A poem

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
the boy you went to school
who kissed dizzy behind
the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than
his body
you only leave home
when home won't let you

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
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
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 
feeding on newspaper
unless the miles travelled
means something more than
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten

no one chooses refugee
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
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough

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
than a limb torn off
or the words are more
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
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave
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

no one leaves home until
home is a sweaty voice in
your ear
saying - 
run away from me now
i don't know what i've
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

--- Home by Warsan Shire

I fear we've lost our way. I fear we've lost our ability to be compassionate. I fear we've left that ability down in the dust at the foot of the twin altars set up to the gods of safety and comfort. We hear the cry of the distressed and say, "But they broke our laws. They deserve what they get. Our own children are crying here, too. We should see to them first." We place more value on citizenship than humanity. We are more concerned with being right than being kind. We have forgotten that the word mercy even exists. I don't know what we've become.


Jo's Corner said…
Thank You! - Jo
Anonymous said…
Part of me is really struggling with this whole situation. Again, I said "part."

There is no question that the separations are horrifying and despicable and, I mean, I don't know what needs to be said beyond what's been said by thousands of people. I don't think I need to qualify what's been happening.

But, (and yes, I just wrote "but") what does grace and mercy and compassion look like in the face of lawlessness? What is the answer? From a political perspective there is so much grey. The separations are just a symptom of the insidious sin in our hearts. Ultimately the answer is Jesus in all of us, but Jesus is not in all of us, so how do we legislate until He comes back? I fear that a lot of the righteous anger is misplaced and not motivated by true Grace. It's also late. Decades late.

My dad burned his palms under a train. From Romania (technically he got on the train in Yugoslavia) to Italy he rode the rods of The Orient Express for 9 hours. Under the lavatory. By "accident" he put himself there and the dogs never smelled him. He ended-up living in a refugee camp in Italy for 10 months until he was sponsored by a church in Detroit, MI.

I don't know what else to say other than we have indeed lost our way. Most definitely. I think those of us who are saved in Christ need to radically witness to our friends and neighbors and to the ones trying to become our neighbors. We need to proclaim the name of the Savior. We need to be living through the power of the Holy Spirit. Loving the unlovable through Him. Even the one sitting in office. As an aside, my four year old daughter prays that Kim Jong-un would be saved by Jesus. I'd say she gets something that a lot of us don't.

I'm sorry that my comment is probably not "helpful." My heart aches.

Thank you for posting about all this, by the way. I love and respect that you don't shy away from uncomfortable things.


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