Future Body Self-Portrait by Kyla Jamieson

Poem Title: Future Body self portrait Poet Name: Kyla Jamieson Poem: 		The future might be different from the past 		– Basim Magdy 1.  My friend the artist described the face of my lover the poet as moon-like. It’s so open, she said. There was something about the moon & masculinity & CanLit that we were always mocking to kill our pain but I don’t remember how it started. After the poet moved to Montréal I dreamt he made a mixtape & folded the stems of daisies to bury their heads in the dirt. He did so as tenderly as he had loved me. I remember a time before anorexia & bulimia & eating disorders not otherwise specified. Before birth control. Before sex. Before rape. In the new CanLit I go to the gym with my brother & lift weights in a room with a view of Lake Michigan. At dusk I take warm air into my lungs & bikini self-portrait under the moon who is genderless. They know what it’s like to be both a place & a thing to have light & everyone’s ideas projected onto them. Unable to sleep I reach out a hand. Back home there’s a man who enters me while filling the air with words that find me far from my body & call me back. It’s the kind of magic that works if you believe in it & I do.  2.  If dissociation precedes sex how can you tell it’s what’s happening when you move in the heat of the night? If I end a poem about my self/body with sex & a man can I still love myself? Can I be happy in a sick body? Last night I had a dream about Libby & a girl I dated that featured the feeling these are my people. In another I tried to get a woman to the hospital in an America that felt exponentially foreign. She was supine on a stretcher. Racing down streets I lost track of her breath. In this metaphor for my pursuit of health at the expense of ease the woman is my body & I am my mind. Near the end: the image of my mother coming in through a door. Peace & relief twinned with chaos in my sleep. Body & mind like the small pink-hearts- circling-each-other emoji. Cut off from reading I browse the internet of my being. I see more people while asleep than awake. It is true that I am lonely & in need. For example, I need to see at least one person I love each day. Has illness made me more or less human? I feel small & vast at the same time. I am desperate & very much alive.  3.  It occurs to me that I’ve used the word alive more than pain in these poems & I’m not going to change it. Besides they’re nearly the same thing, alive & in pain. I’m speaking plainly but it’s poetry. Look how time & space bend. I’m summoning my future body & a new CanLit. You know what I mean & it matters to me. The moon app says I still believe in peace. So do I. This morning in bed Jeremy said I know it’s not true but the whole world feels good right now. It is good, I said, & not because I’m naive. I have no interest in dishonesty or distance. You came here for a kind of truth & I want to give you everything. I know almost nothing I can prove. I can’t earn a wage & can barely read but I truly believe our flesh vessels can hold both joy & pain. I won’t argue hope with the hopeless. My testimony is simple: I’m a mess of statistics & I still want to live.  End of poem.  Credits: Copyright © Kyla Jamieson Published in Body Count, Nightwood Editions, 2020  Kyla Jamieson is a disabled poet who lives and relies on the unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, in the city currently known as Vancouver. She is the author of the poetry collection Body Count (Nightwood Editions, 2020) and the chapbook Kind of Animal (Rahila’s Ghost Press, 2019). Her work reimagines time, embodiment, care, and intimacy in the aftermath of a brain injury. It has been shortlisted for the Arc Poem of the Year Award, twice longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize, and published widely. In 2019, CA Conrad and Anne Boyer selected an early draft of Body Count as the third-place winner in the Metatron Prize for Rising Authors. www.kylajamieson.com