Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “strength

Humpty


maybe i’m pushing too hard–
past the limit where my feet
are barely keeping on the edge of the wall
and i’m about to fall like Humpty Dumpty.
but hopefully i won’t break into pieces, but regenerate
because it’s been a long time since i have felt anything.
even if circumstances end
with shrugged shoulders and shriveled expectations,
i’m happy that at least i have felt again,
strengthened my shell again,
without forgetting the beautiful soul within
and that my limbs have the ability
to push and even pull back
as hard and as soon
as i need.

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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.


Survival


every day i walk miles and miles.
my legs have seen more hills
and my feet have stubbed more toes on sidewalks
than i can recount. if i had to count,
estimate how many miles i ambulate,
i’d have to confess that most of my traveling time
is spent inside of my mind.
i may sit in a cubicle from monday thru friday
but my imagination flies through van gogh’s starry nights
and lands on romare bearden’s collages.
it stretches and contorts like salvador dali’s objects
and tries to remain sleek like the art deco movement
but it’s too rough around the edges to be modern,
too complex to be described by a simple period in time.
this mind is stronger than my muscular calves, which have ached
from the toll of rushing, tried to look too cool for running,
but settling on moving briskly, avoiding
those who choose to waste their days moving at a slow pace,
burning from the fear of always running late.
i look at these thick legs, scars and all
which each have stories of their own
and contemplate how much stronger
my brain must be.
yes, it is bruised by memories
but those same sources of pain have caused it
to become capable of dealing with any and everything,
expansive enough to see the past, present,
and future
and worldly enough to whisk itself away
on new journeys that arise and never cease to surprise
as the feet on my body and on the sidewalks of my mind
travel for miles in order to survive
each hectic day.


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.