Toward a poetry and poetics of the Americas (27)

'Independence Event' (Haiti) with addendum by Javier Taboada

painting by Ernst Prophète (Haitian/Cap-Haitien, b. 1950)
Painting by Ernst Prophète (Haitian/Cap-Haitien, b. 1950).

Dutty Boukman [aka Zamba Boukman] (Haiti, d. 1791)




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 mans 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   

he will


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 — 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)


(an appeal

     or pace Gombrowicz.:  OBJECTIVISM

                  arising directly from anesthesia

that is    

this is no longer

    — no no no —

the voice of a tortured pig       


the artist

transforms it as




just so

Sublime as

Art should be)


Translated from the Spanish by Cole Heinowitz