Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “luxury

Living Conditions

sweet smells from candles are sometimes
all that keep me at peace.
i want so badly to explore,
to pick up and go
to a place where i know no one
and reinvent myself.
it would be fun and scary at the same time
but i have a feeling
that i better capitalize on this life
while it’s still mine
because Lord knows
one day i will run out of time.

i can’t live in regret.
it’s a roach-infested apartment in the projects.
the cable is cut off
and the basic four channels have static.
a broken wire hanger
that leaves humps in the shoulders of my sweaters
controls the reception and connection
to the outside world.
this sub-standard hell-hole
isn’t even rent-controlled
and the expenses grow
each and every month.
rats run through the hallways
as if the humans are intruding on their domain.

no one is really at home in this filthy place
so i know that if i have the space and time
to grab at these plans of mine,
i will.
i will use them as a rope like Rapunzel’s hair
to get as far away as possible
from the place of empty stares
where nobody knows your name
because there are no cheers.

i desire to live in a mansion of
“i had the balls to do it.”
there, rose petals grace each and every hallway;
the sheets are satin and the toilet is platinum.
music plays in every room and i am consumed
by joy.
my family is there so i’m never alone
and there is no fear.

the decision is clear!
i refuse to stomp roaches of regret
and think that it’s best
that i get the courage
to go after all the success
i truly deserve to get.

The Miracle of Inspiration

have you ever been so inspired that your body goes into shock?
like regular thought becomes as difficult as
a mandatory marathon to run right after
stuffing your face at Mickey D’s
and regardless of how hard you lift and drop your feet to
move miles away from the inspiration,
it chases you and reminds you to breathe
in and out the fresh air of new ideas.
ideas are like sewing machines,
systematically stitching together
the ripped up pieces of my life.
it’s simple–
that break-up was a zipper and
that trauma was a button and
graduating from college was a French seam,
a rare kind of luxuruy.

after receiving the aforementioned inspiration,
i came home to find that my diploma arrived that day–
evidence that after 6 years of undergrad,
i finally did graduate.
the diploma sat in a slim cylindirical cardboard cage
tightly locked by metal on both sides like a jail cell,
showing me that the things worth fighting for
are often attained by busting through doors.
my father pried at this almost impossible-to-open container
with a knife barely able to contain
his excitement
to witness firsthand the evidence
of his oldest daughter’s accomplishment.
he noted that he was more anxious than me
and worked carefully,
cutting around the metal circle on what he guessed was the up-side.
when he finally gets it open, he slides
the shiny thick piece of paper rolled up like a poster out
and begins to read each Old English font typed word out
his eyes tear up when he gets to the name
that he gave me almost 24 years before:
Farah Lolade Lawal,
which literally means
“Joy” “Wealth has come” “The first”
and i stop being stuck on my earlier inspiration.
then i realize that i am his inspiration
and that i am living out dreams he never could.
i too get excited about the piece of paper that was paid for
by thousands of dollars, tears and sleepless nights.
so reading in unison with my Daddy like we did when i was 5,
i begin to appreciate every letter, word, phrase and signature
and i vow on this night
to continue to reach for greatness,
to not only be inspired by others but
to be inspiration.