Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “skin

Crabs in a Barrel


lack of love for one another
makes dark skin
break.

wins become
wounds.
wins dig up
wounds.
words cut skin and wait for
blood.

dark skin cutters have words for
razors;
they feel pleasure in
pain
as they watch what makes us all the same
seep out
and scab over
and scar.

and only then do they applaud.

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Mr. Colorful


Mr. Colorful,
you try to stay low-key
in earth tones and gym clothes,
but i see through your facade.
i observe not only your smooth, brown skin,
but also the rainbow spectrum that glows within.

your soul is red and strong,
like that of a man who loves hard and long.
your tongue is orange and sweet,
fleshy and messy
but neat,
not barging over your yellow
that streams into my consciousness
like sun rays in the morning.
the peace of your green
covers my past mourning and nagging
with calm,
no more blues with you–
just blue:
cool and mysterious like the indigo nights when i lay with you
and violet fills the room
until white walls around us
no longer matter.

baby, can I live in your ROYGBIV?
be your silly black girl
who sometimes pays the rent late,
but always greets you with a smile?
will you be my colorful Valentine
and rub off on me
just a little?
kiss me
just a little?
hold me
just a little?

cuz you’ve made my life better
a whole colorful lot.


Growth into Beauty


i feel like i am
JUST
growing in to my beauty.
before, my skin was
sunset:
confidence fading into cloudy horizon,
but bright morning has finally come
and when i smile,
i swear i can hear birds singing!
eyes bright
from all the yawning around me,
skin glowing.

love of self
was a hard seed that just needed nurturing,
extra time soaking in the water of my tears
until sprouting occurred.
now it is flourishing,
deeply rooted like a tree,
arms stretched, strong enough
to hold the weight of the little children
i‘ll be responsible for
feeding reminders of their worth.

it’s as if i gave birth,
belly no longer swollen with doubt,
removal of morning sickness
and mother
to past, present and future experiences.

and i am
STILL
growing into my beauty,
hoping to be
an adult one day.


Never-Ending Poem


if i could spit a never-ending poem,
i would speak of black womanhood–
of a little girl whose dark-skinned father
looked at his dark-skinned seed and told her
that there’s a secret to erasing their skin:
“Here, wear this cream and the blackness will go away.
Boys will like you more and jobs will open doors
and people will let you in with smiles.”
i would speak of that little girl-child,
how she listened to her father
and observed her light-skinned, beautiful mother
and rubbed whiteness on her skin,
how lightness did not come,
but instead painful bumps and itchy rash
and tears in the mirror and her dad who said,
“Maybe that one was too strong. I will get you a gentler one.”
the girl who shook her head “No”
and accepted her darker fate…
kind of.

i would speak of that girl
who grew up with big titty-denial,
of the time her best friend pulled her to the side,
looked her in the eye
and told her “Your bra is too small.”
the girl who prayed and prayed for pubic hairs to grow,
who searched her mom’s medicinal herb books
for a recipe to start menses.
“Maybe if I drink a tea or take a vitamin,
blood will come and I’ll be a woman.”
blood came in its time
and so did boys
who ignored her face and got lost in her breasts.
as years went on,
they got lost in her booty, her hips.
more years went on
and they got lost in her smile, her eyes, her skin.
more years went on
and they got lost in her hair.
more years went on and they got lost in her “no”
that was too quiet.

i would speak of her insecurities
that helped men mold her like clay
into a woman who appeared strong with a mean face,
but crumbled like wet sand castles upon touch;
a woman who craved touch so much
that it hurt her
so she exchanged touch for God,
then back for touch,
then back for God,
then back for touch,
then traded it back for God,
and then back for touch,
and then back for more touch,
and then back for touch,
and then who was God?
there was only touch.
and then touch got too much
and then what was God?
and then touch fucked her up
and then where was God?
i mean “Who is God?”
i mean “What is God?”
i mean…”There is God!”
“Here is God!”
“Wait…where is God?”
i would speak of her questions
that rolled on and on,
her definitions that changed,
and how she got different,
but stayed the same.

if i could spit a never-ending poem,
i would speak of black womanhood,
of my own stories,
those of my sisters
and all the things we’ve seen,
felt, loved, cried over, laughed about,
screamed about,
of moments where death wasn’t near enough,
and then those times where love filled us up
but i’m afraid
time just isn’t enough,
our stories are too much,
my voice would dry up.


Poetic Conversation


Once in a while, I will become engaged in a poetry conversation with a friend (usually initiated by me, lol).  I LOVE when this happens because it keeps me on my toes and allows me  to be inspired by other artists.  I am currently in conversation with a talented brother of mine, Under_Score.  I’m posting my most recent response to him, but you can check it out on his blog (in the comments section) by clicking here.  Enjoy!

helplessly hoping that
the intangibility of nature
will make itself surface as real:
dead skin cells once invisible
appear, shed and reveal
where my eyes have landed,
lived
and created futures imagined–
perfect.
complete.
cool minty breath in summer heat
show water reflections of
growing vulnerability,
still then shaking,
blowing in wind that hugs corners
and causes drafts through doorways
to the flame of my desire.
to be a hair follicle under the skin
of his shaved chin
would bring me close to him
as i sprout out
and get closer to his mouth
through a subtle kiss.
and what of rain?
cloudy skies to mask tears of mine
shed from heartbreak and love,
making my hair and heart curl up,
filling me so love never dries up,
just becomes a well for
mosquitoes
and other life and such.
biting, short-lived
but always breeding,
being, completing
a circle of life lived
rythmically
and beyond my control.


Despite Poetry


if i could drown in your sweat,
asphyxiation wouldn’t be bad,
appealing even.
i would swim in the bliss
that you’ve graciously given me,
salty water from brown skin
that despite poetry,
i cannot describe vividly enough–
strong like boulders, yet soft
as my hardened shoulders become
when you make me laugh.
tension releases as i breaststroke
through sweat flowing from your throat–
your affirming voice,
calmly speaking depths of my life’s meaning:

so THAT is why i had to cry,
experience heartache and shame,
renounce God’s name
and learn how to say it again,
this time honestly
so that when i saw Him in you,
i would recognize glory and majesty.

i am a queen in training,
but i bow to you,
create love to you,
create love for you
and me to share greedily,
that despite poetry,
i cannot describe vividly enough.


Wet Feet


new touch with an old face
but fresh feelings.
it’s funny–the old me
was too numb to even know
that these nerves existed,
that i could be myself in my own skin,
that you’d appreciate my blemishes;
that i can lay back and be silly
without false pretenses.

i’ve pretended
that i’m ok with being lonely forever
and the hurt i faced in the past
had me thinking that i would never
open arms again
or kiss lips again
or dare to wish again
but i see him again
and yesterday melts like ice cubes in the summer,
new experiences wash over me like water
and i kind of like
getting my feet wet.