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  • The darkest veil persists...

    The darkest veil persists...

    I am blind, and yet I still hope to see

    It's one of those times where images and ideas pile up, and never seem to sort themselves out at the end of the day. The above is evidence. I imagine though, it is a reflection of the chaos of the times. Each day we are hopeful that some sense will be made of it and life will fall into place, allowing some encouraging light to shine in illuminating the purpose of it all. But, these days the light isn't showing up---buried, snuffed out by the ugly chaotic darkness. I don't mean the lovely darkness of the night. I mean the darkness, airlessness of being buried alive in this earth.  Strangely, I know once I can get all this dirt cleared out of me and the suffocation gives way to some air to inhale, we'll crawl forward, brutalized, yes-- but alive.

    The layering piles of appropriated imagery above are women. Women we all know, Mary, the Mother of God, refugee mothers, ancient goddesses, women hidden in Burqas and the synthetic, manmade female lacquered perfectly shiney for men and their followers to consume. 

    I fell in painful love with the following poem by Warshan Shire. I imagine this is the experience of so many. It is mind-boggling to me that while mothers are clinging to their children on a raft at sea, others prefer to go underwater and muffle all that noise so they can simply consume the plastic, manmade drama on the screen before them.

    "Home" by Warshan 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 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
    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

    Warsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet, writer and educator based in London. This poem was found on