The blindfold weighs on my mind:
money, aid programs,
billions upon billions of wasted dollars.
We see no signs that people care
or envision us as friends.
We observe no proof that we are helping
and picture that our footprint on history
will not be good.
Evidence of swindling is strong,
but the thieves keep talking, talking, talking.
People need costly drugs they cannot buy.
Basketball players are rich, and yet they die.
Superdelegates are people with power
made higher than the rest.
I can feel the ghosts.
In the boarded-up warehouse on the riverfront,
were the workers cold and hungry?
Whose footsteps trod these stairs that creak with age?
Which couples staged parties in this living room
whose walls are cracked and peeling?
When will I tumble
into the tunnel of the past?
December 12, 2007
Dedicated to Serge
on the third anniversary of his death
SIDE BY SIDE
It was a life of voodoo drums
and philharmonic symphonies,
châdèque and ackee,
flying first class and taking ferries
with chickens underfoot,
driving jeeps through flooded rivers,
eating in the homes of peasants,
dining with presidents and prime ministers,
balancing on donkeys along steep
Châdèque, the largest variety of citrus fruit, has pink pulp and grows in Haiti. A smaller version called shaddock grows in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad, and other islands in the West Indies. It is also known as the pumelo.
Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica and can also be found on other islands of the West Indies.
By Serge Beaulieu
Tiens – Tiens – Tiens —
une carte de Wilhelm Elie,
que je croyais a tout jamais
perdu dans la brousse Africaine
a la merci d’une crocodile
a la solde d’Idi Amin.
Mais Non — — — Mais Non.
Here, here, here,
a card from Wilhelm Elie
that I believed
was lost forever
in the African bush
at the mercy
of a crocodile
in the land
of Idi Amin.
But no! But no!
DANGER ALL AROUND
From a corner of my bedroom closet,
the teenage boy looked at me.
Two bodies lay in the yard outside.
Unrest was rampant in Haiti.
It was a time of revolution.
Unrest, but not all political—
much was personal revenge, mobs burning people alive.
Some I liked, some were enemies.
THE ARTIST’S BATHROOM
A triangle of sunlight,
its tip in the utility bucket,
stretches from the window,
illuminating the room.