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Poetry in English

Poems by Vilvalex Calice

Please Do Not Change the Channel

I see it all the time,
The man, on TV, speaks above the cries
Quickly, before our attention falters
And our remote finger dismissively tries
To silence his pleas on behalf of little paupers
Whose place of birth is their only crime.

I see it all time,
In the dark circles around their eyes,
A stubborn, persistent mask of hunger
Their youthful innocence confronts and belies,
On little faces that will not surrender.
There are specks of hope beneath the grime.

I see it all time,
Beneath somber, gray or florid skies
Their hopeful, convalescent smiles teeter,
In spite of swamps of hungry flies,
Ready to meet the best despair has to offer.
Dignity is worth more than a dime.

I see it all time,
Lifeless stares from quickly fading faces
Of these angels stoic and sage,
Still believing Humanity can assuage
The plight of famine from one and all places.
Changing the channel feels like a crime.

Songs of Silence

I know.
Where I stand, trees have died here
For the strength of their wood.
Their songs drowned in mud slides,
Diluvial furies, tempests and hurricanes.
But their History written deeply
In the throat of the earth,
Escapes on the shoulder of time
In a fracas of wordless rumpling,
In order to repeat themselves
When the rain tames
And the virulence tempers,
When the wind stays still long enough
For silence to record its presence.

Across the breadth of time,
Trees fall beyond our intendment,
Their mortal soul undulates,
Entices like pheromone,
Lulls our hearts with ataraxia*
Not for their passing but
The resounding thump of hollow notes
Testing the strength of kernels,
Refreshing memory of roots
And the patience of seeds.
Even, when the fruit falls so far
From the omnipresent Tree of Life
Nature, somehow, rewinds and
Replays the songs of silence.

*Ataraxia: perfect peace of mind

Demons in a Bottle

The demons are small enough
To fit comfortably into his drinking glass,
Completely dissolved in whisky
They quickly go to his brain
And change him into a beast:
He slurs his curses, amplifies his grunts
Inflates his courage to strike
Those one-third to one-half his size.
After another night of excretion,
Exertion and self-exoneration;
In the morning, he apologizes again
For the demons in the bottle.

Their Infernal Recompense

Please, leave your fancy coffins
In the void on the right,
Toss your cherished possessions
Into the ravenous fire on the left,
Walk your wicked heart to the blaze ahead.
These are the words that greet
Those who think death owes them a treat.
Some destined to cooler horizons
Found their reservations cancelled,
Their frequent flier miles to charity balls
Do not matter much, in here.
Those who write their names in majuscule
In the front of giant buildings;
Those who packed their fur coats for Heaven,
Loaded their trunks with scarves and turtlenecks
In order to fight the chills of Purgatory.

Here, hearts full of good intentions
Are never good enough
And sorry souls make funny faces,
Mimicking death of conscience.
Here, men and women of all stripes
Wait patiently for their turn to die again
Hopefully this time, forever..

The heat simmers,
Gyrates up transparent panes,
Reverberates at morbid speed,
Dances like jelly, smokes like chimneys,
Turns asphalts into giant ashtrays.
There is no wind to fan the flames
Of Mea culpa, no redemption
From the ashes of fake compassion.

All inert things
Become combustible,
All living things
Become comestible.
No vespertine reprieves
By the northern breeze
Night wears colors of day.

It is a like this journey of a million suns
To the center of human flesh
Burning like incense to fallen Gods:
Voices emerge and remained unheard,
Just mere intentions of sinners
Whose airless lungs whimper silent howls
Loud enough to crack the shell of skies
And to let crimson cries of clouds
Undulate over space and time.
Forever!

Happy Birthday Haïti

Today is your birthday
and we can’t celebrate.
I stand here bare hearted,
teary eyed, humming
the last refrain of our
national anthem;
hymns to Freedom
strumming fibers of my soul,
whispering the last verse
of the victorious narrative
from our ancestral exemplars.

Haïti!
some of my brethren
treat you like a prostitute:
selling your soul,
people and private parts.
Do not fear beloved,
we will be here
for the next two-hundred years
when all these traitors,
fools, goons and loony tunes
will be digested food
in the bellies of
worms and cockroaches.

Haïti!
Your true sons
will free up the space
and spread on the trade wind
their call for progress,
their unbending resolve
to liberate our land
from the machinery
of economic servitude,
to remedy the horrible experience
of our brothers and sisters.
Vesperal whispers will glow
beyond the silence of fear,
above the constraints of despair
to release hope and gifts
caught up in the folds
of chilly septentrional gust,
tumult beneath the sails
of your feral, redoubtable soul,
trying to waft ashore
in this tempest of lies and calumny.

Haïti!
We’ll bring Teflon lining for your back
to protect you from sneak attacks
from your pretending friends
long caressing the dream
of enslaving you, again.
We’ll bring metal collar
to shield your precious neck
from the lynching of your pride,
daily, on the six o’clock news
by afro-Saxons and rednecks
from countries abroad
who loathe and despise you
for trying to break the shackles
of mental and psychological slavery.

Haïti!
We’ll bring back
knowledge and ideas
to unbridle visions of your past,
good tools for your apprenticeship
in participatory Democracy
and your Social Justice experiments
Remember! Your detractors
are the ones supporting
your malefactors.
But, your atavistic artisans
will rebuild the frames
of your true destiny
to the specifications of our dreams
despite the onslaught of your enemies.

Haïti! For 200 years,
you stood erect and proud
enduring the evil machinations
of slavers, colonizers, warmongers
and, like an obelisk
of famed, ruined empire…
Still standing,
relic of your own future,
fragments to be whole again
in time-lapsed reconstruction
of the first Black Republic,
emerged from the one
and only successful rebellion
of enslaved Africans
in the World.
Happy Birthday beloved!

—Vilvalex Calice vivlib@aol.com

Poem by Tontongi

Haiti is not what you say, Mr. Tèt-Mato *

Haiti is the island nation born
from the cross-Atlantic blood
of people sold to the Traders.

Haiti actualizes the meaning
of both being and living
and has invented a new path
to freedom and a new way
to detect its perversion
even in the dark of the night.

Haitians shed blood for the United States
on the battlefield of Savannah
these valorous fighters held the lines
against British onslaught
to save the birth of the Republic
and help this nation into being.

Haiti is the country that stood
to her own peril and harm
against almighty France,
Spain and England
over the inalienability of being.

Haiti is the foundation of our modernity,
Haiti is the unsung mother of Latin America;
Haiti is where Francisco de Miranda and Simon Bolívar
came to acquire the fervor of brotherhood
and resources to liberate their lands.

Haiti has made hers
countless other countries’ causes
for human freedom and independence,
the most Hellenic nation of Greece among them.

Haiti is not what you say, Mr. Tèt-Mato;
Haiti is the country of the once enslaved
who dared to resist oppression
and whose bravura in defeating Napoleon’s forces
compelled him to sell the Louisiana territories,
doubling the size of US possessions of the time;
a favor that is now honored with insults.

Haiti is the land of the arts
where writers, poets, storytellers,
musicians, painters, sculptors wrought
the infinitesimal inner souls of our Universe.

Haiti is among the richest countries in the world
by measure of intellectual and philosophical
achievement of her people’s genius
and for the beauty of this mountainous land
despite the human-made pollution aided and abetted
by U.S. support of corrupt dictators.

Haiti is not what you say, Mr. Tèt-Mato;
Haiti has sent to North America’s shores
thousands of doctors, researchers, intellectuals
and teachers who instill values
that enliven and enrich the children’s fortitude;
some of her migrants scrub your floors
and take care of your sick and feeble;
Haiti has been good to the United States.

Haiti is the country forced to pay
in billions of French francs
and National City Bank bonds
for having won her freedom;
the people’s sweat was made
to sweeten many a Western high life
while the first Black republic
languished in impoverishing debt.

This descent into the abyss of darkness,
the degrading remarks that demean
hurt like a sword that penetrates the heart;
we shall not mince words; we shall see it plain,
naked in its nature, representing a deeper ill,
a more widely-shared sentiment.

The menace of hate coming from the voice
of the highest symbol of U.S. power
today targets the Haitians
today targets the Africans
today targets the Muslims
today targets the Mexicans
today targets the Salvadorans
today targets the Iranians
today targets the Palestinians
is the same that targeted the Jews,
the Socialists, the Communists,
the Gypsies, the Homosexuals.
the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the mentally
and physically handicapped,
and we know what happened then.
The menace will tomorrow target you
and all people who don’t look Norwegian…**

O Africa! Cradle of the civilization
of men and women inventing humanity!
O Africa! The land of the Mandé Charter
where human rights were first made sacred
on a day in thirteenth-century Mali,
today demeaned by a knuckle-head!

The immigrants come to the land of immigrants
where Christian pilgrims, vagabonds, ex-cons,
persecuted of all stripes come to find refuge;
the land where defeated Ottoman subjects,
and pre-Nazi German nationals
came to become rich,
some leaving behind the values
of common human bonds;
the land where Jews, Christians, Muslims,
Buddhists, Taoists, Vodouists,
Irish, Japanese, Somalians,
and all kinds of disadvantaged
come to find their peace
although not always in welcoming fuss.

You have no right to deny others
that which serves your family well
and makes you a successful,
arrogant nouveau riche;
you have no right, however large
your ill-acquired fortune may be,
to debase whole continents of diverse nations;
you are a disgrace to mankind.

What we are seeing today
and experiencing in real time
is no longer an innocent joke
when real men, women, and children
are paying the heaviest price.
We must take to the streets
the fight for human integrity,
if we want to hold on to our dreams;
the tragic comedy already lasts too long.

A lone white supremacist at the White House
I would dismiss without much ado, but a system
that lets a lunatic destroy its ideals, my friend,
this is the problem we all should condemn.

I hold the whole system of government,
endowed to foster harmony and well-being
and to guide our children to higher pursuit,
responsible for letting this barbarian into the gate.
It’s time to stop the power of greed
and the corruption of our institutions!

The world will never forget
this affront to human decency,
nor will the masses of the United States
forgive endurance of such shame.

Haiti is not what you say;
Your Haiti is a reflection
of your twisted phantasms;
our Haiti is the guardian of our light
that which makes us all human;
your Haiti is a black hole
ours is a Deleuzian structure
a place where many dimensions join
in the pursuit of elevation
a place where many splendors coalesce.

—Tontongi Editor of the Journal Tanbou, Boston, January 13th 2018

* This poem was written in response to Donald Trump's insults in calling Haiti and the whole continent of Africa “shithole countries.” The term “Tèt-Mato” means “Hammer-Head” in Haitian Creole and generally refers to a dabbler, a crude person.
** In allusion to Donald Trump’s remark that only people from countries like Norway should be allowed to immigrate to the United States.

The Business of Saving Lives

(dedicated to the victims of the Las Vegas massacre)

Amidst our busy workload
challenging the curse of human illnesses
we found time to afford a night out,
a lovely get together of colleagues
enjoying rare moments of leisure,
laughter, and laissez-faire flippancy,
symbiotic team spirit
under the season’s generous charm
playing along with life’s cadence
after giving much unconditional love
and human empathy for duress
during a long week of trial and effort;
such a pleasure it is to be alive and well
on this beautiful Earth of ours.

Our choices are multidimensional,
carved in the perimeter of being,
the instant could become either a dead end
or an eternal exploration of space
or the joyful and painful journeys
experienced throughout our living;
will you make of it a beauty or an agony?

We are in the business of saving lives
and bringing smiles to faces ravaged by pain
more reasons we lament all killings of humans
be they perpetrated in our names or our greed
or for the twisted pleasure of an unrestrained ego.

We save even the killers’ lives when we can,
still we place in the same basket of horrors
killing for the honor of the Fatherland
in the middle of battle on vast lands
animated by fear and the fervor of the flag,
and the killing by drones from afar
while sitting in an air-conditioned crib
detached from the nuisance of human emotion;
yet we watch others benefit from the darkness,
while the barbarians have ever more guns.

How can we let people die of neglect
within the plenitude of waste?
Why can’t we harvest what is best
of ourselves minus the jackals of all stripes
and remake our world
in the image of justice and love?

I recollect January 21st 2017,
the immense ocean of people
joining hands to reject the poison
that was offered as redemption;
their foresight proved so right
even in the distance of time.
In the face of democraticide
and menace on all fronts
resistance is our most precious means
to uphold our values and ideals.

We are torn between many loves
and conflicting choices that can be
unified in transcendental solidarity.
My friend, we should continue to dance,
even in the absence of music and song.

Between the unknown of the next instant
and the overlapping of the past and present,
the evolutionary process never stops,
nor do the occasions to despair;
still also exist moments to rejoice
and bring about ample new beginnings;
the covenant to reach beauty
can be achieved in due time.

Let’s all choose the long course of wisdom
over the narrow-mindedness of the instant.
I’m looking forward to the next full moon
penetrating the spellbinding calm
of a New England Fall night.

(October 2017, this poem was previously published in the 2018 edition of the magazine Auscultations)

—Tontongi

Poems by Denizé Lauture

Metamorphoses, In His Most Wonderful Dream

He turned into a starlight
And sliced open the darkest cosmic night
He turned into a moonbeam
And drifted upon the purest stream

He turned into a rainbow
And crowned a heavenly waterfall
He turned into a sunray
And shed light upon the longest day

Then he turned into pitch-black charcoal
And exploded into a fireball.
The flames, into a rose bud, curled
And flared in the bosom of the sweetest girl
Then there was a song
A song from the bosom
Of the greatest songbird-

The sweet song of his changing being

Brought his awakening
And the end of his wonderful dream

There Is A Vine Called Poetry

You and I were sitting

In front of a desk.
I recited my poetry to you.
You recited your poetry to me.
And then without knowing
What we were doing
We stood up together
To hug each other.
Without knowing how it happened
Our lips met.
In spite of all our effort,
We could not separate them.

Since then, we understand

That there is really a vine,
A vine with big roots, big knots,
A vine with beautiful leaves,
Beautiful flowers and fruits,
A vine they call poetry
Which unites our bodies
And souls,
Our lives
And destinies together.

Where Are The Poets of Our Land

Ugly, red, red clouds
Shroud a horrendous ladder’
stop Blood, human blood
American blood
Drips from each rung
Of the ladder and
Forms stalactites.
The land, the soil
Where the ladder stands
Has been soiled red
And soiled red
Time and time again.
Where are the poets of our land?
Where are the voices of love on our land?”
Streams, brooks, rivers of blood
Slither, like giant red snakes
Can we call our land
A woman with a good womb?
Can we call our land
The Promised Land?”
She gives birth
To thugs and bandits
Bandits and henchmen
Henchmen and murderers
Murderers and killers
Killers and assassins
Assassins and merchants of death
Sordid enemies of humanity!
Where are the poets of our land?
Where are the voices of love on our land?
The land is not the denizen’s cradle
But, since his twenty-second birthday

His soul, his humming,
singing soul
Has been uprooted
Uprooted and transplanted
Transplanted deep
Deep into the Big Apple
Of our soiled-red land.
Every single eruption of violence
Scorches gravely his skin
And shatters his mind.
“Where are the poets of our land?

Where are the voices of love on our land?”
Blood, our brothers’ and sisters’ blood
Slithers, flows, gargles loudly
Down our local streets
And down our Broadways
Down our grand Avenues
And down our neon-lit boulevards
We hear the tock tock tock
Of blood dripping
From our highways.
Where are the poets of our land?
Where are the voices of love on our land?”

The icy gusts of forty-eight winters
Have whipped the denizen’s back.
Please, help him disinfect
With words of love
Thirty-five bloody rungs
Of our horrendous ladder.
Please, grab his hand,
Hold on to his hand
Tiptoe with him
In the garden of peace

Compassion and love
Mumble with him:
Where are the poets of our land?
Where are the voices of love on our land?
Where are the caverns
Where kind and compassionate Americans
Stir the broth of love
Bubbling on smoke-free flames?
Where are the poets of our land?

Letters are word’s petals
And word’s vocal flowers From our bosoms.
With the memorable names
Of the bloodlettings’ haunted sites
We can make thirty-five garlands
Thirty-five garlands of love
Of love and compassion
Of compassion and peace
Of peace and love.

Where are the caverns
Where kind and compassionate
Americans Stir the broth of love
Bubbling on smoke-free flames?

Where are the poets of our land?

—Denizé Lauture excerpted from A Kiss to the Land, Subpress Oakland Press, 2017

Poems by Aldo Tambellini

The front and back covers of AldoTambellini book, “Listen”.

The front and back covers of Aldo Tambellini book, “Listen”.

The front and back covers of AldoTambellini book, “Listen”. The front and back covers of AldoTambellini book, “Listen”. The front and back covers of AldoTambellini book, “Listen”.
A dog protesting at the January 20th 2018 rally on the Cambridge Common in Cambridge, MA, commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Women March of January 2017.

A dog protesting at the January 20th 2018 rally on the Cambridge Common in Cambridge MA, commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Women March of January 2017.

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