Toward a poetry and poetics of the Americas (27)
'Independence Event' (Haiti) with addendum by Javier Taboada
Dutty Boukman [aka Zamba Boukman] (Haiti, d. 1791)
INDEPENDENCE EVENT & RITUAL
1. Grab a pig
2. Congregate the people & start a fire
3. Promise to Ezili Dantor — the spirit of vengeance and rage — that all of you will rise up
& defeat the invader.
4. See the mambo priestess be possessed by the aforementioned spirit.
5. Say the following:
the god who created earth who created
the giving-light sun the one who holds up
the ocean & makes the thunder roar our God
he who has ears to hear you
hidden in the cloud
you see all
all the white man has made us suffer
the white man’s god asks him to commit crimes
the god within us wants the good our god the just
commands us to avenge our wrongs
he will direct our arms to victory
let’s cast away the pitiless image
of the white men’s god
listen to the voice for liberty that speaks within our hearts
5. Slay the pig.
6. Seal the pact by drinking a cup of its blood.
Reworked by Javier Taboada.
Bois-Caïman (literally “Alligator Woods”) in northern Haiti was the site for the religious and strategic meeting that sparked the revolution against the French colonizers. On the night of August 13–14, 1791, Dutty Boukman, a voodoo houngan — a high priest — led the sacrificial pig slain along with Cécile Fatiman (a mambo priestess). This voodoo ritual now is considered the official start of the Haitian Independence movement. Many Haitians believe that it assured their success and up to date Bois-Caïman is regarded as a holy place.
Javier Taboada (Mexico, b. 1982)
THIS IS A SPECTROGRAM
(this is — graphically —
the voice of a pig
in its last 20 secs. of life)
The pig is tied by the neck 1)
Pig head at maximum tension: vocal peak 3)
The pig halts or becomes exhausted 2), 5), 7), 10)
Pig kicks/pulls/tries to free itself 4), 6), 8), 11)
A swineherd’s mallet falls on the floor 9)
The pig receives three blows to the head A, B, C
Bloodletting begins 12)
or pace Gombrowicz.: OBJECTIVISM
arising directly from anesthesia
this is no longer
— no no no —
the voice of a tortured pig
transforms it as
Art should be)
Translated from the Spanish by Cole Heinowitz