Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The poem: "Home"

From A World to Win News Service;
The following poem exposes the hypocrisy of world governments closing their borders to a human crisis: the wave of humanity fleeing intolerable living conditions created by the workings of an imperialist system that results in obscene inequality, spiralling injustices, wars, invasions and occupations. It was is written by the 23 year-old Somali born, London-based author and educator Warsan Shire. Reposted widely on the Net, it speaks sharply to the arguments that most governments and reactionaries the world over are using to declare that people from oppressed countries do not have the same rights as those who happen to be born in the countries that oppress them.

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 neighbours 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 toilet
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
the 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 child's 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 hungry
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 don't know what i've become
but i know that anywhere

is safer than here

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