Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “girl

Never-Ending Poem


if i could spit a never-ending poem,
i would speak of black womanhood–
of a little girl whose dark-skinned father
looked at his dark-skinned seed and told her
that there’s a secret to erasing their skin:
“Here, wear this cream and the blackness will go away.
Boys will like you more and jobs will open doors
and people will let you in with smiles.”
i would speak of that little girl-child,
how she listened to her father
and observed her light-skinned, beautiful mother
and rubbed whiteness on her skin,
how lightness did not come,
but instead painful bumps and itchy rash
and tears in the mirror and her dad who said,
“Maybe that one was too strong. I will get you a gentler one.”
the girl who shook her head “No”
and accepted her darker fate…
kind of.

i would speak of that girl
who grew up with big titty-denial,
of the time her best friend pulled her to the side,
looked her in the eye
and told her “Your bra is too small.”
the girl who prayed and prayed for pubic hairs to grow,
who searched her mom’s medicinal herb books
for a recipe to start menses.
“Maybe if I drink a tea or take a vitamin,
blood will come and I’ll be a woman.”
blood came in its time
and so did boys
who ignored her face and got lost in her breasts.
as years went on,
they got lost in her booty, her hips.
more years went on
and they got lost in her smile, her eyes, her skin.
more years went on
and they got lost in her hair.
more years went on and they got lost in her “no”
that was too quiet.

i would speak of her insecurities
that helped men mold her like clay
into a woman who appeared strong with a mean face,
but crumbled like wet sand castles upon touch;
a woman who craved touch so much
that it hurt her
so she exchanged touch for God,
then back for touch,
then back for God,
then back for touch,
then traded it back for God,
and then back for touch,
and then back for more touch,
and then back for touch,
and then who was God?
there was only touch.
and then touch got too much
and then what was God?
and then touch fucked her up
and then where was God?
i mean “Who is God?”
i mean “What is God?”
i mean…”There is God!”
“Here is God!”
“Wait…where is God?”
i would speak of her questions
that rolled on and on,
her definitions that changed,
and how she got different,
but stayed the same.

if i could spit a never-ending poem,
i would speak of black womanhood,
of my own stories,
those of my sisters
and all the things we’ve seen,
felt, loved, cried over, laughed about,
screamed about,
of moments where death wasn’t near enough,
and then those times where love filled us up
but i’m afraid
time just isn’t enough,
our stories are too much,
my voice would dry up.

Advertisements

Old Me


i now sometimes wonder where
the old me went.
did she die a miserable death
to match her painful existence?
or does she live in my chest,
keeping my heart beating
through reminders of what she used to be?
or maybe she still lives in me,
a skinny, emaciated girl
underneath the skin of a woman
who smiles even when she’s sleeping now.

her tears keep me hydrated
and her scars only make me more beautiful.
her pain i wear like a necklace of rememberance,
perfect pearls all unique. wherever she went,
i’m happy she’s not as present
when i look in the mirror,
glad that when i dance now,
she’s not stepping on my feet.

she kisses my feet now,
washes them with tears
and absorbs the fluid in her afro hair.
she serves me
and is near,
perhaps closer than i think she is.

i think she is me–
only happy.


Evolution


i’m a woman but
you got me giggling like a little girl.
i can be hard but
i have softened,
silly putty in your hands.
your hands.
how profound that i got so used to my own,
forgot the sensation of fingertips
meeting the identity maps of others.
i remember.
i am honored.
i am giggling girl-woman-baby
smiling, cooing,
no longer pursuing
but caught.


Booty Love


is it me…or did the boys not really notice me
until i woke up one day
and had a big ol’ booty?
this booty redefined me,
took on a personality all her own,
had me thinkin i was grown
from all the words thrown at me
as a result of my popular anomaly.
once, a man “hee-hawed” as he walked behind me
until i used my small hands to cover up my “donkey”.
often called “phat” even though i was skinny
had me feeling like i was living a double life–
sexy on the outside, shy on the inside;
woman with curves that seduce and scream “Sex me!”
when really, i was just a little girl whispering:
“Protect me…Respect me…That’s not me.”
but this booty
has expanded to be more than just a distant relative.
i have grown to love her,
the sister i got from my Nigerian mother.
now both of us smile when necks turn to admire us
or when girls ask if we know any butt exercises
or when every pair of jeans we try on that fits our waist
can’t make it past all of this
because blessed we are
and forever we will be–
me, the young woman,
and my sister–
the booty.

booty-love


Girl-Woman-Child


creature with natural mother and father
thinks that she ought a discover
the outside world before she looks in the mirror
and sees she’s no longer
a girl, but a woman with wrinkles
and not enough experience
to call herself such.
she could have advanced farther,
but she takes risks too much,
throws 100 percent into the basket
like she’s strong rum,
fell in love hard but discovered
he was the wrong one.
or maybe she was just dumb
and if that’s the truth to be told,
where’s the dunce hat that won’t fit over her afro?
people ask her what’s wrong
and why her eyes shine,
but really she don’t know,
she’s unaware of what got her here,
as if pain gagged and blindfolded her,
walked her to the car and made her sit in the rear
and took a long drive
to a place far away and unknown
but traveling is needed to survive
and growth keeps a woman beautiful.
“are we there yet?” she asks
when she sees her heart break;
“are we there yet?” she wonders
when risks turn to mistakes.
“are we there yet?” she yells
when her frustration is replaced by hate
and “are we there yet?” she thinks
when she’s cold inside and outside.

young girl-woman-child,
hold your head high
cuz you’re still alive.


New Year’s Resolutions


i resolve
to be a woman.
i will not swoon from being called “beautiful.”
all i need to do is look in the mirror and it shows.
tell me something i don’t know.

i resolve to be a woman,
to let my “yes” be yes
and my “no” be no
and my “no” be “hell no”
if the hearer doesn’t show
thst they hear me
because i’ll be
a woman,
not a girl who acts without thinking
and who speaks without listening.

i resolve to be a woman,
one with estrogen and ovaries,
but i resolve
to grow a pair of balls,
both heavy and hairy
so that i will not choose to sit still
just because the future is scary.

i resolve
to resolve.
i resolve
to be.
i resolve to be a woman,
to be myself,
to be honest,
to be genuine,
to laugh loudly,
to cry fully,
to live with my suffering
because it’s part of being the woman
i resolve to be.


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.