the good things
that almost happened, but didn’t.
But mostly it makes me proud
that I used up all my beautiful dreams on you.
Your smile, that I have never seen
but only felt in words,
was the most beautiful smile of this world.
You were more dear to me
than most of the world that I got to keep.
How sad
that I never got to tell you this.

“All this for nothing” – Nayana Nair

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And this is the sorry sorry state
in which I find myself
after everything is done.
The checklist can now be torn
and thrown away in this trash can
that sits like a queen in this empty street.
And I sit like an attendant beside it
filled with vomit and dread
and thoughts of “now what? now what?
now what?” circling my head
like vultures who prey on words born out of
insecurities. Insecurities that should have died long ago
if not for the people who love you
and who need you to have these flaws
to feel comfortable around you.

They are so convinced that they will drown
that the only thing they promise you is a death together
and it is actually very romantic…
to see them take a knife and peel of a layer of their skin
and hand it back to you so that you can do the same to them,
so you can smile at each other, convincing each other,
that this is what everyone does,
this is what goes on in everyone’s life,
that this is somehow normal,
that this is love.
Because it was still better than every other hollow feeling
that you get from this world
that would only leave you wanting for god-knows-what.

This is the road of betterment though.
So things have changed a lot. I don’t handle knives anymore.
I don’t leave my body unattended in hands of strangers.
I don’t curse at people who tell me that I need help
(though I still feel that I should give them an earful).
I have forced my way out of that life.
I have quit my demons. I have quit lOvE.
I have quit things that hurt me with the promise of life.
It is almost the end.

It was supposed to be fine now. But now,
no matter how much I ring the door of better life,
no one answers.
It is night and I hear voices calling me back.
There are people out there that I have promised to die with
and they will be here for me anytime.
And if I see them, I will probably walk into their arms
and all this will be for nothing.
I know I shouldn’t be crying over this.
If anything the world of sanity
seems to be as unreliable and as irresponsible
as my friends who fill their head with smoke
and drive into the nearest wall.

“with the right words, i can hide my unreasonable yearning for you” – Nayana Nair

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frozen time, open window

a cry of deer stuck in my throat
along with your name

the white spotless landscape of my heart
breaks again,

the summer keeps evaporating

my real smile surfaces and floats
like a dying fish, waiting for

needy hands, hungry lips,
hot oil, cold plate, and a decent death

the radio that plays on repeat
every song i hate,

the fork that traces the outline of my eyes

this empty life, my clean small bones
lying in the sunlit backyard of your world.

“Oddly Enough” – Nayana Nair

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Somehow I feel that
the ropes that we walked on
for each others sake
were never really ropes
but figment of our imagination
stretching from your mind to mine
connecting centers of chaos
and wanting and hatred without direction.

Once I thought we stood together
against everything else,
against every force of reality.
But now that my sockets have grown eyes
and now that we have moved so far away from
our self-indulgent blindness
that we could never separate ourself from.

Now every glimpse of past is sad and pitiful.
Looking back why does it seem
we were just clinging to each other
as if we were each other’s last hope.
As if we let go, we would never know happiness of any kind.
As if we held on, we could change each other
and find in each others changing a reason to smile.

But thankfully or regrettably, I have not grown much
cause sometimes I feel thankful to you
for sharing all the dark moments with me
even if you caused half of them.
I feel oddly grateful to you
for sharing my pitiful fate, my mundane days,
my cycles of planned and impulsive destruction,
for walking with me to our day of separation.

I hope that we find happiness in future
without pinning our hopes on the ruin of another.
I hope we see the ruin when our hands begin to create one.
It was not all bad. Or maybe it was worse than I remember.
Oddly enough I wouldn’t change our fates.
But I will never wish for it again.

“Love can only be a safe haven, if we keep this distance” – Nayana Nair

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There is a kind of spell
that doesn’t let love sink into my heart.
It keeps it all suspended
between the layers
of admiration and disbelief,
of trust and that nagging doubt
that I don’t really want to think about.

Like so many, I also believed
that this love-
the shining weakness of my heart,
is safe in the growing cavity of my chest.
That, if the world doesn’t touch me
and I do my part, and never reach out
as well,
then this will be my own small forever.

It will never be hollow
till I don’t test its reality.
It will okay, till I endure
the mocking laughter in my mind
and never think about anything else.
After all, how can I lose a feeling of my making
in a world where only I exist.

But in a world where only I exist
there is also nothing to distract me,
nothing to make me forget the imaginary nature
of my meaning,
nothing else can prevent the ripping apart,
nothing to support the falling structures.
And as I guessed, as I always knew
without ever wanting to admit –
it is just one another thing
incapable of being an eternal something.

This afterimage of another soul
that I try to indulge in,
couldn’t have been anything more than this anyway.
From here, this distance,
from where I can be seen favorably and loved deeply,
this distance
where I can summon in me the spirit of sacrifice
for the idea of this one pure love that I must protect at all cost,
this distance
that gives me a chance at love.

This distance also means
that love never touches
the rocks that my tears have turned into.
It also means that
in hiding everything vicious,
I have also hidden everything that could be me.

Somehow I have learnt to be okay with the fact
that this smile that I get, the kindness I receive
is because the weed that grows on me looks more beautiful
than I can ever be.
I have already dissolved in the earth
to sustain this beautiful face that I am determined
to be remembered for.
It is too late for sincerity.
Now even my hopes have been poisoned.

“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.

“This is my thrashing around. This is my thank you.” – Nayana Nair

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Ice floats and ships sink
but the absolutes end here.
For this red sun, that seems
to sink together with us all,
is just playing a kind game.
It is will be fine. Just fine.
It will pretend to die
just for our sake.
Just like how it pretends to be born
so that we don’t feel alone.

It doesn’t know yet, that we feel lonely
in spite of that. That there are things in life
that can make us forget, that can cancel
the sunshine and the storms. There are soft things
that gets trodden upon,
there is a kindness that we can’t value as humans
because it doesn’t come from the one we want.
There are things with weight and never leave our heart-
Like love, like death, like subjective harshness of this world.
Like the unnamed thing eating our dreams,
Like the unmanned vehicle of luck running over us-
leaving us alive everytime.
The friend who forgets us so often
that we believe that we are ghosts, the rain of care
that we try to predict in the eyes of cold lover,
the floating bodies that we can’t recognize.
But we cry and in our tears we feel the remains
of the memory that we can’t access.
we only feel we must cry or we will regret.

So dear sun
forgive us if we don’t return your smile
as we thrash around breathless in water,
as we demand answers in a voice weathered by tears.
Forgive us if we forget
that unlike us you will probably die alone.
Things get forgotten
important things like you and the other members
of your life-filled-lifeless club.
That’s just how we are
but we realize it sooner or later what they were.

I can recall the days when i knew you tried to save me.
You almost succeeded. You were beautiful
even when my life was not. But even that helps.
Thank you.
We may not say it that much, but we have written a lot about you
in the papers you’ll never read.
I hope when you die the papers that are filled with your beauty
can burn to give you a few more breaths.
I hope it helps even though it won’t.

“Our knowing of faith” – Nayana Nair

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“What do you know of prayers?” she asked,
as she held my hands together within her own.
I asked her “Don’t you know anything about me?”
and there appeared another crack on her hands,
there bloomed another rose in her hair
there was another smile – the “looking down” smile,
“you don’t know any better” smile,
“you will soon thank me” smile,
“I know you hate my smile” smile.
I tried to imitate it, to drape it on my own face.
Cause even if it didn’t seem like that, I loved her smile.

I stared at her smile
wanting to save it somewhere in me. I stared
at her small beautiful parts
wanting to un-see the person she is in this moment.
I am always trying
to forget how suffocated these moments with her are.
I am always trying to forget
that with her words of love there was always a plea,
a suggestion, a manipulation – to make me something like her.

Would it make me seem pathetic, petty, or romantic?
if i called her a poison. Though everyone here is a poison,
even me, but she is a poison for me, the only poison
that works on me. The only one I didn’t want a death from.
She tells me about another deity I will never believe in.
She tells me a bit more about saving, about faith, about her own self
that can never be broken, how even breaking can’t end her now.
I wished she was right, I wished there would be never an end to her.

I wished for all kinds of ends for myself,
even the ones without her. But in no version
did I invent an agreeable version of her that will better for me.
She has to be herself. Whatever that might mean for me.
I wonder if there would come a day like that, a day when
she would love me like that. Do I even want a day like that?
Can I even tolerate a change in her?
Wouldn’t that break me more than anything?

I get up and say something about “better things to do”
and she says something about “the dangers to the faithless”
and I can only smile for now
at this weird, beautiful, messed up part of our life
at our of differences, knowing of love,
at our knowing of faith in different things that save us in their own ways.