Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “beautiful

Dice Rollin


i’m happy you’re my baby.
you got me feeling lucky–
no snake eyes with these dice,
all i’m rolling is sevens.
who thought a rainy day
could still feel like heaven?
you had me open since day 11
minus the one on the end.
when i looked in your eyes,
i saw the future as more than just friends.
i never thought i’d feel this way again,
never thought i’d not have to pretend
or sway in the wind
of scar-filled memories.
with you i have new leaves
and they’re greener than the greenest green.
i’m higher than when i smoke¬†marijuana trees
this relationship is so obsene,
so serene,
more beautiful than 1,000 sunsets
next to the sea of bliss in which we’re swimming
and this is only the beginning.

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History Unstuck


on November 4, 2008,
the evening of election day
CNN projected that Barack Obama
was the candidate
who had won.

surrounded by cheers, i couldn’t celebrate,
sayin, “these suckas done stole the election once”
so i’ll scream and shed tears when this whole thing is done–
afraid to get my hopes up
because hope takes audacity
and when i look at history,
we were dismissed.

defined as inferior,
spent days familiar
with crops, working fields,
rarely seeing interiors,
unless it was the interior
of slave shacks, you know,
nights with master on slave woman’s back,
birthing babies that lacked
a sense of family
because brokenness was the system,
spreading confusion so that to be black
almost equated with being victim;
pulled from homelands and sold on blocks
was the way to do things,
auctioning off humans like art or antique rings.
we were beaten,
scars forming shapes of trees on backs
with branches not long enough for us to climb
but deep enough for them to find
their way into souls that birthed generations of babies
still feeling the sting of whips.

we were whipped into shape
on the day emancipation came
so slaves became men,
no longer four fifths
just always dismissed,
debt staying constant
no money in pockets,
still poor but at least there was a trap door
that could be closed and opened at night
to see crosses burning at night
who knew shadows could be white?
“Mama, they look like ghosts…”
threatened hearts beat with fright
and sometimes they even cry
but you can’t hear them as well
when vocal cords are constricted by ropes
as unprotesting eyes look forward.

but we had to look back,
thirsty, but certain water fountains would lack
the fluid to match our skin color;
so we had to look back,
to learn what happens to dreams deferred and wonder if they fester;
so we had to look back
to brave souls like soldiers who sat at segregated lunch counters;
so we had to look back,
to hear the voices of prophets like Dr. King,
turning our ears to the past
so that we could hear freedom ring
and echo in our dreams and perhaps become fact.
look back to Malcolm X and his place in history,
even if you don’t agree,
he inspired our reality.

we were beautiful,
growing stronger with each casualty,
pulling strength from the act of burying,
being replenished by hoses with water pressuring
us to stop
but the clock ticked on.
we were beautiful and so was black
and we were vocal, using platforms to speak so many truths
that lies got scared and shook in their boots
and found a way to crack us–
crack broke some backs of us,
money ruled some of the best of us,
and soon our scariest enemies were…us.

but us wasn’t all bad and never was,
because all that there ever was
to identify us was our skin
and that one drop of blood,
like light rain on a window pane
romantic to some, but to others
it’s just rain,
without which the earth couldn’t survive.
showers on our heads keep dreams alive,
but sometimes i stay dry,
feeling that it’s better to suffocate hope
than try to keep her alive
but on that night,
November 4, 2008
tears filled my eyes and the weather changed
and the course of history finally turned the page.
no longer did i have to look back,
thinking of the way we were
but i had to look forward.

i had to look forward
with binoculars on my eyes,
seeing the prospect of a black president
the spirit of yes we can, yes we did
and we’ll do it again;
fueled by inspiration,
truth defying times are in my eyes,
joy fills my heart
and my soul cries out with gratitude
oh the magnitude
of what we used to be
and what we have become.


Girl-Woman-Child


creature with natural mother and father
thinks that she ought a discover
the outside world before she looks in the mirror
and sees she’s no longer
a girl, but a woman with wrinkles
and not enough experience
to call herself such.
she could have advanced farther,
but she takes risks too much,
throws 100 percent into the basket
like she’s strong rum,
fell in love hard but discovered
he was the wrong one.
or maybe she was just dumb
and if that’s the truth to be told,
where’s the dunce hat that won’t fit over her afro?
people ask her what’s wrong
and why her eyes shine,
but really she don’t know,
she’s unaware of what got her here,
as if pain gagged and blindfolded her,
walked her to the car and made her sit in the rear
and took a long drive
to a place far away and unknown
but traveling is needed to survive
and growth keeps a woman beautiful.
“are we there yet?” she asks
when she sees her heart break;
“are we there yet?” she wonders
when risks turn to mistakes.
“are we there yet?” she yells
when her frustration is replaced by hate
and “are we there yet?” she thinks
when she’s cold inside and outside.

young girl-woman-child,
hold your head high
cuz you’re still alive.


New Year’s Resolutions


i resolve
to be a woman.
i will not swoon from being called “beautiful.”
all i need to do is look in the mirror and it shows.
tell me something i don’t know.

i resolve to be a woman,
to let my “yes” be yes
and my “no” be no
and my “no” be “hell no”
if the hearer doesn’t show
thst they hear me
because i’ll be
a woman,
not a girl who acts without thinking
and who speaks without listening.

i resolve to be a woman,
one with estrogen and ovaries,
but i resolve
to grow a pair of balls,
both heavy and hairy
so that i will not choose to sit still
just because the future is scary.

i resolve
to resolve.
i resolve
to be.
i resolve to be a woman,
to be myself,
to be honest,
to be genuine,
to laugh loudly,
to cry fully,
to live with my suffering
because it’s part of being the woman
i resolve to be.


Selling Myself


sometimes i have the urge to sell myself.
not on a dusty shelf
to be picked over during the holidays,
but to be on the market in such a way
that i take the time to explain the reasons why
someone should love me.

i am so far from perfection that it scares me,
but my soul makes up for it.
i can be difficult to deal with at times,
but my smile makes up for it.
occasionally, i’m beyond reckless,
but my heart makes up for it.
i ask a lot,
but my love makes up for it.
there are plenty of other women out there,
but i make up for it,
so much so
that i shouldn’t have to sell my treasure,
yell like an auctioneer for the highest bidder
because truth be told,
there is no dollar amount high enough
to satisfy the desire that lies inside of me.

inside i am rich, exotic,
exquisite, flagrant,
generous, Godly,
crazy,
and last but not least
BEAUTIFUL.
sometimes i let these qualities spill out of my body
and cover the shy nakedness i walk around with,
hoping that someone will see
that i’m no longer streaking
and uncontrollably grab hold of me.
but i’m learning
to hold on to myself,
to use my heart as a gate rather than an open door,
one that can only be unlocked with a special key
that is not for sale,
but destined to one day
find me
and fit perfectly.


Ode to Black Man


black man,
you are the still waters where bystanders pass time by
throwing pebbles on
with the hope that they will skip.
i see you as you ripple every which way
from that which is thrown at you
but still you manage not to break.
you are fluid,
cool, transforming when you need to
but still remaining faithful
to the form that is you…
beautiful.

your strength is like metal chains
that after time build rust
but still are solid enough
to keep the gates of innocent lives shut.
danger shakes when she sees you,
chooses to walk on the other side of the street,
shudders at your power
and that’s what it is about you
that captures me.

black man,
i love you despite the ones who look like you
who hurt me.
i’ve learned to treat them as exceptions
and regard you as excellent.
your smile
has the capacity to stretch my heart that once shrank
and let it cover all of me
so that beating flesh moves from my chest
and onto my sleeves.
you are as pure as guitar strings
strumming acoustic sounds
that speak to my soul.
you are a drug which relieves tension
and melts away all that i try to control.

i won’t go as far as to say
you fill the hole in me,
the one that nags at me late at night
because despite the happiness you might
bring to my life,
you are not God–
but you do look like Him,
like when you laugh,
i see His reflection
and when we embrace,
i catch a glimpse of God’s face.

black man,
you hold the world on your shoulders
with strong arms, solid legs
and a back that has been stabbed
and i see you bleeding.
i wish i had enough rags to stop the blood,
wish i had enough sand to stop your flood,
wish i had enough patience to wait for your love
and enough discipline
to not be sitting on the side of the water again,
throwing pebbles at you
with the hope that they will skip.
i see you as you ripple every which way
from that which is thrown at you
but still you manage not to break.


Beautiful Pain


i never thought i’d reach
a moment where i’d be calling my pain
“beautiful.”
scars and scabs oozing with pus
are nasty.
bruises and sprains tend to fracture reality
but somehow agony
has turned into wisdom.
i wish i could have witnessed the transformation for myself
instead of being numbed by happy pills
but perhaps that’s what i needed at the time.
embracing what has hurt me
is what makes it mine.
i add to the anthology of my life
and see that i have every genre imaginable.
i am tragic, comedic, absurd, realism,
poetry, rap, classical, jazz, impressionism,
collage, renaissance, abstract and awesome
all rolled into one.
i consider certain events that have happened to me
that i wish never did,
drama i’ve been a part of since i was a kid
and see that removing the pain would be like
extracting the salt from food
or the alcohol from wine–
what would be the point?
my life has been flavorful,
sometimes over-seasoned but always
colorful
sometimes horribly clashing
but beautiful
and last but not least,
painful.