“The Night Wind” – Nayana Nair

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The light bulb blooms.
The petals of light, the tungsten
burning red and hot- invites, sings, thinks only
of the memory of wings.
The burning, the bodies and their count,
the trivial data, the remains of feeble lives
pile up only to be blown away by the night wind.
Far way, the plastic chairs rustle like grass,
as everyone leaves with their lips
stained and bleeding with illusions.
In the silence of the backyard,
I alone hear the wings drop like rain.
I look at my own charred and mauled self
and ridiculously, think of love, only of love.
I realize something is truly wrong
with this world that I’m caught in.

“Listen and Obey and Lie and Pretend” – Nayana Nair

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Old dreams,
the old warm sweaters of dreams-
today is the day for burning them.
Someone hands me a matchstick,
hands me the common sense
of creating necessary ends.
And like the more faithful student I am
I listen and obey
and pour the flame on the fishes that are still caught
in the net of my dreams.
I pour the flame on the neck, on the wings
of the deity that sleeps in me.
And like the betrayer that I am
I clap and smile with ones who hold my hand,
the ones I must pacify, the ones I must give in to.
But I breathe in again the seeds of wishful thinking.
The air is filled with them-
with the tiny rebellions, with the stolen chances,
with all that isn’t but threatens everything that is.
The air is filled with hope, with freedom,
with everything beautiful and dangerous.
I smile knowing the demons I have set free.

“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.

“Understanding freedom” – Nayana Nair

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He broke my shackles with his blood
and took my hand,
my weightless hand, my almost wings,
and held them in the warm embrace of his own prayer.

As my hands created ripples for my own amusement,
as my hands broke the bread that I would now get to eat,
as I looked at flowers for hours at leisure,
and sang wordless songs without the fear of being heard
-he cried.
It was beautiful and sort of silly – his tears.

He cries at the smallest things
yet is unfazed at the moments that require tears.
Like this farewell, where with a smile
he recites his memorized list of wishes,
he recites the feelings of hope he has for the ones before him.

He looks at me. He looks at us all
and says “you are free. this is now a game without masters.
this is now a world where you are as good,
as deserving of respect
as anyone you stand with or stand against.
you are free. live. live such that
you would need no one to remind you of that.”

As we cried, he told us that
disappearing is what he always meant to do
that wanting his shadow around,
seeking his approval, and following his words
would undo everything he has done in this world.
Yet our tears won’t stop.

We didn’t know if these tears were of desperation,
of relief, of love, of being abandoned,
of being left without directions or heads that could
do the work of seeing and thinking for us,
in return of our submission.
He told us it is sometimes okay not to know.
He said it is okay to hate him
if it helps us to find a way that is our own.

It broke me to hear that because
he spoke as if being okay with being hated for saving
was an essential part of being good.
It was sad that he had to smile when he said it
as if he was not free to cry or complain for something like that.
Or maybe I have not understood freedom yet.

“When we meet again lets try burning some wings and maybe then we will be able to fly” – Nayana Nair

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The howevers have replaced the forevers
and it is a beautiful change.
Now we can let the dying thing die at peace.
The fleeting feelings and their fragile wings
could have dropped and turned to dust with time
I know,
but there is something frustrating about slow,
about things that don’t end
when they drag their feet to the wrong doors
pretending to look for answers,
when everyone stares at faces they cannot bear to look at
waiting for someone to end things for them.
I am also guilty of all this,
of thinking that making new promises
will give me enough pressure, enough motivation
to follow through the life that I don’t really want,
of holding on
when I have no mind to continue.
However isn’t this a good excuse, a god-sent moment
to finally separate our stories, to forget this mess
that will never fix by itself or even by our half-hearted trying.

“Chorus” – Nayana Nair

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Sometimes when I forget to live, to see ahead,
I find myself back again in the house of wood
beside my child made of sand.
He looks like me most of the days,
sometimes she looks like him.
They are often speaking like chorus of brokenness.

Some days they tell me that they are not mine,
that they are not children, that I am not me.
I ask them
then why do I feel the way I do?
why do I hurt the way I hurt?
And hearing this
they become the sand that I can only cry upon.
They don’t come alive
until another time.

But until that, I must be me,
and see things not being themselves.
The sand that was a life a second ago,
it melts, it grows wings
and opens its eyes and burns as sun.

Sometimes it opens it eyes and starts crying in my arms.
It tears my skin, it makes me smile
all my dying parts wake up
but in a world where no such beautiful haunting exists
where I have no reasons to cry
only tears that never stop.

“They go through my closet trying to find me and maybe themselves” – Nayana Nair

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He stepped down from his ‘cloud nine of the day’
as I stepped out from my house made of last drops of rain
and at the intersection of fleeting memories
we fell in love.
That is what I tell my friends
when they ask me about the moment
I was tempted to end the sadness of my life.

I tell them about the words I borrowed from his lips,
his borrowed tongue that helped me eat a bit more.
How I taped his adjectives on my mirror
so that I wouldn’t have to look at myself.

They sit with me on the table
I can’t bear to share with my love.
They stare at me, as I ask them what to wear,
how to hide my poison, how to hide the crack at the elbow,
the bruised collarbone, the split lip,
the ache in my heels, my frayed wings,
my broken voice
and all other reminders of what love has done to me,
and what more love can do, if i just let it in again.

They tell me it is all healed.
They tell me it is all past.
They hold their skin against mine to make me see
that the cracks are all in my mind,
how everyone looks just like me,
how everything wrong with me is now the norm.
And they laughed
when I looked at them with concern.

They dropped me at the restaurant
and vanished at the farthest bend of the road.
As I dragged my feet towards another story
that I will never get to complete,
another tragedy that suited only me,
I looked back and tried to think of all the things
that these kind friends of mine suffered
as they hoped and wished and lied to themselves.
The exceptions they now considered normal,
the wounds they cannot even see,
the pain they cannot call pain,
the love they cannot bear to leave-
I tasted these facts
in every spoon of artificial sweetness
I fed to my mouth that evening.

“Only Weight” – Nayana Nair

She said
“The moment I glace
at the empty parking space in the sky,
I wait for you to appear
with the plastic wings and your boyish grin.”

The sky does that to me too.
I look at the drooping branch
the sky holds in its mouth,
I wait for you to tear your most beautiful dress
at the knees, your tiny tiara clutched in your hands,
taking that unsuccessful flight again,
leaving behind all the burdensome part of your being
just to tell me the precious secret of your heart.
Just to fall into me, to take me away,
to fill me with life,
to fall and bruise with me,
to make me yours.
As I fail to catch you again,
as you pretend to die over me
trying to hold in your laughter,
I couldn’t help but smile.
I couldn’t help but want you to be the only weight
that I carry in my heart.

“I miss you too” I said.

“make me a flower” – Nayana Nair

It snowed all night.
All night I created stars for your eyes.
I bore the weight of the roof
as you slept, cried, ate,
smiled, memorized dial tones,
stared at me like you stare at screens with static,
paused expectantly as you told me the story
about your friend who is filled to brim with sugar
and seems bit odd
when he tries to smile a little bit more always,
filled me with a momentary fear of
whether you saw the corners of my lips tearing up everyday.

I felt again the illusion of love breaking,
its crack trying to find my spine.
Again you ran to me, trying to hold me,
trying to look over all the parts of me
that you don’t understand.

I slept and felt the snow of years settling on me.
I felt your wings fluttering around in my head.
I held the hands of god in my tiny fingers and said with a smile,
“make me a flower, if you can”
“make me something that is beautiful in her eyes”
“give me another sorrow, something simple,
something that can be understood and loved by her”
“let me look at her, without feeling the breaking in my heart”.

“Before we are set in stone” – Nayana Nair

She stood ten steps away from me.
Smiling the sort of smile
I thought I would never see again.
The leaves and their shadows,
the broken light
only for us tonight.
I remember the how I loved her
as the wind rushes to hold her.
She, the mast of our broken ship,
asks me how I have been.

My fingers that ache for hers
hide behind me.
This is the answer that she wants
The simple answer
that can be nothing more than longing.
Longing is all I can feel, that’s how I create one incomplete world after another.
Longings are my wings that break me apart,
are my roads to run away.

My longings have so often been her dark room,
the flash that sees her cry,
her weary thin heart spread on mine,
her food and wrist going cold.

Ten steps away
I told her goodbye
when I could have told her prettier words –
words she would eventually lose faith in.
How tragic it would be.
So before the leaves could fall and dissolve on her shoulder,
make her yet another victim of hope.
Before we are set in stone.
I knew I must make my exit.
She is beautiful
I hope she remains so.
I hope I forget her again,
I hope this time it is easier.