clay ball

clay ball
August 08
hello there! i am clay ball, a tiny visitor from the andromeda galaxy. you can read about my visit to earth at: adventuresofclayball. (just straightforward non-fiction about my travels in space, recipes, & motherhood-in-transit). now that i am back at home, i enjoy reading os to stay current on earthly matters. :) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ p.s.: is a government website to help you find healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act

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Some Wonderful OS Posts...
JANUARY 9, 2011 4:18PM

Still Living on my Feet, by OSer Tichaona Chinyelu

Rate: 9 Flag

"It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."

So reads the inscription at the beginning of  Still Living on my Feet, aptly summing up the spirit and essence of this beautiful volume of poetry by Open Salon's Tichaona Chinyelu.


"Still Living on my Feet  


I had ordered Tichaona's book a while back, and since then have been trying to find a way to share its diversity of styles and subject matter, the energy and cadence captured by Tichaona's words, and the beauty of her poetry.  I haven't found a way to truly describe the essence of this volume, but simply will say that I love this book of poetry, which must be read in order to be appreciated. 

Tichaona has a rhythm and style to her writing, which pulls the reader along.  I could not put the book down.  In many of her poems, she exhibits a playfulness with words, which makes reading them a joyful experience, as in the poem "The Daily Grind,"  a sweet and intimate poem on lovemaking.  The following is an excerpt from another poem, "Nonsense Makes Sense":

We tango sambo

Manifesting delicious

Delinquency to the tune

Of tito

Ditto machito & his afro-cubans

Plantation palpitations

Banana fandango

Somber sambo

Santeriá celia

Cruz middle passage

Memorizing meringue

Sherbro sho bro

Talk that talk...

Many of the poems in Still Living on my Feet  tell introspective stories, as they regard themes such as love, racism, gender, or the searing multigenerational effects of colonialism.  Some sound as if they are autobiographical, as Tichaona grows from being a teen to a young woman, then a mother, and in other poems  she is walking a mile in others' shoes, which she seems to do with clarity and insight.

One of my very favorite poems in this collection, "Amandla Awethu I," takes place in Soweto in 1976.  Each stanza, written in the voices of the young people, is followed by a one- or two-line response, the voices of their elders.  Here are just the very first and last stanzas of this wonderful, mesmerizing poem:


 It was 1976

A fine time to be alive in soweto:

for a change.

(just to be alive is a fine time)


Love reawakened in those of us who stayed

as our mothers and fathers buried our classmates.

We raised our fists as our mothers and fathers

embraced us with the words amandla awethu

we stomped the ground as nkosi sikeleli 'iafrika

replaced the burial hymn of amazing grace

and the tears we cried at funerals

became rallying cries for further resistance.

(what else could we do?)

(they were our children)


young women 


It is hard to select just a few poems to highlight, but here is one final one, the last two stanzas from "Sisterly Relaxation," another one of my  favorites in this collection:


On a night like tonight

I'm reminded

Of what a blessing it is

To be old school

To venerate the sounds

My generation was conceived

To and by.

I feel the stress on my shoulders


As I open up to the quiet

And peace offered as greeting

From those I love.

Tonight I'm not going to say

No justice/no peace.

Tonight I'm going to say

Peace be unto you

As it is unto me.



elder women 


Thank you, Ms. Tichaona Chinyelu, for sharing your beautiful and insightful writing in your books, and also here with us at Open Salon!


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I am an admirer of her poetry. Her words strike my heart and create the need to pause and reflect. But mostly, it is her deft hand at making words sing that capture me. Well done and with thanks for this.
This is wonderful.. I am going to read her poems now.
Good on you for doing this.
I bow to your good soul.
rated with hugs
She posts infrequently, understandably busy, but always so good to read.
Thank you for this sample - three such distinct rhythms - and for the wider shout-out - I hope more people catch on.
Thank you for bringing attention to this. I'm checking this out.
i have a copy of Still Living On My Feet and enjoyed reading it too. As a matter of fact, read it many times since.
@rita--"it is her deft hand at making words sing that capture me." yes!
@Linda--I think you will love Tichaona's poetry... & sending hugs right back to you...
@Kim--thanks for your words...yes, I love Tichaona's range of styles, too.
@Mime--thank you for stopping by...I think you will really like this book...
@Renatta--I love the poem Decreolization Accents (with Renatta Laundry) in this book...are you the co-author? :)
Helena, thank you for this nice review. I appreciate your appreciation (smile).

And yes, Renatta is THE Renatta of Decreolization Accents. Check out her page on here.
Hi Tichaona, thank you. I will check out Renatta's blog. :)
Those are lovely excerpts. I know she appreciates your appreciation for her work and that you've taken the time to write a review. I haven't read her work before, and I look forward to reading more.
Thanks for stopping by, Ms. Bellwether Vance! :) I think you will really enjoy Tichaona's poetry.
Beautiful words
I have never seen her work before
such expression
so much feeling
such joy of life
Thanks for enlightening

rated with love
Thank you, Romantic Poetess...what would we do without the poetesses of the world, who express all our souls with their words?
Thanks for these Links.
I gotta read you more.
When you go to galaxy?

Please no forget me?
I'll plant the flower.
You not a nut.
Wherever why.
No weddings.
No chapels.
No argue.
Yes Ah!

O Chow.
Ay later.
Tam biet.
I won't forget you when travelling to other galaxies,
Art James.
When I am out there, the Milky Way looks like an illuminated Queen Anne's Lace
in the bouquet of galaxies,
So it is easy to find my way back.
I love the smoky blue of forget-me-nots,
and greens,
chores are kind of soothing in a way,
they give a good rhythm to life,
but my favorite is watching the sky change.
It is like living inside of a blue/pink/inky black marble
With clouds
Hẹn gặp lại. :)
Thank you for posting this. I have found her poetry to be powerful and fiercely passionate at times. Other times I have felt its gentleness. I often want to read her pieces several times.~r
I agree Joanie H...that is how I feel, too. Thank you for coming by. :)