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Haitian Bitch

Sukey Lewis sukey.lewis@students.dominican.edu

Destruction of my substructure by stressed plates,
Some voo-doo curse laid it on—deconstructing my
Already worn-out, washed-up, ruined heap some called infrastructure.
Why? Too much bad blood, buried bones.
Lost babies, lost mamas, lost—
Nothing new, but nasty all the same.
Ridiculous in its predictability, “She managed to toss the child clear
Just as she was buried by the blocks.*”
My basements with their broken casements,
Have moved up-ground, up-town,
Where looters are on the make, trying to get rich?
Get real, I got nothing left to get rich on.
Broken joys, jimmied locks, tired souls,
And that Jackass Pat Robertson claims he’s misconstrued?

I’ve been misconstrued, misused for centuries.
Ever since that other Jackass showed up—Columbus.
And my people; Taíno, maroon, marabou, zambo,
Gave way to mulâtres, Creole, mulatto, mestizo.
The first wave of pestilence about did the job,
But a few survived to be cursed, enslaved, and raped.
Colony, country, coup to coup—I get an education,
Glean new meanings for words like parsley*, necklace*.
Then, since disease disappointed, and the French also failed,
The States fell short, and even tyranny relented,
They called in the real mother-fuckers—
Jeanne*, Fay*, Gustav*, Hanna*, and Ike*—
Four thousand down, nine million to go.

Diaspora took a few, but still my people clung on:
Eighty percent below the ledge, the edge, the water line.
After this bitch, this bucking, heaving, sweaty, pissed-off bitch,
Ain’t no one above the line.
It would almost be funny if it weren’t true.
This ludicrous reality, that says,
“Disposing of bodies is—for all intents and purposes—
Now the extent of the Haitian government’s capabilities.”
Maybe that will keep the bastards busy—but no,
More new vocabulary, like “extrajudicial execution,”
Keeps coming on to fuck up my day.




*Quotes from New Yorker Magazine.

*When the US left in 1937, Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo – in an event known as the Parsley Massacre – ordered his Army to kill Haitians living on the Dominican side of the border. In a "three-day genocidal spree", he murdered between 10,000 and 20,000 Haitians. He then developed a uniquely Dominican policy of racial discrimination, Antihaitianismo ("anti-Haitianism"), targeting the mostly black inhabitants of his neighboring country.

*Necklacing (sometimes called necklace) is the practice of summary execution carried out by forcing a rubber tire (tyre), filled with gasoline, around a victim's chest and arms, and setting it on fire.

*In 2004, tropical storm Jeanne skimmed the north coast of Haiti, leaving 3,006 people dead in flooding and mudslides, mostly in the city of Gonaïves. Haiti was again pummeled by tropical storms in late August and early September 2008. The storms – Tropical Storm Fay, Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Hanna and Hurricane Ike – all produced heavy winds and rain in Haiti. Due to weak soil conditions throughout Haiti, the country’s mountainous terrain, and the devastating coincidence of four storms within less than four weeks, valley and lowland areas throughout the country experienced massive flooding. Casualties proved difficult to count because the storm diminished human capacity and physical resources for such record keeping. Bodies continued to surface as the flood waters receded. A 10 September 2008 source listed 331 dead and 800,000 in need of humanitarian aid.

Statistics are from Wikipedia.


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