Just another Medical Humanities Blog

Poems for April 2010

Posted by mcdoc on April 27, 2010

Prosper “Makendal” Sylvain, Jr.

I Don’t Look Haitian?

You approached me with a smile on your lips
and slapped me five, gave me jive
and a pound of your ignorance
by telling me that I don’t look Haitian.

You shook my hands to welcome me,
and then shook my soul with your audacity,
stating that I don’t sound Haitian.

You asked me if I was sure I was from Haiti
when you are not sure where you are from
and you carry this mentality
to the doorsteps of your white houses
and your media coverage
showing me impoverished
barefoot and hungry
seeking food and water in the slums,
you show the negative of my voodoo drums
in a light of despair.

I don’t look or sound Haitian?


Is it because I do not have the seawater of Biscayne Bay
dripping from my tattered clothes,
or is it because I am not as dark as you perceived me to be,
did I mess up your entire theory of relativity,
to hell with Einstein, you need to press rewind
so you can see that all relatives of Haitians are not hungry, dark and
comely, like the tents of your media’s Kadar.

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 tired, no I think your notion of me should have expired a loooooong
time ago.

I apologize if there is more to me than voodoo dolls,
and I apologize if there is more to my country than slums, poverty and
hunger, and I apologize if my poetry makes you wonder
if I am really Haitian, product of years of miscegenation.

I apologize if your idea and concept of me
is not what I have proven to be,
100% dark skinned, accent on my tongue,
with an apprehension to stand straight or look you in the eye, no fear
of being hung.

I’m sorry if you thought you’d find me in some sugar cane field,
I know how many of your own people must feel,
catching me with a pen and a college degree in my hand instead of a
machete, turning your lies and stereotypes into silly confetti, you see,
I AM Haitian, doctor, lawyer, teacher, accountant, nurse, and engineer,
my goodness, I think we have instilled an absolute fear deep within your
socio-political pseudo-humanitarian heart, because we have evolved from
your views of primitive art because we were the ones to draw the freedom
chart, is this why you want to keep us apart?

Because we don’t look like what you expected us to be?
Or 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!
Denmark Vesey inspired by Ayiti!
Gabriel Prosser inspired by Ayiti even he used August as the month for
his rebellious activity!

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 spoke to
American pharaohs like Moses to let our people go, stood side by side
with Arawaks and Tainos yes, we invoked our Petros AND Shangos, spoke
with the same tongue as Patrick did, give ME liberty or give me death
and before your 13 colonies we built our capital of freedom on 15 hills
of wealth and called it Port of Princes.

I don’t look Haitian (sarcastically)
and you don’t look American,
you don’t look like the indigenous Indian
but you do look like an international comedian
because you’ve got jokes and jokers in your white house
and punch lines filled with coke lines in your congress
political white lies that are blasphemous
stand up comedy in your judiciary that needs to understand that they
need to stand and step down
running your house like a circus with father and son clowns.

My country is a country of rainbows,
mixtures of Arabs, Africans, French and Italianos
side by side with Polish and Jewish
and we all have a fetish
to always be known as Haitian
and not your amalgamation and misrepresentation.

I don’t look Haitian (sarcastically)
with my multi-lingual self, English, Yiddish, Kreyol, French and Spanish
filled with powerful history I look so Haitian that you fear me.

Vespuccian sons and daughters,


Look past my face into my heart and you WILL see,
My only nationality IS defined in three letters.

I E T!


Alicia Suskin Ostriker (1937 – )

The Surgeon

I was still a kid
interning at State
he reminisces late in the meal—
It was a young red-headed woman
looked like my sister
when the lines went flat
I fell apart
like a car with a broken axle
Went to the head surgeon
a fatherly man
Boy, he said, you got to fill a graveyard
before you know this business
and you just did row one, plot one.


2 Responses to “Poems for April 2010”

  1. Shradha said

    Hey McDoc–Cool blog and great to read these poems. Also, was good to read about your Haiti experience. Hope all is well!

    • mcdoc said

      Hey Shradha! Nice to hear from you. How’re things in the Great, Rural Heartland of America? How’s PoetryLand? Didn’t you go to Haiti yourself not too long ago?

      BTW, I’ll be reading on May 7th in Jamaica Plain. All y’all should come on down South to Boston, and have a good time in the Big City.

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