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Gertrude Lamare

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Gertrude Lamare


Thought dies on the lap of fear
 And words ache on lips of the utterer,
 When the Nation stands knee-deep in blood,
 Spilt on ashes of unknown faces,
 In blood,
 Splattered on your hungry imagination.
 But who am I to speak of your greatness,
 Your dignity?
 For I am but a piece of life
 Written, numbered and registered
 In the folds of your fabric
 With my mouth shut,
 My eyes open--
 To an identity--
 A name I tick in boxes on a page
 A term underlined in transit,
 An idea made of air,
 Which my fingers, mind and heart cannot seem to catch.
 A title planted by one law
 Cancelled by another,
 A religion cudgeling me to worship
 Its terror,
 Its terrorizing plastic soul.


A piece of mute beauty it is
Hanging there exhibited in green comfort
With white waterfalls and black rocks,
Carved into hollowed exquisiteness so rapaciously
Waiting to be phrased, to be imagined, to be bought.
They call it a land of treasure
Ensconced in the corners of a nation
And a travel magazine, draped in primitive royalty
With exotic lives crawling and breeding in and on its soil.
Music drops like rain there, they say
Flooding tea stalls, tiny streets and well-painted rooms;
And so does word, echoed through betel-nut conversations
Of what was and what has become,
Of what should be and what actually is.
Breathing under the shadow of legends
And flavoured by forgettable myths, this place
And its people become the spectacle
Of intellectual knowledge and alien fancy;
Dressed in golden ornaments of modernity
This people and their land are living
In growing wounds, infested by untraceable evils
Of others and perhaps even of themselves.


I thought I was human
 Until you arrived and called me Girl
 Wrapping me tenderly with ideas and violence.
 I thought I was human
 Until you wrote me down on paper
 And said I had a name- Indian.
 I thought I was human
 Then you came and kept me in a box for safety,
 And told me I was more, I was Tribe.
 I thought we were all human
 But you cartographed our bodies
 Into "zones of exception" and called them States.
 But under the tall shadows of your madness,
 We seek the human and its green leaves of hope,
 Of love, of togetherness,
 Until I, we and you finally become human too.


Poetry is
What it is not.
Poetry, my poetry
Fails to be a specimen of
What you call poetry;
It escapes these borders
Which you prescribe with such kindness,
For my own insurrection
Or marketability?
Poetry, my poetry
Is not poetry enough;
For it is deficient in Culture,
History and Nature
For it cannot be cartographed and tied to a region;
For it speaks in wandering voices which have no fixed origin;

None of that which would slip me
Into the categories
Which you have created,
For me, for my people-
An amorphous entity which I struggle to understand.
But I shall continue to carve words,
For my own survival,
Out of feelings which haunt me at dawn,
Away from your dignified categories
Which enslave my undignified poetry.


Feature–Contemporary Indian English Poetry

    Editorial: GJV Prasad

    Abhay K
    Aishwarya Iyer
    Akhil Katyal
    Amlanjyoti Goswami
    Ananya S Guha
    Arup K Chatterjee
    CS Bhagya
    Debasish Lahiri
    Devdan Chaudhuri
    Dhananjay Singh
    Gertrude Lamare
    Goirick Brahmachari
    Joie Bose
    Maaz bin Bilal
    Malsawmi Jacob
    Meera Sagar
    Nabina Das
    Nitoo Das
    Priya Sarukkai-Chabria
    Rajesh Kumar
    Ranu Uniyal
    rizio yohannan raj
    Rochelle Potkar
    Saima Afreen
    Sanjeev Sethi
    Semeen Ali
    Shelly Bhoil
    Smeetha Bhoumik
    Srilata K
    Sudeep Sen
    Sukrita Paul Kumar
    Sumana Roy
    Tabish Khair
    Taseer Gujral
    Uddipana Goswami
    Usha Akella
    Uttaran Das Gupta
    Vivek Narayanan
    Linda Ashok

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