Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “money

To Paint Humanity


*Written July 6, 2008*

i had a dream that God told me to paint humanity–
take my life and use it as an instrument
to capture all the colors of his children,
so i start this mission with me:
i explore the deepest blacks of my people,
the darkness of drum beats and culture coursing through my veins,
the brown of skin that is smooth and strong,
the purple of pride from my ancestors that in me remains,
the blue of depression, lost plans, loneliness, and failure,
the green of envy, peace, hunger for money, and nature,
the yellow of the consistent sun, joy, and energy,
the orange of the warmth that only comes from family,
the red of blood, passion, and rage,
the white of the oppressors who tried to kill my race.
my life is a paintbrush
searching the in-between hues of personalities,
the value of words,
the pigment of emotions,
dipping into the water of my tears
until everything becomes one color and runs together…
truth, lies, joy, sadness, laughter, confusion
all co-mingle in the bucket of my body
mixing with one another so that at times, i forget what i’m painting.
i realize that all of my colors are interconnected,
deriving from the same three primaries
while i’m a painter staring at a blank canvas
trying my hardest to determine
the formula of documenting and sharing,
of composing and communicating just what it is that makes
life.

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Job Interview


*Written July 2, 2008*

forced to hide a part of my identity as if i had a deadly disease,
i smile, divert subjects that would lead to a litany of lists
of how that passion really is my life.
but let me quiet that and explain just how much i am excited to be here,
how suited i am for this job,
pretend as if a crucial part of my life doesn’t matter
cuz no one really wants to hire an actor.
the stigma of instability and lack of dedication is attached to this profession,
so inevitably i will hear the question:
“If you’re presented with an acting opportunity that would
conflict with this job, which would you choose?”
now if presented with the opportunity to get paid for my art,
see the world, and change lives
or sit in a dusty cubicle staring at a computer screen all day,
and counting down the hours til i get off at five
it’s obvious which way i would sway
but the fact of the matter is that today
i need this job.
i need to pay these bills,
i need my independence,
i need to move out of my parents’ place one day
so if i have to slave for the man for a while and sit and smile
while that voice in my head tellin me i’m an actor is mumbling,
i remind it that you need money to keep your stomach from rumbling
cuz money makes the world go round
and until that day when money is no longer a factor,
i’ll sit and fake and gloss over the fact that i really am an
actor.