My Dominican Breakfast

Kim, over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, asked for a poem about cooking that “appeals to the senses and is related to [our] life or culture in some way.” I woke up with the Dominican Republic singing memories into my mind—a poem about the kind of breakfast I used to eat when I was a child tasted just right. The side order of nostalgia that came with the writing of the piece was not part of the original recipe… neither was the craving for breakfast in the middle of the afternoon *sigh*.

“My Dominican Breakfast”

Morning food was green bananas,
doing a tenderizing water dance
in a cauldron kissed by firewood.

Next to the cauldron bubbled a tiny pot
that had never been called a kettle; yet,
its belly brewed nothing but ginger tea.

My belly sang its rumbles to the brew,
waiting for the spicy warmth to simmer
true, readying its self for morning food.

True morning food is green bananas
and ginger tea, over firewood and smoke,
conjuring memories… to sting my eyes.

Linked to Poets United (Poetry Pantry 330)

“Fogón… What’s Cooking?” by Mercedes Dayanara

The Maiden of the Waters

Their oak and pine sailed the liquid salts,
and entered her land with lies, irons and steel…
before she could smell the disease in their blood,
the bloodthirst in their hearts,
their heartless intent.

She warned the Chief; but
his advice-givers reminded him
that the Witch Priestess had rejoined the land…
before saying that a mere maiden
could walk the steps of a Crone.

“I hold the comb,” the maiden said.
“Grandmother sang into my soul.
If you don’t let me sing the words,
the land will swallow our people’s flesh
and strangers will step on their broken bones.”

She continued to ask, but no one listened.

After death thickened the wind,
the Maiden sang the Crone’s words to the river…
and the water filled with breath.

Holding on to a procession
of open eyes and ears,
she descended into water-shielded caves.

When the moon is full of silver,
the Maiden of the Waters swims to the surface
to detangle her long black hair
with a comb made
of Grandmothers’ golden songs.

Process Note: The Indians of the Waters is a Dominican myth that speaks of a group of Taínos, indigenous people, who escaped the slaughter and disease introduced by the Spaniards. The myth says that these Taínos found refuge in underwater caves, and they continue to live there peacefully. During full moons, women of The Waters come to the surface to detangle their hair with a golden comb (conditioner must be scarce in the caves?). Different versions of the myth suggest that during the hair detangling escapades, the women also manage to seduce and kidnap men from the surface (it seems detangler is not the only thing running low in the caves).

NaPoWriMo with Magaly Guerrero 2015, Day 7 – This Poem Is a Myth: Conjure up a poem that describes a person, creature, or thing from any mythology.

for the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

Woman Moonvia
(artist unknown)