“The things we hate are sometimes the only things that can be counted upon” – Nayana Nair

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Even in my nightmares I had a home,
I had the warmth of my own
love-yearning heart whose selfish haunting
was more powerful than the sorrow
of the world itself.
Even when the night came
and killed the song of every bird.
Even when god abandoned my shadow,
even as I dreamt the eyes I loved
drowning in blood, floating towards my end.
I could live,
I could still write poems
under the light of my pain.

“Silent Dazzle” – Nayana Nair

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The words are brittle
the ones they ask me to eat.
I was told this is how you forget
but it really doesn’t work.
It always leaves a mark on me,
claiming a bit more of me.
My throat would have shined,
would have dazzled the world,
if they could see the shards of glasses that
are stuck inside, that decorate my wind pipe.
Only I know how my voice and my hunger
makes its way out of this maze.
Like the thief in the movies
avoiding the lines of red,
I move within my body
slowly, carefully,
afraid if what I might encounter next.
Next to this fear… words and speaking
and performing in front of this world
seems easiest part of existing.
My words pushed out into the world
are always wounded and broken.
And they lie on the ground,
in the hands that feel strange,
already losing half of their bodies,
their meaning already taking its last breath.

To speak is to see myself die in the hands of other
and yet be spared, only to live a bit more,
only to utter the next word.

Another piece of glass added to my collection.
Another drop of blood shimmering at its end.

“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.

“Surface” – Nayana Nair

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I want to write of things I don’t know of.
About the feelings I never had,
the bodies that never surfaced
in the rivers that exist only on the grounds
of treasure-less maps,
the feelings I spoke of but never ever actually felt
as if it happened to me.
My love was like everyone else’s,
so much that I was acutely aware of their borrowed nature.
I want to write of things I don’t know of,
about a love that is truly mine, a feeling that is not plagiarized.
When you casually say “you don’t know anything of love”
I don’t want to feel guilty, like I always do.

“Telling Signs” – Nayana Nair

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“Does rust affect plastic dreams?”
I ask my teacher in my sleep.
She takes out an axe and starts cutting down
the first mouth filled with wrong answers.
Two rows away
she wipes her brows and folds her sleeves,
she takes another deep breath
before she checks the attendance sheet
and finds the next dream to kill.

She tells me I should think more and ask more
and ask the questions that help me live.
She looks at the metal that grows out of my pores
and gives me another chance.
She says only if I would try to be better
than the people I am clinging to, I could grow up to be her.
I look away from the blood that flowing down her neck,
the parts of her that she intends to kill by holding other’s breath.

“What about my mother’s arms, weak weak exhausted arms?
Are those my telling signs?
Does that mean I don’t have to worry,
that I am just someone next in line?
What about you? Do you rust like me?
Would the color of my rust, would my weakened heart
make me worth protecting,
make me deserving of kinder words?

She told me “It will not get you respect or equality,
if that’s what you are looking for.
It can sure get you love, of some kind, for some time
but it is just a matter of time
before you see the end that only you can write.
And you would end up writing it
cause that painful end would be more truer and more yours
than any love that you find by compromise.”

As she walks past me, smiling lovingly,
as she spares my life, that now she owns.
As she dissolves my only way back,
I realize too late, that my chaos and my doubts
were more hopeful than an answer like this
that promises pain to everyone else but me.

“a piece of writing…that should have been me, but is not” – Nayana Nair

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I look out of windows of places that I want to escape
and only after 24 hours, only after 12 years
in a poem about crows, in an essay about public school,
in a story, in a ruin not mine
do I find the space to figure out, to sketch
what I would have thought of, if I allowed myself to think.
If I allowed myself to feel, what I would have loved,
what I would have gladly run away from.
The lives that I couldn’t start, the roles I couldn’t end
they leave my skin and become the masks they always were.
I carefully place these masks
on the words that have nothing to do with me
My words
they only hold the mould
that were too painful for me to confirm to or accept.

“I never have to wonder, I never have to break” – Nayana Nair

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In the shade of a fruitless spring-less tree
as I tried to recall and write down
all the phone numbers I once knew by heart,
I looked at the sky
and laughed for thinking too highly
of myself and thinking too little about my heart.
That is the last thing I remember
before I was possessed.

Oddly I always remember this point of contrast
marked by the last tear I actually cried.
Whatever now had made home in me
convinced me
that I could be complete even if I stay as who I am,
that I could stand in this world
witnessing beauty, love, companionship, faith, life
and be happy
even if it could do nothing for me, even if they were not mine.

Someone, who couldn’t possibly have been me,
lived my life in my place from that moment,
and I never had to wonder again
if I am allowed to live like this.
I never picked up another paper I threw in the trash.
I now never tried to play the role of the one with bigger heart.
I was finally free of hope, of love, of being myself.
Now it was the work of whoever wanted this body,
whoever wanted my life.

“It makes no sense now” – Nayana Nair

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I tried many times
to write about you,
to tell the world
why I loved you once
even when it makes no sense now.

Now,
when the days in the sun
seem like a dream, seem like a ruse,
seem like a bait
to everything that just gets worse.
Now,
when all that we once were glad to believe in
and that we were
has caused us to write this end.

This end
where I have my own sky
but end up looking at the fields below
the harvest, the drought, the spring, the festivals
that you live.
This end,
where your day always ends with looking for that bird
who foolishly broke her wings for you,
among the birds who only dream of flying.

“Cursive” – Nayana Nair

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On most days
I desperately want to believe
that everyone else are humans,
just like me.

I write it down in cursive,
under the shadow of my incomprehensible muttering-
“they are not as bad as they seem.
you are not as bad as you think.”

I wrote it again and again
knowing I would never believe it anyway.

But I continued to write these lies
because I still wanted to make an effort.
Because I hated everything I could see, the reality that shouldn’t be,
things that needn’t be this bad,
this life where lies were the happiest part.

“Even when things are right” – Nayana Nair

“The sky is your canvas”,
the book to all ailments said,
“there is a joy in filling it up with life.”
But as I finished my 157th sketch,
as I finished my 300th one,
as I finished the one with no count attached
(the one I called “the limits that were stronger than me”),
as I write over all that I had drawn,
as the clouds dragged themselves painfully
crawling to some better place,
like everything else in my life
the sky remained unchanged.

And when I lost my hands to fate, to slow corrosion,
to the burden of creation,
to the lady in white who couldn’t even lie that “it won’t hurt”,
to the painful work of making up things that I want,
things that would want me back, or at least won’t walk out,
to the hunch that said something is seriously wrong
with the kind of life I have.

I wished for the man in the sky
to wake up and get to work,
to make me some rain,
to drop an ocean of crystal on this world,
to paint a heaven on this cheap sky of this miserable man.

Because trying on some days, on most days now,
feels like living against the wishes of the world.
I can’t help but break a bit, cry a bit
even when things are right,
because they right only because of my efforts.
Can you give me something that I don’t have to work hard for,
something that was made for me,
something that I can keep.
A thing, a person, a sign
that I can hold in my hand
that tells me that you want me to be happy,
that you want me to smile,
that I am not abandoned after all.