Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “change

Could You Spare Some Change?


could you spare some change?
it’s been a while since i’ve been fed,
but i’m still alive and kicking…
at least in my head.

“could you spare some change?”
i whisper quietly as you pass my way,
hoping you’ll notice that
i haven’t been fed today.

could you spare some change?
i know you got other obligations,
but i want to catch you
before my train leaves this station.

could you spare some change?
it might help you to see
that i am not who i appear to be.
i am not a homeless woman standing in the street;
i am the dream that gnaws at you when you can’t fall asleep;
i am the voice in your head that says,
“This job is not for me.”
i am your purpose,
what God intended for you to be;
but it’ll be hard for us to meet
if you can’t afford me.

so i ask again,
could you spare some change?

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Newborn Baby Tears for My Old Self


sometimes i still cry for the old me
and i feel guilty cuz
the new me is
happy.

but i miss the old me’s extremes–
blind faith and concrete
black and white ideals
until evil jet black pushed into petrified pink
surprisingly, painfully.

suffering isn’t ideal.
neither are tears and grief
for a version of myself
mummified by cries that came so often
that when tears ran out,
a new woman appeared:

tougher skin,
sharper words,
deeper melancholy buried in
soft soil of smiles
and brutal honesty.
she is beauty all while
crying internally,
confused at her existence:
a newborn baby
with a 25-year-old body.


Life as Hair


i like the freedom that comes from changing my hair.
i went from afro
to short relaxed
to boy cut
in a span of three months
and wish that i had enough bravery
to change things outside of me
that had more impact
than outgrowth from my skin.

what if i could cut off unhappy situations
and let stress dye
black then part orange
then whatever color my next whim desires?
what if i put chemicals on my sadness
until they turned straight and burned like fire?

what if my life was hair?
would i take care of it
or spray products on it for a quick fix?
this oil sheen is actually
the job i meant to leave a year ago
and this pomade is the pay raise i was expecting
that never came.
this shea butter is the love that comes from my mother
and this comb is the tough pulling feeling
that comes from wanting to leave home.
and when i run my fingers through it,
there is love.
i relish at what grows out of me naturally,
choosing to be content in whatever state
or texture
i choose or am forced for it
to be.


Ambulatory Announcement


one day i’m gonna walk away from it all.
leave squeaky chair spinning in cubicle
and pictures on the wall
and expectations of success
and bill collector calls
and dreams that are too far to reach
and grab them as if all
that mattered
was honoring me.

i’m gonna walk away,
maybe even run,
not caring if i break the heels on my black leather pumps
or get runs in itchy stockings that were never met to fit me.
i won’t answer phones politely,
won’t smile without meaning,
will cry when i feel like it
and speak the truth as if
life still depended on it.

i’m not happy.

i feel like walking,
jogging, or maybe even driving
til i run out of gas
and can no longer recognize the surroundings
outside of the glass
that separates me from reality.
one day i’m gonna walk instead of sit,
act instead of talk,
speak instead of staying quiet,
scream instead of staying silent,
stop living so publicly and
respect myself enough to be private.

tiptoes are all they see now
but in my soul
i am walking,
even climbing,
drowning but surviving,
heart faint but still thriving
and growing despite being
the uprooted plant that i am.

i don’t want to wait for “one day”
so maybe i’ll just
put one foot in front of the other today
and see what happens.
movement is innate
and i’m spiraling back to my own nature
and the essence of my humanity
beyond infancy,
crawling, crying, standing,
losing balance and falling
but taking that final leap
and walking.


Heardened Hearts Haiku


hardened hearts do change.
they soften with the hope that
they can love again.


December Showers


even though it’s cold outside,
i crave spring-time love.
not out of necessity,
but the pure, simple complexity:
energy rushing through the beats in my chest
and spreading to an extra sway in my hips
and curve in my smile
and spark in my eye.
even though my skin is now dry,
i feel like sticky pre-summer nights that never end,
where the sky stays the same foggy blue for hours
and midnight conversations buzz
and enlighten in my ears
like fireflies.

i wish it could be spring all year…
the beginning of flings and i don’t even care
if they disappear by Labor Day.
but i guess if it weren’t for barren winters
and handsome smiles without words to follow
and today communication that results in
uninterested tomorrows,
i wouldn’t care about the weather.

i want to be seasoned with rain that’s fun to run through
and kisses of potential and hands held for first times
and dances without music.
i’m counting down months until my next season change
and hoping it comes sooner
than when the weather man claims
cuz it might be winter outside of my window
but it can still be warm in my heart.
wind can chill me in climates where i have to wear my coat
but sunshine can fill my throat
and sing the most beautiful songs
(even if they are off-key).

i feel like a spring-time love,
not out of necessity but pure luxury,
boredom, entitlement, fulfillment
and simplicity.
energy rush through me
and change this weather like fall leaves
and leave me satisfied
as summer tip-toes with holes in her socks while
temperatures are increasing
so that like a bear hibernating,
i would have stocked up on enough love
to carry me over to days when the sun
stays up late because even she can’t resist the temptation
of the rush that comes
from spring.


Walking on Clouds


i’m walking on clouds
and negative people on the ground
try to pull me down.
but my soles are of a different kind
so i step past cumulonimbus grass
that feels soft when i lay on my back
and walk back and forth on the tree stumps
of heads of those who are trying so hard
to rain on my parade.
i suppose that they
are not aware that i live
in the uppermost part of the sky,
so precipitation is only a serenade
that leads me to dance a dance of pride
that seeps out of my pores, spilling outside
on my dark skin as affirmation
that something deeper will begin.
a height of happiness
that i thought i’d need an airplane to see
is now the route right in front of me
and i am climbing,
excelling past those who want to stay down low
and make accusations that have no clout
and sit there and pout
as the smiling world changes around them.
be careful because the earth is spinning
and if you don’t move your feet,
you will fall off, never to be seen.
look in the mirror then look around you.
see that times are changing and so should you.
remove the crazy glue from off the bottom of your shoes
and step toward something new.