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

OCTOBER 14, 2011 2:02PM

Boston Latin School (edited)

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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 colonial
and maternal expectations.

In English class, the suited,
aristocratic-toned teacher
informed us
we had to memorize and recite
the Gettysburg address

Fourscore and seven years ago

Almost seven years old
when I arrived on this continent
where my mother’s accent
mis-branded her an uneducated foreigner
and my birth name, devoid of its context,
drew comparisons to a winner
of the Kentucky Derby.

Our fathers brought forth on this continent

Fourteen years old
and solidified within me already
was a resistance to indoctrination:
Your fathers, maybe. Not mine.
He had nothing to do with it.

a new nation, conceived in liberty

Libertines forcibly transported;
their larceny and lust
immortalized in the death of legions
of indigenous innocents.

and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal

I stared out the window
the whole time
watching leaves
with their riotous color
fall to the ground.

In biology class, I was repelled
by the teacher’s fascination
with brown polyester
and bad dye jobs.

Each afternoon
on the long trip home
I thought only winter,
with its paucity of green,
looks like these people.

Before winter break, I was called
into the counselor’s office.
Looking like me but possessing
speech patterns as alien as Latin
she showed me the D’s and F’s
littering my school file
and recommended a transfer.

The next semester
I started at a new school
and the first thing of significance
I did
was write a poem about a tree
cause nature is natural and beautiful

like me.


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