Luke Kennard’s Cain is, as so many others have already observed, an innovative, playful and resource-rich poetic experiment in defining the here and now of alternatives – the alternative narrative of the troubled mind of Cain-as-Everyperson who seeks redress and redemption in drawing our attention to a world elusively encapsulated in the form of a bucket and a Chupa Chupa lolly.
As ‘Cain’s Prologue’ lets us know in ‘Book I Gravel Pit’, all interpretations are up for grabs – that is if you can hold on to the coming roller-coaster ride of confessions to a Community Psychiatric Nurse: a helping, caring hand for us all. That is before the further imminent cuts come to get rid of all the support staff.
I was captured from the start, mesmerised by the brightly named colours of 10 of your nail varnishes, and await, having attended these therapy sessions, with a newly acquired optimism to see Cain stocked in Argos. My total immersion came with reading the school-based poems ‘Self-Portrait at Primary School’ and ‘On Being Very Annoying’ where the teacher in me heard the extra click as we all will hear from the multiplicity of vantage points [and anchors] provided throughout this eclectic text.
As the poems continually demonstrate, the enforced distraction from our collective grasp of the world within which we live is endemic and attributed to many things – from a zombified obsession with zombies to watching TV’s reality whilst zombified by, at the same time, watching our mobile phones. It is a virus, and we have all been hacked.
The centrepiece ‘Book II The Anagrams’ is both presentation and poetry/poetry and presentation and is a glorious wishbone of readings waiting to be pulled. Arsehole Theory, here we come tugging. I discovered my blood type is Ahhhhhhhhh!
‘Book III Death Shroud’ further explores the random joy of poetic discourse on this ever-elusive reality, a world as shredded as grated cheese and other food analogies,
You don’t need to explain
a game called Juxtapotatoes.
Just put a potato next to something.
We’ll figure out the rest.
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