Yes I

“Yes I” was written in a period when I regularly attended poetry slams at the Nuyorican Poet’s Café. I gained an appreciation of rap poetry from listening to the young rappers who would perform for each other while waiting in line to get in, hours before the doors opened. One theme of their work that resonated for me was the quest to be true to oneself and one’s authentic experience, however painful it is. Somehow their themes and their rhythms inspired me to write this piece.

In memory of Samuel Beckett

 

I hold myself in arms so still
The silence drills my bones and chills
Me till I know I never will
Know heat – no heat

Cold sweat like pearls upon my skin
With blood like liquid nitrogen
I float beyond all virtue, sin
Or pain – no pain

No judge no jury in this place
I only see the mirror’s face
No trace of shame a barren grace
Rains down – rains down

I bear witness to my breath
The flickering flame of life and death
For I will never leave myself
Alone – alone

Sleep now sleep now I say and mean
That even in the darkest dream
A voice survives to wake and scream
I am – I am

I hold myself I’m in my arms
No hope of joy no fear of harm
With nothing left to do or tell
I’m in my arms I hold myself

Without tenderness, but faithfully
Without tenderness, but faithfully
Without tenderness

In faith

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Kimberly Gladman Jackson is the author of Materfamilias (Tandeta Books, 2018) and Tesseract (Finishing Line Press, 2016).
You can connect with her on her website.

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