I've had Luke Kennard's new (third!) book, The Migraine Hotel, for a little while now. He's the kind of man I'd absolutely detest for being too damn clever if I wasn't so charmed by his wit and intelligence. Overall this collection is dashing, some of the poems border on the sublime. There's one of those quotes on the cover that usually makes one feel a bit ill, but in this particular case, it feels prescient: "It's always thrilling to see a major talent emerging." For once, not an understatement and one thing I especially love about Luke's work is that it's properly new. Too many people in the art world get trapped by the past - they aren't able to create something truly forward looking. Luke's work has a freshness that's novel without being trivial. I find this incredibly exciting. Get your hands on this work: it's the future.
This is one of my favourite poems from the new collection. Happy Friday.
And I Saw
A false prophet slapped in the face by a wave;
A woman screaming at her clarinet,
'What would you have me do then, drown you, too?'
Remaindered novels washed up on the shore.
A cat, baffled by a drowsy lobster, jogged
Over the pebbles towing a little carriage.
And the cat didn't say anything - because
It was a cat. And the carriage was not full
Of tiny men, a watermelon or an
Assembly of diplomatic mice
Because the carriage was an example
Of man's cruelty in the name of research.
The cat belonged to a behaviourist
And had been raised in an environment
Of only black horizontal lines. So
It saw my sprinting across the beach
To dismantle its harness as a whirl
Of fenceposts and orange rubber balls
And was gone faster than the better idea
You had a moment ago. Leaving me
Only the seagull's dreadful anthem:
'I just want to tell you how sad we all feel.'
The airplane trail made the cloud a wick -
I thought I saw it starting to burn down
And I knew we had been lucky to avoid
Disaster so far. I shared a bench with
A man who wanted to redefine us
As victims of one kind or another
Instead of whatever names we'd chose:
Steven victim, Jenny Victim, Franklin
Victim. I disagreed but couldn't speak.
He ate raw mushrooms from a paper bag.
In fact it was a computer game called
The Enormous Pointlessness of it All III.
When you are raised on computer games
You grow accustomed to saying 'I'm dead,'
Several times a day. Which is not to say
We are the fist generation to feel
So comfortable with our mortality.