Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “stress

Life as Hair


i like the freedom that comes from changing my hair.
i went from afro
to short relaxed
to boy cut
in a span of three months
and wish that i had enough bravery
to change things outside of me
that had more impact
than outgrowth from my skin.

what if i could cut off unhappy situations
and let stress dye
black then part orange
then whatever color my next whim desires?
what if i put chemicals on my sadness
until they turned straight and burned like fire?

what if my life was hair?
would i take care of it
or spray products on it for a quick fix?
this oil sheen is actually
the job i meant to leave a year ago
and this pomade is the pay raise i was expecting
that never came.
this shea butter is the love that comes from my mother
and this comb is the tough pulling feeling
that comes from wanting to leave home.
and when i run my fingers through it,
there is love.
i relish at what grows out of me naturally,
choosing to be content in whatever state
or texture
i choose or am forced for it
to be.


Water Me


i need rain,
but not the kind i have felt before.
i don’t want cold, slanted drops hitting my face
in a conspiracy to make me colder.
i need condensation of relaxation,
showers of inhale-exhale-inhale-exhale breathing,
umbrella weather of honoring me.
i’m so dehydrated,
dizzy from daily activities
and in need of nourishment to bring my heart
back to beating normally.
i need raindrops falling on my head to consume me
so that i want to go outside in it
and maybe even dance
and maybe have a chance of beating my dry spell
so that i can make it to the next harvest
without worry, insecurity, and stress.


Sleepwalker


tired and restless
i have a hard time
taking time to unwind
and by the time that my mind
finally settles
and stops lingering on things,
the alarm rings.

i walk through my days
in an REM state,
wondering how much greater they would be
if i were actually awake,
if i could actually sleep
instead of staying up to the wee hours
counting the sheep
that represent all that i have not done.
they “Baaa” my way
while i try to find a way
to push them away
and let my dreams come alive.

time for shut eye,
open, active mind,
never enough time
to unwind…


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.


She Didn’t Want to Be the Cause


she said
she didn’t want to be the cause of
another black man goin to jail.
she said
“my men have come from such a tough journey.
their rights
have been taken from them
and they have been stripped
of their masculinity.”
she said
“he is a victim.
i don’t want to be another factor.”

now i can understand
where this woman is comin from cuz by all means,
black men have not had it easy
but
as i stared in the mirror
at her scratching her stress-caused hives,
observed her fidgety movements, how she
shivered
even though it was warm outside
and saw tears welling up in her eyes
that she refused to cry,
i begged her,
implored her
to think of herself,
to consider her mental health
and the effects
of not speaking up.
i asked her
if she wanted to continue to cry in fits
and pray for the end of her own existence,
if she wanted to live in fear of re-experiencing this brutal sin
or be so afraid of men
that even gentle touch made her cringe
and she was silent.

she couldn’t think straight.
she couldn’t breathe
but she mustered up enough courage to see
that even though she didn’t want to be the cause
of another black man goin to jail,
she could no longer stand
the heatstrokes and dehydration from living in hell.
she felt bad
because he is a victim
but she had to admit that she was a victim
too
and that if she didn’t speak out,
the victim she tried to love
could potentially create a mass of new victims
who like her
were terrified to tell
because they didn’t want to be the cause
of another black man goin to jail.