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Tichaona M Chinyelu

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Contraband Marriage
by Tichaona M Chinyelu   

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Books by Tichaona M Chinyelu
· In the Whirlwind
· Still Living on my Feet
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Publisher:  Whirlwind Publishing Type: 


Copyright:  Feb 28, 2010 ISBN-13:  9780978935559

Contraband Marriage @ Smashwords
Contraband Marriage @ Lulu
Whirlwind Publishing

Contraband Marriage, traveling along the hemline of loving after incarceration, is a love story written in lyric and free form, set in reality with a different ever after.


We make it work by inches.
Our hands extended above our heads
pushing at the concrete
understanding that
even if it’s turned into a wall
that wall will one day crack and then break
under the pressure of our hands
and we will breathe free
In prison, a place where emotions based on affection are just about non-existent, love becomes the rarest of commodities; and as such is both highly prized and legislated.
By falling in love with a man who was incarcerated, I was participating in an activity considered contrary to the status quo on a variety of levels. Black people aren’t supposed to love one another. Black women aren’t supposed to love Black men. And no one is supposed to love the prisoners. But it happens and such love becomes contraband; something to be smuggled in and experienced on the sly.
Contraband Marriage covers those oppressive times and travels along the hemline of loving after incarceration, digging deep into its affects on that love, my walk into motherhood and how simple the decision to disentangle became when a child was involved. In multi-color, it paints the pains of the personal being political, the bumpy terrain of healing and the beautiful difficulty that can be forgiveness. It is a love story written in lyric and free form, set in reality with a different ever after.

He wanted only a portion:
A toe, a curlicue of nappy hair
And randomly scheduled access
To my inner core
Which he didn't know was volcanic.

I wanted to give it all:
The history behind the scar on my right forearm,
The memories nitpicked at until they
covered me
Like a masque,
The occasional cooling of my womb.


But he had no space for my fullness.
After each eruption of lava
I deflated until there was nothing:
No glint in my eye
No twitch in my hips
No smile at sightings of him.


Just smoke and ashes that formed
A new emotional landscape
I didn't know how to navigate.

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