Geto/Ghetto

7 04 2011

Se la m’ grandi

Se la m’ ka ri

Se la m’aprann lavi

E tout nan m’ soude ak li

Anndan l mwen gen patnè

Ladan m’ ka mache nenpòtlè

Tout moun anndan l’ pou mwen se frè ak sè

Pou mwen yo toujou la lè malè

Menm si sa di m’ pap dòmi grangou

Vwazin nan ak mwen chanje plat chak jou

Lè youn genyen lòt pa jou lou

Pase kanmèm fòk li ba ou.

Vakans nou fè bèl chanpyona

Kay yon patnè n’al gad tele lè swa

Pale foutbòl ak bay istwa

Avan pou n’ kase randevou pou demen swa.

Manman youn se manman tout

Nan geto nou tout fè youn

Nan geto tout moun konn moun

Anndan geto nou tout se youn.

Menm si yo di li bay bandi

Men andan l’ nou tout se fanmi

Paske nou pa gen lajan

Yo ban nou move jan

Lè zòt bezwen pouvwa

Yo fè n kwè n’ap manje zwa

Men aprè se menm traka a

Li lè pou geto a gen lajwa

Menm si nou sot ba

Nou ka rive wo

Men nou pap bat ba

Paske nou se geto

E nap toujou rete geto.

— DUPALIS Élie

****************

It’s where I grew up
It’s where I can laugh
It’s where I learned about life
And my whole soul is welded to it.

Inside is where my boys are
Inside, I can walk around at any time
Everyone inside is a brother and sister to me
They’re always there when something goes wrong.

So that means I never go to sleep hungry
Neighbors share their food every day
When one has enough, no one suffers
Because everyone must give to one another.

During summer vacation, we play sports in the street
Go to friends’ houses and watch TV
Talk about soccer and tell stories
Before we make plans for tomorrow night.

The mother of one is everyone’s mother
In the ghetto, we all become one.
In the ghetto, we all know each other.
Inside the ghetto, we are all the same.

Even though they say it makes people gangsters
But inside it, we’re all family.
Because we don’t have any money
They treat us like we’re nobody.
But when those Others need power,
They make us think we’ll eat caviar
But after that, it’s just the same shit.
It’s time for the ghetto to at last know joy.

Even though we’ve started low
We can reach high
But we’ll never surrender
Because we are ghetto
And we will always be ghetto.

— Élie DUPALIS


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2 responses

7 04 2011
D

I love this poem. It makes me think of all the wonderful people we work with and great things we see in neighbourhoods many people think badly of, but that we know are vibrant, close-knit communities full of activity. It also reminds me to make sure that we’re very clear about not seeming to say that anyone ‘will eat caviar’!

7 04 2011
storiesfromhaiti

Thanks Louisa! The Creole is actually “to eat goose” but it has the effect of saying “to eat caviar” — something luxurious, decadent, and rare. Pwochenn fwa, ou ka eseye kite komantè an kreyòl pito!🙂 (Laura)

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