Isaac is a Trainee Solicitor at a national law firm and his family hail from the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica.
He is interested in the intersection of being Black and Queer as well as exploring and repairing detachment from Kwéyòl (a language spoken in some Caribbean islands with previous French colonial contact) heritage, culture and language. This culminated in the founding of Fondasyon Éwitaj Kwéyòl, also known as FONDEK, an organisation created to celebrate, promote and preserve Kwéyòl.
Lonblaj-mwen – mother, brother, sister,
I chase you but you run –wilder, slicker, faster
Your words dance off my tongue and I seem lovestruck,
No assistance I receive, for I’ll just get you with some luck.
I hear you in the darkness, somewhere deep beyond the void,
I clock a digraph and diphthong, but I hear very little noise.
Why are you so secret, why do you hide from me?
As children we would play, mixing up mattat and munoc, you see.
The elders pretend they don’t know why we’re not friends,
But we spoke the queen’s English, we nuh want you in these ends,
For gwanpapa-mwen, your obstruction meant survival,
For us, we dunno, you’re like old school vinyl.
You’re eternally stuck between a rock and a hard place,
You pop in at family reunions where no one recognises your face.
Half of me is lost but half of me is found,
I try to swim your waters but I’m truly scared I’ll drown.
They say I’m not a real Dominican because I’m detached from you,
But I say I can speak it, and then they ask for proof.
Initiative employed, I took first steps,
Working through those pages until there’s nothing left.
As for your survival you failed the one before you,
But for our survival to thy culture, I must be true.
So you see this kweyol-la, kweyol-mwen,
What was that auntie “ki sa ou té ka di mwen?”
They say the truth shall set all men free,
But what truth is this, with what conditions is it laid at my feet?
For I battle with the world to bathe in the flames of eternal fire,
This subaltern speaks truth to power, only to be branded a delinquent and a liar,
See, I followed the model set before me and only pain did I find,
I forced this body into that box and found no peace of mind,
This body is corrupted; return it to sender for it is a queer,
No compassion does the young one find, but rather hatred and fear,
I pray to God and seek forgiveness from the witness of my eyes,
Accept absolution, moving through life believing the lie,
I hide from the light to embrace the darkness for it is only then that I can be free,
But when evil comes upon me, not a soul is present to hear me weep.
They say I’m sick and that my soul is in need of a cure,
But the doctor says I’m in good health and my heart is pure.
Yea, protector of the culture, I see you’re not my brother’s keeper,
For we are “sinners needing the Lord’s forgiveness”, as spoken to me by a godly preacher,
We are bound to suffer, beating hearts that bleed as one,
We struggle on earth yet our eternal penance has barely begun,
Imprisoned by the melanin, perpetuation implored from above,
Desired by the devilish, with fetish disguised as love,
It is a lonely existence for a human being to live,
But in a world which hates this black skin, what more can I truly give?
They say I should seek the counsel of our great ancestors past,
But beware of eyes, ears and talismans for their words do not last.
I must be my authentic self for there are plenty out there who need it,
Objectively this word’ll be spoken yet subjectively you shall perceive it.
Yet queer, trans and woman shall fight for the ones who are centred,
We spill our blood yet and receive no thanks when we die defenceless,
See, the revolution will be televised,
And it will be glorious when we mobilise,
For this body belongs to a family with its best interests at heart,
A link to remain forevermore, not even death can do us part,
And while mine eyes have been opened fully through this life of sin,
The most important truth is that I have learned to love what lies … within.
Lapli ka tonbé,
Ancestral rhythms in full flow,
Pride of the islands kept alive,
a thunderous sky greets joy,
Tjenbé balan-a and wuk up slow,
With each rotation, freedom hits skin,
Safety found in each beat,
Modernity following tradition,
Yo di mwen “soca does give yuh powers”,
and to that I say, “wi, misyé, sé vwé”,
A confident people fill up di jam,
Gathering strength with each passing street,
Speaker blarin’ “woulé, woulé, woulééééé!”
Necks and backs beaded with sweat,
Rags waving hard, warding off badmind vibes,
Lèspwi free to roam, lèstomak rising,
Garifuna meets Arawak and Carib,
Neo-colonial woven between the West African,
Patches of grey awash with the sea of vibrant colours,
Sé lilyon ki ka ba nou lafòs,
Liberation birthed through Black pain and tragedy,
Old realities fashioned into the new,
But history will repeat itself once more,
Lajwa turns to lapenn, bèlté to landji,
Blue and green eyes narrow upon Blackness,
Batons taken to thighs, di jam disrupted,
Our sanctuary invaded, the crowds disperse,
We run into lanfè, yon lanmè mal,
Feathers shed in the blaze,
Bullets decorate the skies,
The oppressed pained again,
Gwo lannwit, prayers for the departed,
Mothers and widows call out to an earless deity,
This is life for us, extinguishable on command,
Punished for existence, but our labour is required,
We awake to assimilate for a new day,
we plug into soca on our to capitalistic hell,
With a stark reminder of what once was…
Let tabanca Tuesday begin.