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.


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.


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.


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.


December Showers


even though it’s cold outside,
i crave spring-time love.
not out of necessity,
but the pure, simple complexity:
energy rushing through the beats in my chest
and spreading to an extra sway in my hips
and curve in my smile
and spark in my eye.
even though my skin is now dry,
i feel like sticky pre-summer nights that never end,
where the sky stays the same foggy blue for hours
and midnight conversations buzz
and enlighten in my ears
like fireflies.

i wish it could be spring all year…
the beginning of flings and i don’t even care
if they disappear by Labor Day.
but i guess if it weren’t for barren winters
and handsome smiles without words to follow
and today communication that results in
uninterested tomorrows,
i wouldn’t care about the weather.

i want to be seasoned with rain that’s fun to run through
and kisses of potential and hands held for first times
and dances without music.
i’m counting down months until my next season change
and hoping it comes sooner
than when the weather man claims
cuz it might be winter outside of my window
but it can still be warm in my heart.
wind can chill me in climates where i have to wear my coat
but sunshine can fill my throat
and sing the most beautiful songs
(even if they are off-key).

i feel like a spring-time love,
not out of necessity but pure luxury,
boredom, entitlement, fulfillment
and simplicity.
energy rush through me
and change this weather like fall leaves
and leave me satisfied
as summer tip-toes with holes in her socks while
temperatures are increasing
so that like a bear hibernating,
i would have stocked up on enough love
to carry me over to days when the sun
stays up late because even she can’t resist the temptation
of the rush that comes
from spring.


Chocolate Woman


chocolate-woman

he wants to unwrap me like
chocolate,
because my skin reminds him
of a dessert kind of like
Godiva–
luxurious, smooth texture
and expensive enough
that not everyone can afford
the opportunity to touch.
just what is it about me
that causes him to look so longingly?
why does he desire me?
maybe it’s the mystery,
not knowing what surprises lie inside–
if i’m smooth and sticky-sweet like caramel
or rough and nutty like the lover from hell.
only time will tell
as he stares so hard at my wrapper
that i start to melt
and i have to remind myself
that i am the desired
and even though his sweet tooth feels like it requires
a taste, i must maintain
my posture as a sweet delicacy,
wrapped in a shiny teasing wrapper of celibacy
but still quietly
wishing he’d
envelop me
with his…
mind.


Family Tree


my green-white-green flag superimposes with
red, white, and blue on
dark brown skin,
white teeth,
shining black eyes filled with pride.
i am a rainbow inside and outside
with clouds that try to block my sight
but i still manage to shine.
my heart beat is drum beats
and every time i move my feet,
i commune with the deepest part of me.

i am a little branch on a strong,
deep-rooted tree that has seen centuries
in the same manner i have seen weeks.
i blow in the wind and sometimes
get scared i’ll break away,
that i’ll lose my foundation and be
a lost and scrawny twig,
but stronger portions of my wooden family keep me
hanging on.

my family, wrinkled rings spread out
makes me proud.
i only know the branch on which i rest,
disconnected from the rest,
but estimate that we all share the same breaths,
releasing oxygen from our leaves
and giving life just by living,
turning brighter as seasons alter and get colder,
increasing in strength and resilience as we get older,
stretching ourselves and embedding ourselves into society
by growing from a fragile sapling
into a full-grown tree.


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.


Incarceration


i desperately want freedom.
i perspire to cool myself off
from the heat of being imprisoned
by mental bars and walls.
the correctional officers are clocks
and the keys on their waists go
tic…toc…tic…toc
as they walk down D-block.

“Who we rep?!”

“Diligence…”

“Who we rep?!”

“Disappointment…”

“Who we rep?!”

“Determination…”

“Who we rep?!”

“Damnation…”

we waste away our youth in jail cells
and tattoo our dreams on ourselves
for days when we’re not feeling well
so we can look down at our skin
to remember the inspiration within.
sometimes pictures are all we have
because our commissary consists mainly of
could have, should have, and would have
which keeps our stomachs empty.

why oh why
is time working against me?
the judge gave me 15 to life and sometimes
i fear i’ll be a prisoner until
i can retire at 65.
the other day a lifer laughed at me
and said i’ll never get out
and i shook my head and smiled.
he doesn’t know that when the lights go out,
i stay up and plot my escape.
one day they’ll wake up
and i will be traveling far, far away.
i’ll shed these prison clothes
and today will be yesterday.


How High


on the train,
i glide past tree tops at eye level
and wonder if this
is the highest i’ll ever soar.
i always imagined myself closer to the sun
so that my rich hershey kiss skin
could toast like almonds
while still remaining sweet;
so for once i could feel the air
and rest my tired feet.

in my head when i lay down for bed,
my pillows transform into clouds
as i float away for hours
that only last for minutes.
i wake up with the desire to travel again,
rub my eyes and hope i’ll see the sky
surrounding me for more than
fleeting moments in window seats of trains,
looking out at tree tops
hoping that my time in the air
will be higher up in the atmosphere
and that it will stretch for longer
than a few train stops.

i want to float all around,
not just between here and there,
spending too much time underground
so my eyes sting from simple things
like the sun when skies are clear.
the green leaves seem too bright
because my eyes have gotten used to night.
i want white, yellow, orange and blue
to be comforting for my eyes to see
i want to talk to eagles when they land
and ask them if they remember me
and when they reply “yes,”
i want them to beg me to fly once more,
to join them in a place
where i don’t have to be confined
by doors.

it’s hard to ignore
while i sit looking out of the window,
observing the world around me
that i am bigger than
all of the trees that surround me,
taller than everything
that tries so hard to ground me
and meant to elevate to wherever the wind goes.
so as i wonder if the train tracks are the highest
i’ll ever soar
i can confidently say, the answer is no
and that these wings of mine
will carry me to see so much more.


If You Could See


she said she wished she could be me for a day
and i thought, “honey…
if you could see what was really in my heart,
it would break yours.”

i am not who they think i am.

things are not always what they seem
and though i’m not a thing, but a mere human being,
this cliche somehow applies to me.
i grip me so tight
that my fingers don’t feel right no more.
they are too numb to even fight for more.
the little bones have been cracked
from holding out my heart on my hands
and offering it to the finest bidder,
auctioning off my soul and body
so that my tiny self-concept could grow bigger.

after malnourishment and gluttony all intertwined,
i determined for me that i will no longer
give away my mind.
i used to be kind
but now i offer very little assistance to those in need
because i am afraid that consumed by greed,
they’ll grab at my possessions
with all their strength
and make me feel misused again.
so now i got me
in the pockets of my tight jeans.
i hug my own curves and trust my own touch.
foreign fingers and feelings at this time
are just too much.

so if you still feel inclined to take a journey through my mind,
enter the horrors and smiles left behind,
climb the caves of  laughter caught in my throat,
cover your ears when you hear my agony note.
and on your last day,
rip through my flesh and find
those bones in my pelvis that used to relax and unwind.
and as you depart,
watch your step
so that next time, you won’t regret
wishing to live in my skin
and hopefully i won’t either
and i’ll come back again.


My Insecurities


my face has a mind of its own
and it just so happens
that my skin is always
ANGRY.
even when i am smiling, it revolts–
causes insurrections in the form of blemishes,
never ceasing to take out its frustrations
on little old me.
and then there’s the question of my belly.
a little pooch was cute and
i felt sexy with my belly ring
but now?
my mid-section has gotten comfortable with its present personality
and in turn,
takes up more space when it enters rooms,
makes itself known
when i prefer to be low-key.
this gut has taken advantage of me.

i look at my insecurities and can’t help laughing.
what i complain about in the grand scheme of things
is silly of me.
i am a creature of beauty
but my faults are like monsters
that wake me up in the middle of the night.
they live in the closet, stuffed away
for moments alone standing in mirrors
and examining.
if only i could squint at my strengths in the same way–
stare really hard at myself and count
all of my triumphs,
squeeze them from my head and into my heart…
if i could just grab at my ambition
and relish in how much it spills over my reality,
wish for it to grow and grow so i won’t
have to stare at my reflection to know
that it exists.

imperfection is true beauty and i’m happy that i have qualities
that separate me
from every one else.
for every insecurity,
there are thirty three reasons for me to smile
and smiling is more worthwhile so while
my skin chooses to complain
and my stomach
(which really isn’t that big anyway)
drives me insane,
my cheeks will raise high toward the beautiful sky
and pull me and every insecurity
into open air
to float above the earth where
something as
temporary
as my body
is irrelevant,
not applicable,
but nevertheless always
beautiful.


The Destruction


it’s gonna kill me
but still i can’t see
not having it in my life.
every time
i break out in hives,
i ignore my body’s signs.
today i sneezed and felt
a torturing tightness
in my chest.
i wanted to call for help
but didn’t want to confess
my negligence.

my body
no longer feels like mine.
my skin
belongs to someone i don’t know
and even my breath doesn’t flow
the way it used to.
i’m used to
not following through
but now i see the clues
right before me
and refuse to solve the puzzle.

i don’t want to buy a vowel because i know
that O-
bedience is better than sacrifice
and i’m wondering if now i’m paying the price
that is right for my rebellion.
i wonder if my pain is punishment
because this stings
more than anything.

how long can i risk
my health?
how long i can remain
a prodigal daughter lying to herself,
running from what nourishes her
and continuing to feed on what destroys her?

i’ve had fun in this party of mine
and threw out my royal oats
in exchange for pieces of swine
paid for by peace of mind.
my mind tells me to move
but a nagging voice says “Stay still.”
my body questions how long
i’ll be able to feel
this way
before i become the sole employee
of a sweat shop run by a corporation devoted to the
complete and utter destruction
of me.


Unwanted Guest


i thought this stress was
over
but it seems to be
busting into the seams of my skin
without permission.
i thought it packed a bag and traveled
far away
but today i question if it ever left.
this feels like death
or maybe just illness to the happiness
that i had so much missed
because i was depressed.
but i won’t allow this stress
to control me.
love is so much more
powerful,
so much stronger,
so i’ll dwell in houses of affection
until my heart no longer hurts,
til my body no longer rejects
foreign objects to which i’m familiar,
til there comes a time when God
heals the wounds,
the frustration, the hurt,
wiping away my tears,
calming my fears,
and whispering in my ear
that stress no longer lives
here.


Exotic Beauty


handsome white guy
with the nice smile and brown eyes–
oh how you surprised me
when you told me
you liked my my body.
you explained to me how you’d
never been with a black girl sexually
and asked if you could get down with me
and i was like…
“seriously?”

you want me
not for me
but what i represent:
exotic beauty.
so after our conversation
(which ended abruptly after your sexual solicitation),
i wondered what would have become of our relations
if i would have succumbed to your fantasy
and thought for a moment that it’d be kind of fun to become
what it is you want of me.

i am your exotic beauty.
my eyes are precious stones for you to appraise
with the magnifying glass of your mind.
lose yourself in the kinks of my hair
as you try to count the innumerable strands.
then take your hands
and trace the contours of my cheekbones,
moving inward to the peak of my nose
and down to the lusciousness of my lips.
close your eyes and wish for an exotic kiss
from yours truly,
your exotic beauty.
tickle my brown skin softly with the tips of your fingers,
grazing my flesh slowly and allowing your touch to linger
on the abundance of my breasts, the wideness
of my hips, the roundness
of my behind, the thickness
of my thighs
and experience the fullness of my foreignness.
just stop and stare for a while until i
get uncomfortable because i have never been looked at
like that,
never been put on display
in such a way.
i’m used to being an around-the-way girl
and to you, i am something special,
someone to be desired and pursued secretly,
an exotic beauty.
request dances from me
and i’ll sashay my sexy silhouette your way
and spread my smile and my legs with flexibility.
take me, love me,
touch me, see me,
want me.
i am yours–an exotic beauty.
i am no longer human, but property,
a resident in your world of fantasy
that you carefully consider making a reality
just so you can really see how it would be
to conquer me.
my blackness is dangerous and exciting,
scary yet inviting you to
request a piece of my dark meat,
to be honest with me about your curiosity
to the point that in your effort to confess,
you devalue me–
simplifying my existence to mere ideas and notions
and taking for granted that i am a woman,
i have a brain,
i have intelligent thoughts and words to relay
and that my body is not the defining factor
of me.
but to you,
i am only
an exotic beauty.


Black in America


is blackness a curse?
they’re trying to kill us.
the darker brother and sister are put on display
like slaves
in an open market.
they’re trying to kill us,
letting us choose our own death
whether it’s how we ingest, protect, or have sex,
it all results in the same effect.
Uncle Sam is the overseer,
lashing us with the whip of the economy,
sugar cane is liquor and weed,
cotton and tobacco is money,
our diet is poison
and we are our biggest enemies.
we are trying to kill us.
is blackness a curse?
a voodoo magic trick
to be put on display for the world?
as much as and as often as i
would like to deny
connection to what is plaguing us,
i can’t.
i am part of the family put up for sale today
and there’s no possibility of hiding,
my dark skin gives me away
and there’s no way to move past
calls from bill collectors every day
so i too am a slave,
moving between the field and the house,
moving between my dreams and security,
between reality and fantasy,
fighting the notion
that blackness is a disease.
but perhaps we are airborne
because parts of us spread into society…
we all breathe
in the blackness,
breathe out the oppression,
breathe
in the beauty,
breathe out the lessons,
breathe
in the answers,
breathe out the question:
is blackness a curse?


Vegetarian (Revised 7-9-08)


i was a vegetarian for 7 days,
walked around on a high,
bragged about the 5
pounds i lost,
the extra pep in my step in the mornings
and my glow that was noticeable to strangers.
but after those 7 days,
nourishment left
my body.
i was no longer fulfilled
because the food that i needed to fill
my belly
was not vegetables but
peace.
peace left so much that i needed a piece of a peace pill
just to make it through the day
and a whole of the peace pill so i could be sure i’d sleep the night away.
vegetables no longer sufficed.
i was hanging on strings like a marionette
head bobbing, soul vacant,
arms moving one way and legs moving another,
disconnected and needing to be pulled together
and still
no energy.

the vegetables were so good!
they gave me leverage and confidence in a
society that is fast food-fried, overrated and hydrogenated
but my nature was gone.
i was forced to turn processed because life is a process and i am in process and
i see little progress
just objects
that are normal to most people but affect
me:
books are too much, life is too much,
screens are too much, looks are too much,
closeness is too much, rain is too much,
truth is too much,
i tremble at accidental touch.
i need more peace.

my diet
was adjusted,
my daily life
disrupted
without warning.
if there was a sign to tell me that i would experience such things
i would have bucked a U,
avoided U
street,
made an illegal turn to
get the hell up out of dodge from hell
street,
but it was too late.
i got sucked
into suffering shivering solitude
scrutiny examinations hollow moods
and for what?

i was a vegetarian for 7 times 7 days,
then i became a pescatarian
because it was supposedly time to celebrate
but despite the cards and family and gown,
i did not graduate
from this experience.
they say experience
is the best teacher
so please, if you happen to see her,
tap her on the shoulder and tell her she’s out of control.
tell her i’m reporting her to the Board of Education because
i was a child left behind in the cold.
i was still shaken or maybe stirred
but somehow things got a little brighter.
i let love lead me
but less vegetables feed me
imaginary peace fooled me
and the quest to move on ruled me
i had to prove to everyone and me
that i had made it,
that i was strong,
but little did i know that this was not over,
that it may never be over,
and that the peace that once existed
was gone.

i was a vegetarian
back at a time when i had peace
and 82 days later, i ate a piece
of chicken and as i felt the grease
get stuck in my throat,
i realized i was unsatisfied with meat
because my life, my body,
my meat
was viciously stolen from me.
i identified with the chicken!
i was slaughtered
and ran around with my head cut off.
unsympathetically,
my case was wrapped up,
my vegetables were hidden,
i was robbed at heart-point
and i don’t know how to get my stuff
or my nourishment
back.


To Paint Humanity


*Written July 6, 2008*

i had a dream that God told me to paint humanity–
take my life and use it as an instrument
to capture all the colors of his children,
so i start this mission with me:
i explore the deepest blacks of my people,
the darkness of drum beats and culture coursing through my veins,
the brown of skin that is smooth and strong,
the purple of pride from my ancestors that in me remains,
the blue of depression, lost plans, loneliness, and failure,
the green of envy, peace, hunger for money, and nature,
the yellow of the consistent sun, joy, and energy,
the orange of the warmth that only comes from family,
the red of blood, passion, and rage,
the white of the oppressors who tried to kill my race.
my life is a paintbrush
searching the in-between hues of personalities,
the value of words,
the pigment of emotions,
dipping into the water of my tears
until everything becomes one color and runs together…
truth, lies, joy, sadness, laughter, confusion
all co-mingle in the bucket of my body
mixing with one another so that at times, i forget what i’m painting.
i realize that all of my colors are interconnected,
deriving from the same three primaries
while i’m a painter staring at a blank canvas
trying my hardest to determine
the formula of documenting and sharing,
of composing and communicating just what it is that makes
life.


Queen


*Written June 18, 2008*

he was a poet and i didn’t even know it
would end up this way
i thought a man so careful with words,
so meticulous with phrases
so introspective with thoughts
so…deep
would have at least valued
me.
he called me his queen
loved the fact that i was chocolate
even made me walk farthest away from the street
but he couldn’t keep his
promises.
i was a queen
i was
i was a queen of sorrow
queen of suffering
queen of sacrifice
and the last royalty i knew
to go down like that
was Jesus.

my garden of Gethsemane
happened to be the driver’s seat
and i pleaded
as tears of blood rolled down my forehead
and stung my eyes
take this cup from me
take this violation from me
take this night from me
take this life from me
but not like this.
those assigned to watch over me
were sleeping
eyes closed, minds closed
as i was forced
open
as my life and privacy
was widened
as my body
was no longer mine to keep.