Cheryl Quimba

Question 1

I am the board
in a maternal zero-sum game,
push net into my brothers’ bank accounts.
We had no disagreement point,
no way to resolve our genes
without calling in the armed guards.

I wish it had been stochastic,
actions by nature. Do you roll the dice?
Do you call the odds
when Taleb’s black swan theory
throws up double sixes.
Hail mary. Hail luck. Hail loss.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

Remember that day
when I rounded the corner
to jump into the waiting
getaway car
and you weren’t there only
candy bar wrappers
on the sidewalk a couple
dented soda cans clumps
of dead grass
I was panting kept
looking over my shoulder
ran across the street
and down the block just
in case and it was so hot
the sun rising in a perfectly
cloudless sky
it wasn’t even
summer yet no kids
jumping like jelly beans
in the streets do you
remember because
that day you were not
there

– Cheryl Quimba

Question 2

‘Следите за россиян’
he told me,
pointing to a map
where all the borders had been daubed
in permanent marker,
land masses clashing five, ten, twenty miles wide.
Sure thing, but Putin didn’t kick me in the chest.

He grabbed me by the lapels
in one of many hydraulic spaces
and whispered
‘hætta standast’
spitting words like bullets in a knife fight. Do you know
that feeling? The torture
of a stolen voice?

With words that ushered in a new age
he said
‘太った男が小さな男の子が見たいです’
and while I caught grammatical errors
and mistakes that surely cast him
as anything but a pro,
I knew I was fracturing
like bark struck by an axe.
Sutoraiki. Sutoraiki. Sutoraiki.

Azure horses struck our ubåt
as he struck my chest.
‘öppna ögonen’ he pleaded,
as if causing pain is only half the fun
if you can’t ride the crest
of somebody’s anguished look.

I forced my fists into his stomach
and I realised that is what a real man feels like,
all gut, no guts.
‘Je suis en charge’
he swore with all the grace of a matador being
speared by his favourite bull.

He almost cried
when he told me
‘Io non sono il nemico’
with his hands deep in my pants,
my back leaking crimson
from the valve he forced it into
and my eye swearing vengeance
from the bruises he cast.
True, but the enemy never grabbed my cazzo.
My fasz.
My bod.

If I could’ve written this poem in Hungarian, Greek or Arabic
I would’ve,
his tongue has fucked the English language.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

Possible I misunderstood
the command as I fumbled
for my seat while others around me
stood, but it’s possible too
that this day was unlike
all of the ones I had lived before,
that each word as it hit
my ear was colliding with my body
for the first time each
instant,
that my senses were in the process
of forming still, slowly
expanding as they awoke,
were born, bumped against
the contours of the room
in which we had all of us gathered,
along with all else material
and immaterial that its square
dimensions held, possible
when I heard stand I had
no recourse, could only
reel.

– Cheryl Quimba

Question 3

That halogen moon awakens me
reminds me that these words
are all I have left and you can have them.
You can keep them.

g/h/o/s/t

tear me apart and pull out something beautiful
something necessary. Do you ever want to be
rebuilt from the ground up? I am grit after a downpour
crimson leaves in the first week of autumn.

I am lost through the night with dreams of
greater men – they
all have podium finishes, they all glow in glorious
……..colours whilst I fail.
I am /failing/
/falling/
//drifting//
///empty///

geist. In spirit (l)on(e)ly.

Restart. Begin fresh. new.
Restart.
Re****t

– Aaron Kent

Answer 3

The person I was when I was reading Frankenstein
late at night, in bed, wondering
which parts of me must be monstrous
can I see them under the street light
Or listening to the market report while idling
I might never be thoroughly
good, or listening to a semi-stranger
tell me about his lower back pain, knowing
I am no longer the person I was
when I was reading Frankenstein,
No one talks about the function of the Arctic
in that story, how one creature followed another there,
how the cold was a stimulant and a balm,
how there was a man alone, on the ice,
Knowing I have days and days
that are bent, watching what could be
a fly on the baseboard or a movie about a boy
who seldom smiles, knowing I am
not the person I was when I was reading
Frankenstein, how could I be, listening to the hums
and whistles of an old-timer’s bar, the counter
cracked, the stools uneven, what a comfort I am
no longer the person I was when
I was reading Frankenstein I might have been
younger then or older or made of something
else entirely I was so much half-monster
or turning more mine, reading
those nights in bed I had notions of what
cold must have felt like to a man desperate to find
that I am no longer the person.

– Cheryl Quimba