Friday, September 5, 2008

POEM: I Don’t Look Haitian?

Poem by Prosper “Makendal” Sylvain, Jr

Bon... ce n'est pas de moi!mais le texte est tellement puissant que je n'ai pas eu d'autre choix que de l'ajouter a mon blog...merci Prosper

I Don't Look Haitian?

They approached me with a smile on their lips
exchanged greetings as well as ignorance
by telling me that I don't look or act Haitian.
They shook my hands to welcome me,
and then shook my soul with their audacity,
the utter audacity of Lady Liberty,
"give me your tired your hungry, your poor"
except those from Haiti,
this, the most blatant hypocrisy.
And still they say I don't look Haitian, I don't sound Haitian
as I recall the Black Spartacus from the Breda Plantation.

Is there any particular physical feature that monopolizes and has a patent
on how exactly I should look, sound or act as a Haitian?
I….don't look Haitian? Why?

Is it because I do not have the seawater of Biscayne Bay
dripping from my tattered clothes?
Is it because I also arrived here in first class and coach
or is it because I am not as dark as they perceived me to be,
did I mess up their entire theory of relativity,
that all relatives of Haitians live in the dark and must be comely?
I don't look Haitian you say?
Is it because you did not catch me with a bucket on my head
working in some factory with an accent on my tongue until I'm 40,50,60 dead
NO! I think your notion of me should have expired
a long, long time ago.
I apologize if your idea and concept of me
is not what I have proven to be,
not just boat people, Krome and Guantanamo bay,
I have evolved from your thoughts of my yesterdays.
Steel girders align my back and my knees do not bend ever since I passed my 1804 test
I no longer feel that I must acquiesce
and for this, I know I am blessed.
I am proud of the accent that sits on my tongue,
my tongue is its throne, and pride is my home!
I have no apprehension to stand straight or look the world in its eye as I rewrite his-story and give birth to The Truth from a lie.
My drums are the sounds of eloquence,
my color is the purest essence!

Mad I think you may be at my nationality
Are you still upset because we declared we were free
after riding the freedom train to it's 1,804th last stop,
upset still because we made the world's mouth drop...
"Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
Haitians have declared themselves free.
Napoleon and Leclerc embarrassed internationally!
Haiti becomes the original Statue of Liberty!
Extra! Extra! Read All About It!"

We held truths to be self evident before the first shackle,
built an above ground railroad way before Harriet went Underground,
gave birth to Kings and had dreams before Martin,
knew any means necessary before Malcolm,
knew rivers before Langston,
released caged birds to sing before Maya,
tripped egos before Nikki
spoke to American pharaohs like Moses to let our people go,
took one giant step for mankind before any man on the moon,
took the road less traveled before Frost,
married freedom before any other Caribbean nation
and answered the question to be or not to be by being free and being Haitian,
spoke with the same tongue as Patrick did, give me liberty or give me death!
Our minds and our hunger for freedom
were blatant weapons of mass destruction
long before Gomorrah attacked their Saddam
Did I not look Haitian when I took over The Brooklyn Bridge?
Did I not look Haitian on MTV wrapped in a blue and red flag of Ayiti?
Did I not look Haitian when I founded the city of Chicago?
Did I not look Haitian when I destroyed slavery?

Did I not look Haitian when they needed me,
how did I look in Savanah?
and how did I look when I caused the purchase of Louisiana?
why were they afraid of us?
was it because Toussaint was called The Black Spartacus?
Open your eyes and you will see me
I am still Haitian even as you now call me
an immigrant and a refugee!
My Haitian woman, strong and resilient, the rose of Haiti,
when God created her he liberated me
to swim within the essence of the pool of her beauty.
Her soul is the cosmos and she encompasses the universe,
she is the water of life that can quench any thirst,
sculpted by the hands of Mother Nature
who dipped her into gold and silver
then adorned her with and onyx, pearl, mocha café au lait, vanilla-chocolate complexion,
yet still she suffers at the hands and voice of rejection.

Men psssssssst! and whistle-call her as she walks by,
and she must always turn and find a way to ask why
do they call her attention in the same manner as one would a dog,
when she did not bark or profess to have a tail to wag,
she is a Queen and lightning and thunder erupt in her presence,
God gave her the stars and the moon as her birthday present,
the soil as her playground and identified her as beauty,
the statuesque Aphrodite of the Antilles!

With this woman by my side, I hold my head up with strength and pride!
I am from the land where my true father's died, the land of beautiful mountainsides, for her I sing!
Look past my face into my heart and you WILL see,
My only nationality IS defined in three letters and those three letters will always and forever be…
I E T!!! I E T!!! I E T!!!

"I am Haitian not only because I was born in Haiti, but because Haiti was born in me."

Prosper "Makendal" Sylvain, Jr


  1. MyAyiti.Com:
    I love this poem because it nearly brought tears in my eyes. I am an 17 yrs. old female that came to America at the tender age of three and having lived in America for 15 years now I often hear those same words,"You don't look Haitian." This poem was so beatiful and it is a part of my everyday life. I am proud to be Haitian and I have not forgotten where I came from. I visit Haiti very frequently, about every two years or so. Not many peaople believe that I am Haitian becuse Haitians are precieved as stupid, black, ignorant, dark skinned people of African decent that only know how to participate in Voodoo. They do not believe me because I do not have the Haitian accent, I have a 3.3 on a 4.0 scale, i am the captain of my dance team, the secretary of the National Honors Society, and a leader. Persons seem to forget that Haitians are natural born leaders becase of our fore fathers. I am very proud of my Haitian culture because in my opinion it stands for struggle, rich culture, hardwork. determination, etc. Persons do not realize that their opinion of what a Haitian should look, sound, dress, smell, and act like lacks a plethora of relevance. Thank you for this poem because it truly means a great deal to me. This is the same notion that I have been expreesing for years to my peers and you have now expressed it to the world. I truly thank you for that.
    Thank You ,
    Ivy Prophete

  2. this poem was true to the heart and relate to each of us who get the stares of hypocrisy that other people inteed on showing that for giving the light with these words that live

  3. i love the poem, you just said everything i couldnt. they say i dont look haitian, sound or act haitian and that bauthers me so so much.

  4. i love it u just said everything i counld i hat when they sai i dont look sound or act haitian thank you so much.

  5. He Did not write this poem he only changed some words ITS WRONG TO TAKE CREDIT FOR SOMEONE ELSE'S WORK

  6. I looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooovvvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeee this poem