In a life where the next meal is uncertain, where the next rain may claim your home, where the next election may happen or not — where that is the normal. Think of having those institutions smashed all around you. Jonathan Katz, Associated Press, on Port-au-Prince, Jan 14, 2010
Death is certain
as the evil come-with-us
in flesh and blood
with our without this earthquake
tests the fire in the prayers
we have memorized to fend off
all these aftershocks
of our ruined lives.
The people of Haiti, like us,
have been tried, before
and repeatedly: the callousness
of thieves in high places
the empty words of promisers
whose names are the people's
presidents and saviors.
But here, in this estranged land of storms
and imperial temptations in all shapes
here where slavery and colonialism
both take the form of alien desire,
one propping each other
one the logic of the other
we declare in French what
fraternite is all about:
those on the other side
live with all the trappings of honor
both bought and stolen
and then vested upon one's own
while those in the dumps
dream of egalite and liberte
pronounced with the tongue
of gods, white, and fearful of all
that can cast a white curse.
As if we have not heard of
Pat Robertson who easily
connected the meaning of devastation
with the grief of those who do not know
they have suddenly died on the living
who survive by living wretched lives.
We put the dots together:
this misery and this destruction
what in between them is the meaning
of redemption while bodies come to rot
and go back to the land
of those who have labored it out
for a darn century too long?
Haiti: you will not go.
Haiti: you will not leave us untouched.
Haiti: you shall tell us: with these deaths
shall rise the one other hope for all of us.