Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “drugs

That’s The Way Love Goes…Revisited

like a crackhead to the pipe,
burned by the fire,
i hate romance and crave it…
on what day did God create desire?

that’s how my heart goes…

History Unstuck

on November 4, 2008,
the evening of election day
CNN projected that Barack Obama
was the candidate
who had won.

surrounded by cheers, i couldn’t celebrate,
sayin, “these suckas done stole the election once”
so i’ll scream and shed tears when this whole thing is done–
afraid to get my hopes up
because hope takes audacity
and when i look at history,
we were dismissed.

defined as inferior,
spent days familiar
with crops, working fields,
rarely seeing interiors,
unless it was the interior
of slave shacks, you know,
nights with master on slave woman’s back,
birthing babies that lacked
a sense of family
because brokenness was the system,
spreading confusion so that to be black
almost equated with being victim;
pulled from homelands and sold on blocks
was the way to do things,
auctioning off humans like art or antique rings.
we were beaten,
scars forming shapes of trees on backs
with branches not long enough for us to climb
but deep enough for them to find
their way into souls that birthed generations of babies
still feeling the sting of whips.

we were whipped into shape
on the day emancipation came
so slaves became men,
no longer four fifths
just always dismissed,
debt staying constant
no money in pockets,
still poor but at least there was a trap door
that could be closed and opened at night
to see crosses burning at night
who knew shadows could be white?
“Mama, they look like ghosts…”
threatened hearts beat with fright
and sometimes they even cry
but you can’t hear them as well
when vocal cords are constricted by ropes
as unprotesting eyes look forward.

but we had to look back,
thirsty, but certain water fountains would lack
the fluid to match our skin color;
so we had to look back,
to learn what happens to dreams deferred and wonder if they fester;
so we had to look back
to brave souls like soldiers who sat at segregated lunch counters;
so we had to look back,
to hear the voices of prophets like Dr. King,
turning our ears to the past
so that we could hear freedom ring
and echo in our dreams and perhaps become fact.
look back to Malcolm X and his place in history,
even if you don’t agree,
he inspired our reality.

we were beautiful,
growing stronger with each casualty,
pulling strength from the act of burying,
being replenished by hoses with water pressuring
us to stop
but the clock ticked on.
we were beautiful and so was black
and we were vocal, using platforms to speak so many truths
that lies got scared and shook in their boots
and found a way to crack us–
crack broke some backs of us,
money ruled some of the best of us,
and soon our scariest enemies were…us.

but us wasn’t all bad and never was,
because all that there ever was
to identify us was our skin
and that one drop of blood,
like light rain on a window pane
romantic to some, but to others
it’s just rain,
without which the earth couldn’t survive.
showers on our heads keep dreams alive,
but sometimes i stay dry,
feeling that it’s better to suffocate hope
than try to keep her alive
but on that night,
November 4, 2008
tears filled my eyes and the weather changed
and the course of history finally turned the page.
no longer did i have to look back,
thinking of the way we were
but i had to look forward.

i had to look forward
with binoculars on my eyes,
seeing the prospect of a black president
the spirit of yes we can, yes we did
and we’ll do it again;
fueled by inspiration,
truth defying times are in my eyes,
joy fills my heart
and my soul cries out with gratitude
oh the magnitude
of what we used to be
and what we have become.

Why Cry?

when i
consider the amount of potential
that lives in my insides
and then wake up and see
what is really outside,
tears well up in my eyes
and i cry.

when i
think about all of the uncured disease
and all the money that’s made in pharmacies
and the people who live off of painkillers
instead of cures,
tears well up in my eyes
and i cry.

when i
think about how the boys in blue
are supposed to protect me and you
but when i needed them,
they treated me like i was the criminal
and my assailant walks the streets
and breathes the same air as me,
tears well up in my eyes
and i cry.

there is so much to cry about
and some days,
i have to search for laughter.
i have to remind myself
of other chapters in my life,
the dog-eared pages of past stages
when life was sweet
and love was constant
and happiness was not a long-lost friend
but something that lived in my pocket
that has now slipped away as easily as lint
in a pair of pants
that are too tight for me now.

some days i can’t even cry
like i have some strange infirmity
from all the fucked up things i have seen,
like my eyes no longer produce tears
so when fear mounts, i shout instead
with a poetic voice loud enough to wake the dead.
the dead live in my head.
their corpses rot in their tiny grave plots
and their headstones read:
and FEAR.
the soil is soft and pretty flowers live here
and sometimes their scents break through with pollen
that causes tears
and i cry
and cry.
and cry
until there is no more inside
and until i feel alive
and the frustration subsides
and then i can finally breathe
and finally see
that crying was a necessity
to move past all that is upsetting me
and live on.

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).

Sensory Control

i want to
infiltrate your central nervous system like a drug.
i want to
be a muscle relaxer so that your heart will feel
at ease with me…
so that you can chill
and be free with me
as i slow down your breath patterns until
you’re conscious of just how much you have needed me.
i want my voice
to raise your blood pressure,
the blues and purples of my tones mixing
with my bright yellows so
that when you close your eyes to sleep,
all you see is my shades and hues,
confusing you so you don’t know
whether you’re warm or cool.
i want to wrap around your senses
like an eternal death sentence
but instead of filling your veins with poison,
i would fill your soul with passion.
allow me to control these senses because i sense this
game turning into somethings serious
even if all i want to do right now is play
with what you’re hearing, seeing, tasting, feeling
and inhaling.
watch me as i dare to be air,
as i strive to be as fundamental as oxygen itself
for the sake of you humbling yourself
to acknowledge that you are in me…
love is who i be
and i wish to control thee.
watch as i lure thee
with smiles and stares that last
a while longer than they should,
gestures that could be easily misunderstood,
words that sound too good to be true
but that resonate deeply with you.
look around and before you are through,
i got you.


little kitten,
come join us in a house that is warm.
come out of the cold
where your fur stands on end,
where you walk in circles that don’t end.
here there are no confusing curves but straight edges,
corners so that you don’t have to stay in the same space
outside can be deceiving.
sometimes freedom isn’t without but within,
so come on in and join us, little kitten.
we have food to feed you
and joy to keep you
if you would only give us a piece of you.
you have been gone too long
but surely you haven’t forgotten
what it feels like to be home,
to be surrounded by those
who love you
and not have to watch your back
for those who
wish to
hurt you.
you owe nobody anything here
and all we want from you, my dear
is to cuddle.
all they want from you out there
is your soul.
stay in the light of love
and stop walking the darkest of dark.
there’s room for you and the door is open.
we have called and called
and aren’t sure where you are,
but we need you.
you are more than something comforting and cute
but you are part of the family.
people ask about you when you’re not around
because there are traces,
evidence on sweaters with hair on them
and the scent that lingers in a room
and sober smiles in picture frames
that capture times when you were you,
stable, dependent, beautiful,
and human
and not a lost

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.”