Tichaona Chinyelu


Tichaona Chinyelu

Tichaona Chinyelu
Cambridge, Massachusetts,
December 16
I am earth: plant something in me I am sky: stop dropping bombs from me I am fire: next time, next time, NOW I am water: now flow with me.


Tichaona Chinyelu's Links

MARCH 4, 2015 8:37AM

Reading Round-up 3/15

As of this date I have accomplished the monumental task of reading two books from start to finish. It might seem counter- intuitive for a writer to have a problem completing the reading of a book but such is the nature of my life now. The two books read were WatershedRead full post »

First of all, I want to reiterate the statement inherent in the title of this blog post: that Book of Negroes, which aired recently on BET, is not your average slave movie. It is a movie about a free young girl in Bayo, Guinea who became an enslaved woman in colonial… Read full post »
APRIL 2, 2014 1:43PM

first freestyle of 2014

My bed is full of ashes
ghosts and fingers that creep
like vines.

I, limbless
the contours of a dream
that approaches a nightmare.

I am home and horizontal.

  Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 3, 2013 10:21AM

How Elsie Became Tuyet

Elsie was a straight A student,

a dutiful daughter and a speaker

of three languages.

I was nothing of the sort

but still, we became friendly enough

that I was able to ask

why the French teacher called her


Americans say its hard to pronounce.

I tested it onRead full post »

APRIL 26, 2013 11:40AM

Verse Novel Reflections #1

Some time in the last two years, I decided to undertake a reading of epics (The Odyssey), verse novels (Omeros and Prophets, by Derek Walcott and Kwame Dawes, respectively). I called myself doing research for my own verse novel. Well. I got about more than half way through The Odyssey before… Read full post »
APRIL 5, 2013 9:46AM

Napowrimo, Days 1-3

Abstract #1:


She cried me a river

which I populated

with salmon.

She then fished

up my nose

for coke fiend


to tell her

unstoried friends

but I was unpowdered

like puff the magic dragon.



Day 2:




He is notRead full post »

MARCH 30, 2013 2:39PM

Chapter II: Othello is Dead


Dear Sewafe,

For the first time in a very long time, I am not coming to see you. I am taking Funmi to see a play called Desdemona in New York City. It is a reworking of Othello. Well, that’s not a totally accurate way of describing  it. It is

Read full post »
Being the family secretary all correspondence passes through my hands. It never ceases to amaze me how I never have a name in my parents’ letters to each other. It is always my daughter, your daughter, our daughter, she; anything but my name. It makes no sense; especially because my parentsRead full post »
JANUARY 7, 2013 12:43PM

Chloe and Yvonne (The Start)

Once again, I am inking a new address on the envelope that contains the briefings my dad demands. It is only now that I pick up on the long-established pattern. Our frequent moves are tied to his. Every time he’s transferred, my mother relocates the family. We orbit my father likeRead full post »
JULY 23, 2012 12:32PM

things of water (rewrite)

the woman wet
the waterfront
with womb water
delivering twin coral children
whose ceilings
are fluid
and permutable.

he is one. i am the other.
brother and sister
who knew our selves
before brackishness
and the rift
caused by the damming
of the river.

she and i, twin occupiers
of our mother’s womb.
the hierarRead full post »
JULY 6, 2012 1:28PM

Poetry: things of water 2

the women wet
the waterfront  
with womb water,
delivering coral children
whose ceilings
are fluid
and permutable. Read full post »
JULY 1, 2012 4:44PM

things of water

like choppy water,
frothy and forthright,
she spouts

the placidity of my man
made emotions

structurally unsound
deficient of reason
wet like woman
she is fit
only for swallowing

JUNE 15, 2012 3:43PM

Thinking of Daddy


We’ve all heard the phrase “got it from my Mama”. Well, what I got from my mother belongs to the realm of the untouchable. What I got from my father, though, is front and center. It’s on my face, in the dark brownness of my skin and in my “you… Read full post »

MAY 11, 2012 9:10AM

Poetry: I Think I Shall Never See

Oak Plantation, Lousiana 


we arched over brutality
we were saplings
who dreamt of birthing

our roots hugged
while their scent
wafted our way
blocking out
that other smell
of death, of a country
being born

  Read full post »

JANUARY 20, 2012 5:11PM


I tell my students there is such a thing as “writer’s block,” and they should respect it.  You shouldn’t write through it.  It’s blocked because it ought to be blocked, because you haven’t got it right now.
- Toni Morrison
     &n… Read full post »
OCTOBER 14, 2011 2:02PM

Boston Latin School (edited)

Once you enter these hallowed halls
speak not in your inherited gutter language.
Speak in the patrician language of classical ass-fuckers
or else your utterances will find no echo
in this epitome of excellence.

Ghosts cursed and slammed
hardwood doors on me
as I attempted to navigate my way
through coloni… Read full post »

OCTOBER 4, 2011 9:06AM

Frank X. Walker (Poet)

The other day, roam reading my way through Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, I found myself reading a delightfully powerfully poem by Frank X. Walker. I liked the poem, titled Homeopathic, so much that I googled him to see what I could find out.… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 21, 2011 1:01AM

One about Love

His wizened hand reaches out from
the hospital bed to touch
her too thin forearm.

I’m eating, she says. Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 4, 2011 9:26AM

Referencing Rain

the referencing of rain
as the inbred cousin
of disaster

breeding babies
given the names
of diseases
i can’t help.

here, no notions
of amber waves
no bombs that burst
like they do

over there

here, bombs
deconstruct dams
decimate pride

and otherwise act
as agents
of social c
Read full post »

AUGUST 9, 2011 7:52PM

still life

 (this is a revision of a poem previously posted in may as "apple pie")


in the beginning
he was hale and hearty
with the look of someone
who fed regularly
on pork and corn.

he and the others
who looked just like him
at the chance to spread
such heartiness abroad
but then came bodies
harden… Read full post »

The hills my brothers & I created
Never balanced, & it took years
To discover how the world worked.
We could look at a tree of blackbirds
& tell you how many were there,
But with the scrap dealer
Our math was always off.
Weeks of lifting & grunting
Never added… Read full post »

JUNE 11, 2011 4:50AM

Daddy by Sylvia Plath

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time--
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a… Read full post »

JUNE 6, 2011 4:37AM

rain remembrance (poetry)

the referencing of rain
as the inbred cousin
of disaster
breeding babies
given the names
of diseases
i can’t help.

here, no notions
of amber waves
no bombs that burst
like they do
over there

here, bombs
deconstruct dams
decimate pride
homogenize neighborhoods
and otherwise act
as agen/… Read full post »

In the World language, sometimes called
Airport Road, a thinks balloon with a gondola
under it is a symbol for speculation.

Thumbs down to ear and tongue:
World can be written and read, even painted
but not spoken. People use their own words.

Latin letters are in it for names, for… Read full post »


He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
And snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Far from his illness
The wolves ran on through the ev… Read full post »