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Kate Potts
Kate Potts

Kate Potts worked in music publishing before training as a teacher, and has taught English and Creative Writing at colleges in London for several years. Her pamphlet Whichever Music (tall-lighthouse) was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was shortlisted for a Michael Marks Award. In 2009 she received an Arts Council writer’s award and her first collection Pure Hustle was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2011. Her work has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies. She is currently working towards a PhD on radio poetry.


Member Link.
(http://www.bloodaxebooks. com/personpage.asp?author =Kate+Potts)
Pure Hustle
Click image to buy from Foyles
The Hub Presents: Kate Potts

Your Second Skin


lies still in its shellacked case, folded in rice papers, oiled

to an almost purple sheen –


with porous muzzle, with self-lubricating silicon plumes for ease

and comfort all day long.


To begin, simply score your self from nape to sternum, separate

your peel from pith


and shuck off that standard-issue rind. Fresh from the box,

the fabric’s even heft will seal your seams.


Its viscous folds will tan with time, as rolled pastry settles over fruit.

It tugs on with a nylon cling,


locking at each finger, air-tight. The only scar’s a discreet zip-pull

tucked snug in an armpit. You can eat and sleep in it.


Beneath the leathercloth exterior you’ll find backlit function display,

preloaded enhancements, autotune.


It is also available in Lycra. With patented moisture-wicking technology,

you’ll never suffer from night-sweats again.


Engineered with ultra-dermal innovation, its subtle mechanics deliver

fantastically daring manoeuvres:


salsas, broom-cupboard clinches, soufflé. Expect timed surges

of adrenaline, cycles of inspiration,


bringing you to briny roadtrips in November, everything epic –

the landscape taut, up-lit, and repeatedly retouched.


It is anything but a compromise. It is self-ironing, stain-resistant,

a real investment piece. We are not suggesting


you spend a fortune to please your loved one – only

that you don’t disappoint.



(with Sarah Howe)

From Pure Hustle ((Bloodaxe Books, 2011)



I have studied evacuees, rationing, the Maginot Line, British Cinema of the 1940s. I’m young, graduate, able, a cataloguer of behaviour as if an interloper at the zoo. I busy the rememberers with questions, screen-clips of David Niven’s pluck, kohl-black fighter-planes stuttering out over the English Channel – a mirroring seam of rucked silver. My falseness, my foolishness, razes to a blush of chaff and dust. The past turns itself up in ironware and sensory ticks, the shallows of faces, their hallows and bones, wellings in breath. It’s told how friends and sweethearts met to plan a party and the house was hit. None survived. On Sunday, their wedge of empty pews bowed with an absent mass of haunches, macintoshes, winter boots. The congregation would not see or speak of it. Farther back, in ‘the last place on earth God made and forgot to finish’ the Jarrow men, washed red-rare, hungry in their Sunday suits, marched off for parliament. Everyone’s brother trumpeted in a dance band. Everyone practised the lindy for the church-hall hop, would walk an hour to the office, or factory, or home to stay in darning stockings or sewing a box-pleat, weeding the garden vegetable plot. Sex was first a dicey, incorrigible thing, best performed in the dark or out on the commons, like witchery, and never safe until after the wedding. Those girls, squiffy or mickey-finn’d, who did it with soldiers and swelled, bellies like beanpods, were quietly disappeared.



          In all this, there will be one who joined the Eastern fleet

          and never saw the bombs hit home, who –

          nineteen, from Leytonstone,

          a rack-ribbed tug of body – saw Africa and Singapore.


          The sea-reflected light made all mass cut-out sharp;

          the green of the land was so green he thought it painted on. He remembers,

          most of all, the flying fish. They’d shoal and hang like scaled spirits, fatted dragonflies

          kissing the boat’s bows. Their falling back pitted the ocean’s glass like rain.


          He saw himself grow backwards to a scorched and stringy boy,

          back to the old cheek and nous, the skies shook out, slackening each day.

          He’d never thought he had the right.


From Pure Hustle ((Bloodaxe Books, 2011)



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