Home by Warsan Shire, 2011
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
and even then you carried the anthem under
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
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
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
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
or the insults are easier
than your child body
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
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
Who told you only the soft could be good mothers? That mothers could not be dragons in disguise? That women who teach their daughters how to preserve themselves by breathing out lightning were any less than wild, magical things when teaching their young about war and love’s terrible lies? – Nikita Gill, Mother Maleficent
Continue reading "Who told you only the soft could be good mothers?"
I haven’t posted a poem in a while, and this one keeps coming back to me, most recently via Mona Eltahawy’s wonderful essay about the restoring the righteous rage of women and girls.
Poem about My Rights
Continue reading "I am the history of the terrorized incarceration of myself"
BY JUNE JORDAN
You yourself with the steady brown hands by Kriti Sharma, February 13th, 2017 Imagine for a moment having hands on the levers of this world. Imagine not having to go through extraordinary and psychically costly effort to lovingly and very very carefully persuade someone to put down the gun. Imagine, in a swift and compassionate …
Continue reading "“Imagine for a moment having hands on the levers of this world.”"
I love Ursula Rucker’s update on the classic dancehall tune. She brings the analysis and the dub!
Continue reading "Ring the Alarm"
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Photo: First Lady Nancy Reagan waves from the Statue of Liberty after she re opened the structure on its 100th birthday, 1986.
Blessing for the Women’s March
By Erika A. Hewitt (Unitarian Universalist minister)
May you be safe.
May you be free from all harm.
As the road or skies carry you toward your fellow pilgrims,
may you sense the presence of those who travel with you in spirit,
whose hopes and hearts are tucked into your pockets,
who name your journey’s purpose as sacred.
May you encounter strangers-as-kindred,
and may that recognition of kinship bring joy to your journey.
Whether the faces in the crowd number in the dozens, hundreds, or thousands,
Continue reading "Putting our hearts and bodies where our mouths are"
may you not only recognize yourself,
but may you also witness a dazzling tapestry of colors, languages, genders, ages, and bodies:
proud testament to and humbling display of our human family.
Since you mention it, I think I will start that race war.
I could’ve swung either way? But now I’m definitely spending
the next 4 years converting your daughters to lesbianism;
I’m gonna eat all your guns. Swallow them lock stock and barrel
and spit bullet casings onto the dinner table;
I’ll give birth to an army of mixed-race babies.
Continue reading "“what can I call us but lighthouse”"
With fathers from every continent and genders to outnumber the stars,
my legion of multiracial babies will be intersectional as fuck
and your swastikas will not be enough to save you,
A strong woman is a woman who is straining. A strong woman is a woman standing on tip toe and lifting a barbell while trying to sing Boris Godunov. A strong woman is a woman at work cleaning out the cesspool of the ages, and while she shovels, she talks about how she doesn’t mind …
Continue reading "For Strong Women by Marge Piercy (1980)"