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‘and you tried to change didn’t you? closed your mouth more. tried to be softer.’ – warsan shire

A little sad warsan shire’s archive of brilliant word play in the form of poetry no longer exists. ‘Twas a real treat.

One night I spent two plus hours reading those poetic stories. I cried. I wiped my face. In my head I thought, ‘Me too, warsan. Me too.’ Her ability to capture the sadness of life that so many of us are too afraid to give words to, let alone write about them publicly, was something magical. When people say black girls are magic they are referring to warsan shire.

My obsession with her, her word, her vulnerability started three years ago. ‘For women who are difficult to love’ did me in. How could this 22-year-old (at the time) be so wise. Be so right. How could she masterfully turn such emotional truths into such beautifully poetic words. I still don’t know.

Years after first reading ‘For women’ I sent it to a lover. He in turn surprised me with her book. I’ll always cherish it.

I pitched her story as a profile piece to a music magazine. The pitch was accepted but the story fell through. Tight deadline, our schedules didn’t align.

I still stalk her timeline for gems like this:

And this.

“How far have you walked for men who’ve never held your feet in their lap?” That’s a word right there.

And this doesn’t begin to capture her brilliance.

For anyone who needs it.

‘For women who are difficult to love’

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
forget 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
prettier
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.

  • Adrianne

    wow! THAT piece is sick!