Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “imagination

Shadows


when i was a little girl,
i was not afraid of the dark,
but of shadows.
cluttered closet in Mama’s room
influenced the curious mind of a girl
too soon scared of the unknown.

i saw witches,
evil ones with big noses
and if i closed my eyes for long enough,
i could kind of hear them cackling.
maybe they concocted brews
and poured them into my orifices
once my restless eyes were rescued by sleep.

that is the only reason i can think of
as to why twenty years later,
shadows in my cluttered bedroom
make me turn on night lights.
shadows turn into figures in my overactive sight
and figures transform into men
lurking on the corners of my memory.
only this night,
i win.
i will sleep.

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I Feel Like Fighting


i feel like fighting but all i got
is fingers for writing.
they move to formulate melodic phrases,
but when it comes to making fists
and swinging on enemies,
they are loose branches on an uprooted tree.
how can individual fingers be soldiers?
i know my middle ones are as i raise them in the air
whenever the feeling hits me.
but what about the pinky?
can this extremity that can’t do anything on it’s own
make a difference in this war?
can my opposable thumbs oppose the force
that attempts to squeeze me in?
can the finger for my ring
bring about the independence
i have been waiting for impatiently?
i don’t think these wishes are for me
because i write stories
but still haven’t found the characters or plot to set me free.
i am still imprisoned by ideas that are afraid to leave
the comfy living room of my imagination
for fear of cold cemented floors
and no doors to open.
me and my fingers keep hoping
for better days, for hours when fighting
won’t dominate our desires
because the water to put out the fire
burning my chest will be abundant
so my soul will finally be at rest.


The Kiss Space


the kiss space
is a warm one.
code orange with uncertainty of when
the temperature will cool;
the questioning of
if this feeling is being experienced
only by you.
magnets pull in the form of lips and hearts,
testing the charge from afar
as imaginations interact
and whisper into one another’s ears.
the kiss space
is its own atmosphere,
planets spinning in unique orbits of feelings
with suns of lust and moons of attraction.
galaxies form with the possibility of action.
but when the desiring parties get scared and don’t try,
solar systems die–
they disappear just as quickly as they came,
dry up without a trace like summer rain,
burn the brain because
a missed opportunity remains
where a kiss never takes place
and all that’s left is
an empty space.


The Naked Truth


naked as the day i was born,
i am alone.
there is no one to touch and play
and most times when i’m clothed i say
that this is ok.
but as i lay in my cotton sheets in the buff,
i know that my solitary existence is not enough.
i feel like doing a dance,
not one i can do all by myself.
with this choreography,
i’ll need a little help.
when i put my feet down here
and my knees out there,
you groove your movement
to make sure the dance floor is clear.
then we will find the tempo and key
of our soundtrack.
i believe it begins
in the falling and rising
of the small of my back,
the beat can be found in the rocking of my hips
and the melody lives in the curve of my lips.
our ballroom dancing is like none other
because it a dance that occurs in no other place
than my idle imagination.
others do this dance,
but not me.
i move alone and trust nobody
to two step with me.
my nudity is no longer a performance
but a mode of relaxation,
devoid of the sensation
of movement penetration.
i have dancing shoes in my closet but
won’t put them on.
hopefully by the time i do,
they’ll be playing my song.


Survival


every day i walk miles and miles.
my legs have seen more hills
and my feet have stubbed more toes on sidewalks
than i can recount. if i had to count,
estimate how many miles i ambulate,
i’d have to confess that most of my traveling time
is spent inside of my mind.
i may sit in a cubicle from monday thru friday
but my imagination flies through van gogh’s starry nights
and lands on romare bearden’s collages.
it stretches and contorts like salvador dali’s objects
and tries to remain sleek like the art deco movement
but it’s too rough around the edges to be modern,
too complex to be described by a simple period in time.
this mind is stronger than my muscular calves, which have ached
from the toll of rushing, tried to look too cool for running,
but settling on moving briskly, avoiding
those who choose to waste their days moving at a slow pace,
burning from the fear of always running late.
i look at these thick legs, scars and all
which each have stories of their own
and contemplate how much stronger
my brain must be.
yes, it is bruised by memories
but those same sources of pain have caused it
to become capable of dealing with any and everything,
expansive enough to see the past, present,
and future
and worldly enough to whisk itself away
on new journeys that arise and never cease to surprise
as the feet on my body and on the sidewalks of my mind
travel for miles in order to survive
each hectic day.


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.


Live in a Poem


i wish i could live in a poem.
wouldn’t it be cool for life to flow to a smooth rhythm
where word play could translate into laughter and
word choice would dictate just the level of happy that
you could potentially reach every single moment of every single day?
each time you alliterate you would illuminate
a fresh new idea.
every letter used in each stanza could help you dominate
and with each syllable, synonym, antonym or homonym,
you could levitate.

you could simile smile
as people around you inquire “Metaphor?”
and you can personify
that after laboriously looming in a long line for the loo for lingering moments that seemed like eternity,
you purposely onomatopéia’d your pants in front of everybody
and it feels
AWESOME!

nouns would represent loved ones and
adjectives would equal fun and
for every punctuation mark used, you would get a kiss.
rhymes would mean impromptu trips
to the land of free and
double entrendres would demand that you get two scoops of ice cream.
verbs would reify daydreams
and adverbs would be your favorite movies
looping in conjunction junction
with your favorite songs on a never-ending playlist with no repeats.

whatever tones set in the poem would indicate your moods,
but not to worry–
this life creates beauty even out of blue.
and here, tears are valued and glorified,
which basically means that you can rejoice and shout “Hallelujah!”
every single time you cry.
life will become oxymorons and parodoxes busting out of boxes
and reaching truth as each moment passes
the next.

life as poetry in motion
would be like a vacation
where you get to see exotic animals, mountains, beach and the ocean,
where you could hopscotch from one continent to the next,
simultaneously experiencing the cultures of Nigeria, Greece, and Tibet
and the coolest thing of all is that
you don’t have to spend any money or even go anywhere,
you just have to open up your mind, eyes, and ears,
ride the wavelengths of your imagination and fantasies
and from there
you’ll see
that life really is a poem
if you allow it to be.