Saturday, May 24, 2014

Port au Prince

Port au Prince
((The Leprous touch of time) (in, Poetic Prose, a strange narration))

Port au Prince, Haiti, 1986
(Photo by the Author)

When I disembarked the plane in 1986, twenty-eight years ago,
in Port au Prince— How much I loved the city’s old ways.
Quaint with dirt-rock ridden streets, and a mystic lore of Old London,
of the 9th Century!
In those days, not so much turmoil, as those of less nobler days
(like now and before…).
I loved the busy crooked alleys,
narrow gray ramshackle thin houses with tin roofs, slumped.
Many old folks, like live corpses, whose outward shells,
preserved by a skeleton, somewhere inside, surprised me to be alive.
Along the docks, squirming with slime, the very air that seeped into
the city, choked me with sea-green pong, it reeked to the high-heavens—
And in shantytown, it was liken to the leprous touch of time.
At night I walked the city’s solstice skies:
everywhere staring dark eyes, spelling some  voodoo occult,
some lore unguessed.
Men walked with pitchforks and axes on their shoulders,
with open shirt breasts…  Made for strange shadows.

The shifting mood made strange shapes, too… over the city of the voodoo!
And from the Caribbean, coils of sliding mist flowed over the docks,
onto the roads—
And every night came the voodoo drums… much as regular
as the bells of the nearest church!
The folks wonder about the night as if in an eldritch spell; some burning
embers, creating new smells.
Some selling a Coke or Seven-up, ice separate, but it costs.

In an afar-off corner of the city an ancient woods, sugarcane fields,
Hills, dirty roads laced with rocks, and snakes and buckboards drawn by oxen.
The heated grass deformed and oddly outgrown upward—thick like brass!
As if the roots themselves were cursed by the earth.
A malformed and monstrous looking sky, all best left alone, the unknown.
Everything here grows crumbling, so it seems, —
Everything, everywhere in the air smells with a touch of the dead, bloated fungi.

This is the world within the city of Port au Prince—
Where the Black Goat walks, talks and sleeps, and intrudes in dreams,
to make nightmares for men and women...
Where the Voodoo priests hide in attic rooms: like Baby Doc, Papa Doc and Aristotle too, along with their assemblage.
For many a place of airless gloom.
It is a city where walls and rafters lean with rat-holes gnawed at its seams.
All lean at some crazy angle; in short, with some magical geometry of course!

But nothing freighted me, during my stay in Port au Prince, in 1986.
I slept on the top roof of an orphanage, of all places:
Cockroach infested, mice, mosquitos, and spider too—
Roamed that rooftop, at night, hidden by the dust and stink,
giving me bites…
And voodoo drums too, —but it didn’t bother me, I slept like goon.

To be truthful, I think the Demon Star hangs above high in the sky
over Port au Prince!
A cold, arcane, malign demon watching with a Cycloptic eye;
In serpent skin and with a rotten smell,
as if he came out of some abandon well.
As if he was some dead thing once buried underground.
Here he brings the vile corruption of forbidden wisdom—
The city trapped in sinking sand, what can it do?
Who strayed apart from Godly men… must seek like Nineveh
God’s pardon once again.
Lest it wait, and the night will come, and it will rip again.

No: 4351 (5-23-2014)