Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “hurt

Heart Kiss


if you gave me permission to kiss your heart,
not just the skin on your chest that protects it—
the pecs i’ve greeted with warm and greedy pecks
past the number if times deemed to be polite;
not just familiar and smooth brown skin,
but that deep and scary thing that lies within—
i’d first have to hide my embarrassing grin.

i’d tiptoe up to your beating red flesh nervously,
take note of your vulnerability
and marvel at the sight before me
and at how before this day, in blood,
i never saw beauty.
i’d check my breath and wipe my sweaty palms on my pants
before softly kissing it with parted lips and folded hands.

i would set up residence in all four of your chambers,
curl up and read the book of your soul,
highlight all the secrets you’re still afraid to tell me;
dog-ear the pages of your insecurities
French-kiss your pain and lick your wounds,
digest them to make them mine.

but they’re already mine.
you have unraveled the helixes of my DNA
and genetically altered and doubled us
into a four-strand cord impossible to break;
victimized my veins
and transformed them from kidnapped to kin;
taught me choreography to a rhythm once new
but now true.

boom-boom
boom-boom
boom-boom:
the pulse of
our hearts.
our kiss.
our love.


Broken Camera


broken camera,
you upset me more than you deserved to,
had me thinking that maybe you represent
everyone else who
didn’t earn my tears
but still got them;
people i put faith in
whose batteries would eventually die
and whose lenses would get stuck in the past,
never to open again;
love i thought was everlasting,
laughter i assumed would never end,
close strangers i called “best friends”
and every other instance
of disappointment.

they are like you,
enjoyable until after the warranty runs out
and on one random day, they just conk out
and there’s nothing left i could do
but get upset and move on,
then replace them,
forget what i learned,
only to get hurt again.

maybe i should re-evaluate
who and what
i put my trust in.


I May Get Lonely Sometimes


i may get lonely sometimes,
question the love of those around me,
long for the feeling of arms around me–
circling, grasping, speaking in the form of squeezing
and making me feel safe in this dangerous world.
but i’m not alone.

i have known alone,
moved into a room in her home,
making my bed every morning
until i was evicted by joy,
pulled out kicking and screaming by love,
and left on the street disappointed by the affirmation
that at times,
i will be lonely
even when i am surrounded by love
from those around me.

you see,
loneliness doesn’t depend on the outside conditions.
loneliness is birthed when a piece of your heart is missing.
beats don’t occur at the same time rhythm
and if you stay there long enough,
you become a victim.

i may get lonely sometimes,
even cry sometimes
and i’ve wept sometimes
and i’ve wanted to die sometimes
but the love that i feel at times
make all those feelings a waste of time,
make me feel like if i just had some time
to count all the times
where i received love i didn’t deserve,
was reminded of my self-worth,
succeeded when life didn’t seem to work
and healed beautifully from pain that hurt me,
then lonely wouldn’t even be
an issue.

i may get lonely sometimes,
but i am filled with love that pushes out emotion
and shines light on truth like
being lonely gives me time to think
and being lonely lets me discover me
and being lonely makes me appreciate company
and laughter and life and love
even more.

so here is to my lonely sometimes.
you will not hold me down this time.
love will prevail
and so will i.


Which One Am I?


why do fools fall in love?
and since i refuse to do the above,
does that make me wise?

if so, at times i wish i would be brave enough
to be a fool again,
to take risks with the chance of falling on my face,
to have another opportunity to make beautiful mistakes
and memories that keep me awake
because sleep could never compete
with the dream i’d be living.

why do fools fall in love?
and since i refuse to do the above,
does that make me wise?

perhaps if wise also means burned
and fearful
and doubtful of the possibility.
i will be wise for the rest of my life
it means no one could hurt me;
even if it leaves me solitary,
gaining excitement solely from following stars in the night,
pushing me toward what i know is right
and ignoring all that might
take me out of my knowledge
and consume me with the most nonsensical emotion
to ever exist.

i’m too young to be wise
yet too hurt to be a fool;
too scared to be in love,
yet too optimistic to be cynical.
i am neither of the two–
swimming between both islands of maturity,
hoping that by the time the land touches my feet,
i will be comfortable where i am
and just be.


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.


Their Fingers


their fingers range in colors
like shades of lipstick at a M.A.C. counter
and each tried to count her tears
but fell asleep with puddles of misery
seeping in her ears
and when they awoke with matted hair
stuck to the sides of their faces,
they realized that memory doesn’t erase itself
but only is kind and rewinds for new days of reliving
that which women wish were forgotten.
you should see their fingers…
some blackened by lighter flames,
some blistered by working many days, and some so soft,
you’d think they never worked a day in their life.
they use their fingers in many ways,
to touch the skin on their own bodies
or to point them at thieves who tried to reprogram their use
to only hush their own concerns and stay folded and numb.
their fingers are beautiful
but afraid to reach out because reaching out
sometimes results in someone pushing in;
being nice sometimes results in violation
and sometimes tips of fingers get bitten so that they are ineffective
and can’t redial the police when necessary
or wave together at bystanders who could offer assistance.
their fingers sometimes get limp
but are able to dance late at night when sleep should dominate
and able to scratch and sniff good times
and magic erase tragedy and blur together evenly
so that fingers make up women survivors who learn to smile again
and band again and move again
and be again and be even more than
just fingers
but whole persons, complete humans
ranging in shades to create
a beautiful prism of survivors
of pain.


I Used to Pray


i swear i used to pray daily
but then one evening before i went to sleep,
i stood up and saw that the skin on my knees
was crackly like sandpaper.
so i stopped stooping down so far to the ground
and prayed laying down
but i would be traveling to far away towns of REM sleep
before i would even complete thoughts
or say “Amen”
and then
i’d be awake and what i wanted to ask for would not be.
it’s been so long that i’m scared God won’t wanna hear from me
like he’ll find my voice ugly
or unrecognizable and tell me i dialed the wrong number
that i should try again and next time call my selfishness
and if she hangs up,
reach out to my cynicism
and get on three-way with my doubt
and click over and talk to vulgarity
because she is always on the other line.
i stay up for hours every night talking on the phone
to the identities of mine that have made a home
in my psyche.
i’ve sent eviction notices but they won’t leave,
tormenting my every steps
and i never know what will come next
and all the fighting leaves me perplexed
and unable to bend down to my knees again
for wanting to avoid the experience
of hurting myself by hoping
for the uncertain.