Fummestory Herstory History by Ava Ralph (Wadadli Pen Honourable Mention, 2018)


Fummestory Herstory History

You think you are funny
But your jokes are not even original
Knock knock
I am knocked up
Fed up
Angry to the bone
First, my freedom was taken
Now my daughter too
All those gods and what did they do
They watched us leave
In silver chains
Skin polished
But where is my altar
Now I’m souled out
The whimp who walks with the whip
Wonders about
How sweet does blood and sweat taste
How melodic are my screams
I am a human sacrifice
But my god, where are you

You are not clever
You are not even original
My husband has been running for years
Dis race a one relay
Or maybe it is a ring game
Cause it seems to be going in circles
I still know his name
I always see his face
All the faces look the same
Except for the cracker who always pulls out
He is two faced
One  haunts me in my sleep the other one hangs behind my back

You are not smart
My grandmother told me the stories
Brer Anansi was a trickster but Brer Tiger  wore the stripes
I am a collection of dances and of screams
I am a collection of dances and of screams
Face the music
I am a stutter and fluent in lies
I am a s-stutter and fluent in lies
My eyes are brown like the soil my great, great, great, great legendary grandmother was taken from
My ringlets are the circles her husband ran in
I will not hang my head because my skin is pale
I will not be a punch-line because you screwed my mom over
History, learn how to speak  because this mixed kid will not be repeating herself

I am fair skinned but my blood boils
For like my non bastard brother life is not fair
You are a terrible story teller, History
I can study you so I will
And yuh know wah else
You lack imagination too
But I create my dreams


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ava Ralph, 17, writes “to stay sane and I thank God for that and everything else because God is cool. He is the ultimate author so ultimate he never gets writer’s block.” Ava’s poem Non-Fiction? placed second in the 13 to 17 age category of the Wadadli Pen Challenge in 2017.


Ava receiving her prize from patron and London Rocks author Brenda Lee Browne.



“The anger and imagery, and pov, are compelling; some of the word and rhyme/rhythm choices are cliché …but then it veers in to something fresh and particular.” – j

Fummestory Herstory History is about challenging perspectives because, as the writer puts it, we get too comfortable in our zones of experience and history. The poem has two perspectives; one from the girl’s great great great great grandmother and the other from her granddaughter. Just like her grandmother she is not pleased with her current state, she does not want to be ashamed for being mixed even if it wasn’t planned so in this piece she calls history out.

PRIZES WON: As with all the honourable mentions, Ava received a training session (Presenting: Telling Your Story Orally) from Barbara Arrindell & Associates, and books and a certificate from the Best of Books.

ABOUT WADADLI PEN 2018: The Wadadli Youth Pen Prize launched in 2004 with a writing Challenge that continues 14 years later. The project was launched by Joanne C. Hillhouse with D. Gisele Isaac and the Young Explorer publication. Today, its core team is Hillhouse with past finalists Devra Thomas and Margaret Irish, and writers and long time patrons and partners Floree Whyte and Barbara Arrindell. The name of each winner is emblazoned on the Alstyne Allen Memorial plaque, named for one of the project’s earliest volunteers (and sister-friend of founder, Joanne C. Hillhouse) who died in 2015. The Challenge is Wadadli Pen’s pilot project, in keeping with its mandate to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda. The Challenge has encouraged young writers in Antigua and Barbuda (35 years and younger) to write on any topic, within a Caribbean aesthetic. It doesn’t often prescribe other limitations, but this year it did request specifically historical fiction/poetry. Normally, prizes are broken down by age categories but this year it’s winner take all with only one winner and a handful of honourable mentions (Andre Warner, Rosie Pickering, Andrecia Lewis, Chloe Martin, and Ava Ralph). Congratulations to them all. Thanks to the patrons and to partners – Floree Whyte, Barbara Arrindell, Devra Thomas, and Margaret Irish. To find out how you can continue to support the work of Wadadli Pen contact wadadlipen@gmail.com

As with all content (words, images, other) on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure). All Rights Reserved. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2018, Wadadli Pen News

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