Coolie In India #Poetry



coolie naam dharaiya ham tej pakare

jaisan chhuri kate hamke Guyana mein aike

With this whip-scar iron shackle name Aja

contract-bound, whole day cut cane; come night he drink

up rum for so until he wine-up and pitch in

the trench’s black water and cries Oh Manager!

until sugar and pressure claim his two eyes.

The backra manager laugh at we — so come so done.

I was born a crab-dog devotee of the silent

god, the jungle god, the god crosser-of-seas. White tongues

licked the sweet Demerara of my sores. Now

Stateside, Americans erase my slave story;

call me Indian. Can’t they hear kalapani

in my voice, my breath’s marine layer when I say?

They made us hold the name coolie

like a cutlass it bit us coming to Guyana

62 thoughts on “Coolie In India #Poetry

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