The Earth has traveled almost round the Sun
Since the day it shook and sucked them down.
Shacks and churches smashed through sewers;
Palace collapsed—an empty shell.
Three hundred thousand (counted, fewer;
Thousands buried never found).
A nation ruptured; catacombs
Unleash the walled up winds of hell.
La Terre Tremble.
Who could forget what that shaking ground
Revealed for all to see, who cared to look?
The way the streets filled up with bloated bodies;
The way the troops drove on, and let them cook?
The ‘Aid’ delayed, as if for fear of zombies
rising from their rubble graves to run–
White eyes blazing bloody memories
of how white masters came and took by gun.
And yet, and yet, poor Haitians did not riot;
worked to pull each other from the ruins.
Carried those who died, and those who wouldn’t
for a while,
And those who lived.
Gave until they had no more
(Meanwhile,“Security,” guns in hand; Guarded the gates that no longer could stand
Protecting the property of those that command. )
A sudden eruption
of broken heart blisters
oozing, drying Live on TV
far flung news anchors aim for the ripe wound,
peeling it back, letting us see
seeking the perfect angle to capture
(with just a dash of sugary hope thrown in for the folks at home)
finding that juicy spot where the latex glove meets the bandage
meets the hand
meets the ballot box
meets the sky
Where it hurts to look. Where it makes you cry.
(But never lets you find out Why?)
From this fastened hook
Prepared to unleash its charity thang
Solemn Celebrities claim center stage:
And all that sit are moved.
Millions shut their eyes in prayer
(secretly thankful that they’re not there)
Yet ready to do what good people should do:
today, tomorrow, even next week.
But do they ever let the Haitians speak?
What do the people there have to say?
When they look at us what do they see?
Who will dare to take a peek today?
Caught in the sun, the pocked eye turns away.
How much can the blinded stand to see? :
Band-aids slap where barricades should be.
They say there are a dozen cities
With around a million people each
Lying, waiting, sleeping on a fault line;
Slum-dweller flesh to feed the breach.
For each year, the Earth, it shivers
In the endless cold of space;
Quakes and quivers, like an ox
must knock flies from its face.
The fault is not the moving Earth’s
–We know that quakes will come, and even where–
a world-wide class affliction
Bubbling boils that break the skin,
Seeping hot pus, sweat and blood — and liquid gold
That tumbles up to ruler’s lips ice cold.
Parasites suck membranes thin:
Digging nails cleave craters for trails,
So healthy flesh is cut
to scabs and scars,
to fit the scales;
Plow the farmers off the land
Build estates on bone and sand
Spill the poor in pavement cracks
Stitch the workers into seams
for rulers’ flowing cloaks
—Breaking their backs—
letting them choke
gasping for air–
stripping them down to their dreams,
The earth, we know, will quiver;
the brittle surface, tear.
Such a plague has no plan
for poor people
except for the juice
to be squeezed
from their veins
to quench its viral thirst.
Markets will pressure
and hearts burst.
So long as endless profit reigns.
(The heads of state remain aloof:
Crisis = opportunity, after all
give the world a roof.
And there’s plenty of sweat to catch,
as they fall.)
Outside Port au Prince:
Rain soaked sheets
Flap on and on,
But only the bugs can fly.
The people gather, asking
Eyes peer out through fraying holes;
At jet-liners tearing the sky.
Aboard corporate jets:
Clinking drinks in hand,
Toast to the future they’ve left behind,
to milder climes:
If they look down
through parting clouds–
see only some
dirty laundry lines.