Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “suffering

Newborn Baby Tears for My Old Self

sometimes i still cry for the old me
and i feel guilty cuz
the new me is

but i miss the old me’s extremes–
blind faith and concrete
black and white ideals
until evil jet black pushed into petrified pink
surprisingly, painfully.

suffering isn’t ideal.
neither are tears and grief
for a version of myself
mummified by cries that came so often
that when tears ran out,
a new woman appeared:

tougher skin,
sharper words,
deeper melancholy buried in
soft soil of smiles
and brutal honesty.
she is beauty all while
crying internally,
confused at her existence:
a newborn baby
with a 25-year-old body.


New Year’s Resolutions

i resolve
to be a woman.
i will not swoon from being called “beautiful.”
all i need to do is look in the mirror and it shows.
tell me something i don’t know.

i resolve to be a woman,
to let my “yes” be yes
and my “no” be no
and my “no” be “hell no”
if the hearer doesn’t show
thst they hear me
because i’ll be
a woman,
not a girl who acts without thinking
and who speaks without listening.

i resolve to be a woman,
one with estrogen and ovaries,
but i resolve
to grow a pair of balls,
both heavy and hairy
so that i will not choose to sit still
just because the future is scary.

i resolve
to resolve.
i resolve
to be.
i resolve to be a woman,
to be myself,
to be honest,
to be genuine,
to laugh loudly,
to cry fully,
to live with my suffering
because it’s part of being the woman
i resolve to be.

Time for Revenge

she brandished a gun without fear.
fear had fallen out her bedroom window while
reaching out and grabbing for her trust of humanity.
so now she relished in the feel of cold steel.
it warmed up the steam coming out of her ears
and the fire that burned in her heart.

now was the time for revenge…

prescription pills could never give her this feeling.
unanswered prayers could never provide the healing
that she so desperately looked for
so shakingly she knocked at the door,
brandishing a gun without fear.
she no longer cared,
she was no longer scared,
no longer normal.
whatever normal means was erased by her rape.

now was the time for revenge…

time to claim what was lost,
time for this segment of her saga to end.
she was no longer a victim but victimizer,
no longer the controlled but the controller,
no longer lost but herself like God with plans
because here at this moment, she had life in her hands.
“Funny how the tables turn,” she chuckled
as she turned toward the man
who had stolen her future without knowing.
she laughed some more at the tear running down his right eye,
elated that his true coward colors were showing.

now was the time for revenge…

she brandished a gun without fear finally feeling
like she was achieving her freedom.
her finger on the trigger trembled from excitement
of actually having a chance to fight back,
but when she finally pulled back,
all she heard was “CLICK!”
and then the beeping of an alarm clock
and a feeling in her belly that made her sick.

dreams of killing were the only thing
that satisfied her desire for winning back what was taken.
she couldn’t do it in real life
and she hoped that in her dreams she might
carry out the bloody plan that played over and over in her head,
but here she is lying in bed,
still subject to screams of silence
and inward anger growing more intense
and the aftermath of life events
that leave her tortured, tense
and truly terrified of tomorrow.

she brandishes her nightmares with fear.
she brandishes her life with fear,
fearing that
there is no real time for revenge.

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 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
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
without warning.
if there was a sign to tell me that i would experience such things
i would have bucked a U,
avoided U
made an illegal turn to
get the hell up out of dodge from hell
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.
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

Monkey Babies

*Written July 5, 2008*

i was watching TV the other night and i saw
rich people buying monkeys to raise them as babies.
what ever happened to adoption?
as another black child or baby is in foster care crying or getting abused,
rich white people are buying colorful satin dresses to put on little monkeys with diapers.
they’re “part of the family” and go everywhere with them.
they get fed lollipops and McDonald’s french fries even when they’re bad
and i wonder about that suffering child watching TV wherever they are
and seeing a monkey getting fed fries and
wondering when they’ll get their share.
grabbing at the screen,
they realize too that a monkey is preferable to them,
more desired company,
then they see a three minute commercial about protecting the dog community,
and realize that this world has no concern for human beings.


*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
would have at least valued
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
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
as my life and privacy
was widened
as my body
was no longer mine to keep.