Saturday, January 30, 2010

Edwidge Danticat: Stories of Haiti | Video on TED.com

Edwidge Danticat author of Breath,Eyes, Memory gives a talk on the beauty of Haiti and shares the power of story. Listen and learn of all that Haiti has brought and contributed to the Western Literary Canon. Perhaps it will bring you hope for Haiti's rebirth.

Edwidge Danticat: Stories of Haiti | Video on TED.com

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Capitalist Charity Negotiations


It has taken me weeks to try to find a way to respond to some of the many feelings I have wrapped around the tragedy of the earthquake in Haiti (World Vision appeal). I am admin of a group on Readwritepoem called African Diasporic Voices.  I posted a challenge to respond to the poem Betrayal by Leon Laleau in which is discusses the internal conflict of mental decolonization.  Here is just one of the poems that I have written during this time of heartbreak.

Capitalist Charity Negotiations
By Ieisha McIntyre

My happiness matters more to me than your pain.
--matters more to me than if you eat,
 if you are warm.
--more than if you are loved.
Your misfortune is not my fault.

It is your job to convince me that your pain
is a threat to my happiness.

-- then I will help you.

All Rights Reserved © 2010




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Best Laid Plans

Best Laid Plans
By Ieisha McIntyre

When plan A failed
It freed my mind,

to believe that plan B was possible.

That every if, and, or but
and the woulda, coulda, shoulda’s
had the right to be resuscitated.

The right --
to be released,
to be wild,
to be free,
to wreak havoc and run amuck
upon the failing seeming normal. 


I laugh now when I meet those clinging feverish to their plan A –
having tied too tightly the rope around Plan B’s neck –

Never having jumped,

they left it there until the blood pooled and
the flesh turned black decay
and the head of the thing just fell away.

I should sympathize.

But, I have not time to linger over dead things.

All Rights Reserved © 2010



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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Prayers To the God of Convention

Prayers to the God of Convention
By Ieisha McIntyre

Squeeze me into normal.
Even if the shoes pinch, and
The bra straps dig into my shoulders, and
Make the sweat pool up against the creases
Underneath my breasts, squeeze.

Cinch in my waist.
Make me size 6 normal and taught.
Pull taut, my waist and expanse of mind,
And give me pleasure in the common fare.

Stop me from scribbling outside the lines,
And give me paint-by-number rules.
I’ll use the corresponding colors and place them
In the right spots to make the allocated image.

Squeeze me into normal. 
Give me the boyfriend who wants marriage and 2.5 kids
And suburban wonderful unconscious,
And enriched white bread culinary, mall pretzel Saturdays, Squeeze.

Bring me the promised exhale of pension and homeownership,
Secure healthcare, affordable babysitter, and retirement in my 50’s.
It is my bounty as the rightful assassin of my dreams.
I carried out the prescribed order and followed through on the demand.

Leave no incriminating evidence of crime and no trace of the dream refugees
Who hid beneath my acceptable demeanor and conventional garb.
I was the assassin who followed through on the hit put out on my dreams.
I let the years tick by afraid to risk their release.

Desperate, they were flung loose by tragedy and trauma.
As wild things will do,
Threw themselves full-bodied against the fences. 
Some lying on the wire as sacrifice so that others might live. 
I was the assassin and I claim my bounty.

Squeeze. Squeeze me into normal.

All Rights Reserved © 2009




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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pussy



PUSSY
By Ieisha McIntyre

Women know the truth but close our eyes and pretend –
pretend, when you touch and we let you in.

You see, we know that pussy is just pussy when you fuck it.
Not a woman.
Not until you love her and surrender to that which is superior to the flesh
– the spirit

Not a woman when you call her baby.

We know.
But we close our eyes and remember when baby was a name called out of love, not lust.

Not a woman when you leave before sunrise.

Not a woman but an object.
Some creature with similar limbs.

Not a woman but an object of flesh.

Dehumanize her in pieces; let her be just a bucket of fast food chicken.

We know.
But close our eyes - open our legs and imagine love, and family, and garden parties in white gloves, pearls and red silk charmeuse dresses.

While men bone and debone, making women into poultry

We know.

Some how, in claiming freedom of our bodies we lost the power of NO.

No, to cowards who put forth his penis instead of his heart.
A penis, saturated in the sweat of too many lovers.

Lost No – to the man who cannot see the beauty of a sister or the possibility of a wife – of a mother, a partner.

Lost the power to see a woman in our own reflections.

We surrendered to the myth of the money makers, take a pill, liberate, independence.

But wait,

A life is not made on those without name.
It is made on the courage to face passion and pain.

To do so with others,
To call them by name.

Not bitch, nor ho, or some such thang – but wife, sister, mother, daughter –
we’re both to blame.

Because we know that a pussy is not a woman.
Not unless you love her, and claim her, and call her by name.

Child of God, reclaim manhood,
Reclaim woman hood, put down the blame,
put down the pain and take up your dignity!
It is worth more than the nickel you were told to keep between your knees.
Worth more than the dinner, the cab fare, the rent,
worth more than the mornings of waking up on your own,
it is priceless and powerful sacred.

We know.

A pussy is just a pussy,
Unless you love her and call her by name.


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