Please Don’t Forget Haiti

I promised to tweet on the first of every month reminding people to stay vigilant in their support of Haitian recovery and relief. I set aside the following post to do the same, but it did not post when scheduled, so here it is now:

As the media turns away from Haiti, Haitian children become even more vulnerable to coerced immigration, Haitian women become more vulnerable to the military and prison industrial complexes that seem far too prevalent in the relief efforts, and the Haitian people become even more vulnerable to exploitation born out of centuries old retaliation for daring to take back their freedom. If you can, please consider giving more money to Haitian relief and making sure that where you give is actually serving in a decolonized and intersectional way. If you don’t have the funds to give, consider spending some time this month re-raising awareness about Haiti, re-energizing your communities for Haiti’s relief and recovery, and re-committing yourself to being a global witness to ensure that Haiti is not re-colonized b/c nature provided the tragedy necessary for an unnatural disaster.

Mud Mothers

AFP/Getty/Unattributed

the children of haiti
are not mythological
we are starving
or eating salty cakes
made of clay

because in 1804 we felled
our former slave captors
the graceless losers sunk
vindictive yellow
teeth into our forests

what was green is now
dust & everyone knows
trees unleash oxygen
(another humble word
for life)

they took off
with our torn branches
beheaded our future
stuck our breath up on pikes
for all the world to see

we are a living dead example
of what happens to warriors who―
in lieu of fighting for white men’s countries―
dare to fight
for their own lives

during carnival
we could care less
about our bloated empty bellies
where there are voices
we are dancing

where there is vodou
we are horses
where there are drums
we are possessed
with joy & stubborn jamboree

but when the makeshift
trumpet player
runs out of rhythmic breath
the only sound left is guts
grumbling

& we sigh
to remember
that food
& freedom
are not free

is haiti really free
if our babies die starving?
if we cannot write our names
read our rights keep
our leaders in their seats?

can we be free
really? if our mothers are mud? if dead
columbus keeps cursing us
& nothing changes
when we curse back

we are a proud resilient people
though we return to dust daily
salt gray clay with hot black tears
savor snot cakes
over suicide

we are hungry
creative people
sip bits of laughter
when we are thirsty
dance despite

this asthma
called debt
congesting
legendarily liberated
lungs

– Lenelle Moïse

Lenelle Moïse hailed “a masterful performer” by GetUnderground.com, is an award-winning “culturally hyphenated pomosexual” poet, playwright and performance artist. She creates jazz-infused, hip-hop bred, politicized texts about Haitian-American identity and the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, spirituality and resistance. In addition to featured performances in venues as diverse as the Louisiana Superdome, the United Nations General Assembly Hall and a number of theatres, bookstores, cafes and activist conferences, Lenelle regularly performs her acclaimed autobiographical one-woman show WOMB-WORDS, THIRSTING at colleges across the United States.

····
Moïse will be featured at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, March 10-13, 2010, in Washington, DC. The festival will present readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programming, film, activism – four days of creative transformation as we imagine a way forward, hone our community and activist skills, and celebrate the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for social change. For more information: info@splitthisrock.org.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem-of-the-Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

This poem is reprinted from Split This Rock’s blog–where you can find other great poems and poetry news <http://blogthisrock.blogspot.com>

One thought on “Please Don’t Forget Haiti

  1. Pingback: Haiti IV « The Feminist Texican

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