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Member since: Sun Jun 4, 2017, 04:46 PM
Number of posts: 1,660

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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 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
Posted by The_jackalope | Thu Jun 21, 2018, 11:33 AM (3 replies)

Scene on a bus

Written after I arrived at work this morning.

On the bus a greying civil servant
Clutches his strap with the grip of a drowning man.

Tears streak his cheeks,
Flooding from behind dark glasses
That protect his eyes from the sun
And the bovine gaze of strangers.

In his hand, an iPhone.
On its screen
A black-haired little girl
Screams forever in red shoes.
Posted by The_jackalope | Thu Jun 21, 2018, 07:55 AM (0 replies)

Scene on a bus

On the bus a greying civil servant
Clutches his strap with the grip of a drowning man.

Tears streak his cheeks,
Flooding from behind dark glasses
That protect his eyes from the sun
And the bovine gaze of strangers.

In his hand, an iPhone.
On its screen
A black-haired little girl
Screams forever in red shoes.

I wrote this after arriving at work this morning.
Posted by The_jackalope | Thu Jun 21, 2018, 07:19 AM (0 replies)

The Reading

I know this isn't exactly poetry, any more (or less) than life itself is poetry. However, I claim poetic license because of my use of the word "guttering".

This short story is a metaphorical account of my life right now, woven around a Tarot reading I pulled on the afternoon I wrote it.

I had the narrative all worked out and was about to try and invent a suitable reading to drop into it. For some reason I decided to see what the Universe had to say, and did an actual reading. It turns out that the Universe knows best after all. It was only the second reading I'd ever done, and it freaked me right the fuck out.

The circular 7-card spread used in the story is called "The Path". The card interpretations are drawn from "The Tarot Handbook" by Hajo Banzhaf, with light editing for flow.


I walk down the line of people that winds like a river to the wooden door. A lifetime line of hearts and minds flows past. At the end of the line I turn and take my place. People already there smile and greet me warmly.

"Hey, you're here!" "It's good to see you!" Then a conversation-stopper: "How did you find out about this?"

I have no coherent answer for them. I'd been out walking, and something had whispered, perhaps in the voice of a leaf. "Go that way."

I hadn't wanted to go that way, of course. That way looked quite uphill, and I already had another destination in mind. But a few steps around the next bend, the path I followed was blocked by a wind-fallen tree. From its leaves that same intuition whispered to me once again, "That way. Go that way."

So I went that way, and here I am at the foot of a long line of smiling people, standing in the shade of maple trees, without a clue or a care in the world.

I look back along the life-long lineup. The door at its head opens; a person steps inside; the door closes.

We wait in the sun-dappled shade, chatting like old friends. It seems that the call has been strong for all of us.

In what feels like scant minutes the door is right in front of me. I admire the precision of its workmanship, the rustic elegance of its hardware, the sheer beauty of its wood. Soundlessly it swings open.

I step across the threshold into a dim room that feels like warm, peaceful awareness. A thought fleets by: "If a room could feel like love, it would feel like this."

A voice that sounds just like the room invites me to sit down. I do.

On the table, two guttering candles and a deck of cards, set on a cloth whose colour escapes me. From the other side she looks at me through wide, dark, almond-shaped eyes, with a smile that reminds me somehow of a painting in the Louvre. My gaze keeps coming back to her eyes. She holds my glance and lets the connection develop in its own time.

"You want to Know." It's not a question.
"Yes," I tell her.

"Do you have a Question?" I swear her voice spoke the upper case.
I think as fast as I can.
"Yes, I do."

"Then we shall begin."

She holds out the deck of cards.
"Please shuffle these as much as you wish."
I shuffle and hand it back. As she takes it our fingers graze, and I notice that she noticed.

A flick of her wrist fans the cards onto the table.

"Please pick any seven cards, thinking of your question as you do it. Please use your left hand."

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Done.

She turns my cards over one by one, arranging them in a circle on the cloth.
After a moment she looks back at me. "Your question concerns a relationship."

As the candles flicker, the room shrinks to just her eyes and the circle of cards. She begins to speak their story.

"The card in the first position shows the subject of your question. It is the Three of Swords. This indicates that there is a decision to be made that is in opposition to your feelings. This could signify either an obstacle or a liberation. The rest of your cards say it is the latter. This indicates that you are freeing yourself from dependencies and doubtful habits through the power of your mind. This is a painful, yet necessary step.

"The card in the second place is the Ace of Swords. It represents the principle of higher reason, of clarity and resoluteness. In a relationship, this card represents the relief of a conversation that clears the air; it indicates a solution, the mastering of a deep-lying problem. You have properly analysed the matter, and see it clearly.

"In the third position is The Lovers. This card indicates a great experience in love, yet with the requirement that a previous framework be renounced. That renunciation is essential for the possibility of love held by this card to manifest. Perhaps discarding past approaches is the decision that is in opposition to your feelings, as told in the first card.

"In the fourth position is the Two of Cups, signifying the loving encounter. In the personal realm it indicates flirting, spontaneously falling in love, or finding the expression of loving relations within an existing partnership. You give others the impression of being in love, that an interesting and lively encounter has spurred you on.

"In position five we find the Page of Pentacles. It proclaims an opportunity that is offered to you, one that is sound and reliable. It speaks of having a valuable and enduring experience, and stands for the initiative that turns a flirtation into a solid bond. Here it is not a matter of you doing something, but rather your willingness to let yourself be helped or given something.

"Position six is the King of Wands, that represents the masculine side of the fire element. It is the incarnation of self-assurance and the affirmation of life. This card is an expression of idealistic striving for growth, and the great potential for development and maturation of a person. Let yourself be guided by the strength of your faith and your inner certainty. Stay true to yourself and your moral principles. Trust in your sense of justice and prove your inner greatness in this matter.

"Finally in position seven we have the Three of Pentacles. The test that was the subject of the question, as given by the first card, has been passed. This card shows you entering new realms of joyful experience. It also shows the successful conclusion of some aspect of education or development in connection with a new beginning on a higher level. You have reached a threshold where you can step into a new phase of your life. The time is ripe, and there is no need to hesitate."

Her eyes never left mine as she spoke, and deepened as each card was told. Looking into them now made me dizzy.

"I can see in you that the reading is true. If there is nothing left undone here, I invite you to sign the guest book by the back door. I try to keep all my friends."

Reluctantly breaking our gaze, I walk slowly toward the back door. Someone else's pulse pounds in my ears.

A thick leather-bound book rests on a small table. I pick up the pen and inscribe my name on a fresh sheet of hand-made paper. Impulsively I turn back the pages, and smile when I see that one of the men just ahead of me in line has left this comment:

"Eyes you can get found in."

Perfect perception, perfect words.

Stepping across the next threshold, gently closing the door behind me, I emerge smiling into the sunlight of my new world.
Posted by The_jackalope | Mon May 21, 2018, 08:38 AM (0 replies)

Principal Uncertainty

Principal Uncertainty

I cannot know your truth,
Nor yours, or yours, or yours.
Nor can any of you know mine.
We say we hear each other's words,
But mere vibrations of the air are poor carriers
For such profound subtleties as Truth.
Even the singing energies of the universe seem,
In the end, a purely personal affair.

So, in heedlessness or love, we act on faith.
Send out our deepest heartborn dreams,
Desires, values, aspirations,
Embossed on quivering molecules.
Praying all the while that some shred arrives intact,
Though we will never know for sure.

Upon such jellied foundations it is our conceit
To build the monuments of Self and God,
Then after, raise a glass of good Merlot to celebrate
Our deep-felt sense of shared community.

Posted by The_jackalope | Fri May 4, 2018, 07:47 AM (0 replies)

I seem to write poetry only as I'm falling in love. Here are a few from the latest muse.

These are in chronological order, written over the last four days. The final one was birthed just this morning.

Love Like Rain

Sometimes it comes as a colossal storm,
A coup de foudre.
Lightning, thunder,
A rushing deluge.

Rivers surge and burst their banks,
Crops and houses wash away.
Grown-ups rush to homes for safety,
Children lament.

Sometimes it comes as a light spring mist,
So light that the only way to really tell itís raining
Is to watch the grass begin to glisten
As a halo grows round the sun.

Hand in hand,
Two lovers walk these shining streets,
And only realize they are in love
When they see the flowers
Blooming in their footprints.

The Alchymist

Half shadowed in the driveway light
Your smile releases my old familiar ache.

My heart fills with fireflies
Pulsing ancient pheromone messages,
Public signals of private lust.

My blood sings of you.
I yearn to fling myself headfirst
Into your eyes, and drown.

Though I am moved,
I do not move.
Silently the inner change proceeds,
An alchemy of energy.

Contained by the crucible of my heart,
Catalyzed by wisdom,
Crystallized by consciousness,
Base need transmutes to golden love.

We touch, and mere passion is held in check.
For now.


At night your voice whispers in my ear,
Telling tales of love.

Love now,
Love then,
Love held,
Love lost,
Love abandoned,
Love approached,
Love in this way,
Love in that,
Love inclusive,
Love discerning,
Love embracing all,
Not loving all the same,
But loving, all the same.

In your tales, part of me listens for my name,
And rejoices on hearing it included.
Other parts listen to them all in awe and wonder,
Fixed in the amber of your mystic vision.
No earthly horizon could be as vast or open
As the vista your voice describes.

You remind me that I love well, as well.
That I too am a creature born and made of love,
That we both deserve the love we share,
That we are both part of the All
That loves, is loved, is Love.

We receive gifts as great as those we give.
I offer you my gift of love.
It is everything I have, and all I am.
Posted by The_jackalope | Wed May 2, 2018, 02:26 PM (3 replies)

Boots on the Stair

(Or "Dr. Seuss Meets the Goddess" )
by Bodhi Paul Chefurka

I walk through the door, sit down on the stair,
Take off my boots and place them with care
Next to the wall; but I leave a small space,
If the heavens drop by they might fill it with grace.

I stare at that space with a smile in my eyes,
Take a long breath, and drop down inside
To the place of deep silence where a cool river flows,
Where wind whispers softly and greener grass grows;
Where the Goddess smiles at me and tells me She knows
How I feel.

Love takes me apart
And puts me back whole
It empties my mind
As it fills up my soul
With sorrow and joy
Stirred up in a swirl,
The human elixir we drink in the world.

I open my eyes and see that the space
By my boots next the wall is flowing with grace.
And it's just the right size for your shoes.
Posted by The_jackalope | Mon Mar 5, 2018, 11:27 AM (1 replies)

Regarding reactions to Hope Hicks' testimony...

"Abandon Hope, all ye who enter her..."

Posted by The_jackalope | Wed Feb 28, 2018, 08:15 PM (0 replies)

Dear Mr. Manafort: May you live in interesting times...

...and come to the attention of important people.
Posted by The_jackalope | Fri Feb 23, 2018, 07:47 PM (4 replies)


by Bodhi Paul Chefurka

I have been waiting in this darkness for half an eternity.
Sealed in soil, protected by my thick hard coat I wait.

Deep within, sleepy whispers of infinite patience;
The time is not yet right, and you are safe. Just wait.
When the time is right, you will know. Just wait.
I slumber on, dreaming slow, ancient dreams of life.

Somewhere overhead there is a noise, a crackle.
An impossibly swift crescendo - the crackle surges to a roar.
The soil around me changes,
The deep, slow part of me feels the sign.
It is time.

My dark earth home grows warm, and, in an instant, hot.
Fingers of flame reach through the soil,
Scorch my hardened skin -
The burning touch of a lover who will not be denied.
Under the fiery seducer's caress
My hard skin cracks and peels.

The lustful roaring of the fire dies away.
Again I wait.

In time a new sensation quickens my dim senses.
Overhead, instead of burning, now it rains.
I suck the moisture in through cracks in my skin,
Swell a little,
And once more I wait.

Time passes, and the rain comes again.
Once more I follow the coded primal dance.
Again I grow,
And wait.

Then again,
And yet again.

I have outgrown my devastated skin,
Rough soil rasps new and tender flesh.
In the dark I struggle upward.

The impulse is deeper now.
The pattern in my body tells me how to struggle,
But a deeper herald tells me why:
I am Life. I Must.

Surging up,
I burst into a foreign land - a cacophony of light and sound.
Resting, I bend my head to the familiar earth,
Soak up the warming touch of this higher plane.

In the warmth I now can feel Her presence, close around me.
She is very near,
But I cannot see her,
Though I search with all my might.

Without warning, from behind She speaks:
"That's one of the clearest profiles I have seen yet.
Really lovely.
Please have a look at mine and tell me what you think."

No longer a seed, not yet a tree,
I draw myself up straight,
Take a deep breath,
Turn to face Her radiance.

Oh yes, really lovely.

I think I am going to enjoy being a tree.
Posted by The_jackalope | Fri Feb 23, 2018, 05:48 PM (2 replies)
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