Nickie Shobeiry

‘The Bear’ by JustJamaal The Poet


14 December 2017

Posted In

On Tuesday, December 5th, at our Creative CityMakers event, Ottawa’s Poet Laureate, Jamaal Jackson Rogers, a.k.a. JustJamaal, showed his awe-inspiring creativity by writing and performing an entirely original poem, on-the-spot.

Jamaal asked folks to describe, in two to three words, what the Ottawa arts and culture scene means to them. Then, using the answers, he created ‘The Bear’ – an artistic, co-created artifact of this special Synapcity gathering.

Text below, film credits to Chris White

The Bear

To be discovered is like a lazy and lonely bear
Waking up to its full potential.
Soul-searching in a Venn diagram belonging to
Original indigenous land owners needing support.
Opening the eclectic talents,
Emerging alive,
Seeking reverence and community-driven inclusivity.

The bear moves forward with a hunger,
Growing in need of a bigger audience,
Its food
Is a surprisingly small audience,
Sometimes underrated,
Yet diverse –
Musicians that are supported
Even if the neighbours complain about noise.

The bear’s frontier
Is a thriving, accessible, friendly, inclusive, bilingual, government-funded city,
Call it ‘caput mundi’ in the making,
With more variety, more connections, and more value
Than outside tourism could ever offer –
And way more happening
Than anyone could ever expect.

The bear sees that this is attainable.
It reflects on Canada,
And realises
There’s lots to discover.


Follow Jamaal on social media: @JustJamaalPoet