My People

Poems by Prosper Sylvain Jr (a.k.a. Makendal)

Once upon a time
when slavery was not a crime
but the means of exploitation
there came a cry from the mother nation.

you see,
Africa screamed during the great kidnapping,
it was your Mother they were kicking and slapping.

They stole the mighty Congo
and enslaved the great Ibo,
they shackled the royal Nago
and this all happened 500 years ago.

Now, as I see the growth of my mentality
I can appreciate what happened to my sweet Ayiti.
Yes, I am Haiti, first black republic
and even though I was never inducted
into anyone’s Hall of Fame,
I carry the scars of the slavery game,
I scream out to the wind to know my name,
I cry blood and feel constant labor pains
as my history drowned in monsoon rain.

My heroes and she-roes are still alive in my soul and spirit,
listen to my drum and my conch…can you hear it?

I call out to my ancestors in search of answers,
Haiti can no longer be the world’s private dancer,
begging at the corners of foreign policy,
while wallowing in the pool,
the basin of mental, social, political poverty.

Guakanagarik! where is your spirit!???
To speak the truth for the world to hear it?
Anakaona, Marie Jeanne, Boukman,
Makendal…where is your spirit?!!
To speak the truth for the world to hear it.
Toussaint L’Ouverture, Dessalines, Christophe,
Pétion, Boyer…where is your spirit!??
To speak the truth for the world to hear it?
Catherine Flon, you sewed our first flag,
Where is your spirit!??
To speak the truth for the world to hear it.
Péralte, where is your spirit???
To rise like Lazarus and speak the truth for the world to hear it!

Yes, speak the truth, that must be told
watch closely as history unfolds.

I am the Haitian that some despise,
accent on my tongue and eyes open wide.
Upon my back was put the stigma of AIDS
that put more than a million of me in rage,
forcing us to battle this international cage.

Some must have thought that we would cower and cringe,
but instead we took over their Brooklyn Bridge.
From all over the world we descended on Gracie Mansion in New York City,
to once again show the character and pride of the people of Haiti.
We beat the voice of our drum for the deaf world to once again hear,
that we Haitian people did not have a fear
to fight like we did before
for independence and dignity in 1804,
dignity and respect, no matter what the price…

We will beat our drum and blow our conch again in unity
with any and all, no matter what their nationality
because Haitians still have the tenacity and voracity
to free drink from the same glass as Lady Liberty.

No longer will the chains be at our feet and our minds,
modern day floods are the sign of the times.

In the face of adversity
no matter what our history
we recall our antiquity,
we commit the international blasphemy
of seeking and thirsting for freedom and equality…
the road is not long,
listen to the song
that the voices of the soil rise to sing…

the drum beats a rhythm of hope
and soon it will be for us to elope
and marry a better future,
all of us, brother and sister,
dignity and respect no matter what the price,
we did it once, we’ll do it twice.

Haitian Sun/Son Rising

Yes, good morning, and as the sun is rising
I feel like chastising,
I feel like John the Baptist, I feel like baptizing
past history that has been hypnotizing me,
so pass me a papyrus wash cloth and the soap of my past
so that I may wash my face and remove
the slave residue from my mind and body!

pass me some astringent
so that I can stay stringent
and always a malignant cyst
living and breathing a fiery kiss
of truth to scorch the edifice
of lies and hate
to make the sociopolitical ground palpitate,
the truth is pathological and an inevitable twist of fate!

it’s time to set it off this morning
let the truth start gushing and pouring
out to minds that are dry and infected
vérité antibiotics are always easily rejected
because their eyes and ears have been soiled and disrespected
by mainstream media that misrepresented
my country, sweet land called Ayiti,
the original black man’s land of liberty,
of thee I spit!
Haiti is the land where MY fathers died
and that’s why I spit with pride
knowing fully well how history, academia and politicians have lied
trying to keep Haiti in a chokehold,
but the writing is now written on mental walls in bold!

see me now with the sun rising
I am a Haitian son rising
see my history filled with uprisings
see me now as I’m verbalizing
the essence of my presence in world history
destroying the previous blasphemy
that has you thinking
without really seeking

I am the first free black kingdom
the black originator of the definition of freedom,
I blew the horn to free African slaves across the world,
my island nation, a jewel, a pearl.

The world stopped and just stared
as we fought the Battle of Vertières,
and there in pride and dignity
we proclaimed ourselves a free Ayiti
(So thank my ancestors for this place that is now the United States of America,
would they have it so good if not for the sale of Louisiana?
not to mention my heroes who fought in Savannah, Georgia!
There is so much that the world purposefully does not know,
from Haiti to Jean-Baptiste Point du Sable who founded Chicago!)

The world doesn’t have to take it personal
they just have to listen to the verbal arsenal
as we recount and go back to the beating of the drum
in the woods of Bwa Cayiman in 1791
we Haitian people made a pact to always fight for liberty,
the poet says today that no one CAN deter me
from walking and talking as a strong, proud Haitian, what do you expect?
In 1804 we fought and earned this RESPECT!

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