Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Posts tagged “time

A Rape Deferred


if a woman cries rape and police don’t respond,
does the crime make a sound?
a drum beat,
a whisper,
a rushed “Psssttttt!”
a ghetto “Ay yooooooooo!”
a moan,
a scream,
a gasp,
a catching of breath,
a clap,
a stomp,
a hiss,
or leaky faucet “drip-drop”?
does the clock even let out a “tick-tock”
or does time just stop
when a woman’s rights are denied?
with no batteries changed in the watch,
the year could be 5 B.C., 1964, or 2011.
does an angel cry in heaven?
does God send down thunder and rain,
or does he console her quietly through her pain?
is there even a sigh,
a Holy Ghost-filled prayer,
an explosion of violence?
or just silence?


Emancipated


having dealt with the
absense
of time for so long,
having time is like
a new revelation.

i find myself looking for
recipes
to satisfy my hunger for excitement;
yearning for
physical affection
during quiet moments when all i hear is
floors creaking,
old pipes running,
open-mouth breathing
and food digesting.
the urge to initiate
conversation and rekindle 
neglected friendships
arises strongly.

the rush in me has diminished–
no longer a slave
to minutes;
time can now wait for me.


Long Time No Poetry


i resisted you for a while
and now that i’m letting you back in,
you seem to flood and nourish my insides
like much-needed rain.
old tricks no longer put me to sleep–
fingers can get sticky
and room can begin to fill with
aromatic citrus sweet musk;
body can relax,
but mind and heart fills up
with words.


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.


Ignorant Bliss


i was swept away,
not knowing that such feelings could exist;
not knowing that there is even a difference
between knowing and feeling,
between love and that feeling
that sears the inside of my hips
and burns and sticks
to the bottom of the pot of my desires.

i never knew about fire.
my gas stove at home only has hues of blue
and sometimes orange
but my lust is red.
come join me in my bed.
let’s learn about the things we did not know
together.
i hope this time lasts forever
or until the point when Never no longer matters
and Maybe grows up because she’s having a baby
and If turns into a kiss and decides to be definitive
for once in her life.

sweep me away from this life
and into a land where
love makes sense.
i see its definition in the distance:
not Webster’s but life’s encyclopedia-thesaurus-dictionary experience
viewed in first person.
we are in motion–
picture it with me:
you and me.

let our union open up our blind eyes to see
the mystery of love
through our own history;
the misery of love
through our own synergy.
sing with me,
dance with me,
melt with me,
exchange heart beats until we are both free,
running,
being,
leaping,
falling,
crawling,
begging,
never forgetting,
and loving.


Still Born


i feel frozen,
hard to do anything,
not justified in joy,
stuck in anxiety,
crying while running
because there is no time for stopping.

my mother,
example of strength,
template for beauty,
example of generosity,
standard of selflessness,
feeling of family,
antidote for insanity
is struggling.

my soul is still connected
by an invisible umbilical cord
feeding me medication and hope
and faith and pain
and they course through my veins
as i try to maintain
with a smile on my face
but i’m losing some weight
and my mind can’t erase
how life shouldn’t be this way.

but what do i know?
i am a mere embryo
floating in a world outside of my control,
sharing the same heartbeat as the woman who birthed me,
questioning, wondering, still living,
always praying
that our loud cries make it up to God’s big ears
that can’t possibly be deaf.


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.