Sunday, November 15, 2015

"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
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
go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
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 childs 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
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important
no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Happiness Resource

Eyes Closed
Hair blowing in the wind
The ocean spray sprinkles my arms, face, my lips.
I taste salt.

I breathe it in- the air, the breeze-
so cool and refreshing.
I fill up my lungs with this air
this air that tastes of salt and earth and sun and beauty.

I breathe it in- the smell-
so wild and intoxicating.
I focus in on this scent
this scent of ocean and mystery, coconut trees and possibilities.

I breathe it in- soak it up- eyes ravenous to gaze at it all-
So beautiful, so majestic
I stare out from my perch atop the boat- wide-eyed and seeing.
Seeing, seeing. Basking in the beauty of creation.

I've done this ride one hundred times
always with the realization that this time will pass, these days will end.

We round the last bend and she lays out before us-
our little island on the edge of the world
so untamed and isolated
full of so many things broken and beautiful.

The kids are swimming off the wharf
laughing and screaming- skinny, tanned bodies that know this earth well.

Our pup waits on the beach- quick to let out a howl when he sees us
reminding us he doesn't like being left behind.

Isitolo, my student, climbs to the front of the boat and drops the anchor.
He dives off the side and joins his splashing friends.

I hear the sounds of laughter and roosters and "Te u ta'i koe".
The island's only transport- a tractor- rumbles to life in the distance.

We call out jokes and unload the boat-
passing bags of rice and noodles,
passing babies and buckets of fish.

The tractor arrives and they all implore us to"heka".
We prefer the 15 minute walk through the jungle back to our village,
even when we're loaded down with groceries and gossip and the tiredness of our once a month trip to town.

We enter our yard as the sun is setting
Greens, yellows, oranges, blues
The sky, the ocean, the trees, the flowers.

Our laundry flutters in the wind
the kids play rugby in the front yard
Our pup barks and runs and greets everyone,
always returning to his master's side
We cross the yard hand in hand

Sometimes it's easy to remember,
"We find You in everything we ever could call home".