The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming text, “Brief Notes of a Haitian Son: The Wonder Years” by MrJeffDess.
Jeffrey Dessources a.k.a. MrJeffDess is a writer, professor, public speaker and emcee of Haitian descent who hails from the Big Apple of New York City. Expression is his main tool towards achieving excellence. Those tools come in a numbers of shapes and forms.
For more check out www.thehaitianson.tumblr.com
The apartment window was a portal into an alternate dimension. I’d look out wondering what it would be like to be a Black American boy. I was told that those types of boys were bad. They were called vagabonds. Mom claimed that those boys didn’t do homework. Dad said they weren’t serious about school. My grandma would give me a deathly stare if she saw me with them. Haitians didn’t act like that.
I knew those kids well. I watched them closely.
On the coldest days their bubble coats looked warm. The same kids rode on the pegs of a BMX. They were probably riding to the Coliseum mall. In our hood that’s where the nwa amerikens hung out. They didn’t wear the uniforms like me. Their jeans were copped at V.I.M.. Expensive Jordans lit up the ground beneath. Whether authentic or not, all the shirts had the fanciest of insignias. They wore fitted caps with the logos of my favorite teams. I wore the ones with the strap in the back because those were cheaper. In some of their ears were golden studs. They had braids and didn’t go to Haitian barbers. Their Jansport backpacks were probably filled with comic books and rap cassettes. They weren’t going to the library like me. They more than likely had next at the park. Big Daddy Kane and Biggie Smalls were probably allowed to be listened to without worry.
One day I saw a kid get jumped. They took his Jansport backpack and Air Jordans. Was it because he was a Ti Nwa Ameriken? If he grew up Haitian, perhaps he’d be watching the nuisance from his window instead.