JO HEMMANT / THE LIGHT KNOWS TRICKS
Its tightly-crafted and teasing spell leaves a longing for change in its wake. The tone crackles and the language catches alight in this unafraid and startling debut.
— Cherry Symth
2013 / 72 pages / €10 (marked down from €12)
Cover art: Peter White
(click to view cover)
The Light Knows Tricks
By Jo Hemmant
JO HEMMANT was born in Manchester, but has also lived in Sicily, Holland and Hong Kong. She now lives in Kent with her husband and two sons and is director of Pindrop, a boutique poetry press. Her poems have been published in Magma, Iota, Dream Catcher, Jericho (Cinnamon Press, 2012) and nothing left to burn (Ragged Raven Press, 2011) and she has won first prize in The New Writer Poetry and Prose Competition 2011(collection category), second prize in the Torriano Poetry Competition in 2011 and runner-up in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition 2012. She is director of Pindrop Press.
An Engine Room off the Coast of North Africa
The asbestos lagging on the pipes
has split and burst. As the engineer peels it back,
dust rises, floats across the room —
a woman’s ghost, a chiffon negligée,
reminder of what they’ve missed.
The men laugh, crack jokes,
a skinny lad from Formby
pulls her in for a dance. At his touch,
she shivers, breaks into a cloud
of dandelion clocks — leaving them
an empty shroud, a story to write home,
traces of her bedded down
in the folds of their lungs.
Tipsy on a swig of Cinzano and lemonade,
you watch the local hunk
send halos of smoke
to the ceiling of his garden shed —
his left hand in your mate’s lap
like a cat; like opportunity.
He passes you his soggy roll-up;
you can’t reel your smile in fast enough
and, as the Sex Pistols shriek
‘Frigging in the Rigging’, he moves in
for the kill, the lyrics as daring
as him squeezing the 34Cs
you’d give anything to have.
She doesn’t object.
The words enough’s enough
lounge around in your throat.