SDS Womyn's Caucus Blog

The Flow: Lenelle Moïse

Posted on: January 24, 2010

posted by Emilyn and Christa

Emilyn and I have wanted to put a piece up by Lenelle Moïse for some time now but I was waiting til I had a bit more free time to write down the lyrics to one of her pieces (its hard to find them online).  I first saw Lenelle at a spoken word show/art opening with queer women artists in New York.  I liked her so much that I booked her at venue where I worked with the collaboration of Drew SDS and a few other campus groups.  She has great politics, beautiful poetry, and fantastic stage presence.  I felt compelled to post something by her now because Lenelle is Haitian-American and one of her poems was recently posted online.  Here is Mud Mothers.  Below I also included a video of  her piece “Envy” as well as some links!


the children of haiti
are not mythological
we are starving
or eating salty cakes
made of clay

because in 1804 we felled
our former slave captors
the graceless losers sunk
vindictive yellow
teeth into our forests

what was green is now
dust & everyone knows
trees unleash oxygen
(another humble word
for life)

they took off
with our torn branches
beheaded our future
stuck our breath up on pikes
for all the world to see

we are a living dead example
of what happens to warriors who―
in lieu of fighting for white men’s countries―
dare to fight
for their own lives

during carnival
we could care less
about our bloated empty bellies
where there are voices
we are dancing

where there is vodou
we are horses
where there are drums
we are possessed
with joy & stubborn jamboree

but when the makeshift
trumpet player
runs out of rhythmic breath
the only sound left is guts

& we sigh
to remember
that food
& freedom
are not free

is haiti really free
if our babies die starving?
if we cannot write our names
read our rights keep
our leaders in their seats?

can we be free
really? if our mothers are mud? if dead
columbus keeps cursing us
& nothing changes
when we curse back

we are a proud resilient people
though we return to dust daily
salt gray clay with hot black tears
savor snot cakes
over suicide

we are hungry
creative people
sip bits of laughter
when we are thirsty
dance despite

this asthma
called debt
legendarily liberated


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