Last Resort

Nazelah Jamison

the next racist situationi find myself ini'm throwing a throat punchnot because i'm violenti'm a small black girlemphasis on smallemphasis on blackemphasis on girli've never thrown a punch in my lifebut i'm tired of talkingi'm tired of explainingi'm tired of pleadingbeing behind youbeneath you, besidesyou never listen anywayperhaps a chop to the windpipe willcurb your justificationyour immediate physical pain maybroaden your perspectiveif i give you something to cry aboutyou might use your tears more wiselychoose your wordsand talk to your peersmy patience and endurancehas not changed your people's perceptionyour guilt makes youdeny your tribe whencalled to accountabilitywhite people are detrimental to brown healthconversations with you are notsaving my lifeyour good intentions do not protectmy neck and chesta throat punch is not a lynchingi just wanna shut you upnot kill youone person can make a differencethis is my new personal revolutioncause and effect, instant means to an endwarn all your friends

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Nazelah Jamison began writing poetry at eight years old, and has been performing poetry at open mics and poetry slams in the Bay Area and nationally since 1998. She has coached and/or performed on 13 poetry slam teams representing Bay Area cities at the National Poetry Slam Competition. Nazelah co-produced the Oakland Poetry Slam and Open Mic for eight years, and regularly guest-hosts at the Berkeley Poetry Slam.

Besides writing and performing poetry, Nazelah is also a recorded vocalist, theater actor, musician, aspiring comedian, auntie, superfriend, and gives the best hugs ever.

This is Nazelah Jamison’s first official book of published poetry. Previous unofficial, self-published chapbooks include How to Be a Woman in Love (2000), Got Myself Together (2001), Love and Other Startling Revelations (2002), and notes from a facebook life (2013).

"Evolutionary Heart is a reminder of the daily cellular revolution of humanity that is made possible when we chose to live vulnerably. In every poem there is pulse, blood, a beating that cannot be quelled."
—Sonya Renee Taylor

“Nazelah’s writing demonstrates why poetry is vital to our culture. Her lack of pretense, coupled with her wit and vulnerability makes Evolutionary Heart the most human collection I’ve read in a long while.”
—Shawn Taylor

"Considering I'm in love, Nazelah Jamison's words resonate even more in my heart, flesh, and bones, like a soft gong awakening of love's dreams, thoughts, and pains. Each verse's resonance wraps itself around my past love stories, healing me from their scars, while other savant rhymes are pure celebration of hopeful, true, real LOVE."
—Helene Faussart

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