Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “light

Never-Ending Poem


if i could spit a never-ending poem,
i would speak of black womanhood–
of a little girl whose dark-skinned father
looked at his dark-skinned seed and told her
that there’s a secret to erasing their skin:
“Here, wear this cream and the blackness will go away.
Boys will like you more and jobs will open doors
and people will let you in with smiles.”
i would speak of that little girl-child,
how she listened to her father
and observed her light-skinned, beautiful mother
and rubbed whiteness on her skin,
how lightness did not come,
but instead painful bumps and itchy rash
and tears in the mirror and her dad who said,
“Maybe that one was too strong. I will get you a gentler one.”
the girl who shook her head “No”
and accepted her darker fate…
kind of.

i would speak of that girl
who grew up with big titty-denial,
of the time her best friend pulled her to the side,
looked her in the eye
and told her “Your bra is too small.”
the girl who prayed and prayed for pubic hairs to grow,
who searched her mom’s medicinal herb books
for a recipe to start menses.
“Maybe if I drink a tea or take a vitamin,
blood will come and I’ll be a woman.”
blood came in its time
and so did boys
who ignored her face and got lost in her breasts.
as years went on,
they got lost in her booty, her hips.
more years went on
and they got lost in her smile, her eyes, her skin.
more years went on
and they got lost in her hair.
more years went on and they got lost in her “no”
that was too quiet.

i would speak of her insecurities
that helped men mold her like clay
into a woman who appeared strong with a mean face,
but crumbled like wet sand castles upon touch;
a woman who craved touch so much
that it hurt her
so she exchanged touch for God,
then back for touch,
then back for God,
then back for touch,
then traded it back for God,
and then back for touch,
and then back for more touch,
and then back for touch,
and then who was God?
there was only touch.
and then touch got too much
and then what was God?
and then touch fucked her up
and then where was God?
i mean “Who is God?”
i mean “What is God?”
i mean…”There is God!”
“Here is God!”
“Wait…where is God?”
i would speak of her questions
that rolled on and on,
her definitions that changed,
and how she got different,
but stayed the same.

if i could spit a never-ending poem,
i would speak of black womanhood,
of my own stories,
those of my sisters
and all the things we’ve seen,
felt, loved, cried over, laughed about,
screamed about,
of moments where death wasn’t near enough,
and then those times where love filled us up
but i’m afraid
time just isn’t enough,
our stories are too much,
my voice would dry up.

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Fireflies


i wish i could take
the sensuous gravity of this night
in my hands and place it softly inside a clear jar
to keep for our remembrance.
we innocently brush one another like fireflies.
i cautiously beg you to look at my light
and i flicker in ways i thought were shut off.
let’s not let our air supply get cut off.
this jar has holes cut in its lid;
hopefully reality still finds its way in
so that we invite our brains into our hearts’ decisions.
this encasement, although small,
does not feel like prison,
but freedom.
free me as you hold me,
hold me,
hold me,
and when it’s time to let go,
do so
and let me fly
until we meet again,
my more than friend.fireflies


The Peace Eclipse


i saw an orange moon tonight
and something within me got memorized like
the moon symbolized hope.
at first i thought it was the sun,
about to set and disappear into the sky
but when i realized
it was the moon hanging low,
i felt different inside.

something about brightness in the middle of darkness
shows me that even in the darkness
of my mental situation,
even in the instability of my choice of occupation,
even in the fact that i want sunshine and life is still raining,
there is light.

there is peace that surrounds me no matter where i drive.
i look up and it’s in front of me.
i speed off and it’s behind me.
i go left and it’s beside me.
peace that’s eternal, not just nocturnal like the moon,
not here for a few days and then there’s change
like the lunar cycle, but
something in rare form
like actually being present to watch a caterpillar transform
into a butterfly,
like a concert without sound
or like truly making mama proud,
it feels as if the clouds
over my head just dissipated.

i’ve anticipated
peace
for a long time
and perhaps if i could look up
and see an orange moon on a tired night,
maybe peace is not too far away
because i just got a glimpse of what it looks like today.
i just hope it won’t shift like this eclipse,
that it won’t be a singular occurrence
in the pages of my life
or something i can only achieve
in the poems that i write
because i need it in my mind, in my words, and in my thoughts.
i need peace to envelop me like nectar on tree bark,
sticking to my heart
and rubbing off on whoever i touch.

i need peace so much
that you can just call me Middle East,
you can just call me ghetto streets,
you can just call me New York City police.
i only want drama on the stage these days–
i want the inner tragedies, satires and farces to go far away,
for them to be so drastically removed
that i’m naked enough for my skin to touch
the cool calm breeze
accompanied
by a leisurely drive
and an orange moon in the sky
that on this night
equaled
peace.