The Daughter of Atlas

I am unafraid
He made me that way.
The man with strong shoulders said to me
how heavy the world weighed
but he would take it day by day.
He held me up like I was porcelain and in one hand
taught me the worth of the words I’m Proud Of You
but sadness can be defiant too
dreams can be shattered before you even wake
and you find yourself bruised at 22
haunted by what life has thrown at you
with enough nightmares to fill a lifetime
ran out of tears. Stuck. Still.

I scream at night during thunderstorms.
It’s Unfair.
I rage louder than the thunder burning through the night
then put the mask back on when it is finally daytime.
It’s Unfair.
But I was prepared.

Inside the porcelain shell is a core of titanium
with veins full of Gaelic liquor
heart fire, soul supernova, raw grit
scarred with the words Keep Going.
Be Defiant. He said.
The universe can’t give you more than you can handle
just enough before you crumble
your life is weighed and measured, careful
just enough, just enough to push, to live
You will end up where you need to be. You will be given what you need.
My shoulders are strong enough to take the burden
and on lighter days pick up others too
because that’s what he would have done
it’s my turn to take up the post.
With gratitude for those who have gone before me
I will take the world in a warm embrace
I am the daughter of Atlas
I am unafraid.

by Kimberly Jamison

Singing Bowl

The singing bowl rings
Bless this space, it whispers
through the trees, the weeds, the bamboo cane.
But it didn’t bless that chair with no seat
or the hub cap gong
it didn’t bless the neighbours when everything went wrong.

The singing bowl rings
Bless the heart that still needs mending, it hums
like the broken trowel through constant weeding
the only thing that has no ending
as if to remind us we are part of this circle
and despite our faith or lack of
the earth is more important and will live on.

The singing bowl rings
Bless the mind that can’t stop wheeling, it howls
louder than the thunderstorms that tore down
roofs and flooded streets
making the air cold, clear, clean
allowing me to breathe.

The singing bowl rings
Bless the ones who cannot feel, it mourns
and makes non believers question 
believers doubt, and only offers advice
to those here, in the moment, those who know the grass and the ash
those who are still.

The singing bowl rings
Bless this space, it cries
and through the wind it sings
harmonising with the pulse in my veins.
As the vibrations tickle my palm
and in the middle of the sweating city, 
I am calm.

By Kimberly Jamison 

Blue #342

It was the dark pastel blue of my art set
the sky and the sea smudging together
it was the blue of years to come
the filter over my nightmares
the blue of bruises just about to fade
of veins under sunburn
of the pavement under rain.

You see, its the blue I always avoid.
It’s the blue your face became.

By Kimberly Jamison

Navigate

In olden times, before GPS, adventurers would use sextants to find their way through more dangerous waters
but since you have returned home to the stars you were made from
I have no trouble navigating treacherous times
and although I wish you were still on this earth
I have no more need for metal instruments
I just look towards my celestial guide

By Kimberly Jamison

Tyrant

How would you have us greet your tyrant?
We greet ours with balls of wool
mulled pigs and fatted wine.
We close our eyes as they devour our land
and tax the air we breathe
every demand concede.

How would you have us greet your tyrant?
We greet ours with the skin from our backs
and rub his feet with the fat from the slaughterhouse.
But will tell you your practices are uncivilised and undemocratic
with our arms roped behind our shoulders
You could learn from us folk.

How would you have us greet your tyrant?
we ask to be civil
crocodile smiles in shiny chains
easy
let’s not start a war just yet
because we know we are the cannon fodder.

How would you have us greet your tyrant?
We would dishonestly like to know
because in the name of democracy
some
of us have decided
we would like to swap one for another.

By Kimberly Jamison

Dear Daughter: poem, protest, open letter to future daughters

Dear Daughter,

I can’t promise to bubble wrap you up against the world that still sees ‘doing it like a girl’ as a playground insult
your beautiful body shouldn’t have to be a war zone or a subject for debate because
it’s yours and only yours but some don’t see it that way
I can’t promise that you’ll receive that same salary or even respect as your brothers
and that you won’t be accused of throwing a tantrum when you point out the injustice
and I can’t promise you that you won’t face words that cut
that you won’t be called a slut or a whore
but I can promise you that you are worth so much more than the state of your hymen
and despite what they say, menstruation isn’t a dirty word
you do not have to be ashamed
I hope you never have to fear dark nights or alleyways the way we did
and that your voice is always heard whether you are saying yes or no, the way mine wasn’t
you are loved, so loved, and will be loved by another man, women or other
because of this
I will promise to bring you up on Angelou, Chanel, and Malala
so that your voice doesn’t shake when you speak your mind
and you don’t get told you’re lying
you will be more than pretty, more than your body
you will have soul, and most importantly opportunity
I promise to stand up for myself, so that I can fight for your future, every day of my life
I won’t do as I’m told and cross my legs or mind my fucking words, I’ll be
smashing glass ceilings with stiletto heels, being the boss in men’s fields
writing poems to speak the truth that others are too scared to admit
because they are afraid that they might look like the bad guy
well, sometimes doing the right thing doesn’t feel heroic
but I will carve out a world that is worthy of you
so that by the time this gets to you, things shall have changed
by the time this gets to you, things will be so much better
so please, dearest daughter, tell your daughters what we did
and that we tried.

By Kimberly Jamison

So background, I wrote this for a competition which is why I did not put it up here but it didn’t get accepted. I submitted it elsewhere and it still didn’t. I think my point is still worth making and I actually LOVE performing this poem because I feel powerful doing so. This is why I finally posted it here. I got over the rejection and realised I still liked it, so why not?!
So here you go.

My letter to future daughters.