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?


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.


Goodbye, Hopelessness


it’s hard for me to
get my hopes up
because i’m used to hopes bringing me
down,
dragging me
through dark alleys
that i don’t want to go
and leaving me
without a road-map to get home.
i’m used to the positive being negative
and the negative becoming neutral
so that sadness is not out of the norm,
but considered natural.
i’m trying to reverse the meaning of hope,
redefine it in my dictionary of experiences
so i can fully experience this
concept that takes audacity to achieve.
to believe that good is going to happen
is so much more scary than expecting the worst.
but still i beat the dust out of my traveling pants,
hoping for the delights of life
like romance,
second chances,
happiness advances
and dances in the rain,
life without the feeling of being insane.
hope will change
my outlook and help me get past
this redundant page
in my book and onto the next.

goodbye, hopelessness.


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!


My Mental Plane


*Written June 18, 2008*

i feel like i’m meant to be a voice in the world.
a force like Oprah,
like an effing tornado, u know.
like a halo over the evil world.
like a bright light in the midst of a blackout.
like “Lights out, niggas,”
but time is transforming,
lives are reforming, souls are rejoining,
art is dominant,
present in the lives of many.

pearls from pain, blood in veins,
refrain after verses of hurt.
the stopping of thinking and beginning of living,
bringing truth to the masses,
making families for bastards,
becoming a global pastor
reaching the congregation of the unreachable in the past,
reaching my hand thru the glass of prison visitor rooms,
taking over the lies told in classrooms,
i see it.
and it’s not for the spotlight
but so i could sleep at night,
so i can turn what was wrong before in my life to right.

i wanna effect change,
enter brains and leave feelings of un-same.
enter the lives of many, show them a way,
show them hope, show them love,
show them them–the beauty that they already have.
i want to mirror the beauty of the world.
these dreams seem outlandish but they exist in me
meaning that they are me-landish
not he-landish or she-landish
cuz i am the sole passenger on this mental plane.

i was once afraid to dream.
thinking that the thinking of it would
make it disappear, no longer be real.
i was afraid to fly, only taking trains on land
and limiting my visions.
why is it that we hold the keys to our own prisons?
that we are voluntary convicts to our hopes,
voluntary ropes to tie nooses around our own throats?
why do we sabotage ourselves?
run espionage on ourselves
allowing doubt and warnings from others to dictate how we live?

oh i feel like a speecher or a preacher
but i’m merely speaking what’s on my mind.
oh my mind is like a marathon, like a 5k
cuz it stays runnin like Jackie Joyner or
Marion before the steroid confession,
it’s on top of it’s game.
taking care of its frame,
observing all that goes on around me like security cameras
my mind is surveillance.
my body is surveillance.
my life is surveillance cameras on display
so that customers could see,
stay away from me
or be influenced,
be taught, be brought to reality.
be exposed to truth.
come by and never leave the same
once you join me
on my mental plane.