At Port-au-Prince Before the Dead and the Dying

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Drumbeats called the faithful to a Sunday Mass praising God amid a scene resembling the Apocalypse — a collapsed cathedral in a city cloaked with the smell of death and rattled by gunfire, where rescue crews battle to pry an ever-smaller number of the living from the ruins. Michelle Faul and Mike Melia, Associated Press, Jan 17, 2010

At Port-au-Prince, before the dead and the dying
before the living who escaped the wrath
of reason beyond word, language, speech

here, here they are all coming to utter
what hope that be said in grief
as in this utter silence. The question

comes in existential form, and we recall
Camus' and his disbelief, the anguished
soul of a philosopher who is a poet of the tragic

the question looming large before mountains
of destruction where lines curve to admit
what is in there for the finality of death.

Here they come, and the CNN accounts,
as in the Yahoo videos tell: this supplication
this singing of lauds and all the songs

they remember in their sleep
even as the smell of decay comes
to mix with what is body of Christ

to be offered to ward off the hunger
and his blood to drive away
the evil spirits that have come

to visit this land visited by dreams
of empire and the power that goes
with what power can offer to put in place

all the slaves in their own perch,
before as today and forever, indeed.
Our prayers go with them, as Fanon's

tactical articulations of justice
demanding food, land, job
and the immediacy of relief

just to get by each day, one day
at a time, past this havoc
that has come to reside in the quick.

Honolulu, HI

No comments: