Mother – Nënë

Mother,

dear mother,

I have intended to write about you more than once,

but I did not know where to start

or where to finish,

for there are no words to describe the magic within your soul,

mother.

You held me close

to the body which ached and shivered,

but nothing felt like home unless it was within your arms; 

it was your love that saved me from pain,

mother,

your hands that healed the scars underneath my skin.

I am sorry mother,

for I have drowned your cheeks with tears too many times,

your soft, porcelain skin and sad eyes;

a doll, like within Kadare’s novel,

utterly beautiful, yet somehow unreal.

Mother,

I could write page after page,

but I have yet not found the right metaphor which comes close to your soul,

so I will hold you, tonight;

dear mother,

and I will tell you

that you are the roots of my happiness;

no matter how far I will go,

you are within my very soul.

***

Nënë,

e dashura nënë,

sa shpesh deshta të shkruaj për ty,

por nuk dija nga ku të  filloj 

ose ku të mbaroj,

sepse nuk ka fjalë të mjaftueshme për ta spjeguar magjinë brenda shpirtit tënd,

nënë.

Më ke mbajtur afer trupit

i cili ishte i permbushur me dhimbje 

por askund nuk u ndjeva në shtëpi, pos në krahet e tua;

ishte dashurija jote e cila me shpëtoj nga dhimbja,

nënë,

duart e tua i sheruan plaget nën lekuren time.

Më fal, nënë,

qe i permbusha faqet e tua me lot;

atë ftyren tënde te butë, lëkurën tënde të bardhë, sytë e tu të merzitur;

kukull, si e pershkruante Kadareja në librin e ti,

një bukuri jashtëtoksore.

Nënë,

mundem të shkruaj pafundsisht për ty,

por ende nuk e kam gjetur metaforën e duhur për ta përshkruar shpirtin tënd;

sonte do të mbaj pran,

e dashura nënë,

dhe do të tregoj

që ti je rrënja e lumturisë sime,

dhe nese jam larg teje,

ti gjëndesh brënda shpirtit tim.

Jehona Thaqi©

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Privileged tears

The weather has been good, lately,
you say,
while the shy sun enters our home,
frankly, the weather has been good,
but so have we, for the last few years,
and I say years,
for I do not remember the last tear you have shed.

You leave for work,
kissing me goodbye, like within the movies, swiftly, yet lovely,
and I watch you leave as the sun rises,
until you disappear within the bright light of this morning.

The weather has been good, lately,
I think,
while washing the dishes,
and so have we, for the last few years,
yes, years,
for I do not remember the last time you cried.

Tears fall down the sink,
I like to call them my privileged tears;
the weather has been good, lately,
and there is nothing to worry about,
we have been good, too,
for you have not cried in years,
and I have neither,
only on mornings that shone too brightly
against the façade of our home.

Jehona Thaqi©

This is no love poem

This is no love poem;
I wrote this
to remind myself that this heart of mine
has not been aching since forever,
to remind myself that your leaving
has not taken love along its side.

How often you have told me
that I was too young to love as much as I pretended
and how long I tried to convince you
that the older I got, the less I could remember the taste of sweetness upon your lips,
the less I remembered the fear of losing
and the fear of forever.

You see; today I woke up
drenched in dreams of things that never were mine;
hollow heart and no thoughts at all,
as if all we had lived through had been merely dreams.

Some people abuse drugs,
I abused love;
so much so that I became addicted to your recognition,
I craved your arms;
first only at night,
then every second of my days.

If only I had been weak enough to give up,
maybe I’d be lying next to other rotting bodies;
to addicts of all-kinds,
until the sickness of love had reduced my bones to dust.

This is no love poem,
but I wish it was.

Jehona Thaqi© (selfportrait)

A letter to my unborn child

There is life growing 
within the spaces of my body I once despised;
a new heart beating against the insecurities of my own,
fullfilling me with strength
I did not know existed.

Dear child,
you are still as small as a rose petal,
yet for your mother you are greater than anything this world contains;
for you have filled my body with life
and you are nourishing my spirit with seeds of love.

Dear child;
I keep pressing my hands against my stomach,
softly – 
wishing you were already within my hands,
but good things take time;
so I will wait patiently until the day we meet
and I will kiss your cheeks and small hands
until your cries soften and you fall asleep.

I wish my words were enough to express the love I feel towards you,
dearest child,
but my tongue is unable to speak what my heart has felt
since the day I knew you existed.

Within my twenty years upon this world
I have never felt stronger
until you became my very source of happiness.

Jehona Thaqi© all rights reserved

Only a woman

You thought I was only a woman,

but you forgot the strength

that flows through my veins and rushes throughout my body,

with bones of steel and healing skin,

for scars tend to grow stronger each time you cut

through women like me;

merely women –

whose strength you tought you had buried 

with breaking their souls.

You thought I was only a woman,

but you forgot whose hands have raised you

and whose love has nourished the seeds of the man you are today;

do you remember who held you

when your soul ached and your voice shivered,

she, too, is a woman,

who you considered less

the more she gave to you.

You thought I was only a woman,

but you forgot that I am a raging sea,

calm – just before the storm arrives;

but powerful and unapologetic when it comes to being

only

a woman.

Jehona Thaqi© [my drawing of the albanian singer Era Istrefi; https://www.instagram.com/strefie/ ]

Patience

It was a late night in a quiet city,
the winter-breeze dancing around the façade of our house

which was enlightened by the mellow moon-shine

and covered in freshly fallen snow.

I waited;

the candle-light flickered upon the silverware and wine glasses,

until the candles burned out;

and the light diminished upon a table full of things you loved to eat.

I waited;

sitting on the couch you had bought for us,

wearing the dress you loved,

all black upon my pale skin;

my eyes fixed on the clock,

my ears listening to the silence that seemed so violent within this small house,

my hands pressed upon my thighs,

agressively; in order to stay awake.

I waited;

you said you would be there,

as you did so often;

and when you could not make it,

you laughed, charmingly;

sometimes we make mistakes

you would say and kiss me on my forehead

and I would laugh, too;

the table still arranged,

it is alright, love.

I waited; 

but you did not come

until the first sun-rays shone through the curtains,

you laughed, and kissed me on my forehead,

the dress still upon my pale skin,

I laughed, too,

and left.

I had waited

too long.

Jehona Thaqi© (my drawing of Nera Z., you can follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nera.z/ )

Dearest friend

image

This is for my dearest friend,
who waited for me in the darkest hours,
on rainy and cold days,
offering cussions to cry on, and enough coffee to stay awake all night;
the friend who said I had no reason to wipe away my tears,
as they were the war paint everyone needed to see.

The friend who first offered me chocolate boxes,
then, when my stomach hurt, pills against pain.
It was a friend who did not like to see me suffer,
I thought, 

while crawling into her arms, clutching my hands tight to her soft skin.

We only met behind closed doors,
for there I could tell her the most intimate and broken secrets,
while she kept putting paint upon my face;
saying I was a warrior;
saying I looked beautiful with stripes covering my body.

You see, she was a jealous friend,
all of me belonged to her,
and like a puppet I danced to her rhythm,
stayed awake all night, until my sight became blurry, and my mind too heavy to understand.
I loved her for how she held me, when others were asleep;
and I hated her for how she possessed me each night.

I will tell you her name, it starts with an I
and ends with solitude.

Jehona Thaqi© for those who fight against their own demons, please keep fighting. And whenever the pain gets unbearable please reach out your hands and ask for help. 

Immigrant’s child

image

I once asked my mother
why people called me foreign,
why my accent was different from theirs,
why my tongue did not sleep quiet upon this language.
I asked her
why they were surprised that I did well in school,
why they always asked for the meaning of my name,
why it did not echo through their minds
that I was the same as them.
I was human.
I was a child.

“Jehonë”, she said,
caressing my golden-brown hair with the
softness only her hands knew,
“This is not our home.”
I did not understand.

How could it not be our home,
whilst I slept there,
and grew there,
and was forced to understand there.
How could it not be our home,
when I ate the same things as them,
watched movies just like them,
looked just like them.
How could it not be our home,
when my teacher had taught me that we were all offsprings of Adam and Eve.

I asked my mother where home was
and she cried, oh, how she cried.
The tears drowned her soft cheeks,
she looked different,
but lovely as always.

“Jehonë”, she said,
“home is far from here, in a hidden place, small but wonderful, rich in humanity. They even speak our language, there.”

“Pse nuk shkojmë në shtëpi, Nënë?”, I asked,
wondering what home meant.

You see, I was torn between a foreign land called home, and a home that called me foreign.
I never understood where I belonged.
And even today, I still wonder
where home is.

Jehona Thaqi © Why don’t we go home, mother? [Jehonë means echo in Albanian]

Dear II

I apologize for the scars upon your skin;
the bruises on your legs make you look clumsy,

I wonder how hard you had to hit

for them to look like small galaxies trying to hide the pain.

I feel bad for your small hands and bleeding knuckles,

but sometimes I can hear the walls cry and shake in fear,

and when your fists meet the concrete

this home weeps for hours.

I wonder how long you will hide your wrists;

for the scars underneath your shirt have led me to your heart,

they were the maps to your soul;

but you are ashamed of the wars you have lost

and you forget that there were victories, too.

I cry when I see you lay still upon the ground,

lifeless and silent;

I wish I could talk to you and say that you are enough,

but I have used up my words for the wrong people;

I wish I could tell you that I love you and all of your scars

but how do I say it, if I have lost my tongue.

Dear self,

I apologize for the scars upon your body;

but whatever you do,

keep breathing

and I’ll breathe with you.

Jehona Thaqi©