Aaron Kent (British Working Class Poets)

Aaron Kent,

Aaron Kent is a working-class writer and insomniac from Cornwall. His work has been praised by the likes of JH Prynne, Gillian Clarke, Andre Bagoo, Andrew McMillan, and Vahni (Anthony Ezekiel) Capildeo. Aaron was awarded the Awen medal from the Bards of Cornwall in 2020, then subsequently suffered a brain haemorrhage a few months later. Coincidence? Probably. 

 

I stopped taking the pills that made me sleep

 

 

 

My brother’s got a broken leg,

we can’t pay the rent;

I’ve been working at the car wash for weeks

and I still can’t stop him breaking it every other day.

It works when the weather’s nice,

he just wants to be alone.

 

I know where I’m going now,

and I know how I’ll do it.

I’ll show you the view from the edge

if you show me yours.

 

It takes no longer than three seconds

for the room to start shrinking around you

when you close your eyes and convince yourself

you’re small. They’ll never put our names

in the dictionary. If God was a person,

he’d be in the Book of the Dead

sitting naked on a bar stool, with a stranger –

instead, that’s what I have to do,

always picking up after the big G’s slack.

 

I can’t believe He ever felt something for me.

My head’s full of black and white photos

of a room and a child that I don’t know.

It takes more than one pill to make it worth not waking up.

We can lie here until we go out and look for what’s real.

 

When things get tough I imagine I am a snail experiencing the sweet relief of being crushed by a boot

 

 

My poetry tries too hard to reveal the depth of my self-loathing in ways I can attune to music. It has taken me three weeks to write a sentence that exists to say I hate myself. I haven’t fallen off the bed, don’t worry. I’m supposed to be writing about stingrays being magnetic, ‘cause even if they aren’t they should be. The middle class won’t publish my poems ‘cause they don’t like reality, that and I don’t send them poems. Who wants to read about terraced houses and free school meals when the hill’s travelling light meanders in ways the salamander can but dream of. I have eaten the pithiviers the Royal Society of Literature served me, and now my parents won’t allow me home, instead pointing to the ‘No Class Traitors’ sign. I’ve tried to tell Mum I didn’t like the rich almond filling, that I laughed at the sight of the Pumpkin Seed Mole, that I made them all feel guilty about inviting the grandson of a refugee to a party explicitly designed to exclude us. Mum, you tapped so hard you dented the sign. I had the advantageous ineptitude of sleep to tremor the hotel room they wouldn’t subsidise. There are no late nights when every morning starts with you still awake from the night before. Bedtime is just an excuse to save money on heating. The last time I properly slept I felt my brain switch off like a kettle during the adverts at half time.

 

The Moon is Being Arrested for Non-violent Protest

 

 

Sometimes it’s better to feel nothing but

the love, for some people, that I can’t

be more than: a heart that isn’t as big

as it should be. I’ve made love to the moon

and the sky - it put some distance between

 

my body and the world.

One person can be both

an eight ball of sugary sweets

and the dust that fills a room -

I'm glad to find you in myself.

 

I ain't got the time to care

about no double negatives,

or not. When they complain

about being fined to go on holiday,

I remind them there are kids living

 

in craters on far-off dwarf planets.

I can hear the sound of my blood

travelling through the weather’s veins.

Ha! Weathervane, get it?  I am in the dark,

but you’ve seen the heart of the room.

 

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