Aaron Kent / Four poems

I Raise My Arm

When the wind is high

or the sky full of clouds,

I sometimes walk down the

riverbank to the point

where the water runs into the sea,

and try to count the stars.

And at night

I can’t be sure if it’s still

a place where the

water runs into the sea,

or the mouth of a cave.

I can’t see the

place where the water flows

into the cave,

nor where the cave ends.

Sometimes there are clouds

on the water,

and sometimes the clouds

are full of wind,

and sometimes there are wings

in the clouds.

But if I look carefully

I can sort of see

the place where the river

flows into the sea,

and the mouth of the cave

as well, and I can sometimes

see the whole sea.

If I look carefully

I can see the river,

the cave, the sea,

the place where

the water flows

into the sea,

the place where the sea ends.

But you can see the places

where the water flows

into the ocean,

and you always

see the whole sea.

I’m growing my friends in petri dishes

Nobody leaves home without

knowing there are things

that will kill you, and that’s

the thing about living anywhere –

for as long as you live

you’re older and people

die sooner, but they don’t

stay dead. They turn to dust

and the dust blows up

on the breeze until you feel the dust

of the dead under your feet

and in your mouth.

(we’re all living with ghosts

not knowing we’re alive).

O, grey wolf on white, let me see

mighty elephants against a stormy sky.

Frank Skinner’s Honeymoon Tour

The first stop, somewhere south of climate change, is an underwater shipwreck. It should not be there. We have not been there before. The possibilities are endless. Something big is in there, in the dark with a few old men sitting around with umbrella drinks, smoking cigarettes, and shivering. It could be the skeleton of a huge atoll, for all we know. Or it could be a rotting diamond teller, perhaps they had a black hole at their wedding. We have seen each other under these lights so often. This could be a horror movie. All kinds of bizarre things come out of this wreck Just don’t point your fingers at the light. You will not like what happens then. Maybe it will grab your finger. Not sure, not for sure, but maybe. It is hard to say. It might. This could happen and we won’t ever be the same again.

Scabies vs Predator

The sky is on fire.

The light of the sun seems too big.

It is falling through the ceiling

to the floor

and the whole ceiling seems to be on fire,

and the basement and the family room,

and the entire bathroom

and my living room

and my bedroom

and the stairwell and the kitchen is on fire.

Everything is in slow motion.

Everything is a pool of fire and smoke.

There is nothing in the universe

but a seething, engulfing ocean of flame.

And then the universe turns into a diamond.

The sun is a diamond.

The sky is a diamond.

The air is a diamond.

The moon is a diamond.

The planets are diamonds.

The constellations are diamonds.

There is nothing in the universe

but a seething, engulfing ocean of diamonds

and, just as the diamond becomes the sun

I wake up.

My bed is surrounded by snoring stray cats.

I have a single sheet on the bed and my quilt is on the floor.

I’m covered in cat hair, my shirt is sticking to me,

my skin is stuck to my sheets.

I crawl across the floor to my bathtub.

I get in and wash myself with snow.


Aaron Kent is a working-class writer and award-winning publisher from Cornwall, now living in Wales. He runs the Michael Marks Publishing Award winning press Broken Sleep Books, and his debut poetry collection, Angels the Size of Houses, is available from Shearsman. Aaron was awarded the Awen medal from the Bards of Cornwall for his poetry pamphlet The Last Hundred. Gillian Clarke said, of his poetry, “Every poem is a dizzy word-dazzle, a dance of images, expressing a real life of work, babies, love and loss.” Andrew McMillan called it “Poetry that vibrates on its own frequency, and invites the reader into its own surreal soundscapes.” JH Prynne called his work “Unicorn Flavoured” and Vahni Capildeo said “Aaron Kent’s pages made me experience, for the first time ever in my reading, the spaces between words as rips in fabric that let skin show through in its bruised and tender luminosity”.

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