Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “suicide

Accidental Epiphany

on a sunny summer day
at one of my lowest points,
i walked alongside a river
and casually considered jumping in
as a way to end my pain.

i stopped moving for a moment
and took notice of the beauty
that coursed through everything around me.
the water danced in ripples back and forth,
and in it, ducks swam.
they were so precious and careless and abundant.

it occurred to me
that if God could create this life-giving body of water
that flowed before me,
and could take care of creatures so much smaller than me,
then of course,
he would watch over and provide for me.

an epiphany–
when overused cliche words
finally became real
all because of pain
i didn’t want to feel.


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…
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,

Prayer of the Lost

i am lost,
i know i am.
i drop to my knees and fold my hands
and close my eyes and clear my mind
and wait for the Lord to speak
and hear absolutely…
i clasp my fingers tighter as my legs fall asleep
and get an ache in my wrists
from waiting for Him
to remind me that He
really exists
and still there’s not a sound.
my legs sink deeper into the quicksand of the ground
that has claimed more lives it seems
than the God in my dreams.
i think of a homeless man i saw near rainy midnight,
jogging between lanes of a busy street,
flailing his arms as headlights shone
in the puddles by his feet
and he screamed at the approaching wheels,
begging them to slide over his misery
so that he could float high into the sky,
free from thunder and lightning
and finally see the God i’m inviting
in on my prayers.
i know where that man is
even though i am here,
not confident anymore
to drop to my knees;
not focused anymore
to listen for a voice that has nodules in its throat,
perhaps it’s hoarse
from coaxing me out of past pain
and needing to remind me of lessons
already learned again and again,
probably tired from my ignorance and illiteracy
in reading the signs of what is good and bad for me.
my knees ache,
the mushy ground shakes,
i’ve made some mistakes
and don’t know how to pray.
i want smiles to stay and God to be awake
and to escape the nightmare
of ignored prayers,
wake up and no longer be here
but where i was, whatever that was,
maybe that’s why i was
on the path to where i am now.
maybe this is how
genuine communication feels.
one person begging and the other not even real,
imaginary in the circumstance of caring,
devoid of the quality of sharing,
and blankly staring
as i break down the innards of my heart
hoping that the God i think is listening
will recognize the random parts
and find some sort of consistency
and give me a reason to drop down to my knees another day
and pray.

The Nameless Woman

she told her friend that she liked him a lot
but she was scared because
he’s kinda rough and once told her that
he’d fight for anything,
including love.
after a few months,
the next scene cuts
to her banging on her friend’s door late at night
with blackened eyes and a bruised face
and she’s crying hard,
scared for her life
and begging her friend to let her in
but her knocks go unanswered.
she sits on the front steps with a cigarette
on the right side of her mouth
and a blunt on the left,
hoping that smoking both at the same time
will fill her lungs, blacken them
and quicken her death.
she closes her eyes and remembers happy times–
of when she and her boyfriend first met
and recalls the first incident of violence
with pangs of regret.
the phrase, “this is my fault”
is a bullet shot from the back of her brain
that ricochets painfully, driving her insane
and she contemplates the different ways
she can end her life
and then looks up and sees headlights
and a window that rolls down
and the driver is a scared man-child
who wears tears of his own and a frown
and he stares–
watching the young lady he says he loves
pick the shattered pieces of herself up,
walk to the car and get in.

and then they drive off.