In their debut poetry collection, Kama La Mackerel mythologizes a queer/trans narrative of and for their home island, Mauritius. Composed of expansive lyric poems, ZOM-FAM (meaning "man-woman" or "transgender" in Mauritian Kreol) is a voyage into the coming of age of a gender-creative child growing up in the 80s and 90s on the plantation island, as they seek vocabularies for loving and honouring their queer/trans self amidst the legacy of colonial silences. Multiply voiced and imbued with complex storytelling, ZOM-FAM showcases a fluid narrative that summons ancestral voices, femme tongues, broken colonial languages, and a tender queer subjectivity, all of which grapple with the legacy of plantation servitude.
Emerging from a creative process in spoken word and live performance, these poems transform the page into a stage where the queer femme body is written and mapped onto the colonial space of the home/island. Interwoven with Kreol, ZOM-FAM showcases a unique lyrical sensibility, a musicality influenced by the both unforgiving and soothing rhythms of the ocean, where the poet enunciates the complexity of their displaced Indo-African roots, "the lineage of silence / that we weave in-between our intimacies. "
Kama La Mackerel is a Montreal-based Mauritian-Canadian multidisciplinary artist, educator, community-arts facilitator and literary translator who works within and across performance, photography, installations, textiles, digital art and literature. Their art practice is intertextual and intertextural. They have exhibited and performed their work internationally and their writing in English, French and Kreol has appeared in publications both online and in print. Their debut poetry collection ZOM-FAM was published by Metonymy Press in 2020.
he passed the peacocks perched on mango trees /roosting in the precinct of the temple /he entered the courtyard /removed his sandals /rinsed his feet /circled the temple three times /breathed deeply/ & finally stepped across the doorway /as the first light of the day /washed over the sculpted /eyes of a thousand & one gods /he bowed to each one of them /praying praying /praying praying /they'd protect me from the towers /of mofinn looming over my destiny/