“Once, my heart…”- Nayana Nair

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They set me down softly.
The cloth made of stars and leaves,
laid to rest on my heart.
My heart, once a gaping hungry mouth,
a volcano ready to freeze
all life, all skin that roam and breathe
within its realm. The tyrant helpless ruler
of the subjects that bleed in their sleep
as they murmur their pleas, reciting memories
it can’t bear to listen to.
My heart,
a café lit with dying songs and cheap menu,
a landscape of wrecks well-hidden.
My heart, a sceptic, now sits in a structure of wood,
with its half-written paper
on “questionable power of blood”
sprawled on its desk,
while it waits for the final burning
wearing that one warm worn-down love,
that somehow still breathes.

“There is still something similar to a heart in him” – Nayana Nair

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There was once
something similar to a heart
trapped under his breathing flesh.
You remember that stage of wood –
the house of stories in skin,
that used to be hidden away
at the end of a road so narrow
that one could reach its door on knees.
His heart was that place
before it found a new real way to sing of ends.
Do you remember
the night of immense light three years ago-
the night of mad faith,
the burning of glazed wood,
the men who could only speak of hauntings,
of the cold breeze that lived under their skin
as they sought truth and reality
by burning the rest away.
He still repeats those words in his sleep,
those songs that are not really his,
the songs that should have never
been put to words.
Forgive him
or better ignore him,
for he is not entirely here.
A part of him is still burning somewhere.
A part of him is still trying
to survive the death of his world.

“Walking off the cold” – Nayana Nair

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The stones are stacked,
a song is sung.
The invisible hands
and wailing throats
are at work again.

The yard grows sand,
grows salt and sun
and water is what it waits for.
Colorless blue is all
that eludes the grand plan.
And the wait for it is a snake –

a snake crawling through
the alleys of heart,
upturning graves and homes,
looking into the eyeless sockets
on walls, waiting for some light
to illuminate something true here.

Wait is the girl who pukes
at the mention of hope,
and walks off the cold
by lighting her own legs.
Her feet that always survive miraculously,
dance on the grassless yards
yearning for blue.

The yard grows feet
grows heart and fun.
The yard is lit with
the light of fried birds –
this is the liveliest moment
that all hands here know.
What else can one do with life?
What else can one do with death?

“Come and Kneel and Dream” – Nayana Nair

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Come and kneel here my child.
This is our new lord, our new god.

Come here and learn his face,
learn all things he doesn’t like to see in us.

Promise me that you will never try
to be a reflection of him, never hold him in your heart.

Even as you bow to him, to powers of cruelty
repeat to yourself again and again,

that no god ever killed freedom; no savior,
no beacon of light, no provider of grain owns your soul.

This is all that I have managed to do so far-
silently witnessing and persevering.

Cowardly, I have survived without giving in, without opposing,
without saving, without killing anyone, protecting just you and me.

To bow my head with tears in my eyes
is the only thing I could do with the strength the new gods left in me.

I do not know what to ask from you, what to teach you
but somehow you must outlive all those who prey on all things good.

My crimes of silence and tolerance leaves me no right
to speak of peace or love or future

but I feel fear and hope thinking of you.
You – who has never seen the world with open sky and kinder hearts

will either dream of a strength drawn out of blood of others
or you might just realize the value of everything that people call weak now.

Come and kneel here my child, in front of all those who teach us
to build our own prisons and build them bigger thrones.

All those who hold our lives hostage binding us with our own fear-
look at them and imagine a world where they don’t exist; not even within you.

“What I Remember (29)” – Nayana Nair

At a bus stand in front of mall (that I have never been to)
I learnt how to wait and how to live with disappointments
without making a big deal of it.

In the bracket of an hour, I grew smaller than I ever thought I could be.
“this is what love does to you, this is what love does to all of us”, all the voices in me lied.
I was again weary of the love that I had chosen and the person I had trusted
(“again” – the word that showed me the real reason why it would never work out).

I stood beside strangers on the crowded bus stand, awkwardly crying.
I counted these not-so-scary strangers who were trying to become one skin.
I pretended that I hated to be rained on as much as they did.
I pretended that I didn’t mind their warmth, that my suspicious mind was not at work again.

Hours went by, empty roads faithfully stayed empty.
I became more aware of the boundaries of my body
I became aware of the person who would never come looking for me,
who would look at the three hour long rain and still won’t wonder what happened to me.

We all stood there,
pretending to be the only human
in the group of zombies who had taken over a bus stand out of boredom,
who stared at the wide road, the darkness beyond, and the emptiness behind
as if their eyes were made to witness only this moment.
I closed my eyes and hummed something, anything
that could drown the presence of everyone
who knew the sound of my breaking heart now.

At a bus stand, that could protect no one,
we all dreamt of the worst- of the submerged road,
a rain that will never stop, the cold that would take us down for days,
children forever waiting, of the lightning we could hear but not see

of a love painlessly ending and a heart that shamelessly survived.

“Stay Awake” – Nayana Nair

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You loved well.
I loved well.
The saddest days we have made it though
are proof that.
We have survived through the worst,
it is just that we don’t know
how to love each other in peace.
How to keep our love alive
when there are no enemies threatening it.
The calendars change, the furniture change
and we find ourselves always sitting at opposite end of this room,
suspecting each other of sneaking this distance between us
finding a new worse to fear
and fearing even trying to move towards each other
even when we want to get rid of this silence more than anything.
While you sleep, I stay awake
knowing (guessing) you are as awake as I am.
I stay awake looking into the night
trying to create a monster
that might bring us back together.

“Future You Saw” – Nayana Nair

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You say, “There are two of me and two of you
and if we are trying to be precise in the count of us
I think there are many me and many you.”
Does it even matter, to think about
all the people we were just for a day?
To complain about a love that didn’t fade
but changed from one thing to another.
To complain that it changed
even when it found a way to survive somehow.
When it is trying so hard,
when it has stayed so long
do you really want to sit here
and count the ways
in which it is not what you thought it would be,
that it is somehow lacking
and breaking your heart.
I cannot hear you count again
all future you saw in me,
to be reminded
of all the things I hoped from you.
I cannot stand here and look through the real us
that we have, that has sustained
all our disappointment,
that is better than what we want.

“Lose its color” – Nayana Nair

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The tears in my hands
slowly loose the tint of sorrow.
The sorrow that I thought
would live longer than me.
It loses its color,
it loses its pain.
It becomes water-
pure, simple, and necessary.
It becomes
a cause,
an aide
for a new and better life
to exist and survive.

“My Dear” – Nayana Nair

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My dear,

Our hands muddied with smaller crimes
and greater guilts,
are the only hands that we have
to hold each other.
Our faults make up this love
is the only love that
can survive the deaths
of our hope and trust in each other.

“Guide to living in cage” – Nayana Nair

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Feign innocence.
Indulge in their views.
Do not make you life
a contradiction to theirs.
Utter false words of underdstanding.
And they will let you be.
They do not have much ambition.
They simply want to rule
your words and action.
Your thoughts at least belong to you.
and they will continue to
till you manage to survive.
Give in to their ways.
Live your life in that cage.
So that you may be free in your thoughts.