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but I am what i / am. woman. alone / amid all this noiseI reached the back cover of this book and – let me tell you something – I was so excited. To talk about the book, to think about the book, and to seriously consider my emotional responses to the book. Get some Sonia Sanchez in your life—if youre a woman, and a Black woman at that. Let me be cheesy for a minute... This book is titled Shake Loose My Skin, and, well...my skin has been shaken loose. Thats exactly why I am so happy that I read it.Sanchez is an incredible writer, and I found myself wondering what I did — felt, even — before I discovered her writing. She writes what I would describe as utter womanhood; and even more than that, she writes Black womanhood. She writes beautifully and movingly about the complexity of [Black] womanhood, that we can be ‘strong’, but we break, bend, and twist also, and it is okay. Because human beings shouldnt be put in a single box. We can move with the wind, we can move as our spirits and experiences prompt us to. Her expressions of womanhood are powerful, you find yourself wanting to wallow in the softness, the strength, and the vivacity of being a woman.And history began once again. I received it and let it circulate in my blood. I learned on those Saturday afternoons about women rooted in themselves, raising themselves in dark America, discharging their pain without ever stopping. I learned about women fighting men back when they hit them: “Dont never let no mens hit you mo than once girl.” I learned about “womens waking up they mens” in the nite with pans of hot grease and the compromises reached after the smell of hot grease had penetrated their sleepy brains. I learned about loose women walking their abandoned walk down front in church, crossing their legs instead of their hands to God. And I crept into my eyes. Alone with my daydreams of being woman. Adult. Powerful. Loving. Like them. Allowing nobody to rule me if I didnt want to be.She also writes about the complete acceptance of oneself — or womanhood, if you like....and my singing / becomes the only sound of a / blue/black/magical/woman. walking. / womb ripe. walking. loud with mornings. walking. / making pilgrimage to herself. walking.“Making pilgrimage to herself” got me, because of what a pilgrimage signifies in religious terms. Making pilgrimage to herself, walking into herself; becoming, fully, herself; accepting herself, wholly. I feel like this is the ultimate expression of self-love.In ‘Just Dont Never Give Up On Love’, I like what she writes about the old black woman who comes to speak to a woman at the bench. We hugged; then she walked her 84-year-old walk down the street. A black woman. Echoing gold. Carrying couplets from the sky to crease the ground.Sanchez writes of the beauty of being a woman, and I am consumed by some kind of wholesomeness. Does that make sense? Quite an exciting, melodic read.I think she even hints that her God is a woman—a Black woman.Her love letter to her Mother is the most moving piece of writing in this book, I think.My life flows from you Mama. My style comes from a long line of Louises who picked me up in the nite to keep me from wetting the bed. A long line of Sarahs who fed me and my sister and fourteen other children from watery soups and beans and a lot of imagination. A long line of Lizzies who made me understand love. Sharing. Holding a child up to the stars. Holding your tribe in a grip of love. A long line of Black people holding each other up against silence.[...]I still hear your humming Mama. The color of your song calls me home. The color of your words saying, “Let her be. She got a right to be different. She gonna stumble on herself one of these days. Just let the child be.” And I be Mama.I wouldnt analyse Sonia Sanchez in the way one does a regular Western writer/poet. Her writing comes from something different—the point at which blackness meets womanhood. Her writing is an expression of her blackness. I would go as far as saying that one reads Sanchez emotionally, but I dont know what that means (yet).In any case, you might wanna read some Sanchez, or get yourself a woman who quotes Sanchez. ;)

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