stories series webworks weblog who-is

Stories / Transcript

Crossing the BLVD logo

Tije is Not Dead {format} {format} 2:42 Crossing the BLVD

A Haitian-American poem for his dead brother.

Broadcast: Jun 1 2004 on NPR Day to DaySeries: Crossing the BLVD Subjects: Politics, International, Family

Profile: Poem about Haitian citizen

June 1, 2004 from Day to Day

MADELEINE BRAND, host: As we've just heard, Haiti has a long history of political turmoil. From the late 1950s to the early 1970s, it was ruled by the brutal dictator Francois Duvalier, known also as Papa Doc. Ray Laforest was a Haitian citizen who actively resisted Papa Doc's dictatorship before and after moving to New York in 1968. Here he reads a poem about his brother, Tije(ph), who died mysteriously in Haiti.

Mr. RAY LAFOREST: (French spoken) The history of Tije's life is not that of a zombie.

(French spoken) Tije's eyeglasses.

(French spoken) Tije cannot be dead.

(French spoken) Tije is in the eye of the whole people.

(French spoken) Tije is in the eye of all of us.

(French spoken) All of us were fighting...

(French spoken) that when the moon...

(French spoken) ...rise above the sun, we'll not become blind.

(French spoken) On the contrary, so that life can flourish.

(French spoken) Life can flourish.

(French spoken) Tije's not dead, Ray.

(French spoken) Tije traveled on a journey.

(French spoken) Going to heaven.

(French spoken) Looking for...

(French spoken) we can be stronger.

(French spoken) So that we can have a carnival ball.

(French spoken) So we can have a carnival ball.

(French spoken) After the revolution.

(French spoken) After the liberation.

(French spoken) Tije so far...

(French spoken) ...farther than most of us.

(French spoken) That's why he went ahead...

(French spoken) ...ahead of all of us.

(French spoken) Haiti is like a forest.

(French spoken) Haiti is like a forest...

(French spoken) ...that any time...

(French spoken) about to bloom.

(French spoken) Tije's body, it is fertilizer.

(French spoken) His blood, it's to do.

(French spoken) Tije's not dead.

(French spoken) Tije's not dead. Tije's not dead.

(French spoken) Tije fell in the street.

(French spoken) Tije fell in the street. Tije fell in the street...

(French spoken) he can rise up...

(French spoken) mushroom in every sweet corner, not to (unintelligible).

BRAND: Ray Laforest reading a poem about his brother, who was killed in Haiti in 1998. It was written by Berthony Dupont. The poem comes to us from the audio CD and book project "Crossing the Boulevard." For more information, visit our Web site at

This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Madeleine Brand.