Kallima Hamilton is the author of Outside the Lava Fields (Aldrich Press, 2012). She studied at the University of Idaho and the University of San Diego, working as an assistant art librarian and legal clerk. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Hawai’i Pacific Review and Shenandoah.
MIDDLE ISLAND PRESS CHAPBOOKS BY KALLIMA HAMILTON:
Rancho de Fortuna (2013)
by Kallima Hamilton
From trail rides to tanning at the beach, Kallima Hamilton stirs up memories of her fortunate past growing up in Orange County. With Rancho de Fortuna she carefully selects nostalgic images that impacted her life as a poet. Rendered in full color and detail, these poems radiate a California girl’s joie de vivre and sun-soaked innocent marvel.
(A browse upon pages 25 and 26…)
“New Mexican Cherries” (lines 1-34)
Three Dog Night’s reminding us
that one is the loneliest number
as we hold a candlelit séance
at our slumber party.
Jan tells spooky stories of a missing hand
with a mind of its own.
Diane will teach me how to shave
my legs in the morning.
Lynn encourages me to sleep topless,
assures me this will make my boobs big.
(A week later I’m confident it does!).
My cousin and I hike up
an enormous tree. An oak, maybe a walnut?
The base of the tree’s trunk seems
about ten-feet wide.
High up in the V of branches,
we sit camouflaged with an abundant bag
of fallen over-ripe cherries.
My cousin is wicked, egging me on
to throw cherry bombs
down on slow-passing cars.
I hesitate, paranoid of getting caught.
When I get up my nerve for the dare—
just then a pristine pale lemon Mustang
cruises underneath the tree
and I chuck a handful of cherries—splat—
right on the hood.
Geez, the guy gets out, beyond pissed off
and screams into the leafy air.
We hold our breath for minutes
and, whew, get through it undetected.
The next day I see the car
out front of the Five and Dime
and I bolt, guilty as hell.
The Mermaid’s Thesaurus (2013)
From zany to contemplative, Kallima Hamilton’s poems range in their lyrically-honed emotionality. In The Mermaid’s Thesaurus, she demonstrates the knack for having fun with verse–each syllable rumbles with excitable overtures. Sensual, dense and light-hearted at turns, she uses words to express her unique philosophy of the world. As she puts it in “Mermaid Singing on a Grey Jutting Rock,” all journeys begin with her Mermaid-Muse’s “song-swirling sternum’s jeweled aria.”
(A browse upon pages 30 and 32…)
“Yielding to Birdsong and Avarice”
I rankle to the hissing tinsel as it glitters, roadside,
of sun-glint. A black crow
caws and angles
herself across my line of sight. Each moment
is a new beginning in a sea of gazillion do-overs.
My heart swims: peacock, starfish, iridescent bubble.
Smeared with rainbows,
where we mind dance around Egyptian pyramids,
breathe mad wafts of Nag Champa.
Thick with laughter,
our solar plexus areas arouse an enormous luminosity—
we soar, half-golden,
into a powdered blue (obnoxiously true) sky,
beaming with self-confidence
and early signs of demented, carefree awareness:
living in the now,
forgetting these little egos
ankle nipping and demanding me-me-me’s.
Part of the beauty, Rumi said, I am part of the beauty.
“The Mermaid’s Thesaurus”
It’s unbecoming to glean from all the boys
who wallow in pirate gold.
When I’m doused,
dizzy with spume and stuttering angel-mouthed
uncertainties, it behooves me to have a compendium
of fossilized words.
Words that can tell the time
underwater, blindly, at random.
Huge attempts to ferry down, fall in love, paint the town red,
but all I do is float like kelp. Got to be some help out there,
juke-joints other than this kingdom beyond sound alone.
Trade all my emerald fish scales for a limber pair of gams.
Etymology’s a gorgeous wench on these jagged rocks.
She’ll make you forget hausfraus steadily weaving, weaving.
Siren songs waft in the mesmerizing eyes of beluga whales
while blonde fish-bottomed girls blow deathly come-hithers.
Metaphysical, I arrive at absurd conclusions,
whisper flamboyant syllables as if they were real swan tears,
synonyms for something salted with fire.
(Kallima’s chapbooks are also available through Amazon.com.)