‘Home’ by Warsan Shire

No one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

Your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

No one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

You have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land

No one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied

No one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

The
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

Or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home

unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hunger
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important

No one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying-
leave,
run away from me now
I don’t know what I’ve become
but I know that anywhere
is safer than here

 

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Happiness…

A cup of Earl Grey tea. Reading the newspaper in the midst of stillness of the morning. Sitting by the window in a cafe and watching life lingering lazily on a Sunday morning. Writing my journal and filling almost silk like pages with my fountain pen even as I wait for my toasted brown bread. Getting lost in the pages of Forty Rules of Love and soaking in the sublime beauty of two stories woven beautifully in one novel.

happy

Running my fingers through the piles of bed sheets and finally choosing to pick up two. A random thought embraces me. Will these strangely attractive geometrical patterns ever see two of us together in a bed lying next to each other? Entangled bodies. Entangled emotions. Packing a dinner of rice and mutton curry… food that defined a Sunday. Years ago. When father was there in his elements. Mother was in her pink of health. Putting the AC at 18 degree even if the weather is not brutal outside. Pulling up the comforter till my neck. Holding a glass of whiskey, sipping slowly and even occasionally rubbing it against my cheek. Reading Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman and an ache runs deep within. The soft yellow light of the lamp surprisingly doesn’t bring back shadows of yesterdays. And it’s time now for Adele’s ‘Set fire to the rain’ and yes I know the next will be Dier Strait’s ‘So far away from me’. It’s in that alphabetical order of ‘S’. You don’t forget certain things even when you are too happy or too sad. Is happiness a sad song? No, I just don’t know the logic of being happy. But right now I’ m happy as I gently tap the touchscreen and let it flow.