Mother says there are locked rooms inside all women, kitchen of love, bedroom of grief, bathroom of apathy. Sometimes, the men, they come with keys, and sometimes the men, they come with hammers.
How far have you walked for men who’ve never held your feet in their laps? How often have you bartered with bone, only to sell yourself short? Why do you find the unavailable so alluring? Where did it begin? What went wrong? And who made you feel so worthless? If they wanted you, wouldn’t they have chosen you? All this time, you were begging for love silently, thinking they couldn’t hear you, but they smelt it on you, you must have known that they could taste the desperate on your skin? And what about the others that would do anything for you, why did you make them love you until you could not stand it? How are you both of these women, both flighty and needful? Where did you learn this, to want what does not want you? Where did you learn this, to leave those that want to stay?
This was initially published on Warsan Shire’s blog, “for women who are ‘difficult’ to love”. It is a meditation on the power of feminine individuality, and how it should be celebrated rather than chiseled or “refined.” Pure acceptance of what is of who we are.
you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do, love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.
PS. Don’t change.
My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude.
It’s been said that Warsan Shire is a Kenyan-born, Somali-British poet, and her words speak to the soul and heart of this generation. She is brilliant. The following are quotes taken from her poetry, sometimes using different lines from the same poem. Her most notable works in “Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth” are all over this compilation. The last quote is an entire poem titled, “For Women Who Are Difficult To Love” and is truly a masterpiece. It’s near impossible not to fall for her words of love, pain, beauty, and heartbreak.