“framing our dreams in the living room of my life without you” – Nayana Nair

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and hope shall play
on the beaches that you drew.
it will run
along the cold melting lands,
holding your hands,
smiling with lips
that curve like mine,
that opens like yours.
a song shall arrive in the air
a laughter, a tear will arrive in our hearts
again to knock, again to let in life.
we will look at our skin
that breaks in the same design
and we will rejoice.
we smile about something
that was once insufferable.
we will hold each other
laughing about how
nothing can make us
let go, nothing can make us
give up on this.

“my most beautiful ruined self” – Nayana Nair

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the woman with red lips ,
with her body
flattened on the thickest
shiniest paper
stands dead, stands tall,
as big as the most reflective bone,
the most visible
and most sought assembly of bricks,
grown on the most affluent dreams.
she wobbles like a rootless tooth
when the wind blows.
inside the low blood walls,
across the road
that have never been stepped on,
she stands, she towers
and never dares to look down
on anyone but herself.
she smiles the smile that would have been
a sunrise-finally-felt
if only it was really meant.
if only it was all true
it wouldn’t have been
heart breaking to be looked at.

“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.

“The best way to disappear” – Nayana Nair

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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.

“i will come to see you again” – Nayana Nair

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and when i come to meet you
there are oranges buried in snow
and grenades in fruit bowls.
there is your smile that is locked
in a room filled with flammables
your new bedroom- you tell me as you turn away.
i take steps towards this ruined shrine
and a ghost, wearing all the dead roses of our world,
holds a spear of your name against my chest.
i step back and follow your cold body
again through the corridors buried in rain.
you stop suddenly and say something
but miss it as i rush into you,
through you,
through the fragile wall and doors
of another breaking dream
and i am here again, alive and distraught
under this comfortless ceiling of reality.

“A pointless rebellion” – Nayana Nair

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I dreamt today
of being in love.

Even when I woke,
I toyed with that idea.

This thought
that there can be something
that can touch my heart
after you

seemed so ridiculous
that I knew I would be smiling
for the whole day.

That even if I won’t take your name,
just as I had promised myself,
you image would still swim on my lips.

To everyone, to even myself,
who claimed that forgetting is so so easy
this seems like a such a pointless rebellion –
this smile,
that won’t die.

My life runs from one day to other
holding the hand of your thoughts.
Such a let down this is-
to bury you and see this tree grow

that keeps singing your name, your meaning
in languages I haven’t learnt
and I sing along not knowing
that I am learning you again from scratch.
I am loving you again.

“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

“Listen and Obey and Lie and Pretend” – Nayana Nair

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Old dreams,
the old warm sweaters of dreams-
today is the day for burning them.
Someone hands me a matchstick,
hands me the common sense
of creating necessary ends.
And like the more faithful student I am
I listen and obey
and pour the flame on the fishes that are still caught
in the net of my dreams.
I pour the flame on the neck, on the wings
of the deity that sleeps in me.
And like the betrayer that I am
I clap and smile with ones who hold my hand,
the ones I must pacify, the ones I must give in to.
But I breathe in again the seeds of wishful thinking.
The air is filled with them-
with the tiny rebellions, with the stolen chances,
with all that isn’t but threatens everything that is.
The air is filled with hope, with freedom,
with everything beautiful and dangerous.
I smile knowing the demons I have set free.

“These Roles” – Nayana Nair

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You smile
as you place the plates on table,
as you serve meals made of fire
in front of my body growing cold.

You smile
as you drag your feet
from the threshold of the door,
as you run towards the world,
as you swim back towards me.
Knowing, always knowing
that I also feel the weight of this water on us.
So you smile a bit more
and always rush to me to as if you are the lost child
when you also know the muddled one is only me.

I feel your doubts soften in my embrace
thinking of all that i have been and all that I ever could be,
all that you will ever love and never need.
And in my turn, I summon a smile thinking of what you are,
of the gentleness of your soul, of this genuine heart.
And just like our hands that are never still
trying to mimic and catch up to the heart of the other,
we are forever melting between these roles.
And because it is so,
because even this small me can save you with a smile.
I can love you even when you get wounded in my hold.
I can love you even with a guilty heart.

“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.