Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Michèle Voltaire Marcelin |Grief works from home at all hours


May 1, 2020

We are so grateful to our dear friend, Michèle Voltaire Marcelin, for sharing a few of her works with us. Please read, listen, and share widely.


Writer, poet, actor and visual artist Michèle Voltaire Marcelin authored a novel “La Désenchantée” translated to Spanish as “La Desencantada”, and 2 other books of poetry and prose: “Lost and Found”, and “Amours et Bagatelles”, translated to Spanish as “Amores y cosas sin importancia”.
Michèle has been featured as one of the poets of the NewsHour on PBS, and interviewed by Maya Angelou and on CNN Español. She has performed her poetry onstage solo and with jazz musicians in New York, Paris, Montréal, Costa Rica, Cuba, Miami, Los Angeles.


Grief works from home at all hours (listen to audio recorded by Riva Nyri Precil here)

Sleepwalkers confined in a dream 
Six feet apart like barbed wire 
The days pass by without measure 
Calendars have been quarantined 

State your name and take a number 
Stand in line for time regained 
Only the mirror knows your face 
The mask you wear beneath your mask 

Don’t inhale the poisoned air 
Pass each other in silence 
The ground itself is a peril 
Keep your shadow at a distance 

Your chest filled with glass splinters 
Beware, Beware the crown of thorns 
It lights a fire between your eyes 
Delirium in Technicolor 

Don’t break silence with trifling words 
Thousands die behind closed doors 
Disposed of in mobile morgues 
In standard issue body bags 

They dig mass graves on Hart Island 
In parks where children ran and played 
Pine trees on which we carved our hearts 
Are now boxes that hold our dead 

Sorrow is never on holiday 
Misery is not on leave of absence 
We’ve exhausted all appeals 
Grief works from home at all hours 

Michèle Voltaire Marcelin – Brooklyn, April 2020


Nous n’irons plus à l’abattoir 

Ils nous ont bâillonés pour nous empêcher de protester 
Ils nous ont enfermés, affamés, epuisés 
Ils nous ont écorchés jusqu’au sang 
Ils pensaient que nous allions rester tranquilles 
Ils voulaient nous faire perdre l’espoir 
Mais nous n’irons plus à l’abattoir 

L’inquiétude est quotidienne 
L’épouvante est notre voisine 
La misère qui nous confine est une rigoise 
Un martinet 
Dans la pénombre 
Nous vivons à dix dans une chambre 
Quand aux repas, n’en parlons pas Nos enfants ne vont pas à l’école 
Nous nous habillons de pèpè 
Et nous allons par-çi, par-là 
Chercher la vie dans tous les coins 

Et parce qu’ils sont sans besoins 
Ils nous appellent irresponsables 
Les fonds de l’État sont leurs biens 
Ils passent dans leurs voitures blindées 
Cachés derrière leurs vitres teintées 
Leurs chiens n’ont pas de muselières 
Tous leurs murs ont des barbelés 

Ils nous ont bâillonés pour nous empêcher de protester 
Ils nous ont humiliés, exténués, opprimés 
Ils nous ont achetés à bon marché, vendus cher 
Ils pensaient que nous allions nous taire 
Ils voulaient nous faire oublier notre histoire 
Mais nous n’irons plus à l’abattoir 

Ils nous ont bâillonés pour nous empêcher de protester 
Mais nous gardons les yeux ouverts 
Mon frère 

Un jour nous briserons ces murs qui nous séparent 
Un jour, par la force militante des mots 
Nous saurons transformer le monde 
Afin que nous puissions vivre ensemble 
Car nous n’irons plus à l’abattoir. 

Michèle Voltaire Marcelin – Avril 2020


When this is over 

When this is over
The world will be wide open

I’ll claim your body
You’ll make mine a garden

You’ll plant wild flowers in my hair
I’ll build a beehive on your chest
Honey will run between my breasts
Rose apricots
will blush in bloom

Pomegranates will burst open
I’ll suck on your sugarcane juice
You’ll peel sweet lychees from my eyes
I’ll eat sea grapes
from your bushes

When this is over
Our room will be wide open
And as the breeze rustles the sheets
We’ll love each other wide open
Each keeping the other’s smell

I’ll build a dam for your eyes
You’ll never shed a tear again
Even of joy
Even to quench my garden’s thirst

When this is over
I’ll sing to the star that bears your name
You’ll tell the moon that you are mine
Our love will recreate the Spring

Michèle Voltaire Marcelin – Brooklyn, April 2020


What magic names of places
Shall I whisper in the dark
While you hold me
So we travel at least through the night
What sweet syllables of cities
Ancient or new
What bird-laden trees
In what gardens
Shall I offer you
So that at last I see the world with you
Walk with me
Through streets I’ve loved
In Buenos Aires, Aix, Lisbon, Jacmel
Keep your steps aligned with mine
Walk with me
In Venice
There is an alleyway called Paradiso
I want you to kiss me there
In Istanbul
A church of Holy Wisdom
Where we will light candles on the altar
There is somewhere in Port-au-Prince
A crumbling wall fired with hibiscus
Where blossoms wait to be chosen by you
To flower my hair
Or shall we go off on a barge
Floating on the Seine
When the city darkens and the bridges spread
Across the silent river
Will we be drunk with each other
Or will it be the boat dancing on the water
There is a stretch of sand I remember
In Valparaiso
Crusted with salt from the waves
We will leave our footprints there
Drink pisco in a secluded bar in Santiago
Sit in Pelhourino Square in Salvador
Later I will giggle as you carry me
Down the stairs to the Capri Grotto
Somewhere there is a bed unmade
In a New York hotel
Where we’ll return at dawn to make love
As sleepwalkers do
After seeing the ghosts of jazz musicians
At the Blue Note
Somewhere someday we’ll go away
But tonight let’s recite as we would poems
Names of places
That await our pleasure
Hold my hands my beloved
Look in my eyes
Tonight let’s travel in our dreams
While we remain immobile in the dark

Michèle Voltaire Marcelin – (Lost and Found 2009)

Posted in Archive, HCX Programs, Literature, Poetry, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Mizik Ayiti 2017 Recap!



This year’s Mizik Ayiti Summer series kicked off with Lakou NOU + Mizik Ayiti on Friday, June 30, 2017. The evening featured a joint performance by pioneer Lakou NOU residents Sabine Blaizin, Rodney ‘Okai’ Fleurimont, and Veroneque Ignace, featuring musicians Jean Frenel Misere and Jean Montina of Kriyol Dance! Collective. The 2017 Lakou NOU Cohort was announced and Haitian-American songstress Mikaelle Aimee Cartright followed up with  a smooth blend of Haitian inspired folk and soul!


Congratulations to Jasmine Plantin, Diane Exavier, Nubian Nene, and Glenda Lezeau. Welcome to Lakou NOU 2017 and the HCX family!

Next up was a rooted performance by Fanmi Asòto, which took place on July 16, 2017. Fanmi Asòto (Family of the Mother Drum) was formed in 2014 to transmit Haitian traditions to future generations, through music, interactive workshops and activities in various aspects of Haitian culture.


The group transformed the garden with the songs and rhythms from Haitian Vodou.

The final installation in the Mizik Ayiti Series, Pwezi ak Mizik Anba Tonel, held on August 26, 2017 from 6-9pm at the Westbrook Memorial Garden, was nothing less than exceptional.

Jeffrey Dessources, aka MrJeffDess, a dynamic public speaker, author, emcee and professor of Haitian descent, hosted throughout the night and performed breathtaking and engaging poetic compilations.

This native New Yorker, known as the Disruptive Educator, is also the Co Founder of the educational platform, Trill or Not Trill. The company bridges the gap between popular culture and student development. MrJeffDess is the author of five books and has delivered lectures at over 25 universities, including Columbia and Princeton University, and has performed globally in Indonesia, Italy and South Africa. He has also been featured in Ebony Magazine, The Root and Urban Cusp Magazine.

His performance was complemented by Kreyòl poet Schneider Laurent, accompanied by Billy Midi and Rebecca Senat. The trio gave an energetic and riveting spoken word performance.

The night was topped off with music by Tiga Jean-Baptiste and his band, which featured Nkumu Katalay of the Life Long Band Project.

A special mention to Riva Precil & Bohio Music and DJ Sabine Blaizin for participating in the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust Open Garden Day, which took place on Saturday, September 16th from 4 to 6pm in the Westbrook Memorial Garden. The event was, in part, made possible by the Brooklyn Community Foundation, New York Council for the Arts, and The New York Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council Members Laurie Cumbo and Jumaane Williams.

bohio music

Featured Artist Bio:

Born in Brooklyn, Riva grew up in Haiti where she studied music, folkloric and modern dance, art, and theatre under some of the most important teachers of their genre.  She obtained a degree in Music Therapy at Loyola University in New Orleans and completed a Music Therapy internship at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan. Bohio Music, co-founded with musician Monvelyno Alexis presents a fusion of traditional Haitian Rasin music with jazz, soul and R & B. Check out this clip from their performance at B Side.



About the author:

Veroneque Ignace is a Brooklyn-based Haitian American community arts advocate and public health practitioner. She is the creator of Kriyol Dance! Collective and centers her work on community and individual wellness. Veroneque is an alum of Suny Downstate Medical Center: School of Public Health.

For more of her work: |

Posted in Archive, HCX Programs, Lakou NOU, Mizik Ayiti, Music, Poetry, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Pwezi ak Mizik Anba Tonèl 2016


For the 6th edition of our annual literary event “Pwezi ak Mizik Anba Tonèl” we were pleased to host the legendary musician Boulo Valcourt and poets Jeanie Bogart and James Noël. Boulo Valcourt holds an important place in the Haitian music scene and culture. He participated in various music bands, including Ibo Combo and Caribbean Sextet, and is well known for his contribution to Haiti’s “twoubadou” music genre. Jeanie Bogart grew up in the Southern Haitian city of Les Cayes before moving to New York. As a Creole and French court interpreter, Bogart witnesses difficult court trials, yet her poetry is full of passion and love. James Noël, who joined us from Port-au-Prince, is a prolific poet whose career is widely celebrated. He is very active in the literary scene of Haiti and often participates in international literary events.

The evening started with an open-mic for poets in the audience, which was a fitting tone for this evening filled with impromptu performances, street dancing, and community residents from our Crown Heights neighborhood. They were followed by Boulo Valcourt whose lovely guitar set the mood for James Noël and Jeanie Bogart. Noël’s touching tribute to the late Haitian drummer Léonord Fortuné ‘Azor’ and Bogart’s passionate love lyrics motivated our guests to rush and buy copies of their anthologies after the show. It felt like the perfect end-of-summer event. In the final moments, Boulo Valcourt’s nostalgic sounds for the famous song “La Pèsonn O” had the crowd chanting together with the musician as they wished farewell to the warm season.

Please enjoy pictures of the performance below by Paul Corbanese:

Event covered by Adolf Azuphar on Rhythm Passport:

Event covered by Tequila Minsky on Caribbean Life:

James Noël’s books :
Anthologie de la Poésie Haïtienne
Le Pyromane Adolescent
Un jour… tes pantoufles

Jeanie Bogart’s books :
Sa m pral kite dèyè
Dènye rèl- DVD

Posted in An n' Pale, Archive, Arts, Dance, Events, HCX Programs, Music, Poetry, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Selebrasyon! | An n’ Pale Café Conversation : Sunday, June 26th


Bowery Poetry Club w- Danielle

Join HCX for our classic An n’ Pale | Café Conversation at the Bowery Poetry Club with Danielle Legros Georges.

Danielle Legros Georges

Danielle Legros GeorgesDanielle is the current Poet Laureate of the City of Boston and a professor in the Creative Arts in Learning Division of Lesley University. She also teaches in the Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences summer Writer’s Workshop, University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her poems have been widely anthologized, and recent essays of hers have appeared in Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences and Writing in America (ed. Abayomi Animashaun) and Anywhere But Here: Black Intellectuals in the Atlantic World and Beyond (eds. Kendal Radcliffe and Jennifer Scott). She is the author of two volumes of poems, Maroon (Curbstone Press, 2001) and The Dear Remote Nearness of You (Barrow Street Press, 2016).

Click here to view the Selebrasyon! 2016 calendar of events!

DATE/TIME: Sunday, June 26th | 3:30pm
LOCATION: Bowery Poetry Club | MAP
308 Bowery | New York, NY 10012
ADMISSION: $10 Suggested Donation

Posted in An n' Pale, Arts, Events, HCX Programs, Literature, Poetry, Selebrasyon!, Uncategorized, Weekend | No Comments »

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