Forever

Eyes + Words

Written by Jacob Ibrag

‘Will we be forever?’ she asked

as the plane was boarding. He

stared into her eyes, the moment

frozen in time. It was as if he was

traveling to the future, it was as

if he already knew the conclusion.

She stood helplessly as he slowly

conjured a smile. He kissed her

earlobe and whispered, ‘we’ll be

ninety, sharing the sun on our

stoop. Our souls are married,

they were  the moment I

looked at you.”


Art by  agnes-cecile

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sorrow song

for the eyes of the children,
the last to melt,
the last to vaporize,
for the lingering
eyes of the children, staring,
the eyes of the children of
buchenwald,
of vietnam and johannesburg,
for the eyes of the children
of nagasaki,
for the eyes of the children
of middle passage,
for cherokee eyes, ethiopian eyes,
russian eyes, american eyes,
for all that remains of the children,
their eyes,
staring at us,   amazed to see
the extraordinary evil in
ordinary men.
– lucille clifton

untitled

Tell me-
When did you first learn that love was the wind
That seasons and fashions and politics would change

And so would he

That you could only trust his arms for a moment
That kisses could melt away faster than carnival day cotton candy

Sister, tell me
Who taught you that love was water,
Always looking to spill out of your clasped hands
Or evaporte into thin air

Who told told you to distrust the sound of affection?
To believe that everyone leaves in the end?

Where does this memory lie?
Who fed it until it grew so ghoulish and real?

When will you let love in?

When will you start to see that his embrace is eternal?

When will you let his words rest in the small of your back
In the pit of your stomach?

When you hear “I love you” and believe it – no questions asked?

– soo

Let those who love you love you

Let those who love you love you
Let light shine through yonder window
Through darkened night
Into the deep and locked away place in your heart

Let those who want you have you
Stop
Breath
No more chasing after shadows of what if
Turn around
Meet the one running towards you

Let what is yours be yours
Like the timber of his voice
The soft and woody smell of his shirt that lingers
Let it warm you
Remind you that, while it may not be so all over the world,

In this corner of brick and steel

In this patch of cotton and spice

You will always be worthy of love

-soo

Ancient

I want to go back to the days when I thought 30 was ancient,
when the best part of my week was crispy crust pizza day,
when nothing mattered but this place,
this moment.
There was no longing for better.
Better was already here.
There was no questioning if someday.
That someday had already come.
I was certain I would be something, when the time came.
I was never anxious,
never uncertain,
always bold.
I wish I was as cool as I was at 7.
I wish I was as certain as I was at 12.
I wish I could silence the fear that I might never amount to anything at all and remember the days of counting down to snowfall and crispy crust pizza
and knowing everything would turn out alright.

– soo

an unraveling

I couldn’t tell at first what was happening
But I know now.
It was, in fact, an unraveling.
All I heard at the time was this creaking,
a releasing,
a letting go and tearing down of all I had built myself upon.

It wasn’t much, I know.
It came tumbling down like a deck of cards –
all with the tug of just one loose string.
What I had called fine silk,
delicate lace –
You called twine,
kindling.
With a pull, it came to nothing in my hands.

If there had been a fire,
it would have set ablaze
If I had had a fire, I would have torched it myself.
But there was no fire.
Only wind whipping through these raw and open parts,
just He
or She –
that great benevolence in the sky,
conspiring to do me good,
bidding me, peace – be still.

I couldn’t see it then,
as it all fell apart,
as that slight and lackluster tug
tore the whole thing asunder,
But I see it now.

They needed to pry the sordid pieces from my hands
In order to salvage what was left –
what was good
what was holy
In order to create this broken and beautiful tapestry
I now wear with pride.

-soo

Knocking at my Heart

So, I decided to follow my own deity
to bid air and soul be still
to call my own earthen form god.

Father, forgive me.
I knew what I was doing, but forgive me anyway.
I know it pained you to watch me stumbling and searching –

east

west

backwards

around

for something that was standing at my doorstep,
someone who was knocking at my door.
Forgive me.

I thought maybe I could do it better –
find a home beyond this curse,
this corpse
beyond this flesh, always too weak
beyond your expectations, always too high.

I had hoped to topple you and place myself on the throne.
I can finally be honest now.

Instead of drawing closer to you, showing my heart how much it needed you,
my heart conspired evil.
My mortal lacking made me flee.

Tell me it’s not too late.
Sing that lullaby to me again.
I promise to listen this time,
to humble myself as I ought.

Promise me you won’t stop knocking,
before I make it to the door.

– soo

no one leaves home

no one leaves home unlesshome 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
pitied
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 i
no one skin would be tough enough
the
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage

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

drown

save

be hunger

beg

forget pride
your survival is more important
no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying-
leave,
run away from me now
i don’t know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here.

– by Warsan Shire #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik