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Kerry Hammerton

Kerry Hammerton

Kerry Hammerton has published poetry in various South African and UK literary journals. These are the lies I told you, her debut poetry collection, was published by Modjaji Books in 2010. Some of her poems appear in the anthology Difficult to Explain, (2010 Finuala Dowling ed.) Other poems appear in the following anthologies: Africa, My Africa (2013 Patricia Schonstein ed.), For a Rhino in a Shrinking World (2013 Harry Owen ed.), Heart of Africa (2014 Patricia Schonstein ed.), and Hallelujah for 50ft Women (Bloodaxe Books 2015). The Weather Report, her second collection, was published in 2014.

Website URL: www.kerryhammerton.com
Sunday, 14 June 2015 18:39

My Other Life

I am better at my other life,

where no-one is dead,

where sadness doesn’t press

its cold weight into my sternum

creep along my clavicle,

breathe into my spine.


Where my mother remembers

to wear matching shoes

and doesn’t need someone to

hold her hand

while she looks for a will,

the deeds to the house.


Where we don’t have to hear

condolences fall like heavy stones

into the dry well of our grief.

Where I don’t feel my own mortality

at night: black sky, stars,

the milky way.
Sunday, 01 March 2015 10:49

How poets count

one four line poem

              published in a poetry magazine

              the ink from your complimentary copy

              stains your fingers


one six line poem

               published in an online magazine

               you email a link to all your friends

               no-one reads it


two more poems

               published online,

               on Facebook you get

four likes

              and your ex asks if

one of the poems is about him


three poems submitted

               to a new anthology

one poem is accepted

one glass of wine to celebrate


               you get invited to a poetry reading

four people listen to you read

one of them is your best friend

              the other is your ex


               you get together with your ex

               and write a lot of poetry

               your poems are accepted in journals


               you break up with your ex

               who now becomes your ex ex

               you write even more poetry

              and more of your poems are accepted in journals


one full length collection published

              you are invited to a poetry festival

ten people come to your reading

one of them is your mother

             you sell

six books


one review in a newspaper

one blog interview

one bottle of champagne

           to celebrate
Friday, 09 August 2013 16:32

an execution is not simply death

if I were on death row
would I beg them to execute me

and choose death by bullets
or the gas chamber
would I shout my innocence
to my last breath
would I be the last woman
publicly hanged

the last person 
executed in britain australia
would I order a last meal
of a single pitted olive
or two pints of
chocolate chip ice-cream

 would I be a foreign
drug smuggler in a chinese

jail or interred for social
crimes in iran or singapore

or a political prisoner
in apartheid south africa

would I lay my neck
on a stone slab allow

the hooded man to behead me

or feel the cold bite
of the guillotine

would I let them stone me
hounded by village scandal

or burn me at the stake

would the other inmates sing
me to my death

or would I walk
quoting philosophers?
Friday, 09 August 2013 16:28



The skin on the underside
of my wrist looks soft
and friable. Not white but pale

like buttermilk. A tendon
stands out like a painter
straining to keep a boat

tethered to the dock. Veins
and arteries run alongside,
secondary roads, roads

that transport blood. I know enough
to cut down, to cut vertically,
not across, not horizontally.

I would choose, though, to wade
through breakers to reach
a wide and demanding ocean.
Tuesday, 29 June 2010 02:00

What is your greatest achievement?

Me. I want to shout. Me.
Just being me. Being alive.
Navigating this planet. I made it through a divorce,
narcotic kids, changing careers.

Me. I'm the Superwoman of my
life. I'm the champion.

The words that fall out of my
mouth: deadlines; consolidation;
project teams; opportunities;
task-driven; co-ordinating.

Sometimes I'm asked:
who do you admire the most?