Goudougoudougoudougoudou . . .
 
When the malicious brouhaha
finally dozed off at dusk’s feet
when in the magic of darkness
ribbons of promise turned into sadness
with desperation deep in our eyes
we held our hands out to dust
a drizzle of confetti like fine salt 
above our heads
 
Claws of desolation
planted in each neighborhood’s entrails
from one alley to the next
 
God have mercy on the town of Jacmel
muted words in deaf ears
smoke scattered in the woods
before it disappeared behind Hospital Mountain
 
Spurs of pain strike passing time
How long would life have to be
for us to forget three hundred thousand voices
knocking at eternity’s door?
 
If time has time
they will stop
cursing and casting evil spells
on an exhausted people 
waiting for dawn
to stand 
 
Goudougoudougoudougoudou . . . 
 
Tremor calls to tremor
Léogane is bedridden
epilepsy seizes the earth 
neighbors hold their hands to the sky
calling out to Jesus
 
Our clock’s hands have stopped
on five minus a few
nature’s guitar strings are out of  tune
our legs have the shakes
konpa becomes samba
at a dance with no musicians  
 
Near Juvénat electric wires hang
giving nightmares a boost
the carousel of life runs half-heartedly 
then collapses in the middle of Lazarus Hill
 
Perplexed children and grownups 
awake side-by-side in a circle of throbbing pain
tops spinning like mad dogs
sketch an arabesque against the voice of 
Cesaria Evora
 
Families dressed in gray 
like a pack of zombies cut loose
run up and down
like cars with no steering rod
 
Entwined concrete houses 
perform pirouettes on both sides of the street
turning and twisting 
in an infernal circle
around the fountain of our sadness
a season of despair wearing shiny shoes 
night invades us in broad daylight
overturning our bowl of dreams
 
Goudougoudou . . . goudougoudou . . . 
 
One by one
with small steps
like babies
learning to walk
we take to the streets
staggering
a bunch of silly idiots
playing a senseless game
 
Port-au-Prince has no arms 
wide enough to collect her children
Nazon Alley
Delmas 33
headless bodies
under white sheets
Lasenjan butterflies 
that overslept
 
 
Shoddy leaders
are conniving
with invisible cohorts
defenseless blind men
get even
by chanting swordlike praises
 
 
Buzzard wings are like 
a sheet over my country
chameleons proclaim mourning season
settling down the field of recklessness
buzzing insects carpet the tarmac
of Mayi Gate airport
pickets are planted
a thousand tents erected 
Flags raised
 
 
Waves of yanvalou shroud petro drums
Fire smolders under the ashes of resistance
 
 
Goudougoudou . . . goudougoudou
 
Look how she walks
a tiny, crippled life 
that sees no hope anywhere
she drags her bony buttocks
eyes cloaked in dignity
a tiny, pitiful life
that carries a country on her back
 
 
I see that tiny life
fighting day after day
she makes eyes at death
as she struggles 
for dawn
to replace night 
 
 
That life
an earthquake knocked her down
but she’s like a bewitched horse
that can’t stop prancing
in our Desolate Savanna
 
Tuesday,  January 12
accursed Tuesday
left our hands tied
in a mystical lakou
turned us into potato peels
a horde of living dead
with no spirit
dogs scrounging 
at the foot of a rich man’s table
insignificant nobodies
in the pages of history
 
Goudougoudougoudou . . .
 
Master of the night hatches in the shadow of stars 
prophets of doom sprout like mushrooms
ranting endlessly in the fields of ignorance
as if we were paying our forefathers debts
 
The machete of our conscience is sharpened
on Bois Caïman plantation
our invaders remember Crête-à-Pierrot 
what do we have left to pay?
our empty pockets turned inside out
yet, our heads reach above the clouds
 
We made history at Napoleon’s expense 
declared freedom for all of humanity
signed our name in Savannah
stood in solidarity with Simon Bolivar
history can’t forget us
even when a ferocious bird
tries to keep us at bay
 
Don’t measure the distance that separates us
from the shores of Africa
we know where
our umbilical cord is tied
heirs of Carib Indians in the heart of America
we wear our pride on our foreheads
we learn to dodge the blows
our knees will never touch the ground
 
“Sezon malè” © 2012 by Guy-Gérald Ménard. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2013 by Chantal Kenol. All rights reserved.
Goudougoudougoudougoudou…
 
Lè filang bourara 
fin asoupi nan pye labrin
lè nan maji fènwa
riban pwomès tounen chagren
dezespwa nan fon je n
lonje men bay pousyè  
farinay lapli konfeti sèl fen
anwo tèt nou 
 
Grif dezolasyon
plante nan zantray chak katye
riyèl apre riyèl
 
Graslamizerikòd pou vil Jakmèl 
pawòl bèbè nan zorèy soud
lafimen ki gaye nan fon bwa
anvan li disparèt dèyè Mòn Lopital
 
Zepon doulè tonbe nan pasaj tan 
ki longè tan
pou lavi nou ta ye
pou nou bliye twa san mil vwa
k ap frape pòt letènite ?
 
Si tan gen tan 
ya sispann
voye toya lage pichon 
sou yon pèp fatige
k ap tann jou pou l doubout
 
Goudougoudougoudougou …
 
Sekous rele sekous 
Leyogàn sou kabann lopital
latè gen malkadi 
vwazinay men anlè
ap rapousuiv Jezi
 
Zegui revèy nou estannbay 
sou senkè mwen tikras 
kòd gita lanati dezakòde 
janm nou gen latranblad
konpa tounen sanba
nan bal san mizisyen
 
Bò Jivena fil kouran pandye
bay move rèv boustè
kawousèl lavi mache miwo miba
al chavire nan mitan Mòn Laza
 
Timoun granmoun debousole 
reveye kòtakòt nan yon sèk madoulè
toupi fou kou chen fou 
ap desinen loupin sou vwa 
Sezarya Evora
 
Lafanmi abiye toudegri
yon bann zonbi ki kase kòd
kouri monte desann
kolonn machin san ba direksyon
 
Kay beton brasou brasa
ap fè piwèt sou chak bò lari
yo vire karanbole 
nan yon laviwonn enfènal
arebò fontèn chagren n
soulye vèni nan pye sezon malè
lannuit blayi sou nou gwo lajounen
chavire bòl rèv nou plat atè
 
Goudougoudou … goudougoudou…
 
Youn apre lòt
ti pa ti pa
tankou tibebe
k ap aprann mache
nou pran lari
n ap titile
bann vivi griyen dan 
ki antre nan won 
san baton
 
Pòtoprens pa gen bra
pou ranmase pitit li
Riyèl Nazon 
Dèlma 33
tèt san kò aliyen 
nan dra blan
bann papiyon lasenjan 
dòmi twonpe
 
Dirijan pakoti
ap mennen mannigans 
ak kowòt envizib
tout avèg san defans 
pran revanch
nan fè lwanj kout batwèl
 
Zèl malfini tankou
dra sou peyi a
kameleyon dekrete sezon vèy
poze kazèn sou teren lenkonsyans
vonvon tapise makadam
ayewopò Mayi Gate
pikèt plante 
mil tant drese
drapo monte
 
Vag yanvalou vlope tanbou petwo
zagoloray anba sann rezistans
 
 
Goudougoudou…goudougoudou
 
Gade mache 
yon ti lavi biskèt tonbe
li pa wè anwo 
li pa wè anba
l ap trennen sou zo kòksis
ak je l vlope nan diyite l
yon ti lavi tou mafreze
ki pote yon peyi sou do l
 
Mwen wè yon ti lavi
k ap debat jou apre jou
li fè zye dou ak lanmò
afòs li goumen
pou douvanjou 
pran plas lannuit
 
Lavi sa a
tranblemanntè fese l atè
ou ta di chwal malen
ki pran pwen pou l pyafe
nan Savann Dezole
 
Madi 12 janvye
madi madichonnen
lage nou bra mare 
nan lakou demanbre
fè n pase pou po patat
yon kolonn azizwèl 
san koutcha
chen k ap wouke 
nan pye tab gwomouche
kantite neglijab 
nan paj kaye listwa
 
Goudougoudougoudou…
 
Mèt minui kale nan lonbraj zetwal
pwofèt malè pouse tankou djondjon
deblatere san rete nan jaden iyorans
kòmkidire dèt granpapa n ap peye
 
Manchèt konsyans nou file
sou bitasyon Bwa Kayiman 
Krètapyewo nan memwa anvayisè
kisa n gen pou n peye?
pòch nou vire lanvè
poutan tèt nou rive depase nyaj
 
Nou fè listwa sou do Napoleyon
deklare libète pou tout limanite
nou siyen non nou Savana
fè solidarite ak Simon Boliva
listwa pasa bliye n
menm lè zwazo mechan 
ban nou bwa long kenbe
 
Pa mezire distans ki separe n
ak kòt Lafrik
nou konnen ki kote 
kòd lonbrit nou mare
eritye Karayib nan mitan Lamerik
nou pot fyète nou sou fwon n
nou aprann pare kou
jenou n pa p janm touche tè
 



Guy-Gerald MénardGuy-Gerald Ménard

Guy-Gerald Ménard was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. After high school he traveled to the USA, where he resided for twenty years. He studied commercial art at  City College of New York, and earned an undergraduate degree from Barry University in Miami and a certificate in teachers' vocational education from Florida International University. Since his return to Haiti, Ménard devotes his time to teachers' training activities and teaching at the university. His poems are included in numerous anthologies and other publications in his country and abroad. Ménard published his first book of poetry, Similak, in 1998 and a second, Sezon malè, in 2012

Translated from Haitian CreoleHaitian Creole by Chantal KenolChantal Kenol

Chantal Kénol was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in English literature, with a minor in linguistics, from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., she returned to Haiti in 1986 to work as a secondary school teacher. She is now co-principal of a private school in Port-au-Prince.  Her time is mostly divided between education and literature.  She is the executive secretary of Association Atelier Jeudi Soir, a collective of writers and artists; she is also a founding member of Association Etonnants Voyageurs, Haiti, which holds an international book and film festival in Haiti every two years, and she sits on the editorial board of the new Haitian literary magazine Demanbre.  Her poems and short stories have been published in newspapers, magazines, and anthologies in Haiti and in France.

photo: Marie Le Gac