Kerry Hammerton’s These are the lies I told you

Kerry Hammerton

Kerry Hammerton is a poet, writer and alternative health practitioner. She is a graduate of The University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) and The College of Integrated Chinese Medicine (Reading, United Kingdom). Her poetry has been published in South African literary journals such as Carapace, New Contrast and New Coin, online at Litnet, Incwadi and iTCH. She has also been a contributor to The Empty Tin Readings (May, 2010) and The Poetry Project. These are the lies I told you (Modjaji Books, 2010) is her first poetry collection. Kerry has fewer wrinkles than she should have at her age – or so her friends tell her.

“Kerry Hammerton is an anatomist of romantic love, from the rumpled hotel sheets of lust to the shared tattoos of intimacy. With its roller-coaster ride of erotica, sensuality, heartbreak and laugh out loud hilarity, These are the lies I told you is a debut volume destined to break sales records in this country. The Marian Keyes of poetry has arrived.”
– Finuala Dowling
Once I knew
A porky-pie, a flirst,
a man whose appetite was bigger than his thirst.
A smargy-smark, a flowel,
a man who couldn’t pick up a towel.
A dringy-drogue, a cheddle,
a man who really liked to meddle.
Once I knew
a spreaky-spreck, a growlth,
a man who couldn’t shut his mouth.
A reepy-rost, a jost,
a man who was always lost.
A marfy-makker, a mhale,
a man who confessed and went to jail.
Once I knew
a peedle-pudum, a shile,
a man who couldn’t smile.
A hirgy-hattle, a brister,
a man who was all a pister,
a fleety-fluster, a basfitter,
a lespy-lerper, a verter,
a crutter, a creter,
a werter.
But worst of all, once I knew
a mishy-mashy, welljuten,
a zandripertosster.
Planting olive trees
When you plant an Olive Tree
don’t sing to it,
don’t sing songs of stars and moons
and distant galaxies, don’t lean
into its leafy ears and whisper
honey words, don’t even mouth
‘I love you’, don’t recite poems
of open valleys and journeys,
don’t talk.
When you plant an Olive Tree
plant it away from other trees
and then: don’t visit it,
don’t entwine your arms through
its branches, don’t place your
face against its patterned bark
or reach out your tongue and taste,
don’t rub your back against its trunk
don’t stroke it.
When you plant an Olive Tree
don’t water it or shower it
with drops of dew, don’t sprinkle
it with the watering can of your
love, don’t pray for rain,
don’t snake a hosepipe
over sheer mountains or
climb treacherous rock
to bring relief.
When you plant an Olive Tree
find the stoniest ground, don’t
prepare the planting with
fertilizer and soft soil, don’t mulch,
let its roots feel the harsh bite
of the earth, let it scrape
against jagged rocks, don’t dust
rose petals on fresh white linen
before you bed it down.
Let it lie in sharp gravel.
When you plant an Olive Tree
don’t cover it,
let it bend in the wind,
let its leaves crackle in the sun,
don’t build a boma of comfort,
don’t try and protect it with
your manly intentions,
let it struggle to find its own shade
let it shrivel.
Then it will bear fruit
for you.
I am not
an Olive Tree.
from These are the lies I told you (Modjaji Books, 2010)
Launch details
Monday, 22 November 2010
The Book Lounge
cnr Roeland and Buitenkant
Cape Town
17h30 for 18h00
Visit Kerry’s website.

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