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 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
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
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
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.