“What I want to say, what I want to ask is something else” – Nayana Nair

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Today I am glowing with your gentleness –
the miracle that I thought was lost for good.
Today all the songs are about
the open sky of your heart,
about the wind that blew through me to you,
through the rooms of your childhood,
through the ghosts in my eyes which you could see too,
through your ruffling shirt made of bluest words
enveloping me, making a new sun for me
with the easy way you leaned in,
with the kiss that reached me,
even in all my hiding places.
So sad no lips were involved, yet so beautiful
that I can remember it without
the memory and weight of flesh.
It pains me somedays, somedays makes me regret
all the things that vanished, all the good things
that almost happened, but didn’t.
But mostly it makes me proud
that I used up all my beautiful dreams on you.
Your smile, that I have never seen
but only felt in words,
was the most beautiful smile of this world.
You were more dear to me
than most of the world that I got to keep.
How sad
that I never got to tell you this.

“with the right words, i can hide my unreasonable yearning for you” – Nayana Nair

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frozen time, open window

a cry of deer stuck in my throat
along with your name

the white spotless landscape of my heart
breaks again,

the summer keeps evaporating

my real smile surfaces and floats
like a dying fish, waiting for

needy hands, hungry lips,
hot oil, cold plate, and a decent death

the radio that plays on repeat
every song i hate,

the fork that traces the outline of my eyes

this empty life, my clean small bones
lying in the sunlit backyard of your world.

“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.

“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.

“The Remaining Beautiful Sculpture” – Nayana Nair

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The houses are all empty, the roads deserted,
the remaining beautiful sculptures,
in the overgrown lawns of this plastic world,
have no eyes and no intent to save anyone.

Someone tells me my new lines
and I nod and wait for my voice to arrive.
Someone else opens my cage and you are also
somewhat released from your prison.
We walk the small distance of this model road,
revising the conditions of our freedom in our head.

You hold my hand and it feels like nothing.
How perfect. How hollow.
But soon the sun will rise and fill us with light.
Soon it would all be beautiful.
I almost wanted tell you,
“this emptiness is such a beautiful catalyst
for reckless beginnings”. But I guess you already knew.

As we all wait for the sun,
you tell me you have a name and I nodded.
I realized I could not say the same about myself anymore.
I realized much later that you never told what it is, your name.
A name is such a hollow thing, to be filled up by the person only later.
I don’t know the order of importance of things in this world.
So I guess this must be normal.

As the sun came out of hiding, I was filled with words again
and the words that I wrote in that first light was,
we both could write poems that can break worlds.
we could be so much more than this. and maybe we are.
maybe we want to be something less. something simple.
something harmless. but is that even possible?

As I wondered what your real words looked like,
I uttered the words I was told to,

the houses are all empty, the roads deserted,
the remaining beautiful sculptures ,
in the overgrown lawns of this plastic world,
have no eyes and no intent to save anyone.
i won’t save you. i will be just like others.
i will look at you and wonder. i will smile and forget.
i will love and forget.
but i will remember you in your crudest form.
you will exist in my vocabulary like waves and perfumes
and home and roads. but you will remain.
i will make sure of it.

And with all the conviction and gratitude you replied,

that is enough. i can be saved just by that.

I believed you so much in that moment
that I wanted to mean every word I spoke
and maybe that was the moment my love was born
for you.

“Yellow kills happiness” – Nayana Nair

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And across this street is my old home,
the one I won’t ever visit.
This year they have painted it yellow.
How sad is that, isn’t it?
My mother hated that color.
She said that yellow kills happiness.
She said such colors convinced even a happy person,
that their smile is not enough.
Her smile, as a rule, was mostly not enough for anyone
and it made sense to me that she would hate
to compete with her wallpapers, her furniture,
her mirror, her curtains – for the sake of validating
her existence and importance.

The woman who stole our lives years later – I heard her
telling my mother
that “she was an insecure woman, that she was bound to lose”.
As if she, who paints this house now
with horrible colors every year, knew what loss is.
My mother – she liked browns and greys and greens.
She grew life out of her blood.
She loved dearly and irrationally-
whenever she sat still
and saw at us smiling and playing,
she would break into tears.
We loved her more dearly for that.

She loved that house
and the man that owns it.
She hated herself a bit too much.
She tried not to
but saving her was a work she had to do by herself
-a tiring chore, no one wanted to be part of.
She brought us the most beautiful yellow frocks one day
and looked at us, trying to love something impossible through us.
She looked at us hoping that her love for one thing
could make her bear her hate for another.
Like a fool, she believed
that her trying would mean something to this world.

“Last Kindness” – Nayana Nair

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“You were almost my whole world”, he said,
waiting for me to say something-
an excuse, an apology, a lie that would make him
as important as I seem to be in his words.

His belated words are always beautiful,
his love always drips at the corners of every end
that I try to carve out of us.
Once it was an assurance to know all our ends are fake.

Once I was made of dreams,
once he was made of songs,
and now we are back to being mere flesh
that we can’t accept each other for.

Now we are pretty sure
we can live without dreams that hurt
and that there are other songs, better sounds
that won’t cut us up before we are dead.

Yet he tries to care for the one he no longer wants
as I try to stay silent for his sake, for my sake,
for an end that doesn’t drag on.
Or is it to look pitiful and arrogant in his eyes.
His eyes liked me best when I couldn’t be wavered,
when I seemed something more than just a needy heart.

I wonder why we try to look humans even as we part,
why we must show the faces we have grown to hate ourselves for
and act like lovers in pain, like this is the end of our lives.
When love was the last thing we needed,
seeing it was the only thing we were ever ready to give up on.

“But maybe because it is you, you won’t laugh if I told you” – Nayana Nair

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Of all that I miss,
out of every

“I had it when I didn’t need it,
when I wasn’t ready to face my own needing, cause
my feelings for the delicate and genuine seemed hateful to me”,

out of everything that I tried not to know,
you are the one most precious to me.
Mostly it is because I didn’t really look at you
so I have only these regrets
to measure what you were.

And my regrets grow heavier
with every encounter I have with this world
that is filled with people like me.
My regrets grow heavier
even though I was so well suited, so ready
to live and thrive in this real world, where you were destined
to fail and wither and lose all that false light your prized.

My regrets grow heavier,
the more I realize how much this world needs
you and your friends,
with your false beautiful ideals sewed on your skins.
You would laugh if I told you
about the people I meet everyday,
people like me who can’t come in terms
with the world they have chosen.
I face their expecting eyes,
I feel their hands searching in me
for a glimpse of the world they have burnt.
But maybe because it is you, you won’t laugh at it.
Maybe you’d cry, cry in our stead,
cry for all that we cannot cry for.

When they search for miracles in me
I feel like a house with hidden doors and floors
with bodies holding goodness lying breathless within.
I fear when they find you behind every door-
a miracle with your face, an end with your smile-
then even these regrets won’t be mine.

So I try to be of use to them
all the time hoping
that they find the face of kindness only they know of,
only they miss, the one only they want back.
So that at least our mad hopes, will remain our own till the end.
So that we gain nothing but remember everything
and that remembering makes our hands, our hearts soft and breakable
and beautiful like yours, like everyone else like you
who did a world a favor by just existing.

“As people change, I start to hope” – Nayana Nair

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Today I am a bit out of luck.
Today the sun shines bright
on the stairs to your home.
Today I am forced to see.
But it’s only for today though.
On days ruled by fog, I will again get to hope
that you might be sitting there,
till I reach the first cold step.

I can smile for the few minutes – the time it takes
before I realize everything else
in this world, that is not you,
can make more beautiful shadows of you.
Just like how, sometimes, even i don’t need you.
I don’t need you to cling to you, to beg you,
to feel your love, to be in love, to waste away like this.

Even when I wait though, I hope to quit on you soon.
Even in waiting I actually do not need you.
I imagine the days when I will not need this routine.
As people change and leave, I start hoping
that maybe I will also change and maybe I will also leave,
maybe one day I will forget the way to this place,
and these stairs will be just stairs
and not a place you couldn’t be,
and maybe life could be just life
not a story you are missing from.

And maybe when I also leave
there would be two shadows, not one
on these stairs.
Everything that makes me ache now
will be just what they should be-
things that will never give anyone any grief.

“Goodbye to all the warm things” – Nayana Nair

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The white curtain, the whistling wind
doesn’t vanish,
no matter how many times
I close my eyes.

The chill under my feet
slowly turns into the ice within my bones.
The hope within my heart
blinds me a bit more.

For every step I take
another cold molecule of my sense of self
breaks away from me.
Every step is an unavoidable mistake.

All warm things are now resting
in the rooms of past-
the melting summer and the stickiness left by
the kiss of ice cream at the corner of my lips,

the one tree that I burnt for three winters,
the big windows, the big dreams
that almost burnt a hole in my heart
as I wrote down hollow words recited by my teachers,

the warmth on my skin
as your eyes fell on me,
that whole minute for which you were
the closest star to earth, my new sun.

But every step is an unavoidable mistake.
Every step is a goodbye.
Every sun that my eyes create, falls
too easily from its branch.

No matter how many times
I close my eyes.
it doesn’t vanish-
this world that now I can no longer love.

The light that will never fall on you
is the light I will never see.
Isn’t it beautiful – this cold
that takes me a bit closer to you, even if like this.