Farrah Sarafa

Farrah Sarafa

A poet in good name, now, for several years—Farrah’s had her poetry published in the Litchfield Review, Cerebration, Avatar, Frigg, Ascent Aspirations, Poetic Injustice, Diagram, Arabesques and Columbia’s “Tablets Review” among others. A master’s alumni of Columbia University’s Global Literature program, Farrah’s Mediterranean- (Arabic) upbringing and various travels to France, Italy, Spain and the Middle East have succumbed to poetic rendering, poems that fill manuscripts yet to be published. Farrah won second place in the Marjorie Rappaport poetry competition, a scholarship to the [SLS]- St. Petersburg summer writing conference, and 2nd place award and publication in the Chistell writing contest.

A Culturalist, at heart, Farrah speaks four of five languages and considers her race, ethnicity and heritage of utmost, strange importance. Being Palestinian-Iraqi, however, her identity’s been occupied, warred, and severed from its ancestral land. It is for this reason she learned French, traveled extensively to the surrounding regions, to Italy-Spain-Tibet- China- but never hits home. Poetry is the imaginative; the nearest she can get to acquaint herself with her origins.

 
Paris in the Day

The cheeks and arms of buildings, their sides
  melt into one,
  joining hands in the sun

Long, smooth, they line Parisian streets
  as a token
  architect unbroken.

Details of balcony rails curve, twist
  croissants to scratch
  the surface and to match

finger-nails that swirl, twirl heads upside
  down into smiles,
  eye-browing sculpture tiles,

shaped to resemble woman’s earrings;
  yet they are stone,
  decorative—alone,

ornamenting the tall building.
  Memory, this
  admiration– Paris.

Echoes of Scott Fitzgerld, Man Ray
  dance, rise and stay
  with the hope that I may

drink from the mug that made Sartre play
  with words and uses
  coffee’s romantic muses;

with the hope that some early Tuesday
  may save me then
  from anti-loving men

who whistle when
  they want to penetrate young girls.

II.
I proceed to Luxembourg gardens
  to lie on grass.
  Selves transparent like glass,

backs against trees–children on their knees,
  orange juice, baguettes–
  old smelt cheese, cigarettes–

all eyes focus on the new couple.
  Her bright red dress,
  blond hair, effortlessness,

she is the star. Hands active, (distressed?)
  hold, pull the head
  of him she hopes to wed.

Nourishment, she speaks little and sways,
  kneading her hands
  finger-fiddle, then stands

up to satisfy lover’s demands
  while he sits and stares,
  mesmerized my her air.

Lovers’ honest expressions, we lie
  envying youth–
  romance, bright cherry truth–

Ovidian dance, Daphnae’s chance
  to love, to embrace.
  He smokes in unsteady pace

discovering that he could never
  pleasure sweet her
  like fresh berry liqueur

of cups of spring yogurt. In garden
  where artists whisper,
  seeking to make crisper

their convoluted identities.
  Garden couple
  love— delicate, supple

memory, I sit and document
  vision, sorrow–
  spicing the dullness of tomorrow.

 
Volcano

Tongues like long
Passageways to her
  or heaven.
Let our chests press unto the other
  and spellbound

Inferno
ribs like steel cages
  past persons
climb with tricks and twists, forgetting
  to replace

Nutrient
With blood vein
  and rivers
whose currents this love
  inspires,

whose currents
wild hips explore
  probe so deep
to receive, asking for more
  push and pull

Gravity
and infiltration
  idea
and vision arouse need to
  interlock

Hands, rib bones
and strong intentions
  to ascend
into a pillow of pleasure,
  clouds of steel.

 
Palestine Fig

Inner worlds lined brown like the earth,
tinted gold like divine mirth,
the occupied race of people plead
for an outside light to dissolve their worry
into the dead sea.

Dense bubbles, sugar grains condense
like caramel apple heating
under my hot tongue. I imagine
soldiers’ threats induce a similar
effect on their poor children who have long been
constrained to sacrifice

their fame, knowledge and skill. Sweet fig flesh
that grips wrinkled outer skin
like old native man’s hands made hallow
from fear, disdain, longing to cry peace by tears
formed from the pain of clouds

waiting to be tasted and felt.
Pains produced from sweet-thirsty twigs,
resting on the earth, come together,
tighten, roll, and shrink into small balls called seeds-
reproduce from the hungers, contempt and needs
of Palestinian

souls. They swim in the memories
of their buried ancestors,
whose lives, disintegrated, nourish
fig tree soils, coalesce to become seeds
that constitute fig fruit.

Hearts gold- earth speckled, firm flavor,
a seeded promise that you
will savor the Arabian air
that you will inhale when you eat a fig
from my ancestors.

 
Magic Carpet Ride

I.

Waving her torso back and forth like a thirsty cat,
the flavors roll along the carpet of her tongue
like a roller coaster in love.

Marjorum fries simmer in oil, as he chops the onions.
Pass the beets greens,” she says—knife in her hand.
Slicing, tearing, the greens are warm

and ready to perspire m-i-n-e-r-a-l-s into a pot of steam:
The beet wedges release fragrance.
Bodies toast in their magenta sweats,
no neutral can counteract their dyeing colors.

II.

Flavored sewn by the staccato of small black sesame seeds
screaming in the infernal intestines of Lucifer,
they scream, h e r e s y.

Beets make juice and greens make green,
“Salut! To love, to friendship, to spring!” We drink casual wine
whose tears are moved to excellence
by the blood-thickening beet.

III.

Flying on her magic collard-carpet ride,
she dances like Beatrice on the tip of my tongue,
dyes my lips purple,
and causes me to sing a silent song of love
called “Thank you.”

 
Overnight Train

Bouncing possibilities from couchette one to four,
I lock the door
          and rest.

Knock knock, he knocks–I open:
Fifty years or more, not ugly or slim,
he senses that I’m upset—
that my inner lights are dim:

«Tu es ici aussi ?», j’ai dis.
He withdraws
his gentle paws
          though I do not see it that way.

I’m a Christian woman who must sharpen her claws
and exhale sound, lion-like and profound.

          He barely looks at me,
                    yet I still feel bound,
                              too thin.

 
Turkish Bazaar

Boxes, pearl laden and checkered with Sahara gold,
he carries in a plethora of new bags;
plastic, Moroccan velvet, and Tunisian linen hold
Hieroglyphic silver plates and chained cartouches
Qur’anic versed with Arabs’ pains
          retold.

“I have another gift for you,” he shares.

Grand pink argeela trimmed with fur painted gold;
amber-incensed myrrh, green pears.

Papyrus memories, Horus eyed
Have retried to incarnate desert “evils”.

     “He makes up for the other men in my life
     who don’t shop,”
says mom.

Beads woven onto strings,
your care cobra snake-weaves empty sand
spaces between prayer rings.

You spent two months in Egypt, my brother,
and brought back all these things!!

 
From Me to Strawberry She

Little strawberry patterns line our friendship
like hearts that square-border your younger sister’s picture frame.

Tiny, red buttons dot our spines like rosary-beads,
and each is worth a prayer.
Tapping together they make a rhyme
that in time lines the tops of heads
like a crown of rounded thorns;
     We reach for the Sun

like the tall plants that bear the heart-shaped fruit.
Our spines elongate–
     we twist like ropes and satiate
sexuality whispered under our breaths
                         for so long.

You stop.
Looking up, I turn my head to
the stunning vision of a girl all dressed in red.
Layered in sheaths, alternating auburn, maroon-bled
frosting, she moves in slow curves and
you know his glance serves
to make her motion all the more stunning

I cry.
Keeping it inside, I go on moving.
I continue acting, being, pretending nothing
and sending you nowhere
from here.

I too, stare
imploringly
at the exquisite RED she who
unlike poor, skinny me
lives with the eloquent grace

          of a strawberry.

 
A Romantic Dream to Sew Together Urban Pieces:
Eye Lenses ReFocalize d-r-a-m-a from dream

Sniffles and giggles shatter the glass
c r a c k s into pieces with light reflecting various people’s faces
like marble does the eyes
     blackened with
          the
          dusts of
               memory.

Sesame seed-lashed, his eye-rich prune glossed,
Like black olives—
I will remember
his hair
reaching neck line, as moist thick waves
in which I could let my hand swim
imagine that it were dark chocolate that
I could scoop (heartily) into my mouth
and become the
sprinkling espresso
     that wakes me CLEAN
          from the dusty
               coffee BEAN.

 
Anticipating Acceptance

Calm like an ocean at dawn
she approaches the castle of knowledge;
one foot in front of the other,
her metals liquefy as though she were a fawn;

smiles from smart girls nourish
her heart’s fear of falling thin;
she is merely writing
because he is not yet in.

Will this be the final fee before
she can be happy again?

Like inhaling stones, sand laden, dark and dry
this last month she has relied
on their response.

Yes, no, perhaps…
her joys are manipulated by shadow
like, dark alternations
of possibility–
the plaguing “if no then where do I go?”

 
A Palestinian-American

Holding his tears back selfishly so he can
taste the sweat of Palestinians sufferings,
his selfishness shows
his need to retain
I d e n t i t y flows
as blood through his veins.

Rivers of memory, lost hopes
endless pains
of the silenced, forgotten
child refugees
of which he day dreams
attempting to suture
blood- transferring gleams
     of truth, love and future.

 
I Want to Bleed, Womanly

Trying to
bring the woman
inside me to form,

To expand, beautifully
enough to warm All

without becoming too blue
or red passionate glue

in Love with not one
but two,
Men or women or Friend,

Distant emotional wanderings
Prevent straight career.

Trying to allow the woman
Inside me to flower,

To develop petals strong and in
Forever clear,

The one has not come,
I’m only one,
in
Denial.
That the
essential path is work
and fear.

 
Transformation of Rivers

Stepping-stones transform
Rocks into boulders
over which I cannot see–

over the immeasurably dirty
and depressing hardship

Raisin striped gorges,
Sedimentary dips-into clay,
I play amid rocks- climb boulders
And saltily stay until the sky’s Wings
So sweet, arrive to delicately
To deliver me from Death,
   Pit.

 
All poems on this post: © Farrah Sarafa
Published with the permission of Farrah Sarafa