“The Right Way” – Nayana Nair

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The monsters brought their shadows
as they climbed into my bed
and I gave them stories
that promised to make them human again.
I had talked them into the idea
of change and love and the broken petal
that became a flower overnight
in the embrace of a care so fierce it
that nothing in the world could stay broken
once they knew its warmth
;
just liked they talked me into
the ideas of strength and hiding and the stones
that teach the skin of blood, bruise and eventually a strength
so stubborn that it can never be separated
from our bodies, our sorrows, and our will to fight
.
But many hours and a sleep and a love later
we still found ourselves staring at the
broken windows of hope,
and the stone of disappointments
melting in the morning light like snow.
Each half of our heart now wouldn’t stop crying
and begging for the other half to change.
Every part of us was now contending with each other
on the monopoly of truth, the right way to love,
and the safe ways to die. Our surety of self was evaporating
faster than ever. We were being broken from inside,
scattered for good, while our skins now knew the same battles
of keep up a form, keeping our reality hidden.
But now we could at least now sit in a room
and look each other in eye and smile,
knowing we could never be separate from each other.
Knowing there is no hell or heaven we would go to alone,
no forgiveness only granted to one.
There was no sin or or grace in this kingdom of cries,
there is no beautiful escape from this knowledge of life.

“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.

“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.”

“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.

“truth as truth” – Nayana Nair

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even if i loved
it was all in vain
and if i couldn’t be loved
what good was i anyway

i utter such atrocities
hoping no one takes me seriously
yet hoping someone would cry.
i can’t tell from here
if i have broken anyone yet.
there is only blindness where i stand.
there is only light where i am allowed to be.
the lights stay on me.
the shadow of curtains comes down
on the momentary truth that hangs at my lips.

i wake up
and read about the dream i sold
looking for the cracks i made
but all i got was “pain looks good on her“.
i wonder if i am really that beyond hope.
my blood shines and my tears have wings.
my brokenness isn’t broken enough.
even in my honest moments
i only seem make pain more beautiful.
to be cared for, to be tended to
could it ever happen to me, should i even try.
to speak truth as truth
i wonder how that feels like.

“I can bear truth only when it is a figment of my imagination” – Nayana Nair

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Had I climbed up that mountain
I would have probably seen farther than anyone else.
There would have been roads
that clearly go somewhere.
There would have been an eroding edge
to this globe of loud wrecking dreams.
There would have been a faint hint
of a beautiful eye crying behind a rising cloud.
I would have looked down and searched
and in not finding myself
I would have been happy for a while.
But in a moment that is spelled
with the same frustrated relief
as finding my glasses at the most obvious place,
a peace in me would also have come to an end.
There is the roof where I wrote my life in chalk,
relying on the rain which never came.
There would be a shadow of trees, a group of animals
who refuse to call themselves by a collective noun
and they would have looked happier (probably).
There would have been a monument of marble,
the last pride and plague of ego,
taken down by the masses who moved like landslides.
I would have definitely looked for you.
After all it is what I have done most of my life.
And I would have seen you building yourself again
with your broken tools and shining blueprints.
I won’t know if you were sad or happy
and you won’t know that it mattered to me.
It would have been such a perfect distance to look at you.
A perfect distance to exist with relation to world.
But I won’t climb up there.
Just as I know so much of all that I have never seen,
I also know there is not a particle of me
that has a taste for truth.

“Can of Worms” – Nayana Nair

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I have lived well.
I have lived a happy life.
I hold nothing but love for the world.
I wake up everyday hoping for…????
When I close my eyes I see…?????
and then I feel hopelessly …???????

what is it that i was supposed to say?
i know the right words, i know the truth
i just can’t seem to remember the lie
that was supposed to make everything easy.
i only remember the words that will wreck the world.

the words that grow in me
is another can of worms
another name that i should not utter
another stain on my character that is invisible
till i do not acknowledge it

or so i am told

i hate that they are right

“i cry blood and drink blood. i live another day. still shamelessly wanting.” – Nayana Nair

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I am a fearful soul.
I can only hold the hands
that can break under my grip,
hearts that do not know
of their power over me.

I fear, no one would believe
in my fragile nature,
nor pity my deteriorating state
once I start breaking others
before eventually breaking myself.

My breaking is not my secret
even if it is an act that is remembered
only by my own hands, my own skin.
It remains a fabled tale
of the last death without spectators.

It lives to dissolve into the stronger truths,
it dissolves into the concrete results
that are now engraved with names
that were breathing just yesterday.

I walk to them
with cruel empty hands,
with loud disrespectful steps,
with brazen breath daring to still flow.

I take their name with my own,
with a sadness,
as if some part of me
has died with them as well.
As if I know anything about dying.

“When will I ever learn to see a human as a human, nothing more, nothing less” – Nayana Nair

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A boy covered in white fur,
and a silent dear pet
made of breaking human skin-
they stand together at my horizon.
They float together,
they move into the melting sun.
They melt and become one with
everything I have lost.
They color everything I am yet to lose.

I call out to them
but only wrong names,
only these wretched wrong names
come out of my cursed bleeding mouth.
I call out the names they don’t understand.
No one gets the broken syllables
they stand for in my heart.
“come back my innocence, come back my truth”,
but they won’t hear.
Those words mean nothing to them.
That’s how things should be,
even if it doesn’t make me glad.

My view and my ideas of them are bound to me,
everything false sticks to my skin.
They can’t chase them
out there.
What a thing to be thankful for!
They won’t learn more reasons to hate me.
Reasons I deserve to be hated for.
My own hate is enough for me.
What a contentment have I laughably found now!

“The truth doesn’t matter to me” – Nayana Nair

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And when asked if my words could be relied on,
if what I wrote was true.
I answered, “My life doesn’t know truth
as much as it knows love.
But when it comes to love, my words fails me,
I fail myself, before anyone else.
Failing is nothing to be proud of
and failing in love is like filling oneself
with doubts and faults that never existed before.
I can never be myself again.
My standing up or my lying defeated
may make a difference to the world,
my truth might matter to the everyone else
but not to me.

To me, what matters is already lost.
Now I just get to live a life of pretense –
play house, play life, play hearts
with people who seek truth in wrong places- in me.
If I asked if you can be relied on,
if you know the meaning of words you speak.
You might answer yes to keep my heart, to be better at love.
You might answer no and I will know it to be true even as I smile.
But nothing you say actually matters
the world will end and we will end long before that
and I will end before you-
because of you
or in spite of you.

You might turn out to be my last true love
or you might be the last nail in my heart.
But if I write a poem on eternal love
of someone whose shadows roughly look like ours,
know it is a lie we will never live up to,
but also know it is what I saw in us
even if it cannot be called truth,
even if it won’t be us.