Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “experience

Growth into Beauty


i feel like i am
JUST
growing in to my beauty.
before, my skin was
sunset:
confidence fading into cloudy horizon,
but bright morning has finally come
and when i smile,
i swear i can hear birds singing!
eyes bright
from all the yawning around me,
skin glowing.

love of self
was a hard seed that just needed nurturing,
extra time soaking in the water of my tears
until sprouting occurred.
now it is flourishing,
deeply rooted like a tree,
arms stretched, strong enough
to hold the weight of the little children
i‘ll be responsible for
feeding reminders of their worth.

it’s as if i gave birth,
belly no longer swollen with doubt,
removal of morning sickness
and mother
to past, present and future experiences.

and i am
STILL
growing into my beauty,
hoping to be
an adult one day.

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Love Experience Part 1


when i sleep,
i drool enough to keep a goldfish alive for the night.
one morning, i awoke
with my wet cheek attached to the bare chest
of my man holding me tight.
he opened his eyes and looked down,
then took one hand,
wiped the drool off,
kissed me on my forehead
and went back to sleep.

and i felt love.


Wet Feet


new touch with an old face
but fresh feelings.
it’s funny–the old me
was too numb to even know
that these nerves existed,
that i could be myself in my own skin,
that you’d appreciate my blemishes;
that i can lay back and be silly
without false pretenses.

i’ve pretended
that i’m ok with being lonely forever
and the hurt i faced in the past
had me thinking that i would never
open arms again
or kiss lips again
or dare to wish again
but i see him again
and yesterday melts like ice cubes in the summer,
new experiences wash over me like water
and i kind of like
getting my feet wet.


I Used to Pray


i swear i used to pray daily
but then one evening before i went to sleep,
i stood up and saw that the skin on my knees
was crackly like sandpaper.
so i stopped stooping down so far to the ground
and prayed laying down
but i would be traveling to far away towns of REM sleep
before i would even complete thoughts
or say “Amen”
and then
i’d be awake and what i wanted to ask for would not be.
it’s been so long that i’m scared God won’t wanna hear from me
like he’ll find my voice ugly
or unrecognizable and tell me i dialed the wrong number
that i should try again and next time call my selfishness
and if she hangs up,
reach out to my cynicism
and get on three-way with my doubt
and click over and talk to vulgarity
because she is always on the other line.
i stay up for hours every night talking on the phone
to the identities of mine that have made a home
in my psyche.
i’ve sent eviction notices but they won’t leave,
tormenting my every steps
and i never know what will come next
and all the fighting leaves me perplexed
and unable to bend down to my knees again
for wanting to avoid the experience
of hurting myself by hoping
for the uncertain.


Vegetarian (Revised 7-9-08)


i was a vegetarian for 7 days,
walked around on a high,
bragged about the 5
pounds i lost,
the extra pep in my step in the mornings
and my glow that was noticeable to strangers.
but after those 7 days,
nourishment left
my body.
i was no longer fulfilled
because the food that i needed to fill
my belly
was not vegetables but
peace.
peace left so much that i needed a piece of a peace pill
just to make it through the day
and a whole of the peace pill so i could be sure i’d sleep the night away.
vegetables no longer sufficed.
i was hanging on strings like a marionette
head bobbing, soul vacant,
arms moving one way and legs moving another,
disconnected and needing to be pulled together
and still
no energy.

the vegetables were so good!
they gave me leverage and confidence in a
society that is fast food-fried, overrated and hydrogenated
but my nature was gone.
i was forced to turn processed because life is a process and i am in process and
i see little progress
just objects
that are normal to most people but affect
me:
books are too much, life is too much,
screens are too much, looks are too much,
closeness is too much, rain is too much,
truth is too much,
i tremble at accidental touch.
i need more peace.

my diet
was adjusted,
my daily life
disrupted
without warning.
if there was a sign to tell me that i would experience such things
i would have bucked a U,
avoided U
street,
made an illegal turn to
get the hell up out of dodge from hell
street,
but it was too late.
i got sucked
into suffering shivering solitude
scrutiny examinations hollow moods
and for what?

i was a vegetarian for 7 times 7 days,
then i became a pescatarian
because it was supposedly time to celebrate
but despite the cards and family and gown,
i did not graduate
from this experience.
they say experience
is the best teacher
so please, if you happen to see her,
tap her on the shoulder and tell her she’s out of control.
tell her i’m reporting her to the Board of Education because
i was a child left behind in the cold.
i was still shaken or maybe stirred
but somehow things got a little brighter.
i let love lead me
but less vegetables feed me
imaginary peace fooled me
and the quest to move on ruled me
i had to prove to everyone and me
that i had made it,
that i was strong,
but little did i know that this was not over,
that it may never be over,
and that the peace that once existed
was gone.

i was a vegetarian
back at a time when i had peace
and 82 days later, i ate a piece
of chicken and as i felt the grease
get stuck in my throat,
i realized i was unsatisfied with meat
because my life, my body,
my meat
was viciously stolen from me.
i identified with the chicken!
i was slaughtered
and ran around with my head cut off.
unsympathetically,
my case was wrapped up,
my vegetables were hidden,
i was robbed at heart-point
and i don’t know how to get my stuff
or my nourishment
back.