Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “lesson

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.


Just Do the Math


when it comes to love,
there is simplicity.
in the past, i have made it so complicated
when really it’s arithmetic
like 1 times 3
rather than the square route of infinity.
it’s just that i’ve been taught
that things of worth are hard to earn,
so when love seem too easy,
i make the cruise-controlled vehicle turn
with mean words
and inconsiderate actions
and forget my simple math
and skip ahead to long division and fractions.


I Can Teach People


*Written July 1, 2008*

i’m so scared to open up my mouth and speak
i guess for fear of the responsibility that comes with using my words.
words are so strong and so powerful
and i’m afraid of misusing them, of abusing them
of them being weapons of mass destruction in an effort to just provide instruction
or at least inclusion into the mass of thoughts in my head that run
cuz for real, who am i to be teaching anyone?
my areas of expertise are sheisty at the least:
i can show someone how to fall, get up, and fall again,
i can show others how to lose touch with close friends,
i can teach others to put themselves in dangerous situations
and have to learn things the hard way,
i can teach people how to live with pain,
i can teach people how to run from dreams,
i can teach people to put up fronts to convince others
that they are really as happy as they seem,
i can teach people to be numb,
i can teach people to play dumb,
i can teach people to love,
i can teach people to trust,
i can teach people to express,
i can teach people to digest,
i can teach people to accept tests,
i can teach people that they really are blessed,
after examining this list, maybe i am kind of equipped.
i just want my tongue to be an impetus for growth and not an invitation to diversion.
i want my tongue to be medicine for brokenness and ointment for hurting.
i want my tongue to be an extension of God, evidence of His miracles and truth.
it’s done so much damage in the past–
broken hearts, cut people it claimed to care about
but now i want my tongue to represent a voice that represents my choice
to love, to build, to change, to teach
and to speak.