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I had a brain haemorrhage last year and spent a month in hospital. The first two weeks were in the ICU. The doctors phoned my wife with updates daily, but those updates were usually along the lines of he wont make it through the night. I then moved to a Neuro ward for a few weeks, then onto a different hospital before returning home in mid-November. Fortunately Ive now fully recovered, but the haemorrhage has left me partially sighted (I lost 25% vision in both eyes), and with the recurrence of my insomnia. Ive had insomnia my whole life, so I can deal with that. I take melatonin (Circadin) every night, and when that starts to kick in, as I get drowsy, I begin to write poetry. I read it back the next day, finding that Ive remembered none of the writing; most of it consisting of weird subconscious thoughts, strange typos, and random letters/symbols. I edit that into a poem. So its the conscious editing the subconscious, which is why these poems conjure up such surreal and absurd phrases and words.



   I mean I apologise for these poems



I havent got the hang 

of killing myself yet, 

though lord I been trying. 

Trying for the better part 

of a decade but I'm OK now. 

Better than Ive ever been 

and all it took was a brain bleed. 

Aaron can have a little haemorrhage as a treat. 


While I lay counting prayers 

on my fingers in the side alley 

of an ICU, I pictured the world 

as pottery on a wheel – Spun 
each morning, the sun pulling

into focus, the sky stretching itself 

across a smorgasbord of nature,

a footnote pressed against 

the window looking in. 


It is only a footnote if it held you

with me across the border as memory 

carries each God into permanence. 

The annexe has been lived in, 

it has housed more metaphors 

than I have spare, so we have to make 

do with bland adjectives. The druqks 

dont work but they no longer 

make it worse. Every song is a lie 

wrapped up as a valuable investment.




Ive got nothing, Im sorry. 

Tomorrow? Probably not.

                Whose car is that parked 

                 inside of a cooking apron?


If I could speak raven 

Id spend my days spooking 

Edgar Allen Poe too,

                hes no friend to birds.


Instead I dream of grandparents

released back into the public,

gathering up untold clocks

and stones-throw-aways.


I wasnt supposed to write

for a few days, but I found 

a jar of peanut butter poetic 

and named it after Hermosillo

                where Pancho uses my stem

                cells to make holistic medicine.




Imagine waking up in the belly of a dinosaur, 

the thought has kept me busy

on hot days in Leicester, 

but how would I know? 

I dont even live there 

and have never been.

Ive never met Boo Radley either,

but I still like to think of him as my dad.


I’ve begun believing in ghosts, 

I tell them that they can haunt 

with the best of em. Sometimes 

I haunt myself, I re-read the messages 

I sent from my death bed. A digital Ouija. 

Ive never felt so connected 

to somebody so disconnected 

but science is excellent.


When I write in 1st person I dream 

of dying.

When I write in 3rd person I dream 

of long walks 

five hundred meters below sea level


Id argue green is the best colour, 

though, unfortunately for green, yellow exists. 

I keep thinking we left the door open, 

but there isnt one – we’re outside again. 

Im just dreaming of dying, one year on 

from the last time I saw you cry.



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 out with Shearsman. 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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