Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “family

It’s Funny


it’s funny how
people mirror us more than we ever know;
it’s funny how
if we don’t ever cry, our spirits die and we don’t grow.
it’s funny how
our words to some act as seeds;
it’s funny how
what we want differs from what we need.
it’s funny how
friends you think will always be there sometimes disappear;
it’s funny how
when you’re at your lowest, your family is near.
it’s funny how
you can go from being so happy to being sad;
it’s funny how
people leaving your life isn’t always bad.

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My Grandparents Are Gone


my grandparents are gone.
never met them,
only laid eyes on an old distant picture or two
in a land i’ve never seen or smelled;
heard old happy voices
that hinted at the desire to hold me
via brief long distant calls;
witnessed tears form in my parents’ eyes upon memory.

i wish my grandparents could
tell me stories of their childhood
and teach me the language i never learned
but they are gone.

but if they were here,
i would ask my paternal grandmother
why her skin was dark like mine,
but her eyes were blue
and how she lived to be 102;

i would ask my maternal grandfather
how his faith in God got to be so strong
and why he loved nothing more
than reading the Book of Psalms;

i would ask my paternal grandfather
why he was so tough on my father
which in turn made him so tough on his sons
and why when kids saw him, they’d get up and run;

and i would ask my maternal grandmother
how she looked when she smiled
because i only saw her casket photos at her funeral
one year before i arrived.

all my grandparents have died—
gone to the next place after we leave earth.
i wonder in my death, will it be like a new birth
where all my grandparents will cradle me in their arms
and say the words they never had a chance to say
as we speak the same language
and finally get the opportunity
to love and know
one another.


Still Born


i feel frozen,
hard to do anything,
not justified in joy,
stuck in anxiety,
crying while running
because there is no time for stopping.

my mother,
example of strength,
template for beauty,
example of generosity,
standard of selflessness,
feeling of family,
antidote for insanity
is struggling.

my soul is still connected
by an invisible umbilical cord
feeding me medication and hope
and faith and pain
and they course through my veins
as i try to maintain
with a smile on my face
but i’m losing some weight
and my mind can’t erase
how life shouldn’t be this way.

but what do i know?
i am a mere embryo
floating in a world outside of my control,
sharing the same heartbeat as the woman who birthed me,
questioning, wondering, still living,
always praying
that our loud cries make it up to God’s big ears
that can’t possibly be deaf.


Without Love


where would i be without love?
perhaps shivering naked in a closet,
never having experienced touch;
or sleeping on park benches hoping to get mugged
because violence is at least physical contact
and physical contact sometimes simulates
or at least emulates
love.

where would i be?
mouth devoid of four-letter words
and heart symbols to connect others to me,
interactions without laughter,
days without passion,
existence without meaning,
living without being,
a heart that’s not beating,
a soul that’s not healing,
a mind without imagination,
exchange without compassion,
summer without sun,
winter without Christmas,
holidays with no family,
a brain without sanity,
bare bones and flesh without a body,
eyes without tears,
no fun in conquering fear…

how could i possibly live there?!

i will build a house of love even if
all i can afford is a cardboard box without a roof
and newspaper to stuff the holes in my shoes.
i will clothe myself in patience,
waiting for love despite
my wrinkles and creases in the wrong places,
chase it til it strikes me like lightning
and just as i’m dying,
my eyes will be shining and i’ll know
it was worth trying
because life without love is death
so as i take my last breath,
i’ll just float away to live in another land that is safe
and enter the gate for those who chose to take the risk
that always comes with love

and be home.


Love Me


i want you to love me,
not in that agape unconditional love type way,
but that “please baby please baby please” type way,
that get on your knees and pray
that God answers and allows us
to cross paths again type way,
that you remember my birthday
without Facebook or Myspace type way.
i want to be the last thought on your mind before you sleep
and that hot, sexy dream that wakes you
to make you change your sheets.
i want you to love me,
to wanna meet my mama, my daddy,
my siblings, friends, teachers, coworkers, distant cousins,
neighbors, acquaintances and fellow students,
not so you can stalk me,
but possibly learn how to have an influence
on my life so that one day,
you’ll be in that repertoire of
people to meet.
i want you to love me past my body
and baby, i know it’s banging
and you want to bang me
but here’s a thought–
make love to my insecurities and fears;
thrust your love deep inside to make me cum so hard
that they shake and disappear.
make my soul and future curl so tight
that if this is wrong,
i don’t wanna be right
and if this is dark,
then God shouldn’t let there be light
and because you always make my day,
i never want it to be night.
i don’t even know who you are yet
but i want you to love me,
to confirm that love lasts and exists
outside of stories and movies.
show me the positive side of life
that accompanies love
and maybe you’ll reaffirm my faith
with the Lord above
if i can see right before my eyes
just what it is that He does
and be able once more in my life
to let go
and let love.


Little Girl, Big Shoes


little-girl-big-shoes

i feel like a fake adult,
like how i did when i was a little girl
and put on daddy’s shoes and flopped around
trying to fill them,
but grateful that i was too small
to make them fit.
now i’m tired of this,
ungrateful for being so tight with my youth
that people think we’re best friends who refuse
to separate.
i am the siamese twin
whose head is split between two entities
and now i have to choose surgery to free my energy
from being drained between home and me.

i love my family
but still have so much farther to go
before i fully know me,
outside of the identity
i created with them.
who will i be without
the ones who care to listen
to the boring details of my day
or who can look in my tear-filled eyes
and assure me that it’ll be okay
and have me actually believe them?
who will i be outside of my environment,
my comfortable element,
my indigenous habitat where i roam kind of free?
i’m scared i’ll become extinct
or act like an unknown species,
a mix of good family values and broken pieces
of the world i tried to put together on my own
but clumsily slipped out of my hands.

maybe my hands aren’t strong enough
to carry the weight that has been on my shoulders
and in my heart
but unless i start testing how much i can hold,
i will never really know.


The Revolution Will Be Digitized


the revolution will not be televised!
instead it will be DIGITIZED
because today’s society has no time
for the tears in a grown man’s eyes
when he is told he is being replaced by
a computer.
the job market is sick at home
with chicken pox of broken economy
and the calamine lotion and oatmeal bath
provide no relief
to struggling families.

“How are we going to eat?”

binary 0’s and 1’s can’t feel hunger or cold.
computerized systems have code but no soul
but they continue to grow and grow
as both will and hope die.
this revolution will be DIGITIZED
as i take my middle digit
in between the pointer and ring
and raise it toward every machine
that replaces the work of human beings
and yell “Fuck you!” to new technology
and to this day that brings about
the question of revolution
without viable solution.