Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “journey

Traveling


today, a well-traveled friend told me
that she thinks the journey
is just as important as the destination.
i hate the journey most times.
i hate arriving at airports,
checking bags,
slow security,
stinky restrooms,
germy strangers,
stuffy planes,
recycled air,
worn seats,
heart racing
before i fly and say goodbye
to home.

but once i am in the air,
those feelings subside a little
as i look out and enjoy the sky,
happily wait for my half cup of ginger ale
and slightly stale cookies.
i enjoy looking at the calm that comes over most faces
before lulling off into a light sleep
as thoughts of the exciting places they’ll go,
the people they will see,
the business they will attend to,
the family member or friend they will bury,
the food they will eat,
being able to be on their feet
and live another day on this earth
take over and travel along with them.

it’s funny that the landing part
is somehow easier.
i do brace myself upon the descent,
spend about three seconds not breathing
as the plane touches ground,
but i can’t help a smile coming across my lips
when i realize that i am where i intended to be
and that it would be impossible to get there
without a journey,
without deciding to pick up and leave,
without facing discomfort for a few moments,
without trusting
that it will be all worth it in the end.

Advertisements

Pointing Fingers


pointing-fingersif one day God had to point his
larger than life finger
at the group of his creations
that he considered to be
the weak,
who would they be?

i would hope not me…

i would pray through whispers in his ears
that he would see
all he has allowed my back to bear.
like two full buckets of water
tied to a broomstick of over my shoulders,
i have done slave labor through pains
with each year i have grown older.
i’ve got a tree on my back from the plantation of life
and it branches out in the weirdest ways, like
how i laugh at things that didn’t used to be funny
and how i get used to postponed plans
due to lack of money
and how the only green on my leaves
stems from envy of those
who dare to move beyond the scars of trees.

actually,
God better not point that finger at me
because my strength is what has allowed me to be
where i am right now.
i think back to how i never thought i’d reach right now
and how i’ve mud wrestled with demons
who try to break me down.
even when the wet sticky dirt gets slung in my eyes,
i rub them and see past hopelessness,
let the stinging tears fall
as i envision all of my journey–
cobblestoned and unpaved,
slick and wet like unfinished cement
and full of more potholes and speed bumps
than i’d choose to drive over
and just when i thought it was over…

i feel fingers pointing at me

but they’re not from God..
they’re scrawny and dirty under the nails
and they come from the hands of this girl
named myself
who is trying to figure out her dwelling place
on the barometer of the weak,
not seeing that she doesn’t even fit
into this cage of mercury…

i burst past thermometer meters
because my hotness reaches temperatures
higher than hell during code red weather with
one million people dancing and vibing together while
all shouting at the same time with
sweat rolling down their backs
and they’re all wearing black.
i’m strong like every single mother
who has been disappointed but still takes care of home,
like the person on their deathbed
who pulls through and lives on,
like the girl in the mirror who asks a silly question,
hoping for confirmation that
God isn’t pointing fingers
but wrapping arms,
shielding me from my own extremities
that mean to do me harm.



A Different Kind of Lovemaking


i’m so aloof about this love thing.
something has shut off in me–
i only care about sex in this regard:
as a release
and honestly,
i can provide that for myself.
i’m stressed, i play, i release
and then i move on
or go to sleep.
it’s that simple these days.
and if i need to connect,
i phone a friend or watch a good movie,
write a few poems and enjoy being home.
i go outside and breath in nature
and enjoy the softest, gentlest, most loving touch there is.
the air was always there,
but i never noticed.
the flowers and trees were always alive
but went unappreciated.
now i make love to mother earth
as if it were a sin
and it’s more beautiful than whatever it was
that i was doing with men.
and she doesn’t just take,
she gives me gifts back
like beautiful birds and rain
and sunshine and breeze on my back.
i searched for the joy that comes from all of these things
through habits and vices and actions that caused pain,
but after that long journey,
my advise for everybody
is to value the world around you.
hold it close within your reach
and extend yourself to receive it all.
love all
and above all,
love yourself.


If You Could See


she said she wished she could be me for a day
and i thought, “honey…
if you could see what was really in my heart,
it would break yours.”

i am not who they think i am.

things are not always what they seem
and though i’m not a thing, but a mere human being,
this cliche somehow applies to me.
i grip me so tight
that my fingers don’t feel right no more.
they are too numb to even fight for more.
the little bones have been cracked
from holding out my heart on my hands
and offering it to the finest bidder,
auctioning off my soul and body
so that my tiny self-concept could grow bigger.

after malnourishment and gluttony all intertwined,
i determined for me that i will no longer
give away my mind.
i used to be kind
but now i offer very little assistance to those in need
because i am afraid that consumed by greed,
they’ll grab at my possessions
with all their strength
and make me feel misused again.
so now i got me
in the pockets of my tight jeans.
i hug my own curves and trust my own touch.
foreign fingers and feelings at this time
are just too much.

so if you still feel inclined to take a journey through my mind,
enter the horrors and smiles left behind,
climb the caves of  laughter caught in my throat,
cover your ears when you hear my agony note.
and on your last day,
rip through my flesh and find
those bones in my pelvis that used to relax and unwind.
and as you depart,
watch your step
so that next time, you won’t regret
wishing to live in my skin
and hopefully i won’t either
and i’ll come back again.


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.


Night Journeys


i learned a long time ago
to not get my hopes up
when i have dreams
about men.
what i see in my sleep
always seems to negate reality,
tricks me into pondering possibilities
of relationships that will never be.
my dreams make a fool of me,
bringing to life my innermost desires,
thoughts that remain unspoken.
they are like gossiping, so-called friends
who pretend
to be confidants
only to get the goods on me.
these night journeys are no good for me.
maybe tonight i’ll move one step ahead
and refuse to go to bed,
let my eyes get heavy with hunger for sleep
while inwardly finally feeling
peace.