Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “graduation

The Miracle of Inspiration


have you ever been so inspired that your body goes into shock?
like regular thought becomes as difficult as
a mandatory marathon to run right after
stuffing your face at Mickey D’s
and regardless of how hard you lift and drop your feet to
move miles away from the inspiration,
it chases you and reminds you to breathe
in and out the fresh air of new ideas.
ideas are like sewing machines,
systematically stitching together
the ripped up pieces of my life.
it’s simple–
that break-up was a zipper and
that trauma was a button and
graduating from college was a French seam,
a rare kind of luxuruy.

after receiving the aforementioned inspiration,
i came home to find that my diploma arrived that day–
evidence that after 6 years of undergrad,
i finally did graduate.
the diploma sat in a slim cylindirical cardboard cage
tightly locked by metal on both sides like a jail cell,
showing me that the things worth fighting for
are often attained by busting through doors.
my father pried at this almost impossible-to-open container
with a knife barely able to contain
his excitement
to witness firsthand the evidence
of his oldest daughter’s accomplishment.
he noted that he was more anxious than me
and worked carefully,
cutting around the metal circle on what he guessed was the up-side.
when he finally gets it open, he slides
the shiny thick piece of paper rolled up like a poster out
and begins to read each Old English font typed word out
loud.
his eyes tear up when he gets to the name
that he gave me almost 24 years before:
Farah Lolade Lawal,
which literally means
“Joy” “Wealth has come” “The first”
and i stop being stuck on my earlier inspiration.
then i realize that i am his inspiration
and that i am living out dreams he never could.
i too get excited about the piece of paper that was paid for
by thousands of dollars, tears and sleepless nights.
so reading in unison with my Daddy like we did when i was 5,
i begin to appreciate every letter, word, phrase and signature
and i vow on this night
to continue to reach for greatness,
to not only be inspired by others but
to be inspiration.


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.