Father I’m out of control, I know your
truth is: I’m not visible to you – but
I’m just pretendin’ I can see the light.
Confirmation of your footsteps when I’m
crazy on Twitter is in the night sky.
Your light was influential, family;
brothers down with your mission at home with
my folks – I’m the only one not on your
beams.Please speak to me, say somethin’ before
I leave, I wonder where you are, father:
modern day God, scary to see, beaten
to submission and I’m fine now, I guess.
My wife knows my truth, that she visible
to me, her and my kid in the night sky.
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.
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.