The Physics of Atmospheric Misogyny

Poetry / Kyla Jamieson

:: The Physics of Atmospheric Misogyny ::

We’ve been together
For six months and
I still haven’t written
You a poem. I wrote many 
Poems to my exes 
So in theory this should
Be easy, but all those
Poems were arguments.
Notice how I never wrote
Poems to the women
I dated? They deserved
More than to be put
In a poem in the role
Of lover-antagonist.
Women are always being 
Put places, like things.
We are having sex and all
That I can think of 
Is how easy it would be
To kill you Elaine Kahn 
Writes. As a woman can
Because the world
Has made her feel
Easy to kill. Last night
I read the Wikipedia
Page on Ted Bundy
Because he’s trending
And I knew only his name 
And that he killed a lot 
Of women. I think men
Our age know more 
About Bundy than women
Do and it shows. Just 
Yesterday another white
Man killed five women
In a bank. There’s an ad
Playing right now
That really annoys me:
A woman waits
At a bus stop and a man
Starts playing a recorder.
He leans into and over
Her and the ad says use
A car share. As though
Women don’t already
Drive to avoid street
Harassment if we can
Afford it. I watch TV
In a nightmare future
Where an ad for a banking
App plays: the target 
Audience is women who don’t
Want to get shot. What
Does the world hate
More than women
In public is something
Else Kahn wrote and
Didn’t punctuate: it’s 
Not a question unless
A bullet is a question.
Can someone engineer
Lead that turns into
Inquiry mid-flight?
In my dream future
The NRA promotes guns
That ask how you feel
More than my meditation
App. And when you shoot
Them Donté Colley
Comes out dancing.
In this future I am the kind
Of free I almost imagined
But did not think possible
And so are you.


From the writer

:: Account ::

I wrote this poem two years after a brain injury, when I was just begin­ning to read again. Because I’d been read­ing so lit­tle, the poems I read, from Elaine Kahn’s Women in Pub­lic, hov­ered, dis­tinct, in my mind; there was no sea of lan­guage for them to sink into, no lit­er­ary back­ground against which they might dis­ap­pear. I desire a future that tran­scends the gen­der bina­ry, but the present, and present-day vio­lence, and even my own trau­ma his­to­ry, often feel defined by gen­der. Most­ly, this poem describes a per­spec­tive on real­i­ty and pop­u­lar cul­ture that’s ground­ed in a body that feels like a tar­get, like prey. But it also ges­tures towards pos­si­bil­i­ties that lie beyond this descrip­tion, that my mind and my lan­guage have not yet cor­ralled into text. Here, dancer and cul­tur­al fig­ure Don­té Col­ley acts as a sym­bol of hope, the embod­i­ment of a joy­ful opti­mism that the intel­lect might con­sid­er too sim­ple for seri­ous consideration.


Kyla Jamieson lives and relies on the unced­ed tra­di­tion­al ter­ri­to­ries of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Wau­tuth Nations. Her poet­ry has appeared or is forth­com­ing in Poet­ry Is Dead, Room Mag­a­zine, The Vault, GUTS, Peach Mag, The May­nard, Plen­i­tude, and oth­ers. In 2019, she was select­ed by CA Con­rad and Anne Boy­er as the third-place win­ner in the Meta­tron Prize for Ris­ing Authors. She is the author of Kind of Ani­mal (Rahila’s Ghost Press, 2019), a poet­ry chap­book about the after­math of a brain injury. Body Count, her début col­lec­tion of poems, is forth­com­ing with Night­wood Edi­tions in Spring 2020. Find her on insta­gram as @airymeantime or on a rock next to a river.