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Indo Caribbean Poet Chandra Persaud Talks Representation and History

indo caribbean
2 min read

“The Story I Write” helped me come to terms with my place in the history of Indo Caribbean women. This empowering spoken word piece is about an Indo Caribbean girl paving her way forward with a full understanding of what came before her. It centers around the defining power of stories in our lives — the stories we learn about Indo Caribbean women through history textbooks, the stories in our families that are regarded as secrets and the stories about our ancestors that we don’t fully know

[Read Related: Pain in Paradise: Indo Caribbean Indentureship]

The poem emphasizes how these stories shape and influence our reality and identity and how, ultimately, they serve as the foundation for the story we write about ourselves.

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A post shared by Chandra Persaud (@pieces_of_acp)

However, poetry is an overlooked branch of writing and the Indo Caribbean population is still very much unseen in mainstream American culture, so Indo Caribbean poets are doubly overlooked. Yet, any type of art that allows a group of people, especially marginalized groups, to feel seen, heard and understood needs a platform. It matters when you see yourself authentically reflected in the media. It matters greatly

The Story I Write

I am the daughter of women

Displaced

Raped

Chased

Shaped

By a history that cannot be undone

For history leaves a mark

Traces in faces

In books, in songs

In the stories we tell ourselves

In the stories we pass on

I am the bearer of untold stories

The daughter of women with

Whispered truths

Muffled cries

Drowned voices

Drowned out to protect, to hide

Their most mangled parts

And so, tragedy becomes normalized

I am the knower of unknown stories

Women undocumented

Their voices undocumented too

Lost in the wind

Engulfed at sea

Their truth buried in the soil

They toiled

For they were not human beings

Only human bodies

I am the successor of multiple migrations

India to Guyana to America

The asker of the perennial question

Where is my land?

The seeker of tomorrow

Where will I land?

I am the inheritor of multiple identities

Slave worker

Foreigner

Survivor

Creator

And it is in this role—Creator

That I become the writer

Of my own story

Not yet completed

Being authored

To honor

The women before me

And to alter

What history will say

About women like me

For more poems on Indo Caribbean culture, love and identity, find Chandra Persaud on Instagram.


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