Home II (collective poem)

Written and performed by: Pieter Odendaal (South Africa), Antosh Wojcik (UK), and Sara Sibai (Lebanon)

As part of the International Talking Doorsteps project, Roundhouse, UK.

==== Lyrics ===

S: Home is 5am calls to prayer

It’s a shut up dubstep

P: It’s coffee and a cigarette to start my day,

A: grilled cheese, mum-style.

S: Sunday morning mana’eesh,

P: koeksister and milktart,

A: homemade strawberry milkshakes before bed.

S: It’s occasional bloodstained sheets,

P: the spine of a familiar book pushed into the VCR

A: playing coke-can badminton while the neighbor’s weed whacking,

S: and jumping straight through the middle of a trampoline

…dad in nothing but pants.

S: Home is where mum has long conversations on the phone every Saturday morning repeating the same stories to all the women in the family.

P: It’s us staying awake throughout the night, monopoly, movie marathon, the rising sun on our faces.

S: It’s when stepdad introduces me as his daughter,

P: It’s my father crying at my first piano recital at sixteen; it’s the first time he clearly held love in his eyes.

Home is in the eyes.

S: Home is in the words of our mothers. My mum says I’m just like my father…

A: my mum tells me the world doesn’t need any more people like my father

S: …to which there is always door slamming slamming and windows shattering.

A: I throw the drum kit down the staircase…

P: it was the best solo you ever did.

S: My sister and I used to study by candlelight, competing over who could run their fingers through the fire the slowest.

P+A: How can you tattoo a floor with hair straighteners?

S: My sister holds her breath so I can cry it out for the both of us.

A: My brother loses his pelvis after laughing at me pelting the door with plastic meatballs.

P: It’s my sister asking if I’d to join her for Yoga X…

A: to which I almost always respond: no thanks!

P: And the one time I say yes, she smiles and says,

A: actually, I’ve moved on to a more advanced workout, would you still like to join?

S: …to which I almost always respond: no thanks!

P: My brother and I are like oil and water.

A: I sleep in half a bunk bed I shared with my brother. He’s no longer below me,

running his feet in the slats, playing the sound a roller coaster makes;

his half is in his room, accumulating sweat and lovers.

P: Home is digging into what the mattress teaches of love,

it’s reading poems written with fingers on each others’ backs

where every creased line and every freckle is studied.

A: Spaghetti legs wrapped together in silence, fingers locked half asleep and toes meeting each other for the first time.

S: It’s reversing time so we could keep our hands weaved for longer, our hair porcupines; it’s watching the sky move through our bodies.

P: We make ropes from the clothes we’ve taken off each other,

A: they’re short…

P: …but long enough to climb out of the world for a while.

S: It sits in your throat like a lump

This is where I’ve learnt forgiveness…

P: …it took you seven years

S: and when I finally mustered the courage to say I forgive you…

A: …or I’m sorry…

S: there was no response.

P: Maybe that is forgiveness?

A: Maybe it’s realizing you carry your past.

P+A: You have to let go.

P: Home is a web of umbilical chords connecting us to the earth, stretching across landscapes like arteries on an old man’s arm,

S: it’s being in tune with the wind, with the pattern of falling leaves

It is where rage is lighting in the chest and sea sirens screaming at walls.

A: It’s a thousand pigeons turning their wings in unison, a thousand languages meeting half way between,

P: our cells ceaseless explosions of mitochondria, we carry the ferocity of the sun

our porous bones

A: our spongy flesh

S: our watertight skins

P: that border between us

S+A: and the rest.

Unision: Home is living on the border between.

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