Homeland – Atdhe

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My hands ache for the strength of your body,
and how you hold me after the sun sets and the moon rises,
with words as sweet as honey from your forests and mountains,
dripping upon my tongue in order to mend my broken bones and hollow memories.

How many tears you have cried for the dead people sleeping underneath your ground,
for the people tortured and killed,
whose bodies have yet not been found,
but sure are lurking somewhere upon your skin,
turning slowly into dust,
as if they had never existed.
How many tears have you cried
for mothers weeping at the boneless graves of their sons,
and for the daughters, whose definition of father is based on blurry thoughts and memories.
How many tears have you cried
for sons, whose sisters have been reduced to nothing but their bodies,
and for fathers, whose proud daughters have been touched with dirty hands of war crime.

Oh, homeland, await my coming,
for I will plant flowers within your dying heart and my dying memories.
And the wind will put dust upon our bodies,
so we will remember the boneless graves and crying mothers,
we will remember that we shall never forget.

Përmallohem për fuqinë e trupit tënd dhe gjuhën tënde te qetë,
për mënyren si më mbanë në mes të muzgut dhe agimit,
me fjalë të ëmbëla si mjalta që pikon nga malet e tua,
që shëron kujtimet e mija të thyera.

Sa lot ke derdhur për trupat e pajetë nën tokën tënde,
për ata që u torturuan dhe u vranë pa meshirë,
për ata që eshtrat e tyre qëndrojn të pazbuluar
por që sigurisht po shndërrohen në pluhur mbi lëkuren tënde të njomë.
Sa lot ke derdhur për nënat që vuajn mbi varrezat e thata të djemve të tyre,
dhe për vajzat, për të cilat defincioni i babës qëndron në kujtime të zbehta dhe mendime të largëta.
Sa lot ke derdhur për djemt të cilët ua moren motrat si prona të pavlera,
dhe për baballarët që i shikonin vajzat e tyre me shpirt të bardhë, të njollosura nga krimet e luftës.

Oh atdhe, më prit se erdha.
Do i mbjell lulet në zemrën tënde të shkretë dhe në kujtimet e mia të zbehta.
Dhe era do e shpërndajë pluhurin në trupin tonë,
për ti kujtuar varrezat e thata të djemve tanë dhe lotët e nënave tona,
do të na e kujtojë që nuk kemi për ti harruar kurrë.

Jehona Thaqi© Ah, atdhe.

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Cigarette

Today I smoked a cigarette,

the one you used to smoke when your heart was aching,

hoping that it would calm my heart, too;

but the poison filled my lungs and I coughed and grasped for air,

lost within the smoke of my very first cigarette.

I pressed it softly against my small lips,

and in agony of breaking it, I inhaled slowly;

I did not know how to hold it,

just like I never knew how to hold your hands,

maybe I should not have held you too tightly, 

I think today, 

while smoking my very first cigarette.

At the end of it, it does not taste too bad,

the slight burning at the end of my throat feels familiar,

just like your words,

or the lack of them,

for even now, I do not know which was worse,

when you did not talk and left me restless at night,

or when your words burried my tongue and left me speechless.

My very first cigarette comes to an end,

and I watch the sun set underneath the clouds,

sad and lonely I shut my eyes,

how good it would be if you remembered me,

the way you never forget your cigarette.

Jehona Thaqi©

I took this picture from my kitchen window, in sad and lonely hours. Loneliness can be a devastating war inbetween the heart and mind of an individual. 

Notes on leaving

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We were sitting on the back of the taxi,
my hands pressed against yours,
snowflakes drifting to the ground,
as if to make my leaving easier,
as if to say you will come again with spring.

I watched you, your vivid smile
and tired eyes.
I regret not having taken a picture of you that night,
the sadness on your face made you look different, but beautiful.

These familiar roads,
the burning lights at each corner of this young night,
people laughing, loving birds fluttering against the snow.

I felt the urge to scream no.
I wanted to say ‘keep me here, don’t make me leave’.
But as everything important in life stays unsaid, I remained silent.
And the taxi drove us to the place our hands parted;
to the place our hands will meet again
when the snow is gone.
And we will plant seeds of love in the cracks of our skin.

Jehona Thaqi © notes, thoughts and everything my fingers could not leave unwritten

Immigrant’s child

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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]