Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “hair

You Fill Me


you fill me,
not in that literal way
of pitcher pouring into tall glass
to form condensation on the outside,
but in that spiritual way
of your heart pouring into mine
to form radiance of skin,
showing of teeth,
growing of hair,
confidence that shouts to strangers
that i am loved enough at home
to need anything from them.

i never knew a man who made my hair grow,
whose soul glowed and became B complex
to make my life much less so;
i never knew a man who laughed at my jokes so hard
that tears filled his eyes,
a man who knew all of me,
from the low dark corners i don’t want anyone to see
up to the vision of who i’d like to be
and loves each part equally,
but you,
you fill me.

i was complete before,
but with you i overflow,
always grow,
always know
that i am full.

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My Hair Is


my hair is amorphous,
without form, rhyme, or reason.
my hair hates politics–
she’s been duped one too many times by extremists
so now she’s independent–
tickling my back when she feels like it;
exposing my scalp to sun and air when summer hits;
kinky and free,
straight and demure,
curly and flirty,
she is me.

and i wish someone would dare tell me or her how to be!

my hair is expression,
escaping when i can’t.
and i love that.


Poetic Conversation


Once in a while, I will become engaged in a poetry conversation with a friend (usually initiated by me, lol).  I LOVE when this happens because it keeps me on my toes and allows me  to be inspired by other artists.  I am currently in conversation with a talented brother of mine, Under_Score.  I’m posting my most recent response to him, but you can check it out on his blog (in the comments section) by clicking here.  Enjoy!

helplessly hoping that
the intangibility of nature
will make itself surface as real:
dead skin cells once invisible
appear, shed and reveal
where my eyes have landed,
lived
and created futures imagined–
perfect.
complete.
cool minty breath in summer heat
show water reflections of
growing vulnerability,
still then shaking,
blowing in wind that hugs corners
and causes drafts through doorways
to the flame of my desire.
to be a hair follicle under the skin
of his shaved chin
would bring me close to him
as i sprout out
and get closer to his mouth
through a subtle kiss.
and what of rain?
cloudy skies to mask tears of mine
shed from heartbreak and love,
making my hair and heart curl up,
filling me so love never dries up,
just becomes a well for
mosquitoes
and other life and such.
biting, short-lived
but always breeding,
being, completing
a circle of life lived
rythmically
and beyond my control.


Life as Hair


i like the freedom that comes from changing my hair.
i went from afro
to short relaxed
to boy cut
in a span of three months
and wish that i had enough bravery
to change things outside of me
that had more impact
than outgrowth from my skin.

what if i could cut off unhappy situations
and let stress dye
black then part orange
then whatever color my next whim desires?
what if i put chemicals on my sadness
until they turned straight and burned like fire?

what if my life was hair?
would i take care of it
or spray products on it for a quick fix?
this oil sheen is actually
the job i meant to leave a year ago
and this pomade is the pay raise i was expecting
that never came.
this shea butter is the love that comes from my mother
and this comb is the tough pulling feeling
that comes from wanting to leave home.
and when i run my fingers through it,
there is love.
i relish at what grows out of me naturally,
choosing to be content in whatever state
or texture
i choose or am forced for it
to be.


Video of Me Performing “Exotic Beauty”


Hi everyone!  Here is another video of me performing.  This is my poem, “Exotic Beauty” (click here to read the poem) at an event in Washington, D.C. I did last week called “Women, Words, and Power!” (done in association with The Essential Theatre).  I was one of nine female spoken word artists who performed.

I’ll warn you that the video quality isn’t great, but hey… 🙂 Enjoy!


Exotic Beauty


handsome white guy
with the nice smile and brown eyes–
oh how you surprised me
when you told me
you liked my my body.
you explained to me how you’d
never been with a black girl sexually
and asked if you could get down with me
and i was like…
“seriously?”

you want me
not for me
but what i represent:
exotic beauty.
so after our conversation
(which ended abruptly after your sexual solicitation),
i wondered what would have become of our relations
if i would have succumbed to your fantasy
and thought for a moment that it’d be kind of fun to become
what it is you want of me.

i am your exotic beauty.
my eyes are precious stones for you to appraise
with the magnifying glass of your mind.
lose yourself in the kinks of my hair
as you try to count the innumerable strands.
then take your hands
and trace the contours of my cheekbones,
moving inward to the peak of my nose
and down to the lusciousness of my lips.
close your eyes and wish for an exotic kiss
from yours truly,
your exotic beauty.
tickle my brown skin softly with the tips of your fingers,
grazing my flesh slowly and allowing your touch to linger
on the abundance of my breasts, the wideness
of my hips, the roundness
of my behind, the thickness
of my thighs
and experience the fullness of my foreignness.
just stop and stare for a while until i
get uncomfortable because i have never been looked at
like that,
never been put on display
in such a way.
i’m used to being an around-the-way girl
and to you, i am something special,
someone to be desired and pursued secretly,
an exotic beauty.
request dances from me
and i’ll sashay my sexy silhouette your way
and spread my smile and my legs with flexibility.
take me, love me,
touch me, see me,
want me.
i am yours–an exotic beauty.
i am no longer human, but property,
a resident in your world of fantasy
that you carefully consider making a reality
just so you can really see how it would be
to conquer me.
my blackness is dangerous and exciting,
scary yet inviting you to
request a piece of my dark meat,
to be honest with me about your curiosity
to the point that in your effort to confess,
you devalue me–
simplifying my existence to mere ideas and notions
and taking for granted that i am a woman,
i have a brain,
i have intelligent thoughts and words to relay
and that my body is not the defining factor
of me.
but to you,
i am only
an exotic beauty.


Back in Time (Revised 7-16-08)


why can’t rain be cotton candy
and thunder be gumdrops
and clouds be licorice
and lightning be lollipops?
i just want to stick out my tongue and be pleased
i just want to eat sweets
but i don’t want the rain,
i don’t want the insane and i don’t want
the mundane i just
want.
there’s a blank following that statement
because the blank represents
that which i do not know.
i wish i could grow
as quickly as my hair
but with each five minutes added to blow-drying
i find myself crying
and upset over the same things.
people talk about life and the joy it brings
but all i can think about is me and the song i want to sing.

am i selfish?
if i am, i can’t help it.
i spent so much of my life neglecting me
that sometimes
i walk past mirrors and ask
“who is she?”
and then i look back
and observe parts of myself i never knew were there.
you know those dreams when you’re naked
or standing in your underwear
while everyone around you is covered?
i feel that bare when i’m awake in front of others,
maybe overexposed to past lovers,
or maybe still hurt by betrayal from past brothers
or sisters or friends
but the innocence in me has gone
and it takes a while before i can play pretend again.

i wish i were five, i wish i were truly alive,
not just on auto-pilot like a drunk pilot
who gives announcements without thinking
or considering the lives he’s risking.
let’s pretend!
let’s play on the monkey bars,
let’s even roll in the dirt
and wear down our jeans at the knees.
mama might get mad but she’ll understand
that it’s normal for children to play freeze tag.
chase me without the intent of hurting me.

let’s hide and go seek our identities,
our own persons,
find ourselves and tap them on the shoulder
and shout “you’re it!” to make them real.
let’s engage with our future selves–
stare them in the face and admire the bumps and bruises,
admire the smoothness
in places that are rough now,
and the sagging
in places that are firm now,
and the wisdom
from things that are learned now.

life is kind of serious sometimes
maybe that’s why it’s hard
to locate my childhood mind
i wish i could press rewind
and reverse and stay
back in time.