Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “dark

Crabs in a Barrel


lack of love for one another
makes dark skin
break.

wins become
wounds.
wins dig up
wounds.
words cut skin and wait for
blood.

dark skin cutters have words for
razors;
they feel pleasure in
pain
as they watch what makes us all the same
seep out
and scab over
and scar.

and only then do they applaud.

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Never-Ending Poem


if i could spit a never-ending poem,
i would speak of black womanhood–
of a little girl whose dark-skinned father
looked at his dark-skinned seed and told her
that there’s a secret to erasing their skin:
“Here, wear this cream and the blackness will go away.
Boys will like you more and jobs will open doors
and people will let you in with smiles.”
i would speak of that little girl-child,
how she listened to her father
and observed her light-skinned, beautiful mother
and rubbed whiteness on her skin,
how lightness did not come,
but instead painful bumps and itchy rash
and tears in the mirror and her dad who said,
“Maybe that one was too strong. I will get you a gentler one.”
the girl who shook her head “No”
and accepted her darker fate…
kind of.

i would speak of that girl
who grew up with big titty-denial,
of the time her best friend pulled her to the side,
looked her in the eye
and told her “Your bra is too small.”
the girl who prayed and prayed for pubic hairs to grow,
who searched her mom’s medicinal herb books
for a recipe to start menses.
“Maybe if I drink a tea or take a vitamin,
blood will come and I’ll be a woman.”
blood came in its time
and so did boys
who ignored her face and got lost in her breasts.
as years went on,
they got lost in her booty, her hips.
more years went on
and they got lost in her smile, her eyes, her skin.
more years went on
and they got lost in her hair.
more years went on and they got lost in her “no”
that was too quiet.

i would speak of her insecurities
that helped men mold her like clay
into a woman who appeared strong with a mean face,
but crumbled like wet sand castles upon touch;
a woman who craved touch so much
that it hurt her
so she exchanged touch for God,
then back for touch,
then back for God,
then back for touch,
then traded it back for God,
and then back for touch,
and then back for more touch,
and then back for touch,
and then who was God?
there was only touch.
and then touch got too much
and then what was God?
and then touch fucked her up
and then where was God?
i mean “Who is God?”
i mean “What is God?”
i mean…”There is God!”
“Here is God!”
“Wait…where is God?”
i would speak of her questions
that rolled on and on,
her definitions that changed,
and how she got different,
but stayed the same.

if i could spit a never-ending poem,
i would speak of black womanhood,
of my own stories,
those of my sisters
and all the things we’ve seen,
felt, loved, cried over, laughed about,
screamed about,
of moments where death wasn’t near enough,
and then those times where love filled us up
but i’m afraid
time just isn’t enough,
our stories are too much,
my voice would dry up.


Shadows


when i was a little girl,
i was not afraid of the dark,
but of shadows.
cluttered closet in Mama’s room
influenced the curious mind of a girl
too soon scared of the unknown.

i saw witches,
evil ones with big noses
and if i closed my eyes for long enough,
i could kind of hear them cackling.
maybe they concocted brews
and poured them into my orifices
once my restless eyes were rescued by sleep.

that is the only reason i can think of
as to why twenty years later,
shadows in my cluttered bedroom
make me turn on night lights.
shadows turn into figures in my overactive sight
and figures transform into men
lurking on the corners of my memory.
only this night,
i win.
i will sleep.


Broken Condom


cold weather is like a broken condom:
the warmth of the sun was so fun and satisfying
and then i look down and find a gaping hole
where unexpected seeds spread when
i was supposed to be protected.
i am so disconnected when
it’s pitch black outside by early evening
and everyone talks about the holiday season
and as i shiver, i get tired of counting
the reasons that i hate
this time of year–
spread the holiday cheer.