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Isle Say Blood

our fragmented history
written with a large axe
told by the bordertracers
slaves of their prejudice
 
our marooned history
chained by hatred
whitewashed memory, creole coolie
color anger pain dockers
 
our disinvented history
open book on nothingness
pages thrown into oblivion
rewritten by the portolan of night
 
our dismembered history
archipelago of sorrow
Chagos of our lost islands
 
our incomplete history
treated with complacency . . .
 
from what oceanic anger
in what starry night
by what abolished time
on what raft deported?
 
violent wind
disemboweled galley
oars, tears, and cries
on a savage sea
 
from what oceanic anger
by what wilted time
in what abolished night?
 
disabolished speech
words of urgent pain
whipped in the face of the world
 
to tell the four cardinal points
the solitude of restraints
in the entrails of departure
 
to hurl disenchanted memory
songs of doleful repentance
uncaged segas in the depths of the hold
 
not afraid of shame
tell the story
tell it again
until the sea reveals its secrets
 
always the sea always
indian the indian ocean
blood and port, blood import
ballet of allotted lives
 
always the sea always
the same silenced cries of rebellion
orations without horizons
lives at a bartered price
 
always the sea always
shameful the shameful ocean
bodies battered before touching the shore
lives exchanged on the cheap
 
always the sea always . . .
 
© Michel Ducasse. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2012 by Antoine Bargel and Alexis Pernsteiner. All rights reserved.