31 December 2009

Sister Poems

our labor has become more important than our silence
-Audre Lorde

cutting and clearing, cooking and cleaning,
serving and selling our souls away
in dis Bahamaland we nameless and stateless,
in dis country who want we labour, but not we children

dey call us "my Haitian," as if we property
dey say we blood make us violent, as if Bahamian blood different
forgetting and burying, bodies and hands
uprooted like the forests around Port-au-Prince

dey say we takin' over
as if we run tings here
dey say we makin one next Haiti
as if we ain't runnin from her now.

back in Haiti, land of empty mountains,
never catchin a break, no matter we blood
covering the streets, trapped under mudslides
hiding we struggle, to live beyond

a Revolution that never was, sent tremors across ocean currents
creating revelations and rebellions, a Revolution that was, never complete
punished for doing the unthinkable, waging battles, demanding equality,
declaring Independence from French bondage, the first Black Republic

destroyed through pillage of gold, land and people
invaded, occupied, held hostage, denied status
migrations and movements, hiding and blending
name changes and marriages, children and saviors.

some of us come by boat, but we are not boat people
we seek refuge politically, we want peace spiritually
from civil wars, coups, unrest, no-rest, disease, poverty's ruthless clutch,
and so called peace-keeping troops and life-sucking foreign aid.

some of us born here, being both Haitian and Bahamian
feeling both love and shame about who we be,
and still we hear "go home"
as if we ain't built home right here wit' you.

Sip an' Talk
it is better to speak, remembering we were never meant to survive
-Audre Lorde

so many silences about the ocean
connecting Haitians and Bahamians

so many silences to the cutting of life water
who gets to stay and who gets t'row away

so many silences rising upon salty weathered bodies
we want your labor, but yunna chirrin' no

so many silences to teeth-sucking moans
“da Bahamas too small, cyan help erryone”

but we is dem, dem is us
t'rough blood, ancestors, many stories

so many silences to sip sip and talk
sinking Haitian sloops, shark infested seas, missing bodies

so many silences about all dese tings, holes in we history,  
the middle passage, 60 million or more, nefarious thoughts,
oceans mixed in spirit and sweat, the weight of resistance

so easily forgotten under colonial eyes and books
dis-remembering roots, language and culture,
long time, water crossings in love and faith

so we must fill the silences with real talk, honest and dirty,
uncovering secrets, from Inagua to Grand Bahama
"all a we is one family, all a we is one"

so we must fill the silences with songs, stitching holes,
filling gaps, replacing fractures, no more blows
"you muh brother, you muh sister, all a we is one"

between us and them
between you and me
"all a we is one"

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