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Poetry in English

Poems by Vilvalex Calice

Faux Dieux

“Ride to Save Your Ass” by Gabriela Crinigan. 2008.

They talk down to us and
Spit in our eyes words of noble birth
Caught up in swirls of blatant arrogance.
They converse in reverse
To obtrude flow of understanding,
To convolute minds like mine
Hanging on their harangues.
They disguise their lies
In brilliant flowery adornments,
Each phrase resonates perfectly
Volute arrangements
Of their deceitful thoughts
And sinful sophistry.

They look down at us.
Peer down from golden pedestals
And each concupiscent stare
Overdresses their intent
Fraught with malice and incest;
But no matter how gifted at
Beautifying ugliness,
They have yet to find
Ways to suppress the sun’s light.

We live in their shadows
But like dust mites we learn
To pass through shafts of sunlight,
Rise through the peepholes of Time,
Gang hard on their glass ceiling
Until it breaks in million pieces.

And, the tremor of each voice,
Desperate and at times pathetic,
Sad and at times solemn;
All gathers through the prism of hope
To ignite hordes of ugly lies,
To defeat legions of hungry flies.

Alas! The Bonfire will not be in vain
This will shed light on
The false piety of praying mantis.

We will learn to keep their feet to fire
And hearts open to the truth.

Each time they break their word
We must make them eat it
Like bread.

[N.B. Faux Dieux means false or fake gods]

Dangling at the end of Hope

Many years ago
I was told in strict confidence,
With genuine Haitian certainty:
The moon behind the trees
Is made of cheese…
Eyes trained toward the sky
I wish upon the crumbs
And watch it rise like bread
And soar to zenithal heights.

We seat in the dark
With friends, foes and acolytes,
Armed with prayers, curses and opened hands
We wait patiently for the moon to fall
Within the grasps of the hungry;
From night to night
Follow its silvery glow to every horizon
On a diet moonlight,
Always thirsty for sunlight,
Always willing and ready to kill
A friend, a foe, an acolyte
For a piece of cheese
Dangling at the end of hope.

—Vilvalex Calice

Poem by Roland Denis


Misunderstood I am
But I am trying to be explained
You are as well as I am, and who is not?
Misunderstood, explain who can?
The sunrise, the sunset, the moon light
beauty, ugliness
the heartbeat, nature!
Misunderstood don’t have to be explained
But explain the rain, how blood flows through my veins
But never in vain
Washing away my sour does the rain, as fire purifies
Perhaps my sins.
Misunderstood I am
But I am not trying to be explained
Why shouldn’t I understand?
The look, the time, the reasons

—Roland Denis

Poem by Marylin Laurent

You don’t know me

How can you say you know me
When you don’t know my name?
Every day you delve
Try to memorize
All the specific formulas
All the verses and detours
Of my face with no face…
My body became your battlefield,
My soul part of your being.
You wish you could claim
The mysteries buried within
Whereas it’s impossible for you
To lull the violent storm
Of confusion and pain
Dissimulated in my eyes…
You don’t know me

In me you see this little girl
Naive, bold and candid
Bursting of sensuality.
Do you ever stop and wonder about
What I like? What I want?
Who I am?
Do you know how to make me smile?
How to ease my pain?
Do you know what I want from you?
What I want for me?
Have you ever wondered
What it’s like to be me?
What it’s like to be mad?

Day in, day out I’m smitten
Can you feel it?
Do you have the ability to feel?
Your “I love you” is a dagger
Swimming in the pool of blood
That you never saw
Yet your feet stained my life with
You don’t know me

You hardly know my scent
My color, my flavor
How dare you tell the world
That my hair is whitewater rapids
With a single rose
And my lips of a rainbow
And candy cane…
Did you know I hated roses?
The most hideous flowers, to me
A sunflower would have been
My heart’s desire.

Take your chocolate and your dog
Your boots and cowboy belt
Your iPod blaring Hip Hop…
I want heavy metal
Barefoot in the sand
And coconut milk!!!
Did you know I have a Mohawk?
Bright green and I love it.
A big skull hugs my back:
Forever its ink under my skin
Brings me back to life
I am crazy if you didn’t know
Who wouldn’t be?
After facing death five times
Five times!!!
You wouldn’t know

You took me like clay
Morphed me into pretty statuettes
Painted me with porcelain
What was so bad about me?
You don’t like wilderness?
You don’t like madness?
Then you don’t like me
Don’t tell me you love me
You don’t know me

My life is not that of a spoiled baby
Surrounded by fake aristocrats
And bourgeois wannabes
I’m a parchment
Stained by pain and sorrow
A beautiful and valuable painting
You will never be able to afford
You never looked at me
Now you want to touch me?
Don’t touch me!
Do you know me?
It’s too late anyway
You will never know me.

—Marilyn Laurent

Poem by Tontongi

Poetico Agwe in Cambridge

Reminiscing Cambridge and its treasures
along with its police headquarters
its Ivy League schools and its cool
I thought of you, o immortals who survive
slaughters of those who don’t comply!

Agwe crosses immense water expanse
and lands in his pre-purgatory Ogatwa
asking questions for those who don’t talk
and pitying those who miss the River Festival,
the parade and peace songs on Memorial Drive.

I thought of Lia and Kathy in Washington DC
and of their genial kids who already knew
of Palestinian odysseys in lost land;
we all protested the Beirut invasion
by Neo-Centurions from vengeful Tel-Aviv.

I thought of PIH in this close office space
before it was embraced by Clintonian charm.
I reminisced of my secret desire
to liberate the caged bird made prisoner
on a third floor right by the elevator;
I liberated her many times in my mind
quietly opening her prison, her smile radiating
inner peace that alleviated my conscience
and giving to my sense of freedom
a challenge to creating new species
an invigorating soul for the struggle for life
a renewed osmosis between what I wanted
and what was needed to be done.

We tried to transcend the Reagan years
HIV-AIDS was then in its calamity premiere.
I thought of the beautiful youths
joining us to find grace in horror’s place
yet we had conquered hope, celestial pace
even amid the killing fields and the theatrics.

Prof. Gates’s Ware Street in Harvard sanctuary
even as reddish royalty near the Charles
is not the only place with visitation honor
by righteous Cambridge cops alarmed and horrified
by seeing emancipated Negroes invade the temple;
I saw them in the ’hoods and in the Area 4th
in Auburn Street amid the Central Square
conquered territories for zealous enforcers
oblivious of lives they have nonchalantly ruined.
I saw the Old Cambridge Baptist Church
a beaming and precious loving stone
being given to a pimp-like specter and watcher
placed next door named the INN in Harvard Square
a nice little hotel for rich students’ parents.
Gentrification is now poverty free-zoning.

Harvard had known many other sorrows
Summers dissing unceremoniously Cornell West
as well as the rogue-like ubiquitous Advocate
television star in High Definition rendering
asking for all Palestinians to be thrown
to the River Jordan, given to the Red Sea’s sharks;
Von Bülow was not his only amiable rich client.

I had seen Abel the Harvard drop-out
becoming the clown drowned in insanity
from lost paradise and lost innocence;
I saw him years later seeming depleted
like a middle-aged zombie, a revenant
still waiting for Godot but with no illusion.

In Harvard Square I just walked along
the streets following their leads
and their dead-ends and routines
and yet flabbergasted by their histories.
I saw W.E.B. Dubois’s house on Flagg Street
reminder of a time of bravura resistance
I revived my living in Cambridge Port
the everyday danger to be taken away
to unknown life’s end cave of horror
I revived my dreams to conquer contingence.

I visited dreadful University Road
where the Boston Strangler, high
but given to his most bestial urge
cut short beautiful Beverly Samans’s life.
I reimagined her horrors and terrors
yet also her beloved survivors’ dream
to keep on sounding the alarms to save lives
even amid the epic battles of the last Hurrah!

In Central Square I saw Marie Lagone
gone belle lurette to the Unknown
the place of daily internal anxieties
and huge leaps to total absence
and rejection of a world that kills
and lets others die in silence
a world of happiness appearance
of compartmentalization in small slices
in small social conformity’s cage
tight enclosure for non-exit exis;
I saw her in her effort to evade
the mundane evanescence crocking
her deeper throat since R. Georges’s death
survive the sudden void
the sudden importation of Hell
survive the big whole.

The BeeGee’s song “Staying Alive”
playing in People’s Republik
digs deep inside the memory
of my first year in Cambridge
this lost infant town of the USA
Cambridge the Haiti’s small town
with MIT and Harvard and Novartis
this grandly Institute for Bio-Medical Dig
the Digital Revolution’s dawn
Knowledge, Money, Power, Phantasm
power relations in Big Void.

I have seen many things there
eyes could see along the geography
of rebellion and marks of horrors
and dictate from the king and those
who care and die for their dreams
bourgeois lives by the sea on the line.

The two Americas within America
split along absence and silence
between penury, waste and loss
between Tory’s land in the West
and the Portugalo-Bresilan No Man’s Land
between the White House and the Big House
factories replacing plantations
homelessness replacing marooning
unemployment imitating fiesta-like laziness.

The two Americas within America
I saw them in many Cambridge streets
in the pavement along Massachusetts Avenue
the human humming hardly heard
among the vibrant squares, urban vitality
high existential aims for celestial glories
glory for absolute enjoyment of the Other Being
be they Cedye, Rockefeller or the carpenter.

The two Americas within America’s Cambridge
the two separate dualist odds I saw them like
comfortableness becoming ideals of and for being
lost conscience as panacea to changing the world
I too had endeared life’s essence
until I met and heard of the most horrible beings
those who never felt the beauty of what could be
those souls lost in immanent non-sense.

Agwe is from Gonaïves or Jacmel
or from Jeremy or Brooklyn, even the Diaspora
Agwe is the refugee perished in high seas,
existential maddening of the boat-people
sailing toward external answer to inner chaos
Agwe is what is left after the deluge had passed.

On my solitary nightly walks
along the sleeping Cambridge’s streets
dear city together the sinner
and the soulless rebel
I reminisced of past thrills
and of those who are no longer there
their holograms yet still haunting
in the midnight’s darkness
my inner cemetery they are
even in the memory of orgasmic Eden.

I reminisced of the loves and the doves
and the turmoil in the inner entrails
the long combats and the nice smiles of friends
who have since gone to ethereal Nowhere.

I reminisced of Agwe Tawoyo
launching Imamour Boat to high waves
to return the Ginens’ souls
to Mother Africa’s wound
heightened fight of memory versus non-sense
perhaps the last cosmic face-off—except
that the children will have to once more lit
their own torch to revive the corpse.

I am reliving the joy
and the pain from the lost lore
I am imagining the place’s antiquity
and its future read on a tea leaf;
I am remembering the bohemians
they seemed so much part of the land
the musicians and the mimes and the poets
where have they gone since yesterday?

I saw in Cambridge solidarity for hope
along cynicisms to let perish the species
yet I saw drive to erect beauty as universal value
and that was its little secret to let be and let live.

(Cambridge, October 2009)

—Tontongi Cambridge October 2009

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