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Hamburg, 1938—Hoshang Merchant

Hoshang Merchant is India’s pre-eminent voice of gay liberation. Born in 1947 to a Zoroastrian business family in Bombay, India, he graduated in 1968 with a major in English and a minor in the culture of India. On his mother’s side, he descends from a line of preachers and teachers. He holds a Master’s from Occidental College, Los Angeles, USA. At Purdue University, Indiana, USA, he specialized in the renaissance and modernism. After leaving Purdue in 1975, Merchant attended the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Centre, Massachusetts, USA, and lived and taught in Heidelberg, Iran, and Jerusalem. He has studied Buddhism at the Tibetan Library, Dharamsala, India, as well as Islam in Iran and Palestine. Since 1979, seventeen of his books of poetry have been published. He recently superannuated from the University of Hyderabad, India, after twenty-six years of teaching.

Hamburg, 1938

From Hamburg Vietnam Afghanistan

Everyone remembers the water 

and swans

But I remember the stumbling stones

on pavements for the Jews deported and killed

Gay suicide artists big dicked

Hausfraus scurrying under the Titans erected in squares

A Titan uses Diana's breast for arm rest

These erections no more powerless

Than the bombed cathedral by the pier

Indian spices wash up on its shores

Anita Ree has just killed herself

The city fathers must've been pleased

Julie Ann wanted a poem

I remember rained upon swans

Anita Ree, Jewish painter died by suicide in 1938, 48 years old


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