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Introductions are generally hard for me. Something about "hello, I'm Tichaona. I'm a poet who has written and published two books of my poetry; am embarking on the path of running my own publishing company and under the banner of that company (Whirlwind Publishing) have published two authors, A. Shakur Towns and Abena Isake" leaves me incoherent. Therefore, before I start dissembling, let me introduce you to my literary concept of self:

Weaver Woman

I weave words
like a west african market woman
selling you my vision, my mangoes, my papayas
even my coconuts.
My finished product can be held up to the sun
illuminated, made to shine.

The skins of my poems have been submerged in mud
then laid at the bottom of the baobab tree to dry
like mudcloth.
The blood of my poems can be as dry as the sahara
as wet as monsoons
as cutting as a machete in the hands of the mau mau.

I weave blood into my words:
red blood, dried blood, young blood.
An oversaturation of blood decorates my words
makes them pulse red.
My words hang from trees
like the bitterest kind of strange fruit.
My words find the peruvian revolutionaries
murdered while hogtied
and then buried in criminal secrecy.
My words were inspired by rigoberta menchu.

I roots rock reggae with my words
have them jamming to the heart beat rhythm
of the warmest music.
The fabric of my words is at its lightest
when they’re in the dancehall or the yard.
My words sweep over people
like the softest caribbean breezes.
My words will have you dreaming of blue skies
white sands and coral reefs

and while you’re dreaming
I weave black people into my words
and I am done.
My finished product can be held up to the sun
illuminated, made to shine.

©2004 Tichaona Chinyelu

The above piece of self-definition can be found in my first book of poetry, In the Whirlwind. Both In the Whirlwind and my second book, Still Living on my Feet can be purchased through my website: www.inthewhirlwind.com

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