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Haiti, after Pat Robertson

by Karen Garrbrant
Atlanta, Georgia

this is how thoroughly
we refuse to know you

we mistake wide open eye around a fire
as possessed
we mistake your strengths
your rebellions in the name of life and freedom
as wild

the suckling wrinkled paper flesh
who have never had to question roof
next meals
or whereabouts of missing loved ones
mouth a collective belief system
that ills are self-inflicted by sin
---they make easy diagnostic accusations
Behind the sheen
of tinted windows
and  pine sol-shined pulpit

never mind fever blisters
roiling across Atlantic
severe weather systems
breaking out under earthen skin
tectonic plates shift
crumpling volcanic hells
---nobody gets out

spectators from faraway
know you as
sacrificial goat
blood rite
broken necks of hens
mojo pouches
and hoodoo
call your wise men and shamans
"voodoo" and "witch” doctor
branding our ignorance with our pale tongues
frightened of your ancient medicines

(meanwhile, we sneak off to altars of Marie Laveau
to hear our prayers and wishes when our own g-ds
are disgusted by our perverted motives)

reference Salem
reference self-righteous proclamation
reference Bible thudding when thumped
reference the words beneath leather bindings
aching for proper translation

we look down our white, peninsular nose
of swamp, glade, primordial teeth
and Floridian oranges without rhyme
at you


like New Orleans
you are
our mirror
reflecting back heartless Puritanism
and the loose lips wag the tails of

yet the clamoring white jaws
need your spells
more brown faces to proclaim as dirt beneath
their soul-less feet
they jones for you
uptight in their fraternity ties
they get off on the smell of street
because the thumb of their twisted version of g-d
squishes them
into shaken beer bottles and ejaculate
bulging hard only on vacation
you have been whored like bourbon street
for sugar and too much rum.

we are conquerors of witches
by fire and stake
so beware of what we send
in the name
of "help."

This poem won an Honorable Mention in the Poems of Solidarity for Haiti Contest.

Please see:

Published in In Motion Magazine May 23, 2010

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