The Sierra Leone Web

  Tichaona Chinyelu is the daughter of a Sierra Leonean. She lives in the U.S. state of Illinois. She started writing poetry as a teenager, and continues to write as an extension of her desire to reduce the impact of colonialism and neocolonialism on the lives of Africans.  


A Woman's Dilemma

Tongue against tongue used to be a kiss
a sensation to warm myself with old cold winter nights
or to sweat through on hot summer nights
but now it has bitterly metamorphosed
into a thing
that slashes and burns
that mutilates
what used to be
regardless of the season.

Summer is the dissolution of what was sacred.
Winter is the concretization of the dissolution.
I am floundering.
I am trying to think of life without you
though I want you still
though you want me still
and that's a play on words
that plays to the crux of the matter.

I've learned how to be physically stationary
but my mouth runs non-stop
gets ahead of itself
utters challenges to your logic
tears down walls
you think you need
to get through daily life.

I am running my mouth
thinking I am revving you up
for the biggest play of all
but your mouth tells me
I can harm as well as heal.

And I am silenced.

I flounder in the silence
wondering how to turn
tongue against tongue
back into a kiss
without opening my mouth
as you requested.



Isn't it all about feelings, really?

Knowing that if you bring rice and beans
to a pate luncheon
you'll be considered a savage
or obsolete farm machinery
as i heard us described one day
on a talk show.

Isn't it about respect, really?

Knowing that if you help
an old blind white woman out of the street
where she's screaming in confusion
because the light changed and she didn't know it
it won't be thought that you're doing it
because that's the way you were brought up
but because it's genetically programmed into you
to serve.

Isn't it about time we said hold up
wait a minute, slow your roll
I got a soul that deserves
the same freedom of expression
as yours gets.

Or maybe it's like ice cube said
"who are they to be equal to?"
knowing their history, their daily activities
knowing that there's something wrong
with the way they exist in the world.

I mean, they burned leeches, didn't they?
Wouldn't you kill a leech that was sucking
the blood out of you
the blood you need to live
the blood that flows through the body
that houses your soul

leaving you wandering around
looking like a hollowed out shell of a human
like LA looked like a hollowed out shell of a city
after the 92 rebellions.

Cause that's how it is
that's how I feel some days
wondering if the white woman or white man
is gonna hire me
so that I can put food on the table
|so that my blood can get rich
so that my soul can expand.

That's how the dependency complex works
has you questioning things
no human should be questioning
like do you stink
as you get on an elevator full of white people
knowing you took a shower in the morning
and put on something fine-smelling.

Knowing you're really alright
but questioning it when you're around them
cause you don't exist outside of history.
And the only other option seems to be
to not be around them
to turn to anti-social activities
which they can turn around and say
we knew you were like that anyway
we need to keep you in your place
and you keep in your place

you keep their place
until your soul gets all shriveled up
and you start exploring other options
and a revolution blooms on the scene.

Cause it's about feelings.


Cause it's about respect.



Sun Love

The sun
The sun sought me out
in the darkness of dreamland.
The sun
The sun blazed a path along my locs
attempting to penetrate my closed lids.

Half asleep I turn toward you
embracing you as if you are the warmth of a lover.
My arms opening
My legs spreading
My lips curving in an inviting half-smile
as my eyes open
and I give praise.

You have awakened me.
You have opened my eyes.
You allow me to greet the day with grace.
You are one of the fundamentals of life.

Your warmth penetrates the earth.
You give the crops sustenance.
Without you there is no brightness
only a pale disaster of a day
that has people calling out for you
even though my disappearance is necessary.

When you turn your back on us
in this part of the world
people in another part of the world
are allowed to benefit from your healthy rays.
The earth itself turns to face you
and you see everything.
Nothing is immune from your view.

Crimes against nature
Crimes against human nature
You bear witness to it all
and like a witness
you represent justice.

You are a testament to the saying
that what goes down must come up
and what comes up must go down.