Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “peace

Healthy Bulimia

fresh acid burning in the back of my throat,
darkening my teeth
and freeing that stabbing feeling
in the pit of my stomach,
i purge all that is negative
out of me.
i used to look at bitterness and anger and self loathing
and pain and pity
and say desperately, “feed me”
but i’ve found new food today.
tears of joy and peace as toxins release
and when i breathe,
i am a new person.

the world is so different now.

i didn’t know i was viewing life through dirty eyeglasses,
mistaking danger for greener pastures.
now i see what i was missing.
i am emptying,
slowly but surely
and in the future,
i see me happy
and dancing like no one is looking,
living like everyone is looking,
and free
to not care either way.

If This Is

beauty meets tears
and invites them to a dance with steps
only memorized by the magnificent.
if this is history,
then i wonder what tomorrow will feel like.
if this is reality,
then how peaceful will my dreams be
when i close my eyes tonight?
if this is joy,
then i cannot wait to experience love.
the thought of it gives me goosebumps and fear
because my heart is already swollen
with pride.
it beats louder than ever.
i am alive again.
i didn’t even know i was sleepwalking
until now i have experienced
real life–
the emotion, the struggle, the achievements
and all that could happen
by just believing.
overwhelmed i am
so blessed i am
here i am
breathing, feeling,
being, existing,
growing, changing,

i thought God was absent
so i could only imagine
how great would His presence would feel like.

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.

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

The Destruction

it’s gonna kill me
but still i can’t see
not having it in my life.
every time
i break out in hives,
i ignore my body’s signs.
today i sneezed and felt
a torturing tightness
in my chest.
i wanted to call for help
but didn’t want to confess
my negligence.

my body
no longer feels like mine.
my skin
belongs to someone i don’t know
and even my breath doesn’t flow
the way it used to.
i’m used to
not following through
but now i see the clues
right before me
and refuse to solve the puzzle.

i don’t want to buy a vowel because i know
that O-
bedience is better than sacrifice
and i’m wondering if now i’m paying the price
that is right for my rebellion.
i wonder if my pain is punishment
because this stings
more than anything.

how long can i risk
my health?
how long i can remain
a prodigal daughter lying to herself,
running from what nourishes her
and continuing to feed on what destroys her?

i’ve had fun in this party of mine
and threw out my royal oats
in exchange for pieces of swine
paid for by peace of mind.
my mind tells me to move
but a nagging voice says “Stay still.”
my body questions how long
i’ll be able to feel
this way
before i become the sole employee
of a sweat shop run by a corporation devoted to the
complete and utter destruction
of me.

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
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
by a leisurely drive
and an orange moon in the sky
that on this night

Vegetarian (Revised 7-9-08)

i was a vegetarian for 7 days,
walked around on a high,
bragged about the 5
pounds i lost,
the extra pep in my step in the mornings
and my glow that was noticeable to strangers.
but after those 7 days,
nourishment left
my body.
i was no longer fulfilled
because the food that i needed to fill
my belly
was not vegetables but
peace left so much that i needed a piece of a peace pill
just to make it through the day
and a whole of the peace pill so i could be sure i’d sleep the night away.
vegetables no longer sufficed.
i was hanging on strings like a marionette
head bobbing, soul vacant,
arms moving one way and legs moving another,
disconnected and needing to be pulled together
and still
no energy.

the vegetables were so good!
they gave me leverage and confidence in a
society that is fast food-fried, overrated and hydrogenated
but my nature was gone.
i was forced to turn processed because life is a process and i am in process and
i see little progress
just objects
that are normal to most people but affect
books are too much, life is too much,
screens are too much, looks are too much,
closeness is too much, rain is too much,
truth is too much,
i tremble at accidental touch.
i need more peace.

my diet
was adjusted,
my daily life
without warning.
if there was a sign to tell me that i would experience such things
i would have bucked a U,
avoided U
made an illegal turn to
get the hell up out of dodge from hell
but it was too late.
i got sucked
into suffering shivering solitude
scrutiny examinations hollow moods
and for what?

i was a vegetarian for 7 times 7 days,
then i became a pescatarian
because it was supposedly time to celebrate
but despite the cards and family and gown,
i did not graduate
from this experience.
they say experience
is the best teacher
so please, if you happen to see her,
tap her on the shoulder and tell her she’s out of control.
tell her i’m reporting her to the Board of Education because
i was a child left behind in the cold.
i was still shaken or maybe stirred
but somehow things got a little brighter.
i let love lead me
but less vegetables feed me
imaginary peace fooled me
and the quest to move on ruled me
i had to prove to everyone and me
that i had made it,
that i was strong,
but little did i know that this was not over,
that it may never be over,
and that the peace that once existed
was gone.

i was a vegetarian
back at a time when i had peace
and 82 days later, i ate a piece
of chicken and as i felt the grease
get stuck in my throat,
i realized i was unsatisfied with meat
because my life, my body,
my meat
was viciously stolen from me.
i identified with the chicken!
i was slaughtered
and ran around with my head cut off.
my case was wrapped up,
my vegetables were hidden,
i was robbed at heart-point
and i don’t know how to get my stuff
or my nourishment

Who Speaks for These Women?

*Written June 20, 2008*

who speaks for these women?
who speaks the voice that contains the words
that contain the hurts
that contain the actions
that contain the lack of
who releases the tension that has been building
past the point of concealing
the scars from the pieces of broken glass from the ceiling?
where’s the peace for these women?
who speaks for these women?
these women
those women
not hoes, but women
some were once girls but forced to grow,
forced to settle for the leftovers of their lives and move on
cuz it’s not easy to be a child anymore
it’s not easy to laugh anymore
it’s not easy to live anymore
when your life has become fragments…
drop a glass on the ground and you’ll see that
no matter how long you sweep
you still risk cutting your bare feet
cuz shattered shards still remain
and some pain can’t be covered by socks so it
cuts the brain, cuts the joy that was
and may possibly never come back
so these women, solemn women are reminded to smile
and think back to when they used to do that,
so these women, scared women
learn the world is dangerous and they have to watch their back
so these women, stoic women
stop dreaming, stop speaking,
stop expressing, stop addressing,
and once uniqueness dies, so does the voice
so again i ask,
who speaks for these women?