“I have learned to gaze lovingly” – Nayana Nair

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The fishes peep at me
through the pink sewer grates,
the filth and dirt and greed of city
eating their eyes,
the loneliness scratching at their fins.

I look at them
as if they are a painting
hung on an illuminated wall –
the last standing wall.
The vapors of dissipated life, dissolved flesh
spread all around it – the waste of everyday life
the waste of silent war.

But it lasts only a moment
my gift of vision, my ability to detach
only lasts so long.
The hunger in my bones, once again,
makes me look away.

I get up and walk.
I move my feet to the beat of the song
being spun in my corrupted mind
I am tempted to increase the volume
to find a pitch that resonates with the air here.
The point where everything bleeds and nothing heals
what will happen to me there,
what will happen to all of us I wonder.

But I have walked these roads before
I now know more than anything
that I only yearn to live.
Slowly, I have learned to protect my ailing tissues.
I have learned to gaze lovingly at my broken mind.
So, I press pause.
I continue to persevere.

“maybe i’ll never know better” – Nayana Nair

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the paper flowers in her hair
breathe for that one time
and wilt away.

she keeps walking,
keeps drinking
the colored sweet drink

with the bitter cold metal
melting her lips,
the taste of afternoon welded to her tongue.

her hands never rest, never stay still.
they twirl their laughter
around my fingers .

they find my shoulder, they color my cheeks.
they grow beaks, sprout wings; they rest on my elbow
and pecks at my tiny songs, my pale lips.

a rainbow is born in me, a wall collapses,
and again i forget the rust and the death, the lesson of danger
of fruitless love that i promised to remember all my life.

“Love is like that for everyone” – Nayana Nair

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I washed my face
and with the water dripping
from my messy bangs onto the dress
that I never planned to ruin
I stared at the ant on the wall.
I listened to the sound of you
falling in love again just across the wall.

I held in the meaning of this
along with my breath.
I blew at the ant wondering
if I can be a force to be reckoned with
a hurricane for someone else.
Maybe not. I felt a sense of camaraderie
with the legs of prey today.
So maybe not today.

Or maybe never.
I feel you would laugh
even if I tried to be one.
I feel a storm. I always feel it at my back
whenever I turn away from you.
I wish I could fear for you, worry about you
in those moments
and not think about the knives
that leave your hand
always to find me. Though you say
you never meant it to be that way.

I fear most – the words of love from your lips,
because they are never for me,
but always said within my earshot
And though you say love is like that for everyone,
but do you really fear the same things as me?
Do you pray to the gods of bathroom ants
for forgetfulness, for survival
as if love is force that will always be against you?

“Face this smile that wants to break and feel normal” – Nayana Nair

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Home is here.
Come touch this wall,
touch this heart that wants
to stand with you here,
in every withering garden,
in middle of every nowhere.

The blossom of stories
that creeps up your spine
it wants a part of that.
It wants the sweetness of hope.
It wants the death of normal.
It wants end of every story
that has nothing to do with you.

Come here into these metal arms,
into this tent made of spider web
of hopeless love.
Face this smile that wants to break for you.
Come, this could be home,
this could be the place your can tears free
anyway there is only breaking here.
There is only dull colors of heaven,
there is only me-
who has never been anything magnificent
but still wants to be one with you fate
whatever that means.

“Paintings of springs and fault lines. Sketches of lost mothers.” – Nayana Nair

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She sings.
An echo, a heartbreak maybe,
something piercing, something invisible,
something not ours-
this is all that we are allowed feel
(as long as we want to feel).

She is everywhere.
She sleeps, buried under the heavy weight
of water and floating globes of life and
drowning boats and oil.
She is everywhere.

Yet her voice outlines every step we take.
Every dying step is a step lost to her name.
Running away is beautiful in this city.
The traces of our writhing, crawling, changing bodies,
painted on every stone, every wall,
doesn’t let us forget the dust of the world
we crushed by our hands,
doesn’t let us forget the word “home”.

All our journeys branch from her heart.
We sit huddled with our feet in water,
with our hands over fires dying out
and talk of her. Always her.

“Home of Blindness” – Nayana Nair

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I have to sing
and keep singing,
have to keep begging people to dance within my heart,
within the confines of these bricks,
with the parts of me that can’t die
and parts of me that I wish I still was.
I have to keep inventing reasons and occasions
I have to paint every meaning within me
in the boldest loudest colors.

Because the moment it all stops
I will hear the shouts again.
There is no silence in this world.
Outside, everyday
the fearful children of a fearless god
shout his name again and again.
Asking for reason, for rain,
for roses carrying their name.

I also once stood there, in the dark corridors,
on burning roads
asking god to love only me,
to hold my hand, to save me alone.
It is a very dark road,
the one we take to find
the light that will only belong to us.

And there is only this home of blindness
far away from all the crying and ceaseless hoping
where I can use these eyes of mine
for something more than holding and spilling tears,
where I get to sing for the god within the song.
I worship these walls that hold me in my place.
I worship all of your laughs, all the steps the never stop.

But I am still afraid
because tears still come easy to me,
because even this borrowed light whispers the name of one
who I still hope to reach.
The one who should exist somewhere outside these walls.
But I can only be here in this world of his
if I don’t run to him all the time.
I can be his, without falling short or falling apart,
only if I substitute what he has made for what he is.

“Why doesn’t anything break me” – Nayana Nair

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now that this was happening for real

i wonder why isn’t it like

the ground breaking into pieces too small to support any life,
why the all the dragonflies weren’t dropping dead?
why all the butterflies still exist in color?

why isn’t it like

lungs filled with tears or the dramatic beautiful drowning into myself.
why am I able to keep track of time?
why am I stapling and stacking papers with a preciseness i never had?

i accept everything way to easily, i suspect

maybe even the love that almost took my life was not that deep.
maybe my limits were just as harsh as the room
with broken air conditioner on the day of perfect weather.

but why?
why then don’t I remember

the days of perfect weather
where there must have been something
worth crying for, breaking for, killing for. why doesn’t anything break me.

why then

are there open windows filled with light still stuck on the walls of my heart,
why is there music in the world sadder than my own self.
why do I envy everyone who gets to have a real grief, real love.

why is it so, that

it makes sense for the color of end to be my favorite.
it makes sense that i am left with myself and i still feel safe and i still know hope.
i wonder this numbness or cold heartedness – what it will do to me?

what will it do to me?
what will i end up as?
(i am avoidant and anxious and selfish and cruel and “never yours” already)
what/who will you end up loving instead?
(if you die before me, in the arms of someone who could see you better than me,
should I cry or not? would you be still expecting my tears?
when should i stop keeping count of what i owe to you?)
what new thing will i learn to run away from?

i hear such words from my mouth a bit too frequently, for it to be just a mood.
sometimes it all adds up.
that all i can do is think of myself
and end up doing a bad job at it
just so that someone else wants to do it better than me
it so looks like love. but it makes sense that it isn’t.

“If even you came to me like that”- Nayana Nair

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Don’t call your love a help.
Don’t tell me you pity me.

If even Love came to me like this,
how shall I accept your feelings.

What would be left of me
if I could reach you
only because my sadness
made me worthy of light.

I can choose such love of yours
only if choose
to never part with this pain
that I have.

Though I wanted you beside me
you are beside me because I can’t walk,
because I am running into walls when you leave my hand.
And I keep getting new bruises,
fearing how your heart might change
if I learn to smile.

“Hand-painted walls” – Nayana Nair

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The answer to your question-
the truth you always ask and wonder about
is there
somewhere inside me.
But inside me are many other things
that I have not been able to find till now.
And I would have probably invited you in
and asked you to help me a bit
if you were not better than me in every sense.
Just saying this makes me feel so cheap.
It makes me the person I am always trying to hide
and inside me things are a bigger mess.
There is a river of hatred and an ocean of guilt,
the walls of past that I paint over and over
but things just keep looking worse.
And though you hope to find a sky of love there,
though you hope to find a true love or a true end,
I would rather not be loved for the possibility of who I can be,
I would rather not be looked at closely,
or loved a bit more than I deserve.
And what I deserve is a piece of cake
that keeps getting smaller and smaller every day;
a cake I dare not eat, or even want .
I am afraid in my shrinking world,
there is no place for you
or anything called truth.

“My love is no longer red” – Nayana Nair

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The green that grows on me,
the love that grows on these walls
all turn around at the sound of a new voice
but they only find death waiting and smiling
coming to take away what now no one wants.