Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “brain

Confusing Passion


i hunger for something to be passionate about
aside from love.
love is so
transient,
so full of
longing.
half of the word, “love”
is made of vowels
and the opening of my mouth to say the
“o”
gets me every time.

how can i spend time being passionate about
something so difficult to define,
so misused and abused and confusing
to the eye?
and the ear?
and the heart?

but passion lies in the heart.
i wish passion would wake up and stretch its limbs
to my brain, become
tangible
for once and manifest itself in my days.
passion doesn’t pay bills
and neither does love.

it just adds more debts.
i owe words
and being present
and truly listening
and affection
and kisses
and staying up late when i’m tired
and compromise
and future-building
and seriousness
and effort.

i gain so much,
but i owe so much of myself.
and i’m just getting to know myself.

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Under the Influence


troubles eased
when the world becomes a dense fog
and my windows feel steam
as my brain gets unclogged
and my heart is free
as i hear it beat over all
that is around me.
i am thirsty and sleepy and needy
but satisfied.
if only i
could live like this all the time.
if i could move as smooth
as this state makes me feel;
if i could peel off the layers of boring
and flick the switch on exciting,
a bright bulb that doesn’t end up burning
my joy or my eyes.
it just illuminates the fact that i am alive
or dead,
or maybe both
(whatever that feels like).


Map of a Migraine


migraines
are a manifestation of the heart exploding.
my dreams have nowhere to go
and they grow
larger
as my capacity to achieve them feels
smaller.
i wish i was a little bit taller
so i could reach up and grab them
as they bounce up and down,
starting at the ground from which they grow.
they travel through my toes
and up my calves which walk paths
in the opposite direction.
they stop in my hips and feel cold
from lack of affection.
they strive to reach my heart,
which beats for them
but these tunes or not in tune–
my dreams say “i’m ready now!”
and my heart says “too soon.”
so up they go,
trying to enter my brain
as my consciousness of how far away i am
drives me insane.
my soul can’t take
the screeching halt of my dreams’ brakes
so it retaliates
by giving me an extreme headache.
migraines are revenge
for every time i ignore what’s within.
my dreams yell in my head
to remind me that they are not dead.
and as the pain dissipates,
i get another chance
to achieve them again.


Survival


every day i walk miles and miles.
my legs have seen more hills
and my feet have stubbed more toes on sidewalks
than i can recount. if i had to count,
estimate how many miles i ambulate,
i’d have to confess that most of my traveling time
is spent inside of my mind.
i may sit in a cubicle from monday thru friday
but my imagination flies through van gogh’s starry nights
and lands on romare bearden’s collages.
it stretches and contorts like salvador dali’s objects
and tries to remain sleek like the art deco movement
but it’s too rough around the edges to be modern,
too complex to be described by a simple period in time.
this mind is stronger than my muscular calves, which have ached
from the toll of rushing, tried to look too cool for running,
but settling on moving briskly, avoiding
those who choose to waste their days moving at a slow pace,
burning from the fear of always running late.
i look at these thick legs, scars and all
which each have stories of their own
and contemplate how much stronger
my brain must be.
yes, it is bruised by memories
but those same sources of pain have caused it
to become capable of dealing with any and everything,
expansive enough to see the past, present,
and future
and worldly enough to whisk itself away
on new journeys that arise and never cease to surprise
as the feet on my body and on the sidewalks of my mind
travel for miles in order to survive
each hectic day.


This is Your Brain


i get upset as my brain cells fry
and before the cooking of my
intelligence is finished,
my consciousness has mysteriously diminished.
with each expletive, reference to the club, clothes and sex
i exchange the logical portion of my identity
for an apathetic, watered-down version of me.
foolishness is hidden in tight beats
craftily slipping each listener a mickey,
one that has adverse effects seen in the bobbing of their heads
and the memorization of lyrics of the dead
that they had no intention of mummifying in their minds
but this is a narcotic of a different kind,
providing a high that causes its users to sing along
to choruses that they once swore were dumb.
i am going through withdrawal.
music as an art form is so powerful
and yet, it’s being conquered and corrupted violently.
i want music that will romance me,
take me on trips to other lands, even if only for 4 minutes,
transport me on journeys to rivers of reminiscence;
tunes that welcome my memory to linger on positive times,
composition that will be vitamins to my mind,
enabling my growth and health,
not music that numbs my true self.
i no longer want to be lost in lyrics of defilement,
to be the main character on a public service announcement
that has back-to-back reruns that just won’t stop
saying: “This is your brain…”
and when the radio beat drops,
“This is your brain on hip-hop.”


Break Free!


some scholars wrote long ago
that there’s no such thing as an original thought.
i hate to agree with this sentiment
but as i look around me i discover
identical clones lying constantly by denying resemblance to one another.
i see black people
with hair in braids, weaves, and locks,
i see a multitude of the generation defined by hip-hop,
blindly bobbing their heads to BS such as “Lollipop”
and refusing to get any information
from any source other than
a rapper’s sound bite, the radio, or Fox.
i feel funny pointing fingers to tell the truth,
sitting here claiming that there’s been destruction of our youth
because i too have been infiltrated,
spoon-fed lies to control my militant mind turning to mush,
signing away my life to join the army of the uninformed,
claiming to be original but at the same time feeling torn cuz
even my natural hair ain’t original if that’s how i was born cuz
i am by no means the first to claim to be conscious
while being an active consumer of the same objects
that have been used to oppress
not just blacks, but all people.

searching for answers i run toward the nearest steeple,
fall to my knees praying to God to provide
and He whispers in my ear and commands me to realize
that both my positive and negative actions are first birthed in my own mind
and if i really want change, it’s up to me to decide
what i accept.
today i accept
originality
because regardless of what scholars say, there has to be,
there should be,
at least i hope there could be
a way to make change,
rub the chicken grease and sunflower seeds off of my tainted brain,
eliminate the tick tock of my CP time watch
and turn down the bass so my stereo system in the trunk stops
drowning out my knowledge,
numbing my creativity,
and allowing the media to define what i am to be,
what i should be,
or at least what i could be.

today is the day that i break free!