How To Build A Safehouse

In this space they tell us is home 



Are often made to feel like we need our straight-jackets 

Urged not to squirm,

Not to scream, 

With hushed voice  

And warm mouth

And soft caress 

seduced into stillness 

And that for which we have no language we half-swallow

Let it clog our throats 

And choke

Never to taste   



often die from suffocation 

Or from thought-poisoning  

Let our gardens spoil

And rot 

And fester 


Instead of rooting out the neediest bits of us

And maybe adding water

we let our vines crumble into dust 

our fruit become mulch

the paths fade into ruin 



Often crush our own eardrums with hammers 

make ourselves deaf to 

The screamers in our head 

pretend the hum of discontent is lyric-less song


instead of listen  


if freedom 

is opening our locked rooms 


have been eyes peering out the key-hole 

if freedom 

is bird-feather wings sailing away from the windowsill   


have been thin rope bound and caged 


we have been claustrophobic closet-dweller 

we have been nyctophobic without power 

acrophobic and cliff-side 

aquaphobic and drowning 


We’ve been autophobic for so long we are happy to cut offany piece of ourselves at the mere request of our captors  


So for us 

This is not a luxury


This is moving day 


We pour 

our sunrise hope

our sunset longing 

our twilight fatigue 

our full moon wonder

our new moon empty  

and stir  

Glaze our hands with the things for which we have no name

And finger-paint our dwelling real  


smudge pit of stomach coated phalanges into something almostwhole  

And where there are gaps 

We fill them with stories of things we were told were bestleft unspoken 


“Because within structures defined by profit 

By linear power,

By institutional dehumanization,

Our feelings were not mean to survive 

Our feelings were meant to kneel 

As we were meant to kneel 

But we have survived 

As poets” 


And for us 

This is wide-stance defiance 

For us 

This is erect spine dare 

For us 

this is school-yard skip 

military march 

riot run

liberation leap

freedom fight 

freedom song 

freedom poem  

for us

this is not a luxury 


but a chance at finding home.

This poem is about: 
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741