Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “friend

Traveling


today, a well-traveled friend told me
that she thinks the journey
is just as important as the destination.
i hate the journey most times.
i hate arriving at airports,
checking bags,
slow security,
stinky restrooms,
germy strangers,
stuffy planes,
recycled air,
worn seats,
heart racing
before i fly and say goodbye
to home.

but once i am in the air,
those feelings subside a little
as i look out and enjoy the sky,
happily wait for my half cup of ginger ale
and slightly stale cookies.
i enjoy looking at the calm that comes over most faces
before lulling off into a light sleep
as thoughts of the exciting places they’ll go,
the people they will see,
the business they will attend to,
the family member or friend they will bury,
the food they will eat,
being able to be on their feet
and live another day on this earth
take over and travel along with them.

it’s funny that the landing part
is somehow easier.
i do brace myself upon the descent,
spend about three seconds not breathing
as the plane touches ground,
but i can’t help a smile coming across my lips
when i realize that i am where i intended to be
and that it would be impossible to get there
without a journey,
without deciding to pick up and leave,
without facing discomfort for a few moments,
without trusting
that it will be all worth it in the end.

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Fireflies


i wish i could take
the sensuous gravity of this night
in my hands and place it softly inside a clear jar
to keep for our remembrance.
we innocently brush one another like fireflies.
i cautiously beg you to look at my light
and i flicker in ways i thought were shut off.
let’s not let our air supply get cut off.
this jar has holes cut in its lid;
hopefully reality still finds its way in
so that we invite our brains into our hearts’ decisions.
this encasement, although small,
does not feel like prison,
but freedom.
free me as you hold me,
hold me,
hold me,
and when it’s time to let go,
do so
and let me fly
until we meet again,
my more than friend.fireflies


Fake Lovers


we are fake lovers,
spinning on a broken record
that’s our jam
that causes us to dance
when we jump out of our crazy,
lonely lives to listen
to each other breathe into phone receivers
and wish for more.

we had more, baby.
we were Bonnie and Clyde
speeding down a highway
where reality chased
and there was no damn way
we were stepping on the brakes.
we were the Red Sea before
Moses lifted his staff to separate,
but now we live on two different sides–
there is dry land in between the wetness
that once lived in laughter that birthed tears
and bodies that danced in sheets without any cares
in the world but which one of us
will cum first.
“us” had come to an end
with no satisfaction
and now i wish i could wrap back then
in saran wrap or a silk napkin
and save the memories for when i am hungry.
i would eat them crumb by crumb for every night
i have to sleep alone with no one
beside me
or watch romantic movies
and end up sentimental and crying
or ponder the reasons
why love always seems to be dying
and dine on the times
when you and me were “we” thriving.

our love was alive like
Lazarus after Jesus wept
and we took steps
on a spiraling staircase that never seemed to end
until we tried to climb to future heights
and fell down to hell.
now shit is fire and i think you’re a liar
but even though you burned me
you’re still the best i’ve seen
with my near-sighted eyes
and i wish i could feel once more what we had.
and i wish we didn’t move so fast
from strangers to lovers to soul mates
to exes to strangers
to this phase
of sporadic late night phone calls
and empty promises
and reminiscing of good night kissing
instead of hanging up with uncertainty
of when we’ll speak again.

damn.
i miss my friend.


Aftermath


am i mad?
why do you ask?
i’m fine.
i
think i am
confused,
but not mad,
just a little
messed up
in the head.
i mean,
what really happened?
we met,
became friends,
went on a couple dates
and now i’m
frozen.
but it’s summer.
why am i so cold?
it’s hot in here
but i’m shivering.
i can’t believe
what just took place.
you invaded my space,
took advantage of my weakness and forced yourself upon me
like i was a pair of tight shoes
or a seat on a crowded bus.
you squeezed into my crevices and corners
without invitation
and i’m sitting here cold
and crying
cuz i thought
you were a gentleman.


A or B?


my dear, well-defined friend asked me
if i was A or B
and i laughed softly,
trying to find a way to explain
that i am neither of the rough-edged two
but if i had to choose,
i would be the the X that is barely used
at the beginning of sentences.

definitions are sentences–
mandatory minimums that require us to stay
locked in the rusty bars of identity
that we ourselves possess the key.
my heart repels labels and embraces individuality,
fights against the nominal definitions of humanity
and oh, how i feel free.

i want to pull you with me.
so for every:
heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, “try”sexual,
transgendered, opposite gender,
black, brown, Latino, Hispanic,
African, Asian, American, foreigner;
for every Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Muslim,
atheist, agnostic, traditionalist,
African religion believer, and seeker;
for every hipster, trendy, preppy, yuppy,
ghetto, classy, bourgeoisie personality;
for every rich, poor, in between finance’s doors
and every other title, classification, and variety,
all human beings breathing the same air as me,
i beseech you to break free
from the labels of identity.

we are all making ourselves too small
by covering our hearts with words
that aren’t big enough to capture
all of who we are.
who we are is critical
if we are going to influence the future.
we are tomorrow’s past and it is time we get past
division in the form of labeling prisons.
forget A or B–
choose C or E
or a symbol not of the 26,
blend them together until categories no longer exist
and we are stripped down naked
to the essence of who we really are
because we need who we are
to be who we are.


The Race


my friend said
that if things don’t go right with this election,
he’ll be the one
to start the revolution.
he’s tired of runnin.
being born with non-caucasian skin
in this country
is like putting a number on your front and back
and running a triathlon for a gold medal
you’ll never get.
the cops shoot the gun
to tell us when to lift our feet and focus our attention.
some runners get shot while others get spat on
without the option of joining in the competition.
and some get murked while they
sit on the side tying their shoes and stretching to prepare.
they were doing so well,
but now they’re not here.
what would the revolution consist of?
i don’t know but if it happens,
at least i’ll be moving, running,
no longer stuck in a cardboard box
that will really be too hot
if things don’t go right.
tonight i will prepare myself for the possibility of
having to move my feet,
staying hopeful but contemplating carefully
the revolution that could be sparked
in a moment of defeat.


The Nameless Woman


she told her friend that she liked him a lot
but she was scared because
he’s kinda rough and once told her that
he’d fight for anything,
including love.
after a few months,
the next scene cuts
to her banging on her friend’s door late at night
with blackened eyes and a bruised face
and she’s crying hard,
scared for her life
and begging her friend to let her in
but her knocks go unanswered.
she sits on the front steps with a cigarette
on the right side of her mouth
and a blunt on the left,
hoping that smoking both at the same time
will fill her lungs, blacken them
and quicken her death.
she closes her eyes and remembers happy times–
of when she and her boyfriend first met
and recalls the first incident of violence
with pangs of regret.
the phrase, “this is my fault”
is a bullet shot from the back of her brain
that ricochets painfully, driving her insane
and she contemplates the different ways
she can end her life
and then looks up and sees headlights
and a window that rolls down
and the driver is a scared man-child
who wears tears of his own and a frown
and he stares–
watching the young lady he says he loves
pick the shattered pieces of herself up,
walk to the car and get in.

and then they drive off.