Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “friendship


i never thought i’d throw your picture
in the trash.
i kept negatives of each developed set
of disposable camera film
just in case
some disaster like
excessive heat in my un-airconditioned childhood bedroom
or a flood from bursting of rusted pipes
crept into the shoe box under my bed
and ruined the images of

i still don’t know for sure
if photo negatives can withstand the elements,
never understood their permanence.
i look at tiny distorted thumbnails
and i can’t even recognize the moments,
just like i can’t put my finger on
what made you stop calling me your friend.

you discarded me in the worst way,
left me living smudged in your life’s wastebasket
when i thought i still sat pretty in speed dial–
what denial!
i wish i could say i don’t miss you.
i wish i could say i haven’t shed tears over this loss.
i wish our friendship lasted
as long as the negatives that now live under my adult bed,
the ones i keep in case i one day regret
throwing your picture
and my hope for closeness
in the trash.


Bubble Burst

burst bubbles
leave wetness in the air.
then remnants of fun disappear
from what was once floating, happy.
i thought you were my friend,
thought you liked to play with me,
run around with wands and create magic,
but instead you wreak havoc,
have hands that cleverly and cruelly crush my creations.
you pretend to participate.
you destroy with a smile.

lucky for me,
i have enough joy in my jar to last me past today;
sudsy water, love and hope
to survive your hate;
enough to make me a huge bubble to float along sun-shining skies,
higher than the place where i care about how you feel
and low enough where just being happy for myself
is more than enough.


having dealt with the
of time for so long,
having time is like
a new revelation.

i find myself looking for
to satisfy my hunger for excitement;
yearning for
physical affection
during quiet moments when all i hear is
floors creaking,
old pipes running,
open-mouth breathing
and food digesting.
the urge to initiate
conversation and rekindle 
neglected friendships
arises strongly.

the rush in me has diminished–
no longer a slave
to minutes;
time can now wait for me.

Friendship Haiku

friendships wither fast

like plants deprived of water,

attention, and love.

Note of Confession

i am by no means perfect.
if i wanted to be fair i would
write out a list of my flaws
and hand it to all who wish to get involved
in any shape or fashion
with me.

i want to guard my heart but
feel i should be straight up–
stop eager and expecting souls
from getting their hopes up,
shrink their enthusiasm
so it can’t change to disappointment
as they wait for phones to ring
and emails to be answered
and schedules to clear up
and get disappointed
like a teenager waiting up
for Santa Claus.

i wear a costume of love,
the cape of the concerned
and my powers are proving to be ineffective.
i want to care
but i am stretched in so many ways
that my strength is diluted.
my mind is polluted
with thoughts of me and what i need
and when i see how many times i have hurt others,
my eyes bleed.
i apply the hydrogen peroxide of pride
and keep it moving;
regret leaves me stuck on dance floors
but i keep on grooving,
two-stepping toward a brighter tomorrow.

maybe next week, i’ll be able to balance my life
and the hearts i have borrowed
and forgotten to return
like old library books
whose fees are increasing.
i feel the urgency caused by time decreasing
and life depleting
and relationships screaming for attention.

i write notes to confess to them:
the individuals i have hurt
and those who haven’t felt it yet
and somehow when they are read,
the ones who truly care
love me no less.

maybe there is hope.

I’d Like to Propose a Toast

this goes out to
respectful gestures and silly conversation
and innocent flirtation
that tickles my smile and soul
without fingers.
words permeate the room reminding me of who
i am, the bare minimum
(or “essence” as i like to call it in artist-speak).
i feel like once again i am finding myself,
naked from being stripped
from falsehood of contrived personality
and feeling free from releasing
what is already in me.

this goes out to
attraction not yet acted upon,
fun without expectation,
feeling good all over without penetration,
for the exploration of friendship.
i appreciate these moments like
gifts on birthdays, like
compliments on my worst days, like
kool-aid when i’m thirsty
and to be truthful,
i was.
my throat was dry from crying over
those not worth shedding tears over,
but who had rolled the boulder
away from the cave of my emotions
and when i looked in,
my identity was missing
and all that was left
was the clothes i was last seen in.

these moments,
so small and effortless,
resurrect me
and i feel like it’s Sunday.
this goes out to this one day
where i am left unable to compare
this experience to one that was bitter
and instead enjoy the bubbly
that i feel here here–


Relationship Counseling (Revised 7-23-08)

there’s so much for me to learn
and i just feel like there’s never enough
time escapes me–
it is a fugitive prisoner in my life, running
and running,
and i get tired of chasing.
i’m not used to keeping up with time.
it’s a sprinter
and i’m not trained for speed.
i prefer to walk
when time dodges me.
it’s used to escaping the best,
putting people who consider themselves athletes
to a true, nearly impossible test.
time i wish existed solely in my mind
but it is a reality, leaving me
in the dust choking.

where did my time go?
did it disappear into thin air like smoke or
is it fogging my eyes, clouding my mind, stinging my brain?
i wish i could contain
the seconds, subdue
the minutes, force
the hours
to submit to my command.
i wish i could make friends with time and hold its hand–
walk in friendship and feel like we’re in this
together, me and time,
the best of buddies in rain or shine,
but then reality sets in
and i look around and realize
that me and time are no longer companions walking freely.
time has run away,
moved on to the next thing
and i’m looking for what direction it went in,
searching the ground for footprints,
for some sort of sign.

where did you go, time?
did i offend you? did i misuse you
and now you’re staying away from me for a while?
look, i’m sorry i abused you.
i didn’t mean to neglect you
for things that seemed,
well, more
i thought you would always be there,
waiting in the wings, a constant in my life.
i didn’t know that you would grow weary,
get old and even one day perish.
people say you fly but instead you
falling down never to be revived
moving on to those who consider you alive.
resurrect, please,
let me do with you what I should have done
and make a commitment for you to be my husband.
time, i will love you if you come back.
spend my focus figuring out how to make me and you
more effective,
work on our relationship and communicate with you
so that you will be a positive factor in all that i do.

time, i want to love you, but it is so difficult
because you’re always rushing,
never around for as long as i want you to be.
i look up from my sleep and you are gone
and i am late for work.
i look up from my selfishness and there you are,
walking away with my loved one.
i look up from my procrastination and
you are jumping out of the window with my goals.
time, you are control.
tell me what you it is,
what i’m supposed to be doing right now.
i’m a novice at dealing with you
and i need your guidance because i feel you
i don’t know you anymore
and all i see is your shadow fading in the opposite direction.
i’m hoping i see you tomorrow because you’re disintegrating today.

oh my,
just slipped away.