The Men In My Life

by Tichaona Chinyelu

L came from new york
and was luscious to look at:
skin dark as a plum 
lips sculpted by the architects of the pyramids
and arms that pinned me securely to the bed
when I tried to sneak out for a midnight smoke.
I was with him when the 92 rebellions hit.
The memory i have of him is highlighted by a picture
that appeared on the front page of the san franscisco chronicle:
standing on top of a car
delivering an insurgent speech about the state of the union 
a speech that got him arrested
while wearing my burn hollywood burn t-shirt
a shirt declared contraband and confiscated as illegal imagery:
a masked vato about to toss a Molotov cocktail. 
From him i have a swiss army knife.

D was born and raised in oakland
the first place crack hit
although he wasn’t its first victim…or its last.
He had golden brown skin 
and the build of the maasai
but he was kind of fragile, physically.
I met him when I was down on my luck.
The memory i have of him is holding my hand
and walking me through everything i was going through.
From him, i have a towel.

Y was my heart from the start.
The youngest of six raised by a kindergarten-sized woman
with no money and no place to live when the hawk ruled the wind.
He was short; shorter than I’d ever experienced
but being short myself, he fit me.
The memory i have of him is in the hospital room 
and suddenly the hard rock turned into soft jelly.
From him, i have a baby. 

From the men in my life I have 
A knife
A towel
A baby

A weapon
A succor
A future.

The Men In My Life by Tichaona Chinyelu

© Copyright 2006. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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