Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “run

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.

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I Have a Present


where do i put all of this anger?
sometimes i hide it away in my heart
because it seems like the safest place,
but late at night,
it leaks out and keeps me awake.
so where can i put it?
maybe i can wrap it in metallic paper
and hand it off like a surprise gift to a stranger
and just as they’re saying “Thank you!”
i’ll say “See you later!”
and never have to see my soul’s bitterness
again.
but even then,
i think karma would catch up to me.
like right now, i’m running
but when i get tired feet,
i’ll have to rest.
i love the outdoors so i’ll sit on a park bench
enjoying the sun,
look up to observe a seemingly friendly someone
walking toward me bearing
an attractive gift wrapped with a ribbon
that they claim is supposed to be
mine.
and innocently,
i’ll open it
and be shocked to see
one more time
that anger lives
and always finds
a way to come back
to my tumultuous life.


The Wonder of Touch


i run so much that i miss out on touch.
oftentimes, i brush past shoulders of those i know
as to not fully forget
what it feels like when flesh connects.
my sense memory is not enough
to carry me from one day to the next anymore.
my proprioception blinds my perception
so that my sixth sense seeks love by senselessly banging
on unanswered doors
and as a result, my affection bank is overdrawn–
i’m so poor;
surrounded by people,
but i’m so lonely;
loved by many,
but i just need someone to hold me,
to reteach me the meaning of skin meeting skin,
to turn my stone heart and body back
to beating warmth: soft, slow, and genuine.
i want to move with purpose
rather than sprint from here to there,
ignoring the simplicity of something as simple
as touch to let me know i’m still here
and that somebody cares.


I am Running


as much as i run from it, i can’t escape it,
this sacred obligation assigned to me
by the deity i choose to follow.
sometimes i don’t want to follow,
thinking that i can be exempt because
to put things simply,
my life is hollow.
a path that used to be full of hopes and dreams
is cut off and dammed up by confusion and screams.
hate has caused my levees to break but
my flood of tears is tired of trying to release itself by crying
so instead i shake
and run.

this obligation used to be fun,
used to be my number one choice
but how can i share stories if i have no voice?
my course has been interrupted because my throat is hoarse
and don’t you dare tell me to just drink water,
don’t hand me your suggestions
because you can’t answer the questions in my mind,
you can’t pull away and hide the remote from God and press rewind
to revert back to my past.
my dreams were so vast and wide and now
they are locked in the prison of my insides,
banging on my chest,
burning behind my eyes,
building bars to barricade my heart,
bringing lumps in my throat and those
inmates keep me up at night.
they want to escape,
they want to be free
but they can’t since i’m still trying to pick up the pieces of me,
pick up the pieces that he
may have scattered inadvertently,
still trying to hide the signs of stress and the fact that i’m depressed
from showing.

i am running,
dodging, sprinting from my calling,
trying to rise up, yet still i keep falling
and somehow through all this i still hear God calling
but i’ve reached a point in this race where i just want to push “Reject,”
turn off myself and send all calls to voice mail cuz this female
is busy moving her feet on a track that never ends
and it’s hard to carry genuine ties when i live having to pretend
so my God and my dreams sit on the sidelines
until the day when i cross that finish line
and by that clocked time,
i pray that i’m not too late to reclaim the mission of mine
that i painfully left behind
because i searched and tried and the only solution i could find
was to keep
running.


The Miracle of Inspiration


have you ever been so inspired that your body goes into shock?
like regular thought becomes as difficult as
a mandatory marathon to run right after
stuffing your face at Mickey D’s
and regardless of how hard you lift and drop your feet to
move miles away from the inspiration,
it chases you and reminds you to breathe
in and out the fresh air of new ideas.
ideas are like sewing machines,
systematically stitching together
the ripped up pieces of my life.
it’s simple–
that break-up was a zipper and
that trauma was a button and
graduating from college was a French seam,
a rare kind of luxuruy.

after receiving the aforementioned inspiration,
i came home to find that my diploma arrived that day–
evidence that after 6 years of undergrad,
i finally did graduate.
the diploma sat in a slim cylindirical cardboard cage
tightly locked by metal on both sides like a jail cell,
showing me that the things worth fighting for
are often attained by busting through doors.
my father pried at this almost impossible-to-open container
with a knife barely able to contain
his excitement
to witness firsthand the evidence
of his oldest daughter’s accomplishment.
he noted that he was more anxious than me
and worked carefully,
cutting around the metal circle on what he guessed was the up-side.
when he finally gets it open, he slides
the shiny thick piece of paper rolled up like a poster out
and begins to read each Old English font typed word out
loud.
his eyes tear up when he gets to the name
that he gave me almost 24 years before:
Farah Lolade Lawal,
which literally means
“Joy” “Wealth has come” “The first”
and i stop being stuck on my earlier inspiration.
then i realize that i am his inspiration
and that i am living out dreams he never could.
i too get excited about the piece of paper that was paid for
by thousands of dollars, tears and sleepless nights.
so reading in unison with my Daddy like we did when i was 5,
i begin to appreciate every letter, word, phrase and signature
and i vow on this night
to continue to reach for greatness,
to not only be inspired by others but
to be inspiration.