Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bonjou guys et sak passe! Well it's been a week since I posted last my story The Sucoyants Kiss and I have some more for you today which I'll give you in a bit. Overall things are okay, I'm good, Trumph is good, our house guests are good. Life has been okay. Waiting for payday you know how that goes. The weather has been changing for the better even though this weekend it's supposed to rain cats and dogs mais ahh bien, this is Seattle.

Well I am going to give you some political stuff today. First is an editorial a White Man wrote about the (I believe) divisive usage of Obama's Church. I find it very interesting and while it may be preaching to the choir it is something I think you should show to White Folklz who fit the mold of what he is talking about. So without further ado here it is:

tim wise

Of National Lies and Racial Amnesia:
Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama, and the Unacceptability of Truth

By Tim Wise

March 18, 2008

For most white folks, indignation just doesn't wear well. Once affected
or conjured up, it reminds one of a pudgy man, wearing a tie that may
well have fit him when he was fifty pounds lighter, but which now cuts
off somewhere above his navel and makes him look like an idiot.

Indignation doesn't work for most whites, because having remained
sanguine about, silent during, indeed often supportive of so much injustice
over the years in this country--the theft of native land and genocide
of indigenous persons, and the enslavement of Africans being only two of
the best examples--we are just a bit late to get into the game of
moral rectitude. And once we enter it, our efforts at righteousness tend to
fail the test of sincerity.

But here we are, in 2008, fuming at the words of Pastor Jeremiah
Wright, of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago--occasionally Barack
Obama's pastor, and the man whom Obama credits with having brought him to
Christianity--for merely reminding us of those evils about which we
have remained so quiet, so dismissive, so unconcerned. It is not the
crime that bothers us, but the remembrance of it, the unwillingness to let
it go--these last words being the first ones uttered by most whites it
seems whenever anyone, least of all an "angry black man" like Jeremiah
Wright, foists upon us the bill of particulars for several centuries of
white supremacy.

But our collective indignation, no matter how loudly we announce it,
cannot drown out the truth. And as much as white America may not be able
to hear it (and as much as politics may require Obama to condemn it)
let us be clear, Jeremiah Wright fundamentally told the truth.

Oh I know that for some such a comment will seem shocking. After all,
didn't he say that America "got what it deserved" on 9/11? And didn't he
say that black people should be singing "God Damn America" because of
its treatment of the African American community throughout the years?

Well actually, no he didn't.

Wright said not that the attacks of September 11th were justified, but
that they were, in effect, predictable. Deploying the imagery of
chickens coming home to roost is not to give thanks for the return of the
poultry or to endorse such feathered homecoming as a positive good;
rather, it is merely to note two things: first, that what goes around,
indeed, comes around--a notion with longstanding theological grounding--and
secondly, that the U.S. has indeed engaged in more than enough violence
against innocent people to make it just a tad bit hypocritical for us
to then evince shock and outrage about an attack on ourselves, as if the
latter were unprecedented.

He noted that we killed far more people, far more innocent civilians in
Hiroshima and Nagasaki than were killed on 9/11 and "never batted an
eye." That this statement is true is inarguable, at least amongst sane
people. He is correct on the math, he is correct on the innocence of the
dead (neither city was a military target), and he is most definitely
correct on the lack of remorse or even self-doubt about the act:
sixty-plus years later most Americans still believe those attacks were
justified, that they were needed to end the war and "save American lives."

But not only does such a calculus suggest that American lives are
inherently worth more than the lives of Japanese civilians (or, one
supposes, Vietnamese, Iraqi or Afghan civilians too), but it also ignores the
long-declassified documents, and President Truman's own war diaries, all
of which indicate clearly that Japan had already signaled its desire
to end the war, and that we knew they were going to surrender, even
without the dropping of atomic weapons. The conclusion to which these
truths then attest is simple, both in its basic veracity and it
monstrousness: namely, that in those places we committed premeditated and
deliberate mass murder, with no justification whatsoever; and yet for saying
that I will receive more hate mail, more hostility, more dismissive and
contemptuous responses than will those who suggest that no body count is
too high when we're the ones doing the killing. Jeremiah Wright becomes
a pariah, because, you see, we much prefer the logic of George Bush
the First, who once said that as President he would "never apologize for
the United States of America. I don't care what the facts are."

And Wright didn't say blacks should be singing "God Damn America." He
was suggesting that blacks owe little moral allegiance to a nation that
has treated so many of them for so long as animals, as persons
undeserving of dignity and respect, and which even now locks up hundreds of
thousands of non-violent offenders (especially for drug possession), even
while whites who do the same crimes (and according to the data, when it
comes to drugs, more often in fact), are walking around free. His
reference to God in that sermon was more about what God will do to such a
nation, than it was about what should or shouldn't happen. It was a
comment derived from, and fully in keeping with, the black prophetic
tradition, and although one can surely disagree with the theology (I do,
actually, and don't believe that any God either blesses or condemns nation
states for their actions), the statement itself was no call for blacks
to turn on America. If anything, it was a demand that America earn the
respect of black people, something the evidence and history suggests it
has yet to do.

Finally, although one can certainly disagree with Wright about his
suggestion that the government created AIDS to get rid of black folks--and
I do, for instance--it is worth pointing out that Wright isn't the only
one who has said this. In fact, none other than Bill Cosby (oh yes,
that Bill Cosby, the one white folks love because of his recent moral
crusade against the black poor) proffered his belief in the very same
thing back in the early '90s in an interview on CNN, when he said that AIDS
may well have been created to get rid of people whom the government
deemed "undesirable" including gays and racial minorities.

So that's the truth of the matter: Wright made one comment that is
highly arguable, but which has also been voiced by white America's favorite
black man, another that was horribly misinterpreted and stripped of
all context, and then another that was demonstrably accurate. And for
this, he is pilloried and made into a virtual enemy of the state; for
this, Barack Obama may lose the support of just enough white folks to cost
him the Democratic nomination, and/or the Presidency; all of it,
because Jeremiah Wright, unlike most preachers opted for truth. If he had
been one of those "prosperity ministers" who says Jesus wants nothing so
much as for you to be rich, like Joel Osteen, that would have been fine.
Had he been a retread bigot like Falwell was, or Pat Robertson is, he
might have been criticized, but he would have remained in good standing
and surely not have damaged a Presidential candidate in this way. But
unlike Osteen, and Falwell, and Robertson, Jeremiah Wright refused to
feed his parishioners lies.

What Jeremiah Wright knows, and told his flock--though make no mistake,
they already knew it--is that 9/11 was neither the first, nor worst
act of terrorism on American soil. The history of this nation for folks
of color, was for generations, nothing less than an intergenerational
hate crime, one in which 9/11s were woven into the fabric of everyday
life: hundreds of thousands of the enslaved who died from the conditions
of their bondage; thousands more who were lynched (as many as 10,000 in
the first few years after the Civil War, according to testimony in the
Congressional Record at the time); millions of indigenous persons wiped
off the face of the Earth. No, to some, the horror of 9/11 was not
new. To some it was not on that day that "everything changed." To some,
everything changed four hundred years ago, when that first ship landed at
what would become Jamestown. To some, everything changed when their
ancestors were forced into the hulls of slave ships at Goree Island and
brought to a strange land as chattel. To some, everything changed when
they were run out of Northern Mexico, only to watch it become the
Southwest United States, thanks to a war of annihilation initiated by the
U.S. government. To some, being on the receiving end of terrorism has been
a way of life. Until recently it was absolutely normal in fact.

But white folks have a hard time hearing these simple truths. We find
it almost impossible to listen to an alternative version of reality.
Indeed, what seems to bother white people more than anything, whether in
the recent episode, or at any other time, is being confronted with the
recognition that black people do not, by and large, see the world like
we do; that black people, by and large, do not view America as white
people view it. We are, in fact, shocked that this should be so, having
come to believe, apparently, that the falsehoods to which we cling like a
kidney patient clings to a dialysis machine, are equally shared by our
darker-skinned compatriots.

This is what James Baldwin was talking about in his classic 1972 work,
No Name in the Street, wherein he noted:

"White children, in the main, and whether they are rich or poor, grow
up with a grasp of reality so feeble that they can very accurately be
described as deluded--about themselves and the world they live in. White
people have managed to get through their entire lifetimes in this
euphoric state, but black people have not been so lucky: a black man who
sees the world the way John Wayne, for example, sees it would not be an
eccentric patriot, but a raving maniac."

And so we were shocked in 1987, when Supreme Court Justice Thurgood
Marshall declined to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution,
because, as he noted, most of that history had been one of overt racism and
injustice, and to his way of thinking, the only history worth
celebrating had been that of the past three or four decades.

We were shocked to learn that black people actually believed that a
white cop who was a documented racist might frame a black man; and we're
shocked to learn that lots of black folks still perceive the U.S. as a
racist nation--we're literally stunned that people who say they
experience discrimination regularly (and who have the social science research
to back them up) actually think that those experiences and that data
might actually say something about the nation in which they reside.
Imagine.

Whites are easily shocked by what we see and hear from Pastor Wright
and Trinity Church, because what we see and hear so thoroughly challenges
our understanding of who we are as a nation. But black people have
never, for the most part, believed in the imagery of the "shining city on
a hill," for they have never had the option of looking at their nation
and ignoring the mountain-sized warts still dotting its face when it
comes to race. Black people do not, in the main, get misty eyed at the
sight of the flag the way white people do--and this is true even for
millions of black veterans--for they understand that the nation for whom
that flag waves is still not fully committed to their own equality. They
have a harder time singing those tunes that white people seem so eager
to belt out, like "God Bless America," for they know that whites sang
those words loudly and proudly even as they were enforcing Jim Crow
segregation, rioting against blacks who dared move into previously white
neighborhoods, throwing rocks at Dr. King and then cheering, as so many
did, when they heard the news that he had been assassinated.

Whites refuse to remember (or perhaps have never learned) that which
black folks cannot afford to forget. I've seen white people stunned to
the point of paralysis when they learn the truth about lynchings in this
country--when they discover that such events were not just a couple of
good old boys with a truck and a rope hauling some black guy out to the
tree, hanging him, and letting him swing there. They were never told
the truth: that lynchings were often community events, advertised in
papers as "Negro Barbecues," involving hundreds or even thousands of
whites, who would join in the fun, eat chicken salad and drink sweet tea,
all while the black victims of their depravity were being hung, then
shot, then burned, and then having their body parts cut off, to be handed
out to onlookers. They are stunned to learn that postcards of the events
were traded as souvenirs, and that very few whites, including members
of their own families did or said anything to stop it.

Rather than knowing about and confronting the ugliness of our past,
whites take steps to excise the less flattering aspects of our history so
that we need not be bothered with them. So, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for
example, site of an orgy of violence against the black community in 1921,
city officials literally went into the town library and removed all
reference to the mass killings in the Greenwood district from the papers
with a razor blade--an excising of truth and an assault on memory that
would remain unchanged for over seventy years.

Most white people desire, or perhaps even require the propagation of
lies when it comes to our history. Surely we prefer the lies to anything
resembling, even remotely, the truth. Our version of history, of our
national past, simply cannot allow for the intrusion of fact into a
worldview so thoroughly identified with fiction. But that white version of
America is not only extraordinarily incomplete, in that it so favors the
white experience to the exclusion of others; it is more than that; it
is actually a slap in the face to people of color, a re-injury, a
reminder that they are essentially irrelevant, their concerns trivial, their
lives unworthy of being taken seriously. In that sense, and what few
if any white Americans appear capable of grasping at present, is that
"Leave it Beaver" and "Father Knows Best," portray an America so divorced
from the reality of the times in which they were produced, as to raise
serious questions about the sanity of those who found them so moving,
so accurate, so real. These iconographic representations of life in the
U.S. are worse than selective, worse than false, they are assaults to
the humanity and memory of black people, who were being savagely
oppressed even as June Cleaver did housework in heels and laughed about the
hilarious hijinks of Beaver and Larry Mondello.

These portraits of America are certifiable evidence of how disconnected
white folks were--and to the extent we still love them and view them
as representations of the "good old days" to which we wish we could
return, still are--from those men and women of color with whom we have long
shared a nation. Just two months before "Leave it to Beaver" debuted,
proposed civil rights legislation was killed thanks to Strom Thurmond's
24-hour filibuster speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate. One month
prior, Arkansas Governor Orville Faubus called out the National Guard to
block black students from entering Little Rock Central High; and nine
days before America was introduced to the Cleavers, and the comforting
image of national life they represented, those black students were
finally allowed to enter, amid the screams of enraged, unhinged, viciously
bigoted white people, who saw nothing wrong with calling children
niggers in front of cameras. That was America of the 1950s: not the
sanitized version into which so many escape thanks to the miracle of
syndication, which merely allows white people to relive a lie, year after year
after year.

No, it is not the pastor who distorts history; Nick at Nite and your
teenager's textbooks do that. It is not he who casts aspersions upon
"this great country" as Barack Obama put it in his public denunciations of
him; it is the historic leadership of the nation that has cast
aspersions upon it; it is they who have cheapened it, who have made gaudy and
vile the promise of American democracy by defiling it with lies. They
engage in a patriotism that is pathological in its implications, that
asks of those who adhere to it not merely a love of country but the
turning of one's nation into an idol to be worshipped, it not literally, then
at least in terms of consequence.

It is they--the flag-lapel-pin wearing leaders of this land--who bring
shame to the country with their nonsensical suggestions that we are
always noble in warfare, always well-intended, and although we
occasionally make mistakes, we are never the ones to blame for anything. Nothing
that happens to us has anything to do with us at all. It is always about
them. They are evil, crazy, fanatical, hate our freedoms, and are
jealous of our prosperity. When individuals prattle on in this manner we
diagnose them as narcissistic, as deluded. When nations do it--when our
nation does--we celebrate it as though it were the very model of
rational and informed citizenship.

So what can we say about a nation that values lies more than it loves
truth? A place where adherence to sincerely believed and internalized
fictions allows one to rise to the highest offices in the land, and to
earn the respect of millions, while a willingness to challenge those
fictions and offer a more accurate counter-narrative earns one nothing but
contempt, derision, indeed outright hatred? What we can say is that
such a place is signing its own death warrant. What we can say is that
such a place is missing the only and last opportunity it may ever have to
make things right, to live up to its professed ideals. What we can say
is that such a place can never move forward, because we have yet to
fully address and come to terms with that which lay behind.

What can we say about a nation where white preachers can lie every week
from their pulpits without so much as having to worry that their lies
might be noticed by the shiny white faces in their pews, while black
preachers who tell one after another essential truth are demonized, not
only for the stridency of their tone--which needless to say scares white
folks, who have long preferred a style of praise and worship
resembling nothing so much as a coma--but for merely calling bullshit on those
whose lies are swallowed whole?

And oh yes, I said it: white preachers lie. In fact, they lie with a
skill, fluidity, and precision unparalleled in the history of either
preaching or lying, both of which histories stretch back a ways and have
often overlapped. They lie every Sunday, as they talk about a Savior they
have chosen to represent dishonestly as a white man, in every picture
to be found of him in their tabernacles, every children's story book in
their Sunday Schools, every Christmas card they'll send to relatives
and friends this December. But to lie about Jesus, about the one they
consider God--to bear false witness as to who this man was and what he
looked like--is no cause for concern.

Nor is it a problem for these preachers to teach and preach that those
who don't believe as they believe are going to hell. Despite the fact
that such a belief casts aspersions upon God that are so profound as to
defy belief--after all, they imply that God is so fundamentally evil
that he would burn non-believers in a lake of eternal fire--many of the
white folks who now condemn Jeremiah Wright welcome that theology of
hate. Indeed, back when President Bush was the Governor of Texas, he
endorsed this kind of thinking, responding to a question about whether Jews
were going to go to hell, by saying that unless one accepted Jesus as
one's personal savior, the Bible made it pretty clear that indeed, hell
was where you'd be heading.

So you can curse God in this way--and to imply such hate on God's part
is surely to curse him--and in effect, curse those who aren't
Christians, and no one says anything. That isn't considered bigoted. That isn't
considered beyond the pale of polite society. One is not disqualified
from becoming President in the minds of millions because they go to a
church that says that shit every single week, or because they believe it
themselves. And millions do believe it, and see nothing wrong with it
whatsoever.

So white folks are mad at Jeremiah Wright because he challenges their
views about their country. Meanwhile, those same white folks, and their
ministers and priests, every week put forth a false image of the God
Jeremiah Wright serves, and yet it is whites who feel we have the right
to be offended.

Pardon me, but something is wrong here, and whatever it is, is not to
be found at Trinity United Church of Christ.


Interesting huh? Yeah I thought it would be. Well now for the next installment of the my story. Hope it's entertaining you.
__________________________________________________________

The Soucouyant's Kiss Part 2

“So here is the question on the moment. How on earth are we going to vanquish her?” Karfa asked his grandmother as she wiped the corners of her mouth daintily. Before both of them were a pile of chicken bones, all that was left of the lunch they shared. Meme had been right after all, dealing with such things was a draining business and Karfa had to accede that he hadn’t eaten anything all day and knew he needed the strength if not more than she did.

“You know how to stop her already.” Meme responded quickly taking a sip of strawberry soda.

“Yes I know we rub her skin with coarse salt. I get it but I doubt that she will let us get that close. She knows we know what she is.” Karfa sighed. “I have feeling she will be taking more proactive measures against us now. I’m not sure it was a good idea to play with her as you did Meme.”

Meme gave Karfa a look.

“Of course it was a good idea. You were too scared to do anything but shiver in your own skin. Now we have Mam Jablesse on notice. She is going to have to take care because she knows that she’s being watched. She will move against now using more than just her brute strength.” Meme explained.

“You mean she will use obeah.” Karfa deduced.

“Exactdument.”

“Meme you have the ability to counteract that stuff? I mean do you really?”

“You doubt me?”

“No Meme.” Karfa sighed. “I don’t vraiment Meme. However I am not sure that I want to be fighting a demonic blood sucking sorceress without the proper protections and or counter measures. Especially if she is so adept at locating her favorite meals as you’ve so subtly hinted at Meme.”

Meme finished her soda with a nice juicy slurp in response. Karfa frowned but said nothing watching her for some reaction.

“You will have to do the killing stroke.” She said now with finality.

“But you said-”

“I said I would help you. Said I would prepare you amour but will have to do the killing stroke. What is you so scared of? This is not the first time you’ve ever dealt with such things.” Meme confessed now. Karfa gave her a look of pure incredulity.

“What are you talking about?” he asked.

“Don’t you remember when you were pitit? Your little friend? Jeannot?” she prodded. “Jeannot Michaud? He and you were inseparable, don’t you remember?”

Karfa looked at her hard and attempted to get past that block that you make in your mind when you reach adulthood. We all have it and so you know what I speak of. It’s that block you put in your head that keeps the realm of childhood and adulthood separated in a neat pile of what was and what is. For many of us it keeps such things from getting too complicated. For Karfa at this moment it seemed a stumbling block. Then Meme said:

“Enfant don’ you remember? Les Lavandieres pitit you saw them that night.” And at that moment Karfa was caught up in a past memory from a place in time that’d buried until now.

__________________________________________________________________

Jeannot and I used to run through empty fields and climb trees and get up so high that we gave old the old Creole Grandmeres heart attacks for fear we’d fall and crack our bones in 10 places. We had a place down by the creek that we would visit from time to time usually with one of our parents or relatives to accompany us.

Of course then we had no idea of what the adults Black or White, Creole, Cajun, or American would whisper of that river. We didn’t know how to deduce those facts being that we never saw anyone swim in it on the hottest days of a Louisianne Ete because too many drowned in its clear, swift moving currents. Didn’t care to take notice that people would fish else where because boats there would capsize without reason, or that some folk said the fish did not look like fish of this world. And being children we never figured out at least not to our liking why whenever a cousin, parent, uncle, or aunt was with us near that creek they would be ready to usher us away with the quickness once the sun dipped low.

It was after one such instance that Jeannot and I little 4yr old brown slips of boys we were, managed to eavesdrop on Jeannot’s maman, Juliette Michaud and her best friend the notorious village gossip Madame Veronique LaHaye. The 2 stately ladies sat in the salon sipping iced cafes and chattering on about all the happenings in the village. Actually it was Madame LaHaye that did all the chattering, Madame Michaud just said,

“Ahh ouais. Hmmm-mmmm….”

Jeannot and I loved these times for hidden round the corner playing with our cars ( we loved those hot wheels and matchboxes) or action figures (star wars then) we could hear the forbidden games that adults played. We learned much before we knew what an affair was that Monsieur Saucier was having one with Mamzelle Duval. We heard about young Annette Butrois pregnancy and how Marcel St. Orange was a masscici. So it was in this same way that we heard about the death of young Paul Duchamp.

“So what happened to the pauvre bebe? Was he kidnapped? Was it the Bekes?” Juliette had asked, her full pink lips pursing in a frown that brought out her freckles. She ran her fingers through her coppery red hair and lifted her coffee to her lips. Veronique shook her head mournfully and fixed her own cup of coffee a contrast to her friend with her dark satin black velvet skin and hair which she wore in a small afro.

“They don’t think it was the White Folkz neither American nor Cajun.” Veronique mused. “Though I wouldn’t put it past them. Remember Romanard Thibadeaux? They lynched him down by the creek for daring to look in the direction of that scraggly White girl Alice Montblanc. His mother screamed something awful when they pulled him out of that creek.”

“Ouais and then pauvre Papan Thibadeaux became the biggest drunk in town. Triste. Triste, triste.” Juliette mused. “But this one was not a lynching?”

“No honey they aint lynched anyone here since we were teenagers girl. Romanard was the last one. It’s just that creek. Always been a bad place. Un mal endroit.” Veronique reminded her.

“I know girl. The babies play near there all the time.”

“Juliette you let them play there?”

“In the daylight. I take ‘em there sometimes. The boys. I don’ let them get in the water. Merde fille, I won’t get in that water.” Juliette confessed.

“Beggin’ yo’ pardon douxdoux but I wouldn’t let no child of mine ever go near that creek. It aint safe.”

Jeannot and Karfa continued listening silent as church mice as an interchange silent and perhaps fraught with tension passed between the 2 women. Juliette liked Veronique but found her too presumptuous at times and it seems that this was one of these times.

“You tellin’ me how to raise my fils mon amie?” Juliette asked finally.

“Non, non jamais ca ma fille. I’m just sayin’ I wouldn’t do it.” Veronique conceded.

“Fille don’ be questionin’ my fitness as a mother. Imma bonne mere.” Juliette told her smartly.

“No one said you wasn’t!” Veronique snapped back. Silence. Then a sigh. Jeannot and Karfa giggled silently. They didn’t like the know it all blabber mouth Veronique.

“Sorry fille.” Veronique

“Oh honey I should say sorry. I get a little tu connais?”

“We copasetic. So should I continue?”

“Ouais douxdoux how’d it happen?” Juliette queried.

“Well you know Paul weren’t no real bebe. He was 15. Old enough to be out and to know better.”

“Fille he was a baby. Whole life ahead of him. Madame Duchamp must be devastated…” Juliette mused. Veronique nodded in affirmation.

“She is a wreck. Kept screaming when they pulled him out I told him, I told him not to go wandering near the creek at night. Apparently they had a spat.” Veronique divulged.

“Oh?”

“Ouais well you know young people. He wanted to go to some party, she didn’t want him to go, you know Mam Duchamp. The holiest woman in all the parish. Thinks that if she sits up close to the Kope, that’ll get her first in line into heaven. So of course he wants to go and drink or smoke grass or whatever they do. Well he went off in huff and walked on down by the creek.”

“At night fille?”

“Ouais a li nuit!”

“Why on earth would he do that?”

“You know young folkz they don’t heed no one and don’t believe nuthin’.

“He grew up here same as we all did, he aint heed the stories?” Juliette asked incredulously.

“Chile he aint cared obviously and he ran into Les Lavandieres.”

“Non!”

“Had to have. Vieux Homme Virgil said he heard them laughing sometime round 11:30 last night. Said they was cackling like witches.” Veronique confirmed.

“What the sheriff say?”

“What the sheriff care? He says the boy drowned. Aint no real signs of foul play and we all know the history of the creek. I heard too that the garcon was soaking wet when they found him. I mean they found him lodged against a branch in the water. But tell me this?”

“What fille?”

“How someone drown and have a broke neck?”

________________________________________________________________

“Who are they?” Jeannot asked me his freckled yellow face brightening with excitement.

“Who is who?” I asked him.

“Les Lavienderes stupide ca ki!” he exclaimed.

“Ohhh Jeannot Imma tell yo’ maman you calls me stupide. Tu tete de merde!” I said hurt that my best friend would say such a thing. I was sensitive. “I aint stupide!”

“So Imma tell that you said a swears word to me and then you gonna get a whoopin’ from yo’ Papan like you did last time you sweared!” Jeannot threatened. Which was true. Papan caught me swearing at my little brother Charles and had torn my butt up with his belt. I didn’t want that again and I started to cry. Jeannot and I were children and while children can be cruel they are not usually malicious. A bit surprised Jeannot gave me a hug and said: “Okay don’ cry Karfa. I’m sorry I won’t tell on you if you do something for me?”

I stopped my crying at that promise which dangled before me like on of Meme’s rosary beads in service. I didn’t get many whoopings as child, not the least of which had to do with them being painful. I hated seeing the anger and then disappointment in the faces of my parents even then and I hated the humiliation because it is true… White children will embarrass their parents but Black parents will embarrass their children.

“What I gotta do?” I asked intrigue. “You not trying to trick me is you?” I asked.

“No tricks.” Jeannot promised.

“Tu me promis?” I asked. (Jeannot was a notorious little trickster. Meme nicknamed him Lapin.)

“Mo te promis!” He responded affirmatively.

“Okay what I gotta do?” I asked in acceptance.

“Ask your Meme if we can spend the night at her house cause then my Maman will say yes.” Jeannot instructed. I shrugged my shoulders. It was not an unreasonable request. However the little fire in Jeannot’s eyes I knew already at that age was trouble. I had my doubts.

“Okay…” I said.

“Then when we are at your Meme’s house we can go to our secret place and see Les Lavandieres.” He conspired. He began to laugh. “It will be an adventure like Thundarr the Barbarian. I will be Thundarr and you will be… Uhmm… You can be Ariel.”

“That’s the girl!” I exclaimed.

“Yeah but she has the magic and we need magic.” He reasoned.

“Okay,” I agreed. “We won’t get in trouble?” I asked now concerned.

“Non you crybaby.”

“ I aint no crybaby!”

“Uh-huh.”

“No-uh!”

“Okay you not. So we will go?”

“You have a sun sword?” I asked him. Thundarr always had his sun sword. Jeannot nodded eagerly and I thought this might be fun. We were children, small children we did not understand half the things Veronique and Juliette discussed. I wish for our sakes we had been a little older, a little more familiar with loss, and I wish with all my might the adults had talked about the things that scared them with us. It might’ve stopped us from what we were about to do that night. But in those days of lingering overt racism in small Louisiana Town racism was the only to be afraid of and even that was a changing bogey. Few people remembered the things that hunted the night and bumped in the dark shadows. Or at least they wouldn’t speak of it out loud.

______________________________________________________

Meme, Juliette, and my Papan all fell for it. We went and stayed at Meme’s house. Meme back then had a house not too far from the creek. We would visit her on summer days, play in the bushes surrounding the house, sip sweet tea, and feast on beignets pommes. She would take a near the creek as well to play but never by ourselves and never after dark. We were never to go near the creek after dark. All the adults infact said so. When would ask why we got no answers other than:

“Because I said so!” That was that. But not that night.

Jeannot sneaky, bold little man waited until Meme fell asleep watching Dallas and then grabbed me by the hand. Both of us in with blankets for capes and pots for helmets raced through the woods to the creek. It was dark and we could hardly see, but Jeannot had brought a flash light. I should’ve been afraid but I wasn’t. Jeannot was with me. We ran along the bank with the flashlight making funny sounds not really afraid and looking around for these whispered les Lavandieres that the entire town was talking about. Suddenly abruptly I stopped and Jeannot bumped right into me.

The night was clear and brightened by an orange moon. The air was heavy with the scent of magnolias and the clarity of the water. We were almost never afraid but I knew the emotion as sure as I knew the light of day. For by the light of the moon in the distance ahead were three old, wrinkled, hunched, White Women. They wore raggedy, soiled clothes from a time we did not recognize. Puffed sleeves, old fashioned style bonnets atop their withered faced heads, and long plaid skirts. Between them they seemed to be washing sheets covered in blood. Jeannot and I knew what blood looked liked. For us it was what you saw when you fell out of the tree and skinned up your arms and knees. Together the 3 women sang an eerie tune in a dialect of French unlike any we had ever heard before.

“Cannard Noz is we, washing here nightly by the creek,

Come lass and lad, come one to the three and learn perhaps what death has,

In store for thee.

Children of the night gather round us now,

Hold us father of night in an embrace strong and cruel,

For to see us is to know the doom of your mortality,

To know us

Is to know death, and if you give us half a chance you can come dear lad or lass

To join us in our dance but if you should misstep than your’s delight shall be to

Father Death next….”

Then they gave a cackle which froze my blood. I remember I wet myself and I started to cry softly because I knew I would get in trouble for wetting myself.

“Mo vle alle! I want to go!” I urged Jeannot. “It’s them Les Lavandieres.” I knew then what they were. They were demons from old France loosed where the French had dared to step and set up residence. Les Lavandieres come from the province of Brittany, they are demonic old women who wash anywhere water sits or flows in the wilds of that place. They are a death portent. Their appearance means someone will die in the locale. To see one is to court doom for if they see you and flicks blood at you, than you shall die in a month. However sometimes they may invite you to wash with them and you are compelled to come. May God himself help you then. For the Cannard Noz turn and twist the sheets in time to music of ancient Celtic Rites and Sacrifices, of blood heaped upon altars and screaming infants burned alive in giant trees of woven wicker. Of Fey Rings and trickster goblins leading people astray into the wilds. Of the Ankou’s cart wheel groans and the cries of the suffering dying. If you move in the wrong way while wringing and twisting those sheets Les Lavandieres will wrench your arms from your sockets and then pull you into their bloody sheets where you will be killed instantly.

I began to back away further off to the side of the bank into some shrubbery.

“Vinni Karfa.” Jeannot coaxed softly.

“Non!” I cried adamantly but quietly. I was afraid, wet, and miserable. Jeannot threw up his arms.

“You scared and I aint.” Jeannot decided. I watched him then as he crept nearer to them to get a closer look. My heart stopped in my mouth when I heard the snap of a twig beneath his weight. The first of the Lavandieres head snapped up and her eyes glittered like an oil slick in the light, revealing eyes burning with all the malevolence of hell. She gave him a smile revealing jagged sharpened teeth that to this day I scarce could give you description.

“See who comes here sisters.” She hissed in a voice that sounded hollow and reedy. “A little nigger boy comes to see the washing.” She commented. Her sisters looked up eagerly one of them drooling. Jeannot stopped now and I heard him breathing hard. For though he was brave he was still a little child and he looked back to where I hid nervously. I could tell then that he wanted to run and he would have. But that moment of recognition from the Cannard Noz, they had him rooted to the spot. The first among them beckoned.

“Leave me alone.” Jeannot whispered now in Creole.

“Non garcon you come to us.” She commanded. On jerking legs like some marionette Jeannot stumbled towards them howling all the way. Ignoring his cries they took up their song again and one of them as he moved into position with them put a bloody sheet in his hands.

“I want Maman!” he cried. He begged, he shrieked, he kicked, but he could not move from that spot.

“You ever helped your mother nigger boy? Ever helped with her washing?” the first among them demanded eagerly. Jeannot’s little face was mask of tears.

“Non.” He whispered.

“You will wish you had.” She laughed. They began singing now harsher, faster, wilder, and it’s evil spread over the creek with a potency that hushed every living thing. I crouched down into the fetal position, closed my eyes, and covered my ears. That did not block out his screams. Those insistent, pleading screams of a child afraid and in pain that haunted me in my dreams in half remembered snatches of capachony of agony filled me went thru me and I almost went to them and offered up myself to them too for the fellness of their power was in the suffering of Jeannot’s screams.

I woke up that morning to the sound of my name being called and I remember weakly calling out for someone. Papan and Meme found me along with a lot of other people. Juliette was there screaming, screaming like Jeannot screamed.

“Karfa what happened to my baby? What happened to my boy?” she demanded her face a mask of hysteria. Papan held me in his arms and whispered words to me that he would never whisper again, and I almost felt safe.

“Les Lavandieres.” I croaked. “Cannard Noz.”

Papan’s eyes went wide but he said nothing.

“Hush now. Fais do-do.” He whispered. I never got whipping, Meme never scolded me and no one ever spoke of the incident again until this day. I mean we moved away a year later. But I never would go near their creek again and sometimes at night I heard them singing that fell, evil song.

I don’t remember anything else about that day. I can’t believe I remember it now and I am loathing imagining it but I witnessed it. I witnessed those demon women killing my best friend at the age of 4.

Karfa stricken looked into Meme’s face his eyes flooding with tears.

“Yes I remember. I remember them.”

___________________________________________________

Well that's all for today. Everyone have a great day and remember. To err is human but to forgive is divine so spread that love and forgiveness around okay? Be blessed all of you.

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Salut Mes Zamis Sak Passe!

Wassup Folkz this is me Kyon Saucier also known as Mr Kyon on A4A or Creole Elf on BGC.... Aww come on now like none of y'all are ever on those sites, yeah you are 'cause I've seen you... LOL!

Enter my world for a second... What? Huh? Well yes there are Black People in the NW and yes we have a vibrant culture up here. I mean naw Seattle aint Atlanta or NYC or DC or Chicago or any other city with a huge Black Population, but it's my home and there are few places as beautiful... Not too mention in all of the NW Seattle and Tacoma have the highest Black Population. So come on enter the world of Kyon....Yon Yon Yon.... Sigh. I was trying to make an echo sound. Now look I I know I got some typos and things so be patient with me folkz.... Cause I get excited when I write... Okay there is no excuse 'cept that it's my page I do what I want! *smile*


C'EST MOI! IT'S ME!

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Bishop

Bishop
Yeah when I was younger I could've been considered a geek. Always my eyes fixed upon a world none could see. Always seeking to escape from the mundane things of this life.

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