• Colour That Bleeds

    For Toni Morrison

    Sukrita Paul Kumar

    August 7, 2019

    Image courtesy The Guardian

    Who knows when the earth was split into
    Black and white
    No record of any earthquake
    Nor of any planetary catastrophe;

    Is history lying buried in 
    unseen vaults under the seas
    The ocean, Derek Walcott had said, 
    keeps turning blank pages 
    looking for history …
    the one of lamentations

    On diving into turbulent waves of the ocean 
    Peeks and darts of black history 
    hit and hurt

    My daughter ashamed  
    Shoved into the vaults 
    Her blonde Barbie doll with bluest eyes

    And in the real fictive world 
    The little baby killed brutally by mama 
    Comes back haunting in Beloved
    Death saving her from return to slavery while
    Not liberating her from filial ties

    What’s not white is beauty wasted
    It’s just colour said she 
    to people not listening
    But she writes for the black who do

    White smoke and muscle 
    Pulling the cultural engine 
    White becoming whiter 
    Black, blacker
    Between the two, an abysmal chasm
    Filling once again with lusty calls 
    for supremacy at one end and 

    On the other 
    black screams and yelps
    In search of their Africa 
    All held in the warp of time 
    Stained history petrified and written
    In invisible ink raising its hood 
    Again and yet again


    Sukrita Paul Kumar is an Indian poet, critic, and academician.

    The poem was first published in the book The Novels of Toni Morrison : Critical Perspectives edited by Kusha Tiwari, published by Pencraft International, New Delhi. Republished with the permission of the author.

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