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Poetry in English

Poems by Mesmin Charles

Mountain Man

Your rugged hands caressing
the fields
the fields of our pains and dreams
your sweat precious
drip on the soil of life
nourishing the earth of our burnt desires
salt energizing our thoughts
essence of our freedom quest
your stiff veined sculpture
image of our emboldened soul
sacred urn of our ancestors’ spirits
mirrors the journey of a race
on the pulse of the sun
dreaded days
days of pains
shadowing the mighty struggle
for the greatness of man
never to be forgotten
in the harvest of time


Bleeding mother
the cancerous evil gnawing
your motherly wombs
your soul weakened, battered
by the wicked intrigues
of merciless enemies
your moribund cries relentlessly
filtering the caustic pains of
your wounded heart
your wretched plight tearing
the mighty fibers of your entrails
by the relentless assault of
intestinal fights
your once proud beacon at the twilight
of history flickering to death
vilified, zombified
your stiffened body lacerated and scarred
entombed your gladiator’s soul
your swollen spirit
on this murderous journey
is in eternal mourning

Battle of Vertières

in our freedom route
sharing a common goal
in love and brotherhood
we marched
through the valley of history
determined to be free
our rag-tag army razed the enemies boots
dodging bullets
they sung
«grenadiers à l’assaut
sa ki mouri zafè a yo»
our battle cry resonated
in every soldier’s heart
fallen comrades we left behind
as the throng
raging on
too heavy the weight of slavery
too high the price of liberty
and the great Dessalines
defiant son of Africa
swearing Makandal, Bookman, Tousssaint
led the invincible Haitians
to the conquest of victory
breaking the spell of mythical belief
at the new dawn of life
the oppressed once again

Toussaint Louverture

Onto the tragic wall of history
majestically you carved the face of a country
mysterious island
jewel of an era prize among land
you erected your flock
into viable stock
from vile servants to heroes of human
crunching slavery’s omen
the myth of inferior ebon
at history’s new dawn
in the tempest of time endured your legacy
journeyed through the psyche of world reality
“from the first among the Blacks to the first among the Whites”
you sealed the human path in admirable fights
freedom the new motto
of all mankind hero
for the quest of liberty
woven in the legends of the newly free
clamored songs of equality
and brotherhood of posterity
scripted for ever
in metaphoric letter

Pulses of the bleeding drum

And the bleeding drum
weeps till the last drop
its blood showers the hackled land
thirsty for love and brotherhood
humming songs of freedom
songs of justice and peace
but reaping abjection and vilification
the downtrodden herd
of its cursed genetic folds
lament desperately
their putrid delusion
and the bleeding drum
weeps till the last drop
its fainting heart moaning
yearning under the pulses of time
its humming echoing in the stripped mountains
pulsating through the veins
of the angry hills
tapping the rugged parched river beds
jumping through scorched valleys
like the incantations of the voodoo priest
in the deaf gods’ ears
and the bleeding drum
weeps till the last drop
will the gods ever hear
the humming
of the bleeding drum?

—Mesmin Charles

Poem by Emmanuel W. Védrine

A 21 gun salute for Obama

A 21 gun salute for a Child of Africa!
“Others” really got mad when seeing
OBAMA elected president.
The goat has already passed through the gate
and they are shouting close the gate.
The gate is low but they can’t jump over it.
They’re bored with frustration.
They have a rash itching their whole body.
What they didn’t want to see is what they see.
That’s what it is: Obama is president for
at least four years!
His number is 44,
the 44th US Head of State
who’s entitled to a 21 gun salute
on January 20, 2009.
Hey, “others” have a hand on their cheek
thinking because they realized that
it’s already twilight when they see
Africa wants OBAMA
America wants OBAMA
Asia wants OBAMA
Europe wants OBAMA
Ostralia wants OBAMA
Oceania wants OBAMA
Nations far away want OBAMA
The whole world wants OBAMA.
“Others” if you are mad,
take it the way you want.
It’s already too late for you!

Emmanuel W. Vedrine Collection: “Cry for liberation”, first published in Potomitan: http://www.potomitan.info/vedrine/obama2.php

Poems by Tontongi

Ode of tears for Gaza

After missiles were launched
after roads cut in two
that lead to nowhere
after unrelenting alarms
of ambulance sirens
taking injured to remote hospitals
and silence returned dread like a curse
after the razing of whole neighborhoods
walls turning to ashes
bones tossed in communal fosses
and even dogs are deprived of water.

After all hospital beds taken
and the mortuaries were full
sacristan devoid of farewell songs
seeds that cannot grow
no rice bowl on the dinner table
and meal served when good luck smiled.

After schools closed
and no one was told
after one family lost brothers
and sisters and mothers and fathers
after blood became to the soil
to the streets and to the inner soul
just a flowing and fluid element.

After there’s no more places to run
after homes become for teenaged IDF
fair game targets in competitive sport
after children were crying for hunger
ribs exposed like in the butcher’s stand.

After you crossed the land
threw bombs around in fury
like pigeon feeders do for crumbs
after our livelihood destroyed
and guns shot at emergency first-aid
and the town market closed down
carved in rivers of tears and pain
no more social security office
no more hang-out at nightfall.

After doing all that you wanted
to keep them from ever existing
after you have used all weapons
to silence all voices that say no
you remain an empty shell
still haunted by your bad spirit
still crushed under the weight of fear
still threatened by world wide oblivion
still entangled in anxiety.

After all you have done
to in your memory avenge
the deportation and exile
the gas chamber and despair
your people had endured
we can together join in Earth’s memory
and share millenaries of tears and dreams
there’s no monopoly in Odyssey land
none of us is the Universe’s lone member.

Even after decades of ordeal
Gaza still stays alive to fight
she is not responsible for your curse
nor the hell you put upon yourself.

Gaza is not Hamas
but Hamas is of Gaza made
voting for the government you want
isn’t what democracy preaches?
Voting for the government you want
doesn’t mean only if big powers approve.
Where there is no justice there is no peace
we all are forgotten children
following Earth’s compass with blinders
all massacres are the same
be they in Gaza or in Qana
in Ramallah, Haditha or in Haifa
whether they take place in Fallujah
or in the Site Solèy.

Gaza is not Hamas
but we are all Gazans
untamed conscience that struggles
for the right to a better future
the right to decide what we want.

Israel has caused death needlessly
this is the truth of the picnic incursion
Gaza is not New York nor Philadelphia
nor Washington DC or Boston
still the blood shed interpellates us all.

Killing in hours masses of souls
is a war crime in Auschwitz
as well as in Guernica
as well as in New York or in Gaza
to change is to stop defending
with a tortured yet straight face
Israel’s atrocities regardless
change is to ask for that to change.

Gaza is our inner sin
conscience and memory of history
memory of horrors that shouldn’t be
memory of the need for justice
conscience for liberated Gaza.

Pain should unite not divide
history and memory of horrors
far from being alienating hindrance
to manufacture reign of fear
could unleash flowing waves
to our common humanity elevate
we should cry for all our dead
let us join on the road to new hope.

(January 2009)

If You Make Hussein Prez

(dedicated to Barack Hussein Obama)

If you make Hussein prez
You’d betray our 4th of July
You’d ally with genuine patriots
To seize the helm of the Capitol.

If you make Hussein prez
Fred Douglass would smile in his grave
His words having made the rounds
Even in the heartless Capital’s glowing lore.

If you make Hussein prez
I would hold a party for Malcolm
And have John Brown make it a ball
though Wall Street takes off with the dough.

If you make Hussein prez
You may make the KKK cringe
Although some adherents would applaud
The time’s urgency for boldness.

If you make Hussein prez
We will sing God Bless the USA
And call for MLKing to be there
To celebrate the potency of his dream.

If you make Hussein prez
You would humanize evilness
And make political-ethical humanism
The law of your tormented land.

If you make Hussein prez
You may not adjure centuries of misdeeds
By those who have milked our Cosmos
But you’d defeat pettiness for pettiness’ sake.

If you make Hussein prez
You’d change your destiny in the process
If only by showing despite all Fox’s folktales
That you are not the XXIst Century Great Moron.

If you make Hussein prez
You probably voted for your own interests
Instead of the corporate farce
Serving as hide-out for greed.

If you make Hussein prez
You defend the honor of your land
Saving your country from horrors
After many decades of privatized State.

If you make Hussein prez
You probably know his name is Barry
He is a Christian not a Muslim nor a Buddhist
Not a Jewish and not a Vodou Hounsi.

If you make Hussein prez
You probably want to stop the BS
And the coziness and the thieveness
Stop more bleeding from the wound.

If you make Hussein prez
You’d regain a rejuvenated life
Reaffirm multiple splendors of the races
Redirect destiny and changer la vie.
(If it is what you want)

(October 2008)


Poem by Jean-Dany Joachim

Be Cool

I don’t care how cool you think you are
but when you are just back from reading your cool poetry
in the great cool city of New York
and now it’s past 3:00 a.m. you’re standing cool
in your cool home downtown
watching with cool passing under your nose each cab you hail
Oh brother, something aint just cool
in this whole cool affair.

—Jean-Dany Joachim

La tour Eiffel vue du pont Alexandre III.

The Eiffel Tower seen behind glass cat ’o nine tails on pont Alexandre III. —photo by David Henry

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