Updated: May 19, 2022
Every morning I need sum, sum brunch sun!
With diaspora family in black and honey blood son, the santos need sum.
At Inwood, a Dominican splash of Florida water in my face, yum.
Palo Santo’s wood burning smell becomes one’s strum.
When I go to my sun's house, Miguel, we shine like one.
da dum's spiritual drums sound in his mother's apartment and make us all one.
In their apartment Matilde’s energy and spirit is in bloom
in the morning she sits in front of her altar
in her rocking chair smoking her cigar
in need of luck, sometimes she cures those that want out of the slums,
she always feeds those that just arrived, in need of a piece of bread.
Family in black and honey blood son, the santos need sum.
When I first walk in, Matilde’s presence electrifies.
She magnifies with all black bodies sitting near the altar table
the diasporic spirit alive in the living room.
A statue of Ogun, a working healing orisha, the spirit of iron, watch our children.
A statue of Saint Michael, also on the altar table, guards us all
surrounded by a cake, candles, and fruits on several plastic plates.
On the floor, under the table, the Caldero (pot) of Elegua Esu,
an Orisha, a crew member of the Yoruba.
We must ask for permission when we pray to Elegua
to keep opening the road to the divine
to activate the divinity that lives within us all.
Black and honey blood people here are not in despair or scared.
Instead of walking they fly with the angelic force flowing in the air.
I see Matilde, beautiful glowing brown skin freckles.
“The spirit of Saint Michael in Catholic and Elegua in Yoruba,
also known as Santería, is manifested through Matilde this morning.”
And I realize I have a crush on my best friend's mother.
Feelings are fluid or am I confused by the sinuous feelings within me?
Hands sweating, heart beating sprouts to cottonmouth,
Stomachs tight, wiener hard.
Holy Shit! I am embarrassed!
I look around only to see everyone's attention is not on me.
Matilde is the star, the place to be.
Matilde is wearing a red and green pañuelo.
She has four candles while smoking her cigar and ringing her bell.
She places one candle in each hand
and one candle in between her big toe and her index toe on each foot.
The candles are lit. I feel my skin burning
I hear the drums pace with my heartbeat in loud slow-motion
hot wax drops fall in her feet
I hear the Palo music and the drumbeat
the Guiro percussion idiophone vibrates with the drum
that is the sound of the da dum.
Matilde snaps the neck of the chicken
and pours the blood over a wooden bowl
and places it next to the Caldero of Elegua under the white altar table
and takes honey and squeezes it over
and there it is in my eyes the manifestation of Ogun/ The Archangel Michael
swirling and dancing around with the all-embracing white handkerchief
cleaning Julia and Felix, the newsstand owners,
blessing Claudia the hot drinks lady,
healing Isabella, the secondhand clothes vendor.
Palo music drums
To ask the dead for permission
and pay to work in such a realm
To ask the spirit of the diasporic dead for the black and honey blood on the floor
as it asks for more areneque (oven-roasted herring)
and white rice made with black beans, together
in a dish Moro de habichuela Negra
placed in the Caldero of Elegua, under the altar white table
enhanced with honey to sweeten the diasporic hearts
in both domains, with the light of peace
over all us people in the world to survive and resist
black blood and honey we need—family, prayer
planting a seed every morning
I need sum, sum brunch sun!