Sunday, September 25, 2011

BILINGUAL POST: The Vodou Gods’ Joy* (fragments)

Between the age of three to six I lived right within the walls of a vodou perestil. The houngan of the perestil was my uncle, Kamelo, who took the helm from his mother, the powerful mambo of the oumfò, who was my mother’s paternal aunt. (…) This was a real enchanted world, with its mixture of magic, transcendance and mundane reality. It was also pure theater from the standpoint of the young child that I was. (…) My family left me on my own to comprehend the complexities of the vodou world, its rituals, its modalities, its finality and meaning.

The poem The Vodou Gods’ Joy/Rejwisans Lwa Vodou Yo, is part of my reminiscences from that period, part inventions, part reproduced dreams…Here are some fragments:

I. Reminiscences and Vision

Erzulie the coquette, charming soul,
shining beauty with a terrible spell
is the goddess of love, smiling power.
Dragon saint of all sexual prowess
defender of women’s mysterious glory
guardian and mother of the land
she covets tenderness, celestial fulfillment
in a life of tears and betrayed desires.
She is my mother and lover and wonder
the sun from the darkened horizon
the light through the tunnel of pain
she is Erzulie my sweet compañera
the transcendental link between horror
and Bad-life perturbed in non-sense;
—Erzulie the coquette, charming soul
has filtered the air with powerful magic.
Ogoun-Feray the cosmic warrior
thrives on conflicts that disturb his rest
—like a Nero with destructive follies
he sets afire the village to only play the fool
or just to convey the message of valor,
power of the loas to recoup and regroup
the last lost song from the lost spirits.
Meanwhile Gede-Nibo would join
with all his perverted and noble majesty
along with Legba, Agasou and Shango
to explode vibration—storm open
the inner mystery of the compact universe,
reveal the orgasmic Nirvàna of Agasou’s aims
or just dance and dance and sing and laugh
to celebrate the spirit of life in bare mortality.
Ti-Jean Dantò conquered Long Island
from my sister’s animated basement
in a suburb numbed in self-serving distress;
he manifested himself insolent as always
by defying the law of human gravity
—just like any drunkard loa happy in ectasy.
He made my sister drink rum through her ears
until she became a born-again Christian
who rebelled and demanded a sanctified exit
to rejoin the safe gods servitors of Jesus
—she wanted just a simple peace of mind.
On any rainy day on the Caribbean shore
or near River Sous-Pyant of repulsive smell
Simbi planted a flag and solicited people
to come along and live a life of adventure
free soul and free will of maroons in search
of authenticity in a world full of joy—
they would never be seen again on Earth.
In their supreme madness the gods of Yoruba
had called on Providence and gave her
a last chance for a redeemed kingdom.
the death celebrations while dreadful in style
were not always dark and somber and sad
even in the midst of half-alive beings
agonizing in dead-end purgatory—
all was not lost in mortal and total emptiness.
Uncle Kamelo’s death was a resurrection
accomplished in weeks of secret masses
to re-link his soul with his gwobonnanj.
Ason in left hand and lasso in right hand
the houngan exhorted the hounsi to action
all were invited to play the huge drum
placed on the top of my uncle’s bare chest
Tom!Tom! Uncle remained alive among us
long after the decrepitude of his death.
During the season of yam and the bright sun
Kouzen mounted his hounsi around the vèvè,
amidst casseroles of yam, dried fish and incense
—he brought nourishment to a village united
in the grace of living the splendor of the land.
After decades of being dead in absence
Zombi was resurrected in total forgetfulness,
the salt was diluted in reality’s nightmare.
My country is a vast land of hope and despair
immersed in the infinity of survival instincts;
I refuse to adore the gods of the West
who claim humanity for their own deliverance.
My country is the land of Cedye and Maryam,
land of the cries and pain and joy of a people
trapped in a pursuit with mystic remembrance.
Baka was the clown of the shrine
unpredictable sorcerer with a vengeance
and with a disarmingly cute baby smile
he made his victims pass a terrible time
in tragicomic plays of amazing fear
just to give to himself a good laugh.
On a full-moon night all over the firmament
within the no man’s land of social misery
Erzulie-Red-Eyes was dreaming in silence
her eyes fixated on the goal of freedom.
Our loas rejoiced and let go all the pain
from the last frontier of cursed hope
Ayiti had become their temple of refuge
as they vowed their wonga would heal all
the millenia of dead souls and lost beings
—vast horizon renewed of vital energy!
And Zaka re-emerged innocent and happy
from the maldyòk of the new plantations
Devil’s deeds assembled all over his Ginen
and the peasants came en masse to witness
the marriage of Petro and Rada and Samba
in a constellation of light and beauty all over
the cosmic Pantheon of the Yoruba gods
joining hands with their long exiled kin.
Those were the soul and nanm and joy
of a land of torment craving liberation.

II. Trance of the Sun

The trance ascension was created
in anvalou rhythm and a bash of deodorant,
voice, sweat and the howl of the loas
moved by the pulsing tom-tom of Asòtò.
Ayibobo! Ayibobo! Shan Ago! Shan Ago!
Hail to the Spirits! Peace to the land!
yelled back the hounsi with white robes
and white veils—gaze vested in infinitude.
Then in a brisk move with exalted élan
absolute incarnation of immateriality,
in a cadence and mixture of water from tears
water from blood and flood and hangover vomit
and rum aroma sprayed through the mouth,
her saliva sending fire all around the poto-mitan
Mistrès the Mambo in holy majesty
executed point by point the service.
Sister Altagras was already made the horse
when she spiraled around and jumped legs spaced
all along the vèvè with gesticulating fervor.
She grabbed the jar of the hot chili pikliz
and mixed it with the rum and cried: Ayibobo!
and massaged the potion on her vaginal arteries
and they became red—red skin and red cloth,
red pepper and red blood, Ayibobo! Ayibobo!
the loa had come in vital amazement.
The magic had materialized and become
an unexpected recurrence of poetry everyday;
people laughed and danced and rejoiced
the candor of the divine moment—
the loas had come and gone for good
toward the immensity of life’s finality
calling for their ancestors’ redemption.
Lenglensou! Oh he came with nothing
“Do not on my spirits call for redemption
if your soul is not impure of human sins;
do not blaspheme Sister Rada’s elation
by humanizing her loas in pretty pettiness.”
Within the impossibility of peoples’ dreams
and drama and trauma of all deceased souls,
I reunited a single moment of revelation
with a walk all through the mountain’s soil.
And I ran playfully along the sea-side curb
just for the pleasure and leisure of Dantò
—the Yoruba gods are full of joy.

Glossary of Vodou Words and Expressions

• Agasou: From the African prince, Agasu, supposed ancestor of all Dahomeans; loa or spirit with no definite attribute; has a reputa-tion for meanness.
• Agoe or Agwe: Loa or spirit (or “mystery”) of the sea, travel, ex-ile.
• Aidawèdo or Aida Wèdo: Loa considered as the wife of Dam-balah; expression used by the believers to show admiration for the grace of this loa; also an invocation to Dambalah to bring grace in the face of life’s calamities.
• Anvalo/Yanvalou: A Vodou rhythm.
• Ason: Ceremonial rattle made from dried calabash or gourd used in most of the rituals.
• Asòtò: The largest of the three drums in a Vodou ceremony; be-lieved to have special power.
• Ayibobo: Hail to the spirit; expression of welcome to the loa.
• Baka: a minor evil spirit of the pantheon; has a reputation for scaring people just to give himself a good time.
• Baron Samdi: Spirit keeper of the cemeteries. He is usually rep-resented by the first person buried in a cemetery; a strong associate of Gede.
• Bòkò: A sorcerer or a devilish houngan.
• Dambalah or Danmbala: Dahomean deity of the sky or the rainbow, usually represented by a snake. Considered as the husband of Aidawèdo.
• Dosou: The sibling who comes right after twin siblings; he/she is believed to have exceptional power that, at critical times, can neu-tralize the overwhelming power of the twins.
• Erzulie or Èzili Dantò: Rada goddess of love, charm, wisdom.
• Èzili-Je-Wouj or Erzulie-Red-Eyes: Petro goddess of defi-ance, love, female genius.
• Gede Nibo: Familiar name of Gede, the Vodou god of the de-ceased, but also of the libido, known for his foul language and sex-ual openness.
• Gwobonnanj: The corporal, material part of a person in opposi-tion to his/her immaterial part, the tibonnanj; the zombie is the person who has retained his/her corporal part but who has lost his/her spirit, his/her soul, his/her consciousness.
• Kouzen Zaka or Cousin: Deity or spirit of the peasantry and agricultural fertility. His power is usually invoked to counter a drought or, more often, to celebrate the generosity of Mother Na-ture. Kouzen has a reputation of exhilarating quiet power and wis-dom although of a crude nature.
• Laso or frètkach: Lash made of woven agave or woven leather used in the ritual of certain Vodou ceremonies.
• Lwa or loa: Spirit or “mystery” in the Vodou religion; he/she is considered as the messenger or the intermediate between God and humans. *
• Legba: God who holds the key to the sanctuary of all the other loa; by extension, to all travels, opportunities or existential quests for happiness.
• Lenglensou: Spirit from the Petro rite; has a reputation of being cruel, vengeful, diabolical.
• Loa or Lwa: Vodou god or goddess.
• Maldyòk: Curse of bad luck (evil eye).
• Manbo or Mambo: High Priestess Vodou, with power equal to that of the houngan.
• Marasa: Twin siblings; renowned for having exceptional spiritual power.
• Master Midnight or Mèt Minwi: Dreadful spirit who usually starts his nightly walk at midnight. You’ll be dead or irrevocably cursed if you cross his path. He is sometimes identified with Baron Samdi, although Master Midnight is of a more dreadful nature.
• Nanm or Ti-bonnanj: Creole for soul but with a more complex connotation which means together soul, consciousness, spirit, clair-voyance, awareness and cognitive faculty. Often referred as the “es-sence” of an individual; the zonbi is the one who has lost that es-sence.
• Ogatwa: A small Vodou shrine, usually in the form of a small cabinet the believer keeps at home.
• Ogoun Balagi: Other configuration of Ogoun; he’s sometimes referred as the brother of Ogoun Feray.
• Ogoun Feray: Dahomean god of iron and fire; he’s usually seen with a machete or a sword. He’s also a metaphor for the peasant’s revolutionary spirit.
• Ounfò: Peristil or temple of the Vodou.
• Oungan or Houngan: High priest of Vodou, with power com-parable to that of the manbo.
• Ounsi or Hounsi: Initiated, important practicing member of Vodou in whose body the loa manifests him/herself.
• Papa Doc: Nickname of Haitian dictator François Duvalier; re-lating to his medical profession before becoming president of Haiti (1957–1971).
• Pè Savann: a lay person, half Catholic priest, half hounsi who usually officiates the last rite to the dead at the cemetery during fu-nerals.
• Petro: Vodou rite from northern Congo, designated after a houn-gan named Don Pedro, from the south of Haiti; it is known as the “hot” side of Vodou, associated with fire and healing power capable of defeating adversarial forces.
• Poto-mitan: The center post in a peristil (Vodou temple); it has special significance as the rallying point of the loa.
• Rada: Vodou rite from the Dahomean village Arada, known as the “soft,” “cool” side of Vodou.
• Rivyè Sous Pyant: A Haitian river whose name means “smelling river;” it is famous for its healing power which attracts thousands of Vodouists every year. The nasty smell of the river reinforces its magic power; luck is expected to come after one bathes in the river.
• Samba: A Vodou rhythm, possibly related to the word for poet-musician from the inhabitants of Pre-Colombian Haiti.
• Sèvitè: Believer, adherent practicing the Vodou.
• Shango or Chango: Loa of thunder from the petro rite; re-puted for violence.
• Ti-Jean Dantò /Ti-Jean Petro: loa usually associated with good luck; has a reputation of fairness but also of firmness. Repre-sented (as most of the loa) in both rada and petro rites.
• Vèvè: Ritual graphics or drawings to express welcoming disposi-tion to the loa; there’re usually placed on the floor of the oumfò, preferably around the potomitan.
• Wanga or Ouanga: A fetish or magical mixture made specifi-cally by a bòkò to punish a targeted person or to attract good luck.
• Zombi, Zombie or Zonbi: Person presumably killed by a Vodou spell. The “dead” will be resurrected in a half dead-half alive state of semi-consciousness which makes him/her malleable by the “bòkò” (a Vodou sorcerer) who had induced the “death.” However, if the zonbi tastes salt, he/she will regain normal consciousness and, often, fight back.
* The majority of the loa’s names are masculine, but more often the loa doesn’t show any particular sexual identity. Many of the loa with feminine characteristics such as Èzili and Aidawèdo have a comparable power to loa with masculine characteristics such as Danmbala and Ogoun.
* This poem was first published as a bilingual (English–Haitian) collection in 1997. It was republished in 2011 in my book Poetica Agwe.

Rejwisans lwa vodou yo* (fragman)
Lè m te ant laj twa ak si zan, mwen te viv nan yon perestil vodou. Oungan perestil la te monnonk Kamelo, pitit madan Ogis, manbo mètrès oumfò a, ki li te matant bò papa manman mwen. (…) Lavi nan perestil la te kouwè dewoulman yon rèv nan yon dekò ki melanje maji, ekzaltasyon ak reyalite maldyòk. Fanmi mwen te kite m poukont mwen pou m chache konprann sans fondamantal tout sa ki t’ap pase nan perestil la (siyifikasyon, rezon ki deyè e finalite seremoni yo).
Powèm nan Rejwisans Lwa Vodou yo / The Vodou Gods’ Joy, se souvenans sou peryòd sa a nan vi mwen, souvenans ki melanje kèk kote envansyon atistik ak repwodiksyon rèv mwen…Men kèk fragman ladan yo :

I. Sonjri Vizyon
Cham koketri manmzèl Èzili
mawonnen tout mwèl bonnanj nou ;
bèl fanm deyès k’ap fè lanmou fleri,
li se tou Sent Mari ak Amazòn bèl sen
k’ap selebre mistè pouvwa fanm Ginen.
Li gade e pwoteje lakou a
li ban nou tandrès nan lavi kèmare
li fè n kado lesyèl nan lapenn.
Èzili se fanm mwen
Èzili se nanm mwen
Èzili se manman m
li louvwi e kouvwi solèy pou blayi frechè
sou tout kretyenvivan ki bezwen ladousè.
Èzili se limyè ki kontinye klere anba tè
li se bèl ti cheri an mwen
li melanje lagras ak maji zansèt yo
pou depoudre poud malediksyon,
O Èzili, fanm kokèt cham zespri libere !
wonga ou pirifye oksijèn souf lavi !
Ogoun-Feray se yon sòlda mawon
yo voye pou defann jistis inivèsèl ;
rasin li tranpe nan tout kontmaltaye
ki kreye tansyon sou latè kou lesyèl
pou l blayi dife kouwè Neron nan Ròm.
Ogoun mande pou lwa yo pran pouvwa
e pou yo pa chante chan bliye nanm pèdi.
Papa Gede-Nibo te mèt tout koze nan lakou
ki konn tout sa ki pral oubyen ki ka rive ;
li jwenn avèk Legba, Agasou e Shango
pou louvwi baryè pou mòtèl san lafwa.
Lespri li te terib si w pa ka kontante l
si w pa ba l mayi ak diri ak bweson
l ap fè tonè gwonde nan vant solèy klere ;
si w pa selebre grandyozite glwa li
si w pa satisfè chimè mistè Gede
le san ap vin koule sou latè malakwa.
Ti-Jean te rwa Long Iyland nan Nouyòk
anba besment lakay sè m manbo dirijan ;
Ti-Jean konn fè sè m bwè ronm nan zòrèy
jiskaske li vin di Abraham di sètase !
Manmzèl fè l pwotestan pou sèvi lòt Bondye ;
li pa t fasil pou li pou l te viv nan lakwa,
nan redevans anvè lespri lwa temerè.
Ou pat ka wè Simbi san ou pa disparèt
devan similak sen l louvri pou l tante w ;
bèl mouda l dirije w vè paradi nan dlo
pou fè w viv mèvèyman lanmou etènèl :
Yo pap janm tande pale de ou ankò
paske nanm ou vin delalay nan absans,
Simbi dezoryante w kou yon vivi nan dlo
detounen w kou oun bakoulou yo pran.
Menm seremoni pou akonpaye mò yo
malgre tristès vwal nwa alantou lakwa
malgre tètchaje nan lakou pigatwa
te selebrasyon pou salye cham lavi.
Yo te resisite monnonk Kamelo
anvan menm lanmò te reklame l
lamès nwa te dire sèt semèn
pou rekole gwobonnanj andetrès
avèk tibonnanj li ki te deja nan wout ;
ason nan men goch e laso nan men dwat
ougan an kòmande tout hounsi kanzo yo
pou plase asòto sou lestomak monnonk
pou tout moun vin bat yon rit petro-nibo
Tam ! Tam ! Tam ! monnonk te ret anvi
menm apre dèzane dekrepitid lanmò.
Nan sezon yanm sezon solèy leve
nan anbyans kasròl pwason seche
melanje ak odè lafimen ansans
vèvè alawonn zantray potomitan
Kouzen monte hounsi l kou yon bòzò
e di tout moun gen dwa pou yo manje
dwa pou yo dòmi e reve
dwa yo pou selebre bèlte grandè Ginen.
Jete dlo ! Jete dlo ! lespri yo konvoke
pou ranvwaye movezè ka mèt li—
yon ti van te soufle pou beni gwosès,
beni mèvèyman manmzèl lavi ;
gwosès pou delivrans solèy nan nofraj
pou viktwa sou kochma lapenn lamizè ;
verite kont malpouwont malmaske.
Zonbi te retounen je-klere
apre syèk pèdisyon nan lakou Ozanfè
sirèt li te souse nan govi Agasou
te pwazon chita tann kou pwa tann
ki te fè li kaba anvan menm l te jonnen.
Aidawèdo ! Aidawèdo ! Oye Dambalah !
zonbi te rele pou l reprann konsyans.
Peyi m se latè mouye ki jèmen lespwa
menm nan kalamite nan Zafra ;
nou refize adore sen ki pat sot nan govi
sen ki pa konn chay bourik nan ravin.
Peyi m se peyi Cedye ak Maryela-San-Fil
moun nan tristès k’ap viv nan lajwa
moun san jodi k’ap viv pou demen
elevasyon pou bay kreyasyon yon rezon.
Lè Baka ap fè w ri
se lè pou w sou gad ou
dan l griyen kou timoun inosan
l’ap vin fè mwèl sot nan nanm ou
cheve w drese san w tresayi ak perèz
pou l sèlman rele : Ah ! Ah ! Ah ! Ah !
Nan yon lalin briye nan syèl nwa
ki kouvri lanfè mizè malè
Èzili-Je-Wouj t’ap reve an silans
sou batay pou livre pou delivre lavi.
Vijilans entelijans se zye kalvè pèp
Je-Wouj te zye limyè nou
nourisman lafwa nou
zam aspirasyon nou
sajès destriksyon ouragan !
Lwa nou yo konbat lapenn
pou sove inosans nan chagren ;
Ayiti te refij yo
perestil enspirasyon yo ;
yo kwè nan lagras wonga byenfektè
ki kapab geri nanm pèdi nan nofraj ;
yo kwè nan lavi libere—enèji degaje
pou kreye yon lòt etènite.
Zaka te retounen inosan kè kontan
apre yo te lage l nan prizon plantasyon ;
mechan yo te pèdi konba a
peyizan te regwoupe an mas
pou selebre maryaj petro-rada-samba
nan konstelasyon bèlte toupatou ;
lwa yo reprann kontwòl tout linivè
yo jwenn pitit esklav sou latè degrade
pou fòme yon gepye lespri revòlte.
Sa a se listwa nanm lajwa pèp mwen
k’ap goumen pou libere latè.
II. Solèy ki pran lwa
Sekous ak sekous sou yon rit anvalou
tout bagay transfòme kou yon monte-osyèl
nan santè pafen, swe kò ak rèl aplodisman
plis asòtò k’ap bat Tam ! Tam ! Tam ! Tam !
Ayibobo ! Ayibobo ! Shan ago ! Shan ago !
hounsi yo reprann nan linison
vwal ak ròb blanch yo al voltije nan van
zye yo vire kou nwaj k’ap janbe lespas.
Sibitman tout moun vin sispandi anlè
san kò san pwa san gwo bonnanj, Ayibobo !
tanbou a limenm ak kontinye ap bat
nan yon imateryalite benyen nan dlo zye
dlo san ak vomi bwesonyè malmakak
plis gagari poufe kleren blanch
chwal lwa maspinen sou zòt san respè ;
saliv li kalonnen dife toutalantou vèvè
sou tout potomitan manm vanyan ;
lwa a entèvni avèk tout majeste l
ansanm ak manbo a ki transfòme an gid
pou mennen sèvis la jiskobou ;
lwa a pandansetan te deja moute
chwal sò Altagras k’ap lanse pa ki long
li ponpe—l li lanse l isit, li lanse l la
epi li chita janm li louvri bò vèvè a,
li vire anwon souplalsòl oumfò a
epi l leve e grape yon gwo boutèy piman
melanje l avè ronm e rele, Ayibobo !
li vide l nan pla men l yon mannyè deside
e li badijonnen nan tout tipati li. Ayibobo !
Ayibobo ! Ayibobo ! li rele nan oun ton fò ;
sa Bondye ba li a te vin wouj dife
wouj piman pike, wouj san, Ayibobo !
lwa a te vini avèk elevasyon.
E pwezi te blayi nan tout katye a
nan yon tyaka maji wouj ak mirak
moun yo t’ap ri danse rejwi kò fatig la
nan yon moman divinite k’ap jwi ak lavi
lwa yo te vini e ale pou tout bon
rejwenn mistè sa lespri yo ye e vle ;
yo fè yon ti dènye koze anvan yo te ale
ki mande pou zansèt reprann lòlòj yo.
Lenglensou te vini san anyen (…)
men l te mande defann pirite zespri yo
li di : « Pa mande zespri yo redamsyon
si ou pa pechè ki vle chanje chimen w
w’a plase pikan nan asansyon Sò Rada
si w imanize lwa l yo pou jebede touris »
li sèmante pou l travay pou lavi vin pi bèl.
Menm nan mitan enposibilite revri
nan yon mond ki pyeje avèk trajedi
zespri k’ap trepase nan dram e dezespwa
mwen mande pou yon timoman libere
yon pwomnad nan mwèl sen forè a
oubyen yon jwèt lago bò laplaj lanmè a
pou m sèlman fè plezi ak Dantò
—zespri yo konn viv rejwisans lavi.
Glosè (definisyon) mo ak ekspresyon vodou
• Agasou : Mo ki deziye prens afriken, Agasu, yo di ki se zansèt tout Dahomeyen ; lwa oubyen zespri ki pa gen ankenn karaktè patikilye ; lwa sa a gen repitasyon mechan.
• Agoe oubyen Agwe : Loa, mistè lanmè, vwayaj, ekzil.
• Aidawèdo : Loa ki konsidere tankou madanm Aidawèdo. Ekspresyon vodou pratikan itilize pou montre admirasyon gras lwa sa a, ansanm ak Danmbala pou li pote gras anfas kalamite lavi.
• Anvalou oubyen Yanvalou : Yon rit dans vodou.
• Ason : Yon tchatcha pou seremoni yo fè avèk kalbas sèch e ki itilize nan tout sèvis rityèl vodou.
• Asòtò : Tanbou ki pi gwo pami twa tanbou nan seremoni ; pratikan yo kwè li gen yon pouvwa espesyal.
• Ayibobo : Salitasyon pou zespri yo ; espresyon ki itilize pou bay lwa yo onè-respè (labyenveni).
• Baka : yon ti lwa ki pa two grade nan panteyon oubyen tanp donè vodou a ; lwa sa a gen repitasyon li renmen fè moun pè pou l ka pase moun lan nan tenten.
• Baron Samdi : Mistè ki se gadyen tout simityè. Li jeneralman kou premye moun ki antere nan yon simityè ; li se yon gwo asosye Gede.
• Bòkò : Yon sòsye oubyen yon oungan ki fè wout lemal.
• Dambalah oubyen Danmbala : Mistè dahomeyen pou syèl, lespas oubyen lakansyèl, li reprezante sou fòm koulèv. Konsidere tankou mari Aidawèdo. • Dosou : Timoun ki fèt apre yon marasa ; yo di li gen pouvwa espesyal ki kapab, nan moman kritik, netralize menm pouvwa espesyal marasa yo. • Erzulie oubyen Èzili Dantò : Mistè rada pou lanmou, koketri, sajès. • Èzili-Je-Wouj : Mistè petro pou temerite, lanmou, jeni fanm. • Gede Nibo: Tinon jwèt Gede ki se mistè lanmò, men ki ka tou reprezante libido (enèji seksyèl), ouvèti seksyèl ; li renmen di betiz.
• Gwobonnanj : Pati kò yon moun, ann opozisyon avèk pati espirityèl li, tibonnanj li ; yon zonbi se yon moun ki kenbe pati gwo kò li men ki pèdi lespri li, nanm li, konsyans li.
• Kouzen Zaka oubyen senpleman Kouzen : Mistè ki reprezante peyizan, agrikilti, semans. Pratikan yo rele pouvwa li pou l vin pote fètilite nan moman sechrès oubyen pou selebre jenewozite Manman Lanati. Kouzen gen repitasyon yon lwa ki gen yon pouvwa trankil chaje ak sajès, menmsi pafwa li yon ti jan ròk.
• Laso oubyen Frètkach : Kòd a manch yo fè avèk pit trese oubyen kui trese yo sèvi nan sèvis anpil seremoni vodou.
• Legba : Mistè ki gade kle tout oumfò/peristil tout lòt lwa yo ; pa ekstansyon ki gade kle tout vwayaj, opòtinite, rechèch, bonè ekzistansyèl.
• Lenglensou : Mistè rit petro, li gen yon repitasyon mechanste, renmen fè vanjans, mannyè dyabolik. • Loa oubyen Lwa : Espri oubyen « mistè » nan relijyon vodou ; yo konsidere l tankou mesaje oubyen entèmedyè ant Gran Papa/Bondye ak moun.*
• Maldyòk : move sò, malchans.
• Manbo oubyen Mambo : Grann pretès vodou, li gen menm pouvwa avèk yon oungan.
• Marasa : frè jimo oubyen sè jimèl ; yo gen repitasyon yo gen pakèt pouvwa espirityèl.
• Mèt Minwi : Zespri redoutad ki renmen mache nan lari chak minwi. W’ap vin mouri oubyen w’ap vin gen move sò tonbe sou ou si ou kwaze li nan chimen ou. Pafwa yo pran l pou Baron Samdi, byenke Mèt Minwi gen yon karaktè ki pi redoutad.
• Nanm oubyen Ti-bonnanj : Tibonnanj siyifi nanm men li gen lòt sans ki pi konplèks ki vle di pran konsyans, lespri, klèvwayans, vijilans, fakilte konesans. Souvan yo refere de li kouwè « esans » yon endividi. Yon zonbi se yon moun ki pèdi tibonnanj li.
• Ogatwa : Yon ti kote beni pou adore mistè a, li reprezante souvan sou fòm yon ti kabinè pratikan an kenbe lakay li.
• Ogoun Balagi : Yon lòt non pou Ogoun ; yo pafwa refere avè l tankou frè Ogoun Feray.
• Ogoun Feray : Mistè dahomeyen pou fè e dife ; ou toujou wè l avèk yon manchèt oubyen yon epe. Li se yon metafò (yon lòt fason pou reprezante) lespri revolisyonè peyizan an.
• Ounfò: Peristil oubyen tanp vodou.
• Oungan oubyen Houngan : Gwo monpè ou prèt vodou, li gen menm pouvwa avèk yon manbo.
• Ounsi oubyen Hounsi : Yon initye, sèvitè, yon manm enpòtan vodou trè souvan lwa a chwazi pou li monte sou li.
• Papa Dòk oubyen Papa Doc : Tinon jwèt diktatè François Duvalier, ki refere ak pwofesyon medikal li anvan l te vin prezidan Ayiti (1957–1971).
• Pè Savann : Yon pè san òdinasyon, mwatye katolik, mwatye hounsi, youn nan fonksyon prensipal li se chante libera moun ki mouri nan simityè diran entèman.
• Petro : Rit vodou ki soti nan zòn nò Okongo, non an soti de yon oungan ki te rele Don Pedro nan zòn sid Dayiti ; yo konsidere li tankou kote « cho » nan vodou, li asosye avèk dife, avèk pouvwa pou li kwape fòs advèsè l yo.
• Poto-mitan : Poto ki nan mitan yon peristil ; li gen yon siyifikasyon espesyal antanke kote tout lwa yo konvoke.
• Rada : Rit vodou ki soti nan yon vilaj dahomeyen ki rele Arada ; li konsidere tankou kote « mou », « cool » vodou.
• Rivyè Sous Pyant : Yon rivyè ann Ayiti ki trè santi (non li soti de fransè « source puante »); li trè koni akoz de pouvwa pou trete moun malad yo di l genyen ; chak ane plizyè milye pratikan vodou al fè pelerinaj la. Odè santi rivyè a ranfòse nan zye pratikan yo pwisans majik yo di l genyen ; yo di si ou benyen ladann l’ap pote chans pou ou.
• Samba : Yon rit vodou, se posib non li ka vini de jan Endyen anvan Kristòf Kolon yo te bay powèt ak mizisyen ann Ayiti.
• Sèvitè : Kwayan ki pratike vodou.
• Shango oubyen Chango : Lwa, mistè ki reprezante loraj nan rit petro vodou a ; li gen repitasyon vyolan.
• Ti-Jean Dantò oubyen Ti-Jean Petro : Yon lwa yo asosye avèk bòn chans ; li gen repitasyon yon lwa ki renmen jistis, men ki renmen montre fèmte. Li reprezante nan toulède rit vodou yo, rada e petro.
• Vèvè : Desen ou grafik ki siy labyenveni pou lwa yo, ou souvan wè vèvè yo layite atè oumfò a, bò potomitan an de preferans.
• Wanga oubyen Ouanga : Yon fetish oubyen talisman oubyen yon asanblay majik yon bòkò prepare espesyalman pou l pini you moun yo make oubyen pou atire bòn chans.
• Zombi oubyen Zonbi : Yon moun ki sipoze mouri pa wonga vodou. Bòkò ki te « tiye » moun lan resisite l e kenbe l nan yon eta demi-konsyan, mwatye mouri, mwatye anvi pou l ka fè l fè tout sa bòkò a vle. Men, si zonbi a t’a vin goute sèl, l’ap reprann konsyans li e, souvan, goumen ak bòkò a.
* Majorite non loa yo gen karaktè maskilen, men anpil fwa tou lwa yo pa montre yon idante seksyèl an patikilye. Anpil loa a karaktè feminen tankou Èzili ak Aidawèdo gen menm pwisans avèk lwa a karaktè maskilen kouwè Danmbala ak Ogoun.
* Powèm sa a te pibliye pou premye fwa kou yon rekèy bileng (ayisyen e anglè) an 1997.Li te repibliye an 2011 nanliv mwen an Poetica Agwe.