The President I Nearly Met - Poem by Oskar Hansen
Once, I nearly met a President
It was a very hot morning when we docked in port of Prince. Papa Doc was
in power then, the president of Haiti, a nice man who gave coins to the poor.
Onboard came the usual gang of uniformed official who wanted whisky and
cigarettes before any papers were signed. Amongst them Tonton Macute,
men in slacks, summer shirts concealing side arms, sunglasses worn day or
night; Papa Doc’s men looking after things. One of them offered to take me
ashore show where the best whore was, I declined have an aversion for guns.
It was a long hot night all portholes and doors closed, frantic people trying
to sneak onboard to get away from this sunlit Island. The pilot came at noon
to take us out, an intelligent man with eyes who had seen it all, he spoke
English, I asked him about Papa Doc. He paused and said: “our president is
a very nice man when he visits villages he has bags of coins whish he strew
on the road for the poor to pick up from the dust, and with desperate hearts
they are grateful for what he gives them.”
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