my mother harbors my countries music in her lungs
these songs the only things she got in the divorce
there is a tv show we used to watch when we lived in egypt
where a group of sudanese youth sing old sudani love songs
we don’t get the channel here in the u.s.
tonight, mother finds every episode on youtube
after a quiet dinner of leftovers at the kitchen counter because
it is just us two
my brother is out being 18 and popular
my mother and I sit together in the half light
and eat mango with our hands
and listen to (couldn’t catch the names) sing fil tayf
and I never hear love songs like this in english
songs that are as much about a country as they are about a woman
songs where woman is country
before we grew bitter and learned not to make a world out of a person
learned not to make a world out of a country
because even your mothers country can betray you
my mother’s country broke her heart and I want to cry
picturing her eating mango alone in the dark,
singing to herself
my brother and I a world away with our fast english
and our hip hop and our late nights
we are not from a world where love songs are like this
we are not romantic
we are not considerate, we forget to call
we do not bother to phone the cable people to ask for the channel with my mother’s favorite show
we do not bother to teach her how to book mark videos on youtube
how to download all the old love songs on itunes
how to buy mango already sliced,
packaged in neat plastic tubs
page two/number one
page ten/ number two
Lessons to carry from Safia Elhillo’s book.
You are lovely and really kind- hello to you too! :)
Safia Elhillo, portrait (via loveouthome)
yoo just let me know i would loveeee to go back!
hopefully soon, i loved it there! if any venues/schools/organizations are interested i can be reached for booking at email@example.com
also i might just go up to hang out when the weather gets better :)
i like cacti :)
why am i just seeing this ahaha you’re awesome
i actually don’t know the answer to this, haha. at the moment i’m up to my neck in unfinished projects so it wouldn’t be the right time, but i’ll also never say never :) thanks lovely!
"the excuse" on Verses and Flow! (in my favorite pants)
from the latest issue of AfroElle magazine! photo by Caits Meissner for Jellyfish Treasury, poem originally published in As/Us journal :)
Featured Artist: Safia Elhillo, poet
Featured Work: “what i learned in the fire”
Our Art Issue is packed with features on Rwanda change makers, poets you should know, an interview with vintage queen Linda Ruvarashe owner of Seventh Row store, plus interviews with folk singer Jennah Bell, illustrator Tracy Viverretta, Oshin, Venicia Guinot and talking books with Mbali Sikakana.
Featuring Alysia Harris, Safia Elhillo and Warsan Shire, among others.