Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “reality

Midnight Eyes


midnight eyes with dew on lashes
wish for love in the daylight–
a reason to burst with emotion
other than anger or tantrum.
if love were a tantrum,
how would it express its youth?
would it stomp hearts and scream obscenities such as
“Don’t leave me!” or “I need you?”
or would it just stream down tears of joy
and sit in a corner of the world known by most
but frowned upon
once left?

midnight eyes dream of stories in books
transformed into reality
so that days become pages
turned slowly and dog-eared for later reference,
an experience that good.
“That’s good,”
midnight eyes whisper when viewing
movies with method actors using realism
to display fantasy only realized in screens.

midnight eyes want to become alive,
want fiction to turn real–
not “keep it real” real,
but “blood pouring out of feet when glass is stepped on” real;
undeniable like the hour when yawns take over energy
and eyes get droopy until morning.

midnight eyes do not want to wake
until full moons shine too bright
and stars sink into sight lines without effort.
until then, midnight eyes stay closed
until sunrise.


Fireflies


i wish i could take
the sensuous gravity of this night
in my hands and place it softly inside a clear jar
to keep for our remembrance.
we innocently brush one another like fireflies.
i cautiously beg you to look at my light
and i flicker in ways i thought were shut off.
let’s not let our air supply get cut off.
this jar has holes cut in its lid;
hopefully reality still finds its way in
so that we invite our brains into our hearts’ decisions.
this encasement, although small,
does not feel like prison,
but freedom.
free me as you hold me,
hold me,
hold me,
and when it’s time to let go,
do so
and let me fly
until we meet again,
my more than friend.fireflies


Pyrophobiac


there are some people who honestly believe that
if they focus intently enough,
they can make the flame of a candle
rise and fall with their thoughts.
much too often, i have been a fool,
played the fool for that same trap,
thinking that i can create sparks in acquainted hearts,
mistaking kindness for interest
and my loneliness for the possibility of love.
once a pyromaniac,
i now flee from fire,
keep an extinguisher on my back
and with it, i aim and fire
at possibilities,
the potential for romantic stories,
trapped in the fog of my history,
chest burning too painfully to see reality.
i no longer even attempt to stare,
have substituted my gaze for a blank empty glare
like a blind woman who has miraculously regained her sight
but still wears sunglasses because
she’s used to not opening her eyes.

is my fear that the future is too bright
or that all will be white?
absence of color,
absence of hope,
no patience to stare at fire,
seeking another foolish hobby
like solitude.


Ambulatory Announcement


one day i’m gonna walk away from it all.
leave squeaky chair spinning in cubicle
and pictures on the wall
and expectations of success
and bill collector calls
and dreams that are too far to reach
and grab them as if all
that mattered
was honoring me.

i’m gonna walk away,
maybe even run,
not caring if i break the heels on my black leather pumps
or get runs in itchy stockings that were never met to fit me.
i won’t answer phones politely,
won’t smile without meaning,
will cry when i feel like it
and speak the truth as if
life still depended on it.

i’m not happy.

i feel like walking,
jogging, or maybe even driving
til i run out of gas
and can no longer recognize the surroundings
outside of the glass
that separates me from reality.
one day i’m gonna walk instead of sit,
act instead of talk,
speak instead of staying quiet,
scream instead of staying silent,
stop living so publicly and
respect myself enough to be private.

tiptoes are all they see now
but in my soul
i am walking,
even climbing,
drowning but surviving,
heart faint but still thriving
and growing despite being
the uprooted plant that i am.

i don’t want to wait for “one day”
so maybe i’ll just
put one foot in front of the other today
and see what happens.
movement is innate
and i’m spiraling back to my own nature
and the essence of my humanity
beyond infancy,
crawling, crying, standing,
losing balance and falling
but taking that final leap
and walking.


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
free,
breathing, feeling,
being, existing,
growing, changing,
praising.

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


Fake Lovers


we are fake lovers,
spinning on a broken record
that’s our jam
that causes us to dance
when we jump out of our crazy,
lonely lives to listen
to each other breathe into phone receivers
and wish for more.

we had more, baby.
we were Bonnie and Clyde
speeding down a highway
where reality chased
and there was no damn way
we were stepping on the brakes.
we were the Red Sea before
Moses lifted his staff to separate,
but now we live on two different sides–
there is dry land in between the wetness
that once lived in laughter that birthed tears
and bodies that danced in sheets without any cares
in the world but which one of us
will cum first.
“us” had come to an end
with no satisfaction
and now i wish i could wrap back then
in saran wrap or a silk napkin
and save the memories for when i am hungry.
i would eat them crumb by crumb for every night
i have to sleep alone with no one
beside me
or watch romantic movies
and end up sentimental and crying
or ponder the reasons
why love always seems to be dying
and dine on the times
when you and me were “we” thriving.

our love was alive like
Lazarus after Jesus wept
and we took steps
on a spiraling staircase that never seemed to end
until we tried to climb to future heights
and fell down to hell.
now shit is fire and i think you’re a liar
but even though you burned me
you’re still the best i’ve seen
with my near-sighted eyes
and i wish i could feel once more what we had.
and i wish we didn’t move so fast
from strangers to lovers to soul mates
to exes to strangers
to this phase
of sporadic late night phone calls
and empty promises
and reminiscing of good night kissing
instead of hanging up with uncertainty
of when we’ll speak again.

damn.
i miss my friend.


Why I Do It


i do it because
i have lives inside of me
that would commit suicide if they couldn’t get out.
their stories scream out whenever i come out from backstage
and the stage is a second home
that i don’t get to visit all the time,
but every time i have a chance to come back,
the space is all mine.

i do it because
i refuse to live a normal life,
love the excitement and unpredictability that accompanies
the lack of sensibility that comes from choosing to be
an artist.
i do it because
it beats any buzz, high, or debaucherous night,
puts shame to the best sex i’ve ever had in my life,
and takes control of intangibles like…
time,
making it flow so smoothly that i think i just might
slide through reality and end up in a place i’ve never dreamed.

i love performing!
it’s become a part of me like my skin:
smooth and glowing in summers,
sometimes rough and crackly in the winter
but always an indicator
of what is inside of me
and inside of me
is an artist who has to speak.
inside of me
is a woman whose destiny
is to transform, refuse to conform,
and above all things,
perform.


An Actor’s Angst


i thought i’d be OK just
living a normal life
for a little while.
but i’m abnormal like 6 toes
and backwards clothes–
i kris kross emotions
like it’s in vogue,
haute my job
as i lean uncomfortably to fold
myself into a box
i was told
i’m supposed to fit in,
knowing that i’m too large
to be contained.
i just wanna work somewhere where i
could walk around barefoot and talk to artists about
motivations and
breathing
all day–

not office work!

this is not my life right now.
underneath my skin i sense a scream building up,
a bravado in the back of my throat.
aspirations knock on the inside of my forehead
and slide past my eyes so that
i can’t see what’s in front of me clearly.
what do i do now?
i got bills to pay.
i can’t move–my feet are glued
to an office floor
with brown carpet and on three sides of me
are bluish-gray walls with pictures
of what makes me happy
so that i can maintain my sanity
for 40 hours of a week
that i spend feeling weak
but appearing strong.

i should be happy–i perform all day long.
it starts around 6:30 in the morning when my alarm goes off
and i play someone who really cares about
getting to a 9 to 5 on time.
then on my train ride,
i read books and listen to my ipod,
attempting to blend in
with other discontent, dressed-up people
with heavy eyelids.
then i arrive at the office.
if i were just playing a character, i’d be on this.
but the truth of the matter is
that i desire to be on stages,
in rehearsal rooms and in classes.

i am fire and this life is ash.
and it’s cold.
i shiver in my too-cold cubicle
and figure that maybe i’m not
cut out for this climate.
i’m too warm for this cold shit.
too alive for this dead shit.
too smart for this bullshit.
too passionate to live as if
i really have to settle for this.
i got 3 degrees from 6 years in a university
and have experienced trouble
for as long as i can remember
so this simple series
of 8 hour days, 5 days a week
should be nothing.
i’ve dealt with bigger numbers than this,
been through days where i wanted to quit on life,
wished i would flat line
but even that extreme seems more alive
than the gray i live in now.

how did this happen?
when one lives in dreams
without intermissions of reality,
all they really are is asleep.
waking moments are really life.
and all this time i thought that the
existence behind my eyes
was already mine.


Love Longing


i want love in such a strong way
that i find it hard to be happy
for people who are in love,
i scoff at public displays
of affection, protest
Valentine’s Day,
and my overwhelming desire for it
inevitably turns to scorn.
love is an emotion and action
with the power to incite other actions and feelings:
envy, jealously, depression, joy, and hate
and i wonder if it is my fate
to be without love for this long,
to only express and feel it from
family, close friends, and slow songs.
it’s not enough–where is my lover?
where is that amazing brother
who will sweep me off of my feet?
my toes are tired from staying on the ground,
my heart is bored from regular beats.
my fantasies have even gone on vacation because
they’re tired of working so hard at chasing
my dreams that are so far from reality.
i am tired
and sometimes hopeless
but still wanting,
still desiring that loaded four-letter word,
the overused and abused three-letter phrase,
the intoxicated infatuation-feeling state
that is so different from the life i am living now.
i await the date and time when i will no longer
think of love and be angry,
when i will think of it and smile because it will no longer be a mere
thought or musing,
something intangible, hurtful, and confusing
but a part
of me.


I Command You


i command you at this exact moment to
cry.
don’t think about it–
just do it…
let the floodgates open
and allow the tears to rush through your eyes
and onto your face
and into the wails of your voice.
don’t think of what to lament for–
just cry until your mind explores
all of the reasons you should shed
tears.

cry for every person who should still be here.
cry because you have full use of your eyes,
cry for every time communication wasn’t clear,
cry for every store that didn’t have your size.
cry
for every child born without a mother or father,
cry for every homeless person you’ve walked past with dollars
in your pocket, and the fact that you didn’t bother
to help.
cry for yourself.
cry for the pursuit of love,
cry for a connection to God above,
cry as if the only way to make it to heaven
was to pour out a blessing
of your own tears.
cry because you are still here.
cry until reality is clear and all that is false
dries
up.

cry for every word you should have said but didn’t.
cry for every hug you should have given,
for every “i love you” that you’ve hidden
in your heart.
cry as if this is the start
of your life and you have just entered this world
naked as the day you were born
and you have just been torn
from the safety of an umbilical cord.
cry as if this is the day you are dying
and you still haven’t figured out what you lived for.

cry.

release all that you have pent up
that has kept you stuck.
it doesn’t matter if you haven’t done it since your were 5,
today i order you to cry.
cry like your dog just died.
cry like your best friend lied
to your face.
cry as if a plane crashed.
cry as if the love of your life just said goodbye
too fast.
cry as if this is the last
possible time in this universe
for you to explode with an expression of your hurt.

and after you’ve poured out so much that
the water doesn’t come any more,
wipe your eyes and your snot,
inhale and exhale and realize
that it’s not the end of the world
just because you took a few moments
to acknowledge what is inside.
realize
that you can’t walk around
with all that frustration in your mind
and not expect it to influence your life.
and after you feel the relaxation from the sensation
of purging all that will be, is, and is gone
and only after you have done
all that you can to fully embrace this moment,

i command you
to move on.


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.