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5.10.2009

Explorations: Félix Morisseau-Leroy

We discussed the notion of the eso/exoteric this week in ENC 1102 at the college; our discussion was productive, and I recalled this poem.

Poem: Tourist

Tourist, don’t take my picture
Don’t take my picture, tourist
I’m too ugly
Too dirty
Too skinny
Don’t take my picture, white man
Mr. Eastman won’t be happy
I’m too ugly
Your camera will break
I’m too dirty
Too black
Whites like you won’t be content
I’m too ugly
I’m gonna crack your kodak
Don’t take my picture, tourist
Leave me be, white man
Don’t take a picture of my burro
My burro’s load’s too heavy
And he’s too small
And he has no food here
Don’t take a picture of my animal
Tourist, don’t take a picture of the house
My house is of straw
Don’t take a picture of my hut
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My hut’s made of earth
The house already smashed up
Go shoot a picture of the Palace
Or the Bicentennial grounds
Don’t take a picture of my garden
I have no plow
No truck
No tractor
Don’t take a picture of my tree
Tourist, I’m barefoot
My clothes are torn as well
Poor people don’t look at whites
But look at my hair, tourist
Your kodak’s not used to my colour
Your barber’s not used to my hair
Tourist, don’t take my picture
You don’t understand my position
You don’t understand anything
About my business, tourist
‘Gimme fie cents’
And then, be on your way, tourist.

By Félix Morisseau-Leroy, translated from Haitan Creole by Jack Hirschman, translated from Haitan Creole by Jack Hirschman

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