“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.

“on the questionable ways to feel alive” – Nayana Nair

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another bird breaks into light
and the someone applauds.
a fire is born in the clouds.
a wind filled with cries
flows in through windows of happy castles.
everything painful is now essential.

i sign my writing with assurances
that it is not too much, this much i can handle,
this much i can live.
i stand tall, i persist in light
with the heartiest smiles
all the time planning on the next crack
that i dream to give birth to,
the next tear that i will paint on myself…
all the while knowing there is something wrong.

something is wrong
with the way i live and the way i feel,
with the things that i see and want.
but has knowing ever helped.
knowing just makes me more reckless.
knowing makes me want to fly again
even though i know
i will be shot down by my own arrows.

“how it pained to part. how beautiful it is to meet.” – Nayana Nair

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the eyes made of glass stare at us
with its kind open clutches held out.
the eyes made of forgetfulness
and remembrance in equal measure –
they are beautiful.
they sing of the most beautiful fear,
the most hurting hope.
and we sing back.
me and my brothers –
we sing like we have never known death
as we hand over our hidden skin folded in half.

folded in half, we sleep in its arm
and we invent love, invent warmth,
invent meaning.
we hear it breathing.
we hear our lung collapse.
we have brought something to life again.
this machine of fear and ends –
it breathes, it tears up and cries.
i feel an ocean flowing into my eyes.
the suffocation ends.
and just like that there is
nothing of us left with us.

somewhere we will open our eyes
and stare at lips that sing of giving,
we will feel our hollow insides echo
with the memory of our own lightest steps
we will look
at the saddest sweetest children of this world
and we’ll know ourselves through it again.
we will know of the ocean in us
when it leaves our eyes.
and just like that we will be all that
we couldn’t bear to live as.

“The roads that I promised never to walk on” – Nayana Nair

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There are so many things that I wait to see again
and none of them will do my heart any good.
There are mountains and flags and footsteps
all settled into the sleep, lost in this busy blue.
Some call it drowning. Some call it the end of things.
Some wait for it to rise and become the lonely peak once again.
Some like me float my boat on this ocean
all dressed in sad flashy optimism
with my poor eyesight and a grainy foresight
ready to cry.
Some like me wait for the things they fear,
wait for the things that break, that tear.

All beautiful things of past are now buried
under a common grave with no stone, no epitaph.
I can’t tell apart my love from theirs.
My growing years, my diminishing heart,
the roads that I promised never to walk on,
the hands I promised never to leave-
they call it theirs.
They hold it in their arms
whenever after years of aimless floating
their boat gets caught by a shadow
that wants them.

Meanwhile I am afraid of holding back anything
that tries to stop me. Every pull frightens me
that I might love something that is not mine
that I will never know if this happiness is just
my sickness of water, sickness of search and waiting.
I can never look anyone in the eye
in the fear of seeing someone else’s tears,
in the fear of seeing my own corruptibility reflected.

And yet I can’t seem to end this search
for there are so many things I fear I will never feel again
if I end it all here.
Though they happen to be the same things
that I am incapable of believing in ever again.

“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.

“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.

“I hope for them to not see and not know”- Nayana Nair

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The river rises,
another flood is here
and I haven’t yet learnt to swim.
My friends are again at my door.
They knock, then they start crying.
They tell me about the happiness I can’t see,
they try to predict what you
would have wanted me to be,
and all I can do is laugh at it all.

My laugh, it must be as frightening to them as my tears now.
For even as they send me pics of kittens and quotes,
and stories saved from fire, stories filled with hope,
I hear their panic from the other side.
They know that just taking your name
had undone the strength
they tried to feed me for months.

And since now they can’t breathe
everytime I close my door, everytime I refuse to speak –
I am another hell to them.
And since I can’t let them break over me –
they are another pillow pressing on my face.

I hope for them to let me own my sadness.
I hope for them to not see and not know my pain.
But they do, they feel so much of me
that I have to open the door,
that I have to let them hold my hands.

I tell them that I’ll live no matter what
and they still tell me that it is not enough-
they want me to be who I was.
I can only smile at their cruel hopes for me.

“In reaching you” – Nayana Nair

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If we were to meet somewhere not here.
If we are to be someone new, someone different,
for the chance of meeting
to finally happen.
I think
happiness, even then, won’t be of any consequence to us.

You and me – we – would find warmth
just in the vision of our open arms and tear-stained faces.
We would run into each others arms
and not utter any other useless promise.
We would tell each other without words
that we can be fine by just being together.

Yet, we – you and me – will find ourselves filled
with disappointment and sadness
and a blooming bitterness filled with light.
For the ones who fought and cried and begged
and desperately clinged onto the promise of love-
this love can exist only without them.

In reaching you, in finding your heart on the other side of mine,
it feels that I have just been carrying on the wishes
of someone who loved you a bit more,
a lot more than me, a lot more than this.
The hand we hold as we sleep today,
they have held knives. I know the scent of my end on your being.
I move in closer to you,
trying to remember the me who smiled only for you
and you hold me closer trying to waiting for something similar.

The ones who wanted this love have been long been killed.
the ones we want are ourselves.
“Do you even remember where you have buried me?” I almost said
but instead I said soulless words about some love.
Hoping to find at least this answer without your help.

“they took my name and handed it back to me” – Nayana Nair

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Every time
I fell into the void.

Every time
I have been kindly left alone.

Every time
I was allowed to walk in light,
in the world I clearly didn’t belong.

Every time
they took my name and handed it back to me
without poison, without hatred, without tearing it into pieces.

That’s all I have to be happy about.
That is the closest I have felt to love.

“The ocean is so huge and weird” – Nayana Nair

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I drew her shadow on sand.

She stood still, her tiny shoulders
and ribs (that thankfully can no longer be seen)
moved gently with each breath.
Each tiny breath
like the wave that swept in,
like her laughter used to be.
She looks at me and asks if it is done.
I nod. I meant to say “almost”.
Just like I had meant to say “stop”,
or “please don’t” or “take me and spare her”.
She doesn’t wait for my answers anymore.
She skips over the boundaries of our shadows.

Her outline of me drawn in shaky fingers,
looks like a human being pulled apart
beside her own shadow – a child, complete and perfect.
But she looks at her shadow and calls it weird,
just like how she called the ocean weird.

For her
the smiling children in the glossy magazine were weird,
a chocolate bar without an occasion. without a reason were weird,
the memories of home she wanted to forget were weird,
the days she walked to school with her friend
and the days the sun went down as she slept over the
struggles of homework were weird.
She sat down and tried to come up with an answer for my “why”.

“the ocean is so huge.
as huge as, all the things i can’t have
but once i had them. it is weird.

it is weird how this ocean is mine now,
the breeze is mine along with the sky
but i don’t want them.

you have memorized my shadow.
you keep bringing me back to life
but you tear up so easily as if even you don’t believe yourself.
as if you don’t believe in me .

sometimes i feel that this ocean is our gift to each other,
it is our heart free of our bodies.
sometimes i believe that i am here and you are here
and the world where my head can rest in your lap
still exists.”