Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “play

Bubble Burst


burst bubbles
leave wetness in the air.
then remnants of fun disappear
from what was once floating, happy.
i thought you were my friend,
thought you liked to play with me,
run around with wands and create magic,
but instead you wreak havoc,
have hands that cleverly and cruelly crush my creations.
you pretend to participate.
you destroy with a smile.

lucky for me,
i have enough joy in my jar to last me past today;
sudsy water, love and hope
to survive your hate;
enough to make me a huge bubble to float along sun-shining skies,
higher than the place where i care about how you feel
and low enough where just being happy for myself
is more than enough.

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Bench Warmer


i wanted to be the last kid picked
for the basketball team,
sitting in sidelines while no one talks to me–
invisible.
i got used to being shy,
uncoordinated, terrified
when the ball was passed to me,
double dribbling when i could’ve laid it up,
never imagining that one day,
i might dunk.

but now i have a chance to be point guard.
how can i let my guard down?
if i fail, i will let my heart down.
not trying was so much easier because
it was a slow way of dying
rather than the sudden death that comes from
late night crying and questioning why in
the world
i bothered in the first place.
but if i don’t take risks,
i’ll forever be stuck in this place,
and it’s a disgrace
to count myself out of the game
at this young of an age.

so the next time i get picked,
i’ll play.

bench-warmer


Limbo


childhood is so scarring
and adulthood is so boring.
i like living on the in-between,
gliding between the fun times
and the dull times,
the playful
and the serious.
but mediocre can only be satisfying for so long
before it’s time to move on
to something new.
maybe i can keep aspects of both,
make a recipe for the present,
mixing in the ingredients and flavors
of the seasons of my life until this point
into a pot with the future,
swirl, stir, stew, and sauté them
until they combine
into a fabulous concoction
of now.


Back in Time (Revised 7-16-08)


why can’t rain be cotton candy
and thunder be gumdrops
and clouds be licorice
and lightning be lollipops?
i just want to stick out my tongue and be pleased
i just want to eat sweets
but i don’t want the rain,
i don’t want the insane and i don’t want
the mundane i just
want.
there’s a blank following that statement
because the blank represents
that which i do not know.
i wish i could grow
as quickly as my hair
but with each five minutes added to blow-drying
i find myself crying
and upset over the same things.
people talk about life and the joy it brings
but all i can think about is me and the song i want to sing.

am i selfish?
if i am, i can’t help it.
i spent so much of my life neglecting me
that sometimes
i walk past mirrors and ask
“who is she?”
and then i look back
and observe parts of myself i never knew were there.
you know those dreams when you’re naked
or standing in your underwear
while everyone around you is covered?
i feel that bare when i’m awake in front of others,
maybe overexposed to past lovers,
or maybe still hurt by betrayal from past brothers
or sisters or friends
but the innocence in me has gone
and it takes a while before i can play pretend again.

i wish i were five, i wish i were truly alive,
not just on auto-pilot like a drunk pilot
who gives announcements without thinking
or considering the lives he’s risking.
let’s pretend!
let’s play on the monkey bars,
let’s even roll in the dirt
and wear down our jeans at the knees.
mama might get mad but she’ll understand
that it’s normal for children to play freeze tag.
chase me without the intent of hurting me.

let’s hide and go seek our identities,
our own persons,
find ourselves and tap them on the shoulder
and shout “you’re it!” to make them real.
let’s engage with our future selves–
stare them in the face and admire the bumps and bruises,
admire the smoothness
in places that are rough now,
and the sagging
in places that are firm now,
and the wisdom
from things that are learned now.

life is kind of serious sometimes
maybe that’s why it’s hard
to locate my childhood mind
i wish i could press rewind
and reverse and stay
back in time.


Life Play


*Written July 7, 2008*

why do you play with my life, baby?
you enter and leave my presence as if my heart were an airport
and you have stocked up on frequent flier miles.
why do you play with my life, baby
as if i were a joyful infant
anxiously awaiting your face, your touch, your care?
i am not a toy, i am not a fly outfit,
i am not that old favorite pair of sneaks in the back of your closet
that you pull out from time to time because you miss them.
i am a woman. i have needs
which don’t include riding on your every whim,
hanging on to your every word,
adjusting to your every mood,
answering your every call,
accepting all of your mistakes.
i am no fool, at least not anymore.
i refuse to stay stagnant, to allow my heart to jump
when you decide to pick up the phone and check on me.
my life is worth so much more than an “I miss you” every three months or so.
my life is worth love, companionship, acceptance, encouragement, sacrifice,
love, love, and love
not your poor excuses for life, for your mishaps in the past
that to you were just slips but to me stabs.
go play with someone else’s life or better yet your own.
look in the mirror and put yourself down,
neglect you, lie to yourself, require and demand too much of yourself,
take up all of your own time, ruin your own credit, cheat on yourself,
get locked up and visit yourself every weekend,
disappoint yourself, ignore yourself,
insult yourself and make yourself cry and then
after you’ve done all that
ask you to get back with you and see what the answer is.
play with your own life, baby
cuz mine is too serious for that.
it’s much too precious for me to get involved in your haphazard games
so despite all you have done, i will love you but from a distance
but
you cannot play with my life, baby.