outwait outrun outwit


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03.01.04, monday night

This morning I woke up to Democracy Now, urgent voices reaching out through our little stereo's speakers while Jimmy boiled water for our French-pressed coffee. Haiti, Haiti, Haiti.

When I think of Haiti, I do not think at first of dates or the names of presidents. I rarely remember facts like these; despite the preciseness of their shapes, history's entombed particulars become easily lost in a few centuries, a few million outcries for liberty, fresh as long as injustice continues. Perhaps this is akin, but not even close, to what Sri hears at the clinic for survivors of torture, when he's treating patients whose flesh cries out for freedom from pain inflicted as the necessary consequence of an ideology that must annihilate for the needs of the few that it favors.

When I think of Haiti, I remember Edwidge Danticat's Haiti. Breath, Eyes, Memory.

A geography scarred livid with sugarcane roads, sugar mills, & plantation towns. The smell of burning tires. Death squads roaming the streets: Tonton Macoute, the Uzi-carrying bogeyman who steals naughty children for supper.

So far from here, the desk where I write letters & poems, my home in Oakland.

So close to Danticat. So close to her characters. Though they may possess US passports, though they might be thus considered safe, they know otherwise. No place is safe for them; for if the homeland was not & never safe for them, then what place, however enticing, could ever feel safe?


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