Aaron Kent

the poet

Aaron Kent is a working-class poet and publisher born and raised in Cornwall. He runs Broken Sleep Books and has had several pamphlets published. J H Prynne called his poetry 'unicorn flavoured'. How do you top that?

  • Website
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

the poems

Ice Skating, Garden of Eden, 1998

00:00 / 01:31

When the floods erred 
over the pyre, the ice 
caps were still ideas – 
a convergence of crystal 
starlings invoking themselves 
to a hemisphere. My father 
still spoke in Rather, 
comparing potential 
to outcome and living 
through the theoretical 
choices of a coin flip. 
(Nothing would prepare 
him for a side, a continuum 
never considered ad 
infinitum). In evening’s
grubby light we married 
mushroom while he sung 
broken harmonica 
for an orchestra of junction – 
the tip forms; mistakes 
we promised to make, 
a space to take. You, I 
was told when we 
returned from the registry 
office, sledded down 
Wollaton hill in the first 
stretch of snow; your first 
instinct to battle and claim 
each sheet like condensation 
racing to the bottom, 
engorging itself on itself. I piled 
snow against the door of a man 
you never met, a cleansed 
soul burdened with a front 
he couldn’t forecast. The cat 
determined to hide in his arms, 
the whistle of his harmonica 
drowned out by a meow 
stretched thin across the 
enveloping mist. I broke 
my arms in a race to the finish, 
I snapped my tendons 
to calm the light.

Portmanteau

00:00 / 01:41

All of us; you, Aaron Kent, and I 
spread ourselves across the mattress 
where we read ergodic fiction to each other – 
where she lay the golden chariot, 
alchemy by alchemist, 
unenviable task of poisoning 
the dinner party. We bought a simile, 
like we had bought a mouse – 
petted, fed, hygienic
born to serve a different purpose. 
We, all Aaron, carried him in our arms, 
our wasted arms in nuclear unrest, 
and dug lead into turf 
as we pressed its aching body 
into a shoebox and begged 
each other for entropy. The tone 
of conversation had changed 
and the split had guaranteed doubt. 
I’ve seen myself
against a foreign backdrop 
like the breast of a white swan 
paralysed by the lines and ripples 
elegantly stamped on water’s canopy, 
where the drinks are quaffed 
before the bruschetta stuffed. 
Three of us, the inheritance of each other, 
like buds snatching for the sun, 
sent to follow a slope 
so weak so long so dark 
against the paleness that eats the very best 
of every silver lining etched in the folds 
of heavy cloth / case. I still hear them, 
us, myself in every quaint out-dated 
piano solo of a rehearsed broken 
moonlight sonata, like a sober actor 
playing drunk – the chimes jangling 
somewhere in absentia, 
the simile sleeping on the crook of midnight, 
a desperation becoming faint. I overcame 
and landed with tender spring 
between the three of us 
there, between the Godlessness of uncertainty.

Reasons to Take Part

In a Treasure Hunt

00:00 / 01:03

Time consumption is mindlessness,
            you are the waste of water,
                        there are stars in the back rooms of your neighbour’s houses

            how will you ever know about them if you don’t search?

The cats tell us how to move,
            the world is shaped like an egg,
                        every part of your face tells a lie you tried to keep,

            I have eaten both of your novels; neither tasted like paper.

Your sanity has fallen into the wrong hands,
            your mouth is open too wide for your feet,
                        there are more ostriches than mistakes,

            you don’t know to use a full stop.

Properly. If at all
            there is a no better time than the present tense,
                        Kanye West is waiting,

            the whole town is waiting,

why do you keep us waiting?
            Just find it already.
The clues are there.

Publishing credits

Ice Skating, Garden of Eden, 1998: originally appeared

  in an altered form in The Rink (Dostoyevsky Wannabe X)

Portmanteau / Reasons to Take Part In a Treasure Hunt:

  exclusive first publication by iamb

© original authors 2020

inspired by

Poetry Archive.png