Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “police

A Rape Deferred


if a woman cries rape and police don’t respond,
does the crime make a sound?
a drum beat,
a whisper,
a rushed “Psssttttt!”
a ghetto “Ay yooooooooo!”
a moan,
a scream,
a gasp,
a catching of breath,
a clap,
a stomp,
a hiss,
or leaky faucet “drip-drop”?
does the clock even let out a “tick-tock”
or does time just stop
when a woman’s rights are denied?
with no batteries changed in the watch,
the year could be 5 B.C., 1964, or 2011.
does an angel cry in heaven?
does God send down thunder and rain,
or does he console her quietly through her pain?
is there even a sigh,
a Holy Ghost-filled prayer,
an explosion of violence?
or just silence?


Why Cry?


when i
consider the amount of potential
that lives in my insides
and then wake up and see
what is really outside,
tears well up in my eyes
and i cry.

when i
think about all of the uncured disease
and all the money that’s made in pharmacies
and the people who live off of painkillers
instead of cures,
tears well up in my eyes
and i cry.

when i
think about how the boys in blue
are supposed to protect me and you
but when i needed them,
they treated me like i was the criminal
and my assailant walks the streets
and breathes the same air as me,
tears well up in my eyes
and i cry.

there is so much to cry about
and some days,
i have to search for laughter.
i have to remind myself
of other chapters in my life,
the dog-eared pages of past stages
when life was sweet
and love was constant
and happiness was not a long-lost friend
but something that lived in my pocket
that has now slipped away as easily as lint
in a pair of pants
that are too tight for me now.

some days i can’t even cry
like i have some strange infirmity
from all the fucked up things i have seen,
like my eyes no longer produce tears
so when fear mounts, i shout instead
with a poetic voice loud enough to wake the dead.
the dead live in my head.
their corpses rot in their tiny grave plots
and their headstones read:
INSECURITY,
JEALOUSY,
HEARTBREAK,
DATE RAPE,
MISTAKES,
and FEAR.
the soil is soft and pretty flowers live here
and sometimes their scents break through with pollen
that causes tears
and i cry
and cry.
and cry
until there is no more inside
and until i feel alive
and the frustration subsides
and then i can finally breathe
and finally see
that crying was a necessity
to move past all that is upsetting me
and live on.


The Race


my friend said
that if things don’t go right with this election,
he’ll be the one
to start the revolution.
he’s tired of runnin.
being born with non-caucasian skin
in this country
is like putting a number on your front and back
and running a triathlon for a gold medal
you’ll never get.
the cops shoot the gun
to tell us when to lift our feet and focus our attention.
some runners get shot while others get spat on
without the option of joining in the competition.
and some get murked while they
sit on the side tying their shoes and stretching to prepare.
they were doing so well,
but now they’re not here.
what would the revolution consist of?
i don’t know but if it happens,
at least i’ll be moving, running,
no longer stuck in a cardboard box
that will really be too hot
if things don’t go right.
tonight i will prepare myself for the possibility of
having to move my feet,
staying hopeful but contemplating carefully
the revolution that could be sparked
in a moment of defeat.


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.

The System is a Joke


*Written June 24, 2008*

the system is a joke
we sit with our popcorn and soda
in comfortable seats that lean back
and chit chat and laugh at the punchlines
we forget that what we see on the screen
is for some people reality
black man slain by the police
and all officers are acquitted
ha
soldiers die in the name of freedom
countless anonymous others killed
in a senseless war of greed
ha ha
R. Kelly pisses on a teenage girl on tape
gets off free and
sings about it
ha ha ha
countless women raped,
dragged through the system
only for cases to be dropped
for lack of sufficient evidence
ha ha ha ha ha
laugh with me!
stomp your feet and slap your thigh
let your eyes fill up with tears
tap your neighbor and share in the moment
put your feet up
and let your eyes adjust to the darkness
that surrounds you
because as long as you stay disconnected
as long as you’re complacent
and eat the junk that’s given to you,
unless you are provoked,
this system
these lives
these lies
are all a joke.