Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “dream

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?


Unsettled (for Jarronn)


there is something unsettling
about young life lost in its prime
like all sugar sinking to bottom of lemonade glass
or shredded gritty leaves escaping tea bags,
sneaking on tongue;
like a bitter horse pill too hard to swallow on first attempt,
resulting in lingering taste
water won’t wash away.

looking at an older face of the dead,
although deeply sad,
still sometimes provides the comfort of knowing
that they at least had the chance to live a full life:
to experience highs and lows,
to birth children and watch them grow,
to fail and still have years to bounce back,
have a chance to fail again,
suffer consequence, repent
and change for better.

but looking at a picture of a young face–
an image captured shortly before spirit slipped away
is like having a dream of losing all one’ s teeth
and waking up to discover
that they’re actually cracked and gone;
a reminder that one day we’ll all be gone,
that no one’s time on this earth is too long
and that for many,
it’s too short,
lost at an age
too young.


Visions of Grandeur


if i had boots that were big enough,
i would put them on,
walk through bright pink paint
and stomp on the earth
to leave my footprints.

i’d want the world to remember me
and maybe i’m obnoxious
for wanting to stain it with my favorite color,
but i don’t want to just be
another broke down wannabe artist
too afraid to start shit
and content with mediocrity.
i want to be a visionary
pushing up against obstacles
and daring opposition to conquer me;
i want to be too big for my britches,
for my heart to be so huge that
i bust out of the constraints of stitches;
i want people to forget my real name
and call me “The Dreamer”
with the middle name “Doer”
and the last name “Believer,”
one who used to be an underachiever
til she looked in the mirror
and saw who she really was.

i lost who i really was,
hypnotizing myself to be content with 9-5 consistency
of knowing how much my checks will be.
depending on direct deposit every two weeks
never matches the sensation of expressing the true me
through this art that consumes me.

without art,
who is me?
just a big heart,
tongue stuck in dry mouth,
words afraid to come out,
soul waiting to talk,
and feet too small to even walk.


Midnight Eyes


midnight eyes with dew on lashes
wish for love in the daylight–
a reason to burst with emotion
other than anger or tantrum.
if love were a tantrum,
how would it express its youth?
would it stomp hearts and scream obscenities such as
“Don’t leave me!” or “I need you?”
or would it just stream down tears of joy
and sit in a corner of the world known by most
but frowned upon
once left?

midnight eyes dream of stories in books
transformed into reality
so that days become pages
turned slowly and dog-eared for later reference,
an experience that good.
“That’s good,”
midnight eyes whisper when viewing
movies with method actors using realism
to display fantasy only realized in screens.

midnight eyes want to become alive,
want fiction to turn real–
not “keep it real” real,
but “blood pouring out of feet when glass is stepped on” real;
undeniable like the hour when yawns take over energy
and eyes get droopy until morning.

midnight eyes do not want to wake
until full moons shine too bright
and stars sink into sight lines without effort.
until then, midnight eyes stay closed
until sunrise.


Retrospect for God


i think in life,
some people are just meant to go through things.
and for whatever reason,
one of those people is me.

even though he allows me to get beat,
i know he loves me.
even though my heart breaks,
only to be put together again
so it can fall apart in new ways,
i know he will always be there
with a roll of duct tape.
although he sees me cry
and is sometimes the source of tears,
i know that i am my happiest with him
and there is no one else i would rather fear.

abusive lover of my soul,
if only they could see the bruises i hide
behind make-up and made-up moods and affectations.
if only they knew how i face more mornings than i can mention
with hesitation, afraid
to even open my eyes to see the reality before me,
thinking that some days would be better spent sleeping,
dreaming of a better next week,
skipping over tomorrow;
longing for laughter louder than
the heaviness of sorrow;
hoping that my scars will one day heal
and one day you will
stop allowing me to get so beat.

but i think it mean just means that you love me…
right?


The Politics of Need


i love hard so
to know this is true,
i’ll need you to love me
more than i love you,
to hold me tight
and let me breathe
and treat me right
and show me things.
i am vivid dreamer so
i will need you to see me in your sleep
more than i see you,
to picture me flying without falling
and beautiful in the midst of nonsense.
i am needy so
i’m gonna need you to stand on your own two,
to inspire me to walk instead of crawl
and when i fall, to pull me toward you.
even though i don’t need you
i’mma need you to need to
love me
and hold me
and need me
and teach me
to need me
too.


Why I Do It


i do it because
i have lives inside of me
that would commit suicide if they couldn’t get out.
their stories scream out whenever i come out from backstage
and the stage is a second home
that i don’t get to visit all the time,
but every time i have a chance to come back,
the space is all mine.

i do it because
i refuse to live a normal life,
love the excitement and unpredictability that accompanies
the lack of sensibility that comes from choosing to be
an artist.
i do it because
it beats any buzz, high, or debaucherous night,
puts shame to the best sex i’ve ever had in my life,
and takes control of intangibles like…
time,
making it flow so smoothly that i think i just might
slide through reality and end up in a place i’ve never dreamed.

i love performing!
it’s become a part of me like my skin:
smooth and glowing in summers,
sometimes rough and crackly in the winter
but always an indicator
of what is inside of me
and inside of me
is an artist who has to speak.
inside of me
is a woman whose destiny
is to transform, refuse to conform,
and above all things,
perform.


Which One Am I?


why do fools fall in love?
and since i refuse to do the above,
does that make me wise?

if so, at times i wish i would be brave enough
to be a fool again,
to take risks with the chance of falling on my face,
to have another opportunity to make beautiful mistakes
and memories that keep me awake
because sleep could never compete
with the dream i’d be living.

why do fools fall in love?
and since i refuse to do the above,
does that make me wise?

perhaps if wise also means burned
and fearful
and doubtful of the possibility.
i will be wise for the rest of my life
it means no one could hurt me;
even if it leaves me solitary,
gaining excitement solely from following stars in the night,
pushing me toward what i know is right
and ignoring all that might
take me out of my knowledge
and consume me with the most nonsensical emotion
to ever exist.

i’m too young to be wise
yet too hurt to be a fool;
too scared to be in love,
yet too optimistic to be cynical.
i am neither of the two–
swimming between both islands of maturity,
hoping that by the time the land touches my feet,
i will be comfortable where i am
and just be.



Me…It’s What’s For Dinner


SATURN DEVOURING HIS CHILDREN (1824) by Francisco de Goya.

i am a lovely dish
on a porcelain dinner plate.
who has the pleasure of devouring me tonight?
is it lust?
on some nights, that answer would be right,
but this time the diner is one
with a more refined taste.
his name is ambition
and he drools as he stares at my face.
he prefers to eat me raw like oysters on a half shell,
relishes in my taste and puts me through hell.
i wish the roles were reversed–
that i could be sitting in a fine dining establishment
and order plates of ambition to my heart’s content.
i would eat like a glutton and be worry-free,
having taken control of what controls me.
but of course this is just a dream–
ambition bites my head so i can’t concentrate,
then he plays with my body as he scrapes the plate.
is it too late to decide
that i don’t want to be consumed?
or will i forever be confined
to this miserable doom?
i am food,
meant to be chewed and digested
by plans that i myself suggested.
although it hurts to be bitten
by my own brainchild,
there’s no place i’d rather be right now.
i am in a time of transition,
not fully cooked
but attractive enough to be eaten,
strong enough to be on the plate
and not lying in a corner beaten.
i have this plan…
since i taste rather delicious,
once ambition has scarfed me down
and scraped all the dishes,
i will cause a chemical reaction in his insides
and play with the pool
where his stomach acid resides.
i will swim there and cause a riot
until he realizes all too late
that he can’t tolerate me in his diet.
from there he will regurgitate
and i will come out victorious
before it’s too late.
i am not just a lovely dish
on a porcelain dinner plate,
but one who has learned to wait
until the appropriate time and hour to fight.

i am not one to be devoured.
i sit at the table tonight
and i have the power.


Bullied


i had a dream that i was
living out my fantasy and when
i woke up, i begged God to
let me be asleep.
latent images sit on the
edges of my mind and i
pray for the days when
these pictures will be a reality.
my dreams tease me like bullies,
stealing my lunch money
and kicking me when they please.
i try to speak up for myself
but before i can even choose my words
i realize that to fight back against my own wants
is rather absurd.
i guess it’s better to be beat up by dreams
than to close my eyes at night
only to envision nothing.
perhaps it’s more advantageous to experience pain
than have an empty, aimless brain.
so i relish in the wounds and count my scars,
smile with knocked out teeth
and stretch my sore body parts,
let my black eyes water with the possibility
that one day i will
live out my fantasy
and when i lay down to sleep,
beg God
for morning.


Sleeping Woman


i’m so tired.
i wish i could sleep
for a week straight
and not be interrupted by anyone
knocking on my consciousness’ door,
just get up to pee and eat
and then sleep some more,
watch old movies in my waking moments
and imagine myself in those worlds
because this world
just makes me want to retreat.
i just want to sleep,
let the heaviness in my heart
switch to my eyelids and dream
what is the opposite of life.
in my dreams i would fly,
i would smile, i would
love and feel and experience
so much. i would just
dream and dream until my existence was
no longer a nightmare and i no longer
felt scared
to be in this world,
where i no longer wanted
to just sleep because i can’t stand
being awake.
being up is so hard and
i just want to lay down,
stretch out my limbs and
never have to think about
my pain again.
i want to sleep because
sleep is the cousin of death
and life is too much.
i just want to sleep until my healing comes
and i no longer have to hide behind closed eyes
and a weary mind and the fear of being kind
because mistreated kindness leads to
blindness, which causes the desire to
sleep.


To Paint Humanity


*Written July 6, 2008*

i had a dream that God told me to paint humanity–
take my life and use it as an instrument
to capture all the colors of his children,
so i start this mission with me:
i explore the deepest blacks of my people,
the darkness of drum beats and culture coursing through my veins,
the brown of skin that is smooth and strong,
the purple of pride from my ancestors that in me remains,
the blue of depression, lost plans, loneliness, and failure,
the green of envy, peace, hunger for money, and nature,
the yellow of the consistent sun, joy, and energy,
the orange of the warmth that only comes from family,
the red of blood, passion, and rage,
the white of the oppressors who tried to kill my race.
my life is a paintbrush
searching the in-between hues of personalities,
the value of words,
the pigment of emotions,
dipping into the water of my tears
until everything becomes one color and runs together…
truth, lies, joy, sadness, laughter, confusion
all co-mingle in the bucket of my body
mixing with one another so that at times, i forget what i’m painting.
i realize that all of my colors are interconnected,
deriving from the same three primaries
while i’m a painter staring at a blank canvas
trying my hardest to determine
the formula of documenting and sharing,
of composing and communicating just what it is that makes
life.


Love Constellation


*Written June 18, 2008*

he’ll come.
he’ll be a soldier, a revolutionary,
a force to be reckoned with.
watch out world!
once the two of us hook up,
the world will jolt,
Richter scales will revolt and walk off like
“We ain’t ask for all this work…”
minds will go berserk and souls of ex-lovers will hurt.
i see it now,
our names in lights in the sky,
forget billboards.
just the two of us
as we were both afraid to envision,
limited by our faulty vision of what was right for us.
lowered expectations are no longer in the vocabulary
because we not only fulfill one another’s dreams
but we merely are each others’ dreams.
i want to be ready.
i know i’m a catch now but
i’m gonna be a fortune later.
i sense it i see it i smell it i will
touch it one day
and until that day…
i’ll work on my portion
of this love constellation.


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.