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 won’t 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 I’ve 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. I’ve 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 I’ve 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 it’s the conscious editing the subconscious, which is why these poems conjure up such surreal and absurd phrases and words.
I’M SORRY FOR ALL THESE POEMS
I mean I apologise for these poems
I haven’t 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 I’ve 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
don’t work but they no longer
make it worse. Every song is a lie
wrapped up as a valuable investment.
TEMPORAL LOBE SCARRING
I’ve got nothing, I’m sorry.
Tomorrow? Probably not.
Whose car is that parked
inside of a cooking apron?
If I could speak raven
I’d spend my days spooking
Edgar Allen Poe too,
he’s no friend to birds.
Instead I dream of grandparents
released back into the public,
gathering up untold clocks
I wasn’t 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.
OH NO, I STILL HAVEN’T FOUND MY SPARKLE
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 don’t even live there
and have never been.
I’ve 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.
I’ve never felt so connected
to somebody so disconnected
but science is excellent.
When I write in 1st person I dream
When I write in 3rd person I dream
of long walks
five hundred meters below sea level
I’d argue green is the best colour,
though, unfortunately for green, yellow exists.
I keep thinking we left the door open,
but there isn’t one – we’re outside again.
I’m 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.”