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Tomorrow's Toussaints

by Kalamu ya Salaam
Atlanta, Georgia

this is Haiti, a state
slaves snatched from surprised masters,
its high lands, home of this
world's sole successful
slave revolt, Haiti, where
freedom has flowered and flown
fascinating like long necked
flamingoes gracefully feeding
on snails in small pinkish
sunset colored sequestered ponds

despite the meanness
and meagerness of life
eked out of eroding soil
and from exploited urban toil, there
is still so much beauty here in this
land where the sea sings roaring a shore
and fecund fertile hills lull and roll
quasi human in form
there is beauty here
in the unyielding way
our people,
colored charcoal, and
banana beige, and
shifting subtle shades
of ripe mango, or strongly
brown-black, sweet
as the suck from
sun scorched staffs
of sugar cane,
have decided
we shall survive
we will live on
a peasant pauses
clear black eyes
searching far out over the horizon
the hoe motionless, suspended
in the midst
of all this shit and suffering
forced to bend low
still we stop and stand
and dream and believe
we shall be released
we shall be released
for what slaves
have done
slaves can do
and that begets
the beauty
slaves can do.

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

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Published in In Motion Magazine May 24, 2010

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