no one leaves home unlesshome is the mouth of a sharkyou only run for the borderwhen you see the whole city running as well
your neighbors running faster than youbreath bloody in their throatsthe boy you went to school withwho kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factoryis holding a gun bigger than his bodyyou only leave homewhen home won’t let you stay.
no one leaves home unless home chases youfire under feethot blood in your bellyit’s not something you ever thought of doinguntil the blade burnt threats intoyour neckand even then you carried the anthem underyour breathonly tearing up your passport in an airport toiletssobbing as each mouthful of papermade it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.
you have to understand,that no one puts their children in a boatunless the water is safer than the landno one burns their palmsunder trainsbeneath carriagesno one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truckfeeding on newspaper unless the miles travelledmeans something more than journey.no one crawls under fencesno one wants to be beatenpitied
no one chooses refugee campsor strip searches where yourbody is left achingor prison,because prison is saferthan a city of fireand one prison guardin the nightis better than a truckloadof men who look like your fatherno one could take itno one could stomach itno one skin would be tough enough
thego home blacksrefugeesdirty immigrantsasylum seekerssucking our country dryniggers with their hands outthey smell strangesavagemessed up their country and now they wantto mess ours uphow do the wordsthe dirty looksroll off your backsmaybe because the blow is softerthan a limb torn off
or the words are more tenderthan fourteen men betweenyour legsor the insults are easierto swallowthan rubblethan bonethan your child bodyin pieces.i want to go home,but home is the mouth of a sharkhome is the barrel of the gunand no one would leave homeunless home chased you to the shoreunless home told youto quicken your legsleave your clothes behindcrawl through the desertwade through the oceansdrownsavebe hungerbegforget prideyour survival is more important
no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your earsaying-leave,run away from me nowi dont know what i’ve becomebut i know that anywhereis safer than here
A poem by Warsan Shire.
Well, I think home spat me out, the blackouts and curfews like tongue against loose tooth. God, do you know how difficult it is, to talk about the day your own city dragged you by the hair, past the old prison, past the school gates, past the burning torsos erected on poles like flags? When I meet others like me I recognise the longing, the missing, the memory of ash on their faces. No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark. I’ve been carrying the old anthem in my mouth for so long that there’s no space for another song, another tongue or another language. I know a shame that shrouds, totally engulfs. I tore up and ate my own passport in an airport hotel. I’m bloated with language I can’t afford to forget. * They ask me how did you get here? Can’t you see it on my body? The Libyan desert red with immigrant bodies, the Gulf of Aden bloated, the city of Rome with no jacket. I hope the journey meant more than miles because all of my children are in the water. I thought the sea was safer than the land. I want to make love but my hair smells of war and running and running. I want to lay down, but these countries are like uncles who touch you when you’re young and asleep. Look at all these borders, foaming at the mouth with bodies broken and desperate. I’m the colour of hot sun on my face, my mother’s remains were never buried. I spent days and nights in the stomach of the truck, I did not come out the same. Sometimes it feels like someone else is wearing my body. * I know a few things to be true. I do not know where I am going, where I have come from is disappearing, I am unwelcome and my beauty is not beauty here. My body is burning with the shame of not belonging, my body is longing. I am the sin of memory and the absence of memory. I watch the news and my mouth becomes a sink full of blood. The lines, the forms, the people at the desks, the calling cards, the immigration officer, the looks on the street, the cold settling deep into my bones, the English classes at night, the distance I am from home. But Alhamdulilah all of this is better than the scent of a woman completely on fire, or a truckload of men who look like my father, pulling out my teeth and nails, or fourteen men between my legs, or a gun, or a promise, or a lie, or his name, or his manhood in my mouth. * I hear them say, go home, I hear them say, fucking immigrants, fucking refugees. Are they really this arrogant? Do they not know that stability is like a lover with a sweet mouth upon your body one second and the next you are a tremor lying on the floor covered in rubble and old currency waiting for its return. All I can say is, I was once like you, the apathy, the pity, the ungrateful placement and now my home is the mouth of a shark, now my home is the barrel of a gun. I’ll see you on the other side.
Thanks Reg. These poems put things as clear as daylight.
.........you have to understand,that no one puts their children in a boatunless the water is safer than the land.......
@Reg that was one of my favorite lines as well. Powerful poems Reg, thank you so much for sharing them!!!! It's so true!
Wow! Reg The Fronkey Farmer. I'm impressed, beautiful poem of Warsan Shire and awe-inspiring story, inspiration, Odyssey... you made me be in those shoes that walked that story, you made be in that hotel that you tore up and ate your own passport... Right now I'm standing up saluting you.
Thank you Sankev. We need to walk a few miles in each others shoes. Our empathy increases our understanding and this informs our actions. I linked this story about your fellow Canadians in my Sunday School post. It does not take much to lift our arms up and open them wide. Maybe some day I can buy Sara some ice cream.
Yes, Reg, I saw it in the news, I'm glad Canada has open arms for them. I know that feeling of leaving my own "mother land", my "Llacta" -Quechua language- I did it 25 years ago, but my reason were for my son's health and my: 'my son one day is going to hear me calling his name" became true.
Everyone is Haykuykuy!
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