My Grandmother’s Altar

Happy International Women’s Workers Day

I’m a bit late with the salud, but not really.

I wanted to share with you all the text I read for Rivers of Honey last Friday.  If you get this in time, you can tune in to hear me voice the words on WBAI which has TWO days of IWWD programming.
Here is the link to stream the audio, and to think, we got a slot right after Democracy Now!  Tune in at 9am on Friday, March 9th, 99.5 FM radio.

Thank you Tara Thierry, and Serena Dankwa, for making my grandmother’s altar sway to music.


The storytelling of my grandmother's altar was received at the March 2012 Rivers of Honey inside a cocoon of rice. Serena played the West African Kora in the center, Tara Thierry on Acoustic and Calabash, and me, assembling the altar of our bodies for tasty treat consumption. Thanks Jaz Cruz for the photo.

I owe it all to the women of rivers of honey, the women of my future, and of course, my grandmother.

My grandmothers altar was her stove

She’d mortar and pestle the leaves for our food
She’d clip string beans with her fingers ends in one bowl centers in another
She’d milk the rice with Coconut
Us Girl children would sit and watch her dance to the fire and the boil

Once there was a live chicken encaged by the window
It bawked and clamored while the vegetables were laid flat
The chicken was my friend
It’s gobble-gobble hung from it’s neck

The knife sharp, my grandmother’s eyes pointed for me to move left
The cage finally open, freeing the bird
It’s webbed feet pattering around the kitchen floor
Over and under the table
We all laughed as grandma chased it though the hallway and against the cement wall back into the kitchen.

One swoop, right handed wave, she passed the blade through the gobble, the head one eye opened staring at me
In a amidst droplets of Blood
atop the kitchen floor
The wings trudged back back back
The feet moving fast
Headless my grandmother allowed the chicken it’s final dance before grabbing it, neck first, atop the cage

American feminism could not take away her trade
My grandmothers altar was her stove

The fire of it
The boil
The rice
The sweat


This entry was posted in 29, Personal Reflection, Personal Story, Poetry, RIvers of Honey, Uncategorized, Welcome and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to My Grandmother’s Altar

  1. Pingback: Her Saturn Returns – The Play! | Her Saturn Returns

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s