Poem

Poem of the Month: November


Each month Influx Press is featuring a contemporary poet you might not know but definitely should.

Fist
by Hannah Lowe

When my brother put his fist through a window
on New Year’s Eve, no one noticed until a cold draft
cooled our bodies dancing. There was rainbow light
from a disco ball, silver tinsel round the pictures.
My brother held his arm out to us, palm
upturned, a foot high spray of blood.
This was Ilford, Essex, 1993, nearly midnight,
us all smashed on booze and Ecstasy and Danny,
6 foot 5, folding at the knee, a shiny fin of glass
wedged in his wrist. We walked him to
the kitchen, the good arm slung on someone’s neck,
Gary shouting Danny, Darren phoning for
an ambulance, the blood was everywhere. I pressed
a towel across the wound, around
the glass and led him by the hand into the
garden, he stumbled down into the snow,
slurring leave it out and I’m ok A girl was crying in
the doorway, the music carried on, the bass line
thumping as we stood around my brother, Gary talking
gently saying easy fella, Darren draining Stella in one
hand and in the other, holding up my brother’s arm,
wet and red, the veins stood out like branches. I thought
that he was dying, out there in the snow and I
got down, I knelt there on the ice
and held my brother, who I never touched, and never told
I loved, and even then I couldn’t say it
so I listened to the incantation easy fella
and my brother’s breathing,
felt him rolling forward, all that weight, Darren
throwing down his can and yelling Danny, don’t you dare
and shaking him. My brother’s face was grey,
his lips were loose and pale and I
was praying. Somewhere in the street, there was
a siren, there was a girl inside who blamed
herself, there were men with blankets
and a tourniquet, they stopped my brother bleeding,
as the New Year turned, they saved him,
the snow was falling hard, they saved us all.

Next generation poet Hannah Lowe was born in Ilford to an English mother and Jamaican-Chinese father and currently lives in London. This poem was published in her first book-length collection Chick (Bloodaxe Books, 2013), which was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry 2014. Her published work includes The Hitcher (Rialto, 2011), R x (sine wave peak, 2013) and Ormonde (Hercules Editions, 2014). Her family memoir Long Time, No See will be published by Periscope Press in April 2015. She has a website here: http://hannahlowe.org/

Here is Hannah performing this poem and others at the opening ceremony of Norwich Showcase ’12.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80DAj18Z_DA#t=13[/youtube]

Poem of the Month: August


Each month Influx Press is featuring a contemporary poet you might not know but definitely should.

Congelatine
by Jennifer Cooke

here’s space punctured by skin where the linear races off tragic stories of a wanted self in Tescos noting codes or best befores the tracks there, meat running, soft pads ludicrous in aisles narrowed for hunting down sacheted emotions-for-one this id falls in the gap between civic art meets the drunk and both have something to say, yes, to each other, yes, this is

a fluted moment in precincts flickering of betrayals we sing wraps away me again shrinking and, breathe the cheese shop sign, breathe there’s Boots, oh, gains harden into paved passages duffed up and strangers are sudden and right fearful in the out placebos branded in blood-pumping force sidelooks of dislike reflecting me in many mannequined glasses

quick, there’s an apophatic quiz at the Brush Social Club a meat raffle for women who don’t own a thing from Ikea inching the animals out of market with cellophane-tightened muzzles while I is dreaming of spring onions growing from my scalp in a warehouse of chilled fruit there are busy plasma screens waxy-faced little slogans peep from boxes abroad, smuglike

empty they line canals awaiting youth and the dead fish so I say to the Booby Nymph “I think you should see someone, it might help” but I know he knows it’s no good because he just fell into the first sludge that caught his eye, camp stool and all. I can’t save him from his high street standards, I can’t love the animals because a tiger’s only perfect on TV, which it takes 369 months to yearn

with pretty hooves in your neon dessert eat more and wonder on jelly’s fat content, the least of its problems I’ve heard the singing is worsening in what looks outside every town like Asda but is more like footprints or stains. Closing down the shopped dreams and emptying the pubs not by force, oh no, by a boredom akin to waiting for a catch a pull a tug a faint sign of a

Jennifer Cooke is a senior lecturer in English at Loughborough University.
This poem was published in her first collection
Not Suitable For Domestic Sublimation (London 2012) from Contraband Press.