Parallels / My Country's in the Newspaper

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Parallels / My Country's in the Newspaper

Post by admin » Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:10 pm

Parallels / My Country's in the Newspaper

Where you from? people ask

You see I look Jamaican-- rounded African features in a slightly oval frame

dark skin-- i look like i'm at least from the islands so why not jamaica?

i'm here aren't I?

I could be... I am Jamaican...

until i open my mouth and words escape my lips that give me away.

Hey foreign! where you from... England?

a friend tells me that anyone who looks strange enough is considered english

I tend to get confused when anyone asks me that question

actually, i don't really get confused. No i get pissed scared

because i'm being asked to define myself to redefine myself

who i am who i think i am and who i want to be

"Where am I from?"


that word never fails to leave my mouth and rests on the thickness in the air

that soon follows my response.

Haiti? you see i sound american,

very american, and to a great degree i am.

But down deep... down real deep

down real deep i know I am Haitian

"Them have a lotta AIDS over there" she commented.

I didn't respond I've gotten so accustomed to such responses.

The other day Moses- the taximan- got impassioned about what he called

the stupidity of the Haitian people.

"That (the political situation in Haiti in the past decades) could never happen

in Jamaica" he assured me. "No, man Jamaicans are Vile," he boasted.

"That would never happen to Jamaicans."

I silently thought "of course it wouldn't. not militarily,

it would have to be in disguise... it would have to be a ruse.

Jamaicans are being fucked too.

Unlike in my country they're being fucked silently, less violently

black people are in a perpetual state of self hatred

black people are kept in a perpetual state of self hatred

black people are kept in a perpetual state of self hatred

black people are being killed more slowly

Out of many one- no color problem in Jamaica, just class they say

in Jamaica there's no problem.

I didn't let Moses in to hear these thoughts

i crushed them deep within, deeper into my mind

afraid that these words were reactionary

that these words were merely words meant to lessen the pain, the hurt

the weight that rises from my chest presses up my throat unabling me to breathe

like when my mouth fills up with saliva in my nightmares and i can't scream for help.

i can't scream that i am terrified of this feeling of helplessness.

this feeling of distance

this feeling of forgetting and not wanting to forget

this feeling of not forgetting and wanting to forget

this feeling of being an immigrant

of being there and yet far away

of having this place that I call a country, this country my country

be a place that i only see on TV a place that i read about in newspapers.

Yesterday in the Gleaner i read about the military running rampage

in the countryside since the accord was signed on August 30th.

They broke up a community meeting of Aristide supporters--killed a man

Raped a twelve year old Girl.

By the time i was twelve i was no longer in Haiti i was privileged

i had no consciousness about what it meant to be a young girl

what it meant to be a young black girl

from a country where we've been killing ourselves since 1804.

By the time i was twelve I had just enough consciousness to naively vow

that i would never return to this country that i called my own

that i would never return until things "changed."

that i would never return until "things" changed

you see i made that decision after i first saw Haiti on TV

after I saw Haiti in the newspaper

I longed for answers... answers to all the questions

At first, i used to say it was greed that's why there was coup d'etat after coup d'etat Greed

Then I would say it was our politico-economic history

Yes, we have a history of fucking over our own

Since i've been in jamaica i've been searching for other reasons

because the ones i claimed no longer suffice

when someone asked me for the non-academic version,

i gave the same answer that i made myself believe for the last 10 years.

the same answer that explains this country (my country) that i see on TV

the country that i see in the newspapers.

But you see I haven't been there in fifteen years I haven't seen.

But you see I haven't been there in fifteen years I haven't seen.

since i've been in Jamaica i've come to see that my country's fucked up

for the same reason that a black jamaican man can write a song

echoing the voices the majority of this population.

a song about about having no consciousness about who and what we are

a song about our lack of pride and blindness to the beauty in ourselves

a song about our fear of remaining black seeking only brown, yella, and white

because we've been tought to hate blackness, to hate ourselves

a song about failed emancipation from mental slavery how we're still very colonized

Out of many one-- a disguise-- a ruse

where you from? they'll ask.

And they'll ask again

the next time i'll just say the same place as you.

© Gina Ulysse

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