“Unchanging facts” – Nayana Nair

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All the stories and songs and
in this part of land, at this end of life – they are all about
the boat and its wood, about the shine of its old surface,
the sound of water it carries even as it sits on the dry
dying land, burning for hours and hours.
Hours not measured in the cups of water nor in the shadows
that refuse to fall in spite of all the light,
but hours measured by the cries of gull, the number of sails torn,
the diminishing weight of the men,
and the the silent wrath of all the glorious water.
We ‘the ones rooted to the shores’,
we sing from the shade of generous trees
to ‘the ones who only knew the abundance
of salt and wounds and undying dreams’,
trying to understand their alien love.
We sing of them and their hateful dreams,
of the tears they forced us to swallow because
they couldn’t love us if we wanted to be their shackles,
we narrate these unchanging facts every morning,
we dig a new grave for the same person again and again,
with each hole in earth as empty as the other.

“Often I am ashamed to cite the reasons for my hurt.” – Nayana Nair

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I cried only because
I knew I can be easily loved
if I gave what was asked of me.
And everything asked of me was simple.
I was, after all, made to love like this,
made of love like this.
It was an easy game, that I was designed to win.
And yet tears didn’t cease to dance on my lashes.
All the easy reasonable ways of living with others
were a wound to my ideals.
I couldn’t get over the dealings and the transactions,
the sick rotten give and take.
I couldn’t get over the conditions,
the changing shallow terms of affection.
But in all my loathing
even as I held back things that hungry eyes sought from me,
I couldn’t stop my own hunger from showing.
I also tugged shamelessly at the sleeves of another’s heart
asking for something simple,
a minor sacrifice, a cheap gesture of love,
only to forget it all in the next attack of doubt,
the next demand for more.
I waited for someone’s endless sea of virtues
to change my shabby heart that refused to believe.
My heart meanwhile
counted for, waited desperately,
even prayed
for all the seas to dry up
rather than giving up
the ideals it didn’t even deserve to hold.
This is how I stand guard to the happiness that
I won’t let anyone, not even myself have.

“When it all ends, when my eyes close, I would rather not know, not see the end of all that I loved so so dearly” – Nayana Nair

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The stones are being painted black
with fingers soft and sorrowful,
his hands much more wonderful at this task.

On the cold floor made of moon,
hundreds and thousands of objects
and their color – lay scattered, lie alive and waiting.

Coldly, my hands weigh a glittering plastic star
on the tip of my fingers, willing myself
to be a stranger to my own infancy.

The approaching war is much more harder on him.
He sings to himself, he keeps in his tears
as he creates an apple made of night.

I look at the last drops of red in this world
getting erased. I have some tears saved for this occasion.
I have some words in the memory of fire.

But the air is pregnant with reality and gunpowder,
our fingers bruised with the cry of all colors,
I can’t help but want

my words to be anything but a prayer
for a miracle, a saving,
even if it is only for you.

“All this destruction does something to me” – Nayana Nair

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The fork in my hand scratches furiously
at the new sheen of the borrowed plate.
The dense death
and the calcium of my hand tries to make a dent
in my green vessels, my skin too persistent
to break away, to let anyone else win.
My teeth runs away from cheap meat-
the soft fish, the bird drained of blood
lie wasted in the mouth of people as they
kiss and cave into equally hungry lying mouths.
My teeth digs in, tears into that one loveless heart,
trying to find some hunger for myself,
a hollow to store my excess, my too much,
the insufferable and the glittering overflow,
the by-product of life that doesn’t want to be lived.
All this destruction,
does something to me
I feel there is revelation, some hidden logic
these marks and sounds are leading me to,
so I flow along.
waiting for the moment when the desperate whimpers
give away to something else, something beautiful,
something that will make me finally cry
that will hurt me in the most irreversible way
something that will make me a human
capable of losing and loving anyway.
Maybe ‘the end’ is just a scary sign,
beyond which the life I wanted to live begins,
a place without illusions and truths.
A point of just easy breathing.”

“Always Spring” – Nayana Nair

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There is mercy in shadows,
there is healing in light,
and in the darkness?
There is always something in darkness
but we never know what.
Only there I can invent, imagine
and pretend.
Pretend
that this is my heart,
these are my people,
these noises that scare me
are of ghosts,
here I can see their teary eyes
Pretend
that the one coming towards me is
a kind monster,
that the bleeding has stopped
that outside is spring,
is a life better and wider than this
Outside is always spring
till I don’t open the windows,
till I don’t look out.
What a sad fragile relief this darkness is.
A never-ending cycle of hope and pain.

“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.

“Feeding life” – Nayana Nair

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The crumbles of the day are out of my hand.
They fly towards the birds
who now only know how to sit and wait.

It is morning
and the birds have been dragged
to these grounds of freedom
again.
Again they have been given this abundance of sky,
again they will realize only the abundance of their own fear.

I color their feathers with the dyes of attention.
A friend of mine force feeds them something
that tastes very similar to the sweetness of a tender care.
But they cry and choke and try to wriggle out of his torn hands.
They are much more gentle on me.
My tears never dry,
so they are afraid of me in more softer ways.

I stupidly burn words and meanings into everything we do.
I move my hands on their feathers,
over this soft life that sees me as another bother.
I feel him smile as a kiss of blood blooms on his cheeks
as a beak stills, as they stare back at him.
They wait for him to stop smiling.
They wait for his love
to be withered by their tests of violence.
They wait for a long time.

It is evening.
It is again a moment of miracles
that never quite happen till they actually do.
We wait something to take flight.
We wait for life to find its legs.
We wait for a long time.

“I am far away from giving up” – Nayana Nair

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Some kinds of love are made of flesh,
that can be killed eventually
however long it must take.
Forever does not exist for everyone.
But all that exists only in the kingdom of decay,
all that refuses to leave this flesh
as the knife of time cuts deeper and deeper,
those stubborn ones who only tend
to the roots of hopeless dreams
it was probably them, who thought up this scheme
of wanting a thing like this.
This fragile cloud of “forever” that will rain any day
and yet will rise from our tears and fill our skies again.
I am sad to say I am too weak to stray away from those skies.
I am yet to learn how to sever
the wants of my gods from my flesh.

“Mechanisms” – Nayana Nair

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I have a thing about ends-
I cannot do it,
it has to be done to me.
It must happen.
Things must continue
till they rot and bleed.
First in places where no one can see
and then in places where no one can look away from.
And words must be said – cruel words.
They must be said by someone, but it won’t be me.

I rush up to the jar of those colorful wrong words
and choose first, all the words
that seem like hope but they aren’t,
while purposefully leaving behind
in the hand of others only those words
that seem like rage, but it is not,
it is more of helplessness,
but I do not tell them that.
So now, in my tears they see
the new monsters that they are made of,
the monster I can’t bear to be.

Even as they become problems
that they never wanted to be,
I must remain good, I must remain kind.
I must remain the one that held on.
I must save my illusions at any cost.
I won’t give the excuse of my weakness, of my broken heart,
of the fragile thread from which my existence is suspended,
of how I am already clawed open and torn apart by life,
or how I would rather at the end of it
want someone to hate than to mourn things that died
with all the good parts of me.
Or how I have always loved everything a bit too much.
I won’t give the excuses even I cannot believe in.

I refuse to give up
with spite and with malice even
because how can I ever walk towards any goodness in world again
knowing the feeling of the dying pulse of a miracle under my hands.
I am ready to suffer. I am ready to break every heart including mine.
I am ready to paint this world with monsters and be the evil one
but I refuse to do that killing.

“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.