Marie-Ketsia Theodore-Pharel: Poetry

The words
Like mother’s milk
drip into my mind’s mouth
to comfort, to nurture.

At first they are simple–even tasteless
with a sweet fattiness
made for me.

Returning each time
blow after blow
to where it all started.

Underneath the warm flow
Of words, the world
is new again.


Marie Ketsia Theodore-Pharel is the author of the following picture book titles: I’ll Fly Away, A Fish Called Tanga, Keeper of the Sky, Daughter of the House, and One More Daughter, America. She is the author of Haiti: a Cigarette Burning at Both Ends in Butterfly Ways: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States edited by Edwidge Danticat. Her short stories have appeared in the following literary magazines: Compost, African Homefront, Onyx, and Watermark. She was born in Port au Prince, Haiti in 1974. She moved to Boston at the age of ten where she was educated. She has a B.A. from Tufts University and a M.A. from the University of Massachusetts. She lives in Homestead, FL with her husband and daughter.

Underestimated Diamond: Whatever

Drama, whatever
Your negative words, whatever

I shrug my shoulders and turn my back
Not irritated: just found a better way
Whatever because I’m tired of looking back

I am in control
So whatever to the discomfort I see

Whatever is the final mark

I cannot trust you, check mark
I cannot speak to you, check mark
I cannot believe you, check mark
I can no longer deal with you, check mark
You are liar, check and double mark

You reject me because I am not perfect,
Let’s use a red pen and check that mark


No need to vent on the impossible
Knowing my worth makes me invincible
Reaching my own satisfactory level is incredible
Shaking it all off is formidable

So yes, whatever

Whatever to nonsense

We are through

Famous words: “It’s not me, it’s you.”

*   *   *

M. Cassandra Pascal is the Underestimated Diamond; a woman of high standards and strength. Born in the historical town of Boston, Massachusetts, she has every intention to mark her name in history as a writer who is expressive, honest, and victorious. The Underestimated Diamond is very proud of her Haitian heritage. She was born of two wonderful parents that taught her about strength and courage. From them she inherited self-love and faith in God, the biggest weapons against all obstacles.

Underestimated’s passion for writing started when she was 10 years old. She recalls having to memorize and recite poetry every week in school. Little did she know, these weekly assignments of non-stop repetition would lay the foundation for a poet and writer in the making. Over the years, Underestimated wrote several poems for school papers, community projects, churches, and non-profit organizations. During her college years, Underestimated had a great opportunity to really display her talent during a poetry reading for Black History Month. “I will always remember my very first reading,” she says, “because my poem ‘Still Walking’ brought the audience to tears.” “Still Walking” became Underestimated Diamond’s signature poem, reflecting her views on life.

After facing some unexpected obstacles and remaining silent for a while, Underestimated turned once again to writing, this time as a source of healing. Writing became her therapy, renewing her faith in God, turning her into a woman of grace and true inner beauty. Today, writing remains her true devotion, leading to breakthroughs of unlimited expression. She uses her fears as ammunition against the chains that held her down in the past. “The pen flows through the paper like the water flowing down the river; my water is pure and honest. My words shine. As the Underestimated Diamond, I want to harvest my blessing and present to you my true reflection.”


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