Unfortunately when I come round from the anaesthetic everyone is Luke Kennard and they have re-elected Luke Kennard. I cannot believe they’ve granted Luke Kennard a second term with an overwhelming majority after the damage he has already done. ‘The dogs,’ I say to my wife, Luke Kennard, who looks up from reading Martin Buber’s I and Thou, a particularly sensitive birthday gift from our mutual friend Luke Kennard the previous year. At the job centre Luke Kennard is the usual bureaucratic prig when I tell him that I have been offered a job at Ladbrokes, but haven’t taken it for personal reasons. ‘It’s where Luke Kennard wastes all of his money,’ I tell him. ‘It’s where Luke Kennard pops out back to smoke three Pall Malls in a row then puts an ill-advised tenner on Luke Kennard in the 12:50 at Chantilly. And his partner, Luke Kennard, will want to know where the money is for nappies for their baby, Luke Kennard. I don’t want to be a part of that.’ Luke Kennard looks at me wearily, but he is trying to disguise that weariness with a “concerned frown” as if he has the first fucking idea about me and my life and my values. Next door in a subfusc room of the council offices which Luke Kennard has done an absolutely wretched job of cleaning at 6am this morning, Luke Kennard undergoes welfare assessment. ‘And can I ask you,’ Luke Kennard asks him, in his special “nice guy” voice, head tilted slightly to the left, his right, ‘if it isn’t too invasive a question, that is, if you tied your own shoes this morning?’ Luke Kennard huffs like a teenager. Luke Kennard is a murderous, patronising son of a bitch. ‘Why?’ sneers Luke Kennard. ‘Can you get me a job in a shoe-tying factory?’ Unfortunately he can, and Luke Kennard is soon tying the laces of nine hundred pairs of Converse All Stars a day, in spite of the fact that he is also dying of emphysema. I gradually realised that writing opinion pieces had permanently damaged the way I write, writes Luke Kennard in an op-ed piece with over six hundred shares. It is currently being read by Luke Kennard on his lunch break before he goes back to processing purchase ledger invoices for his boss, Luke Kennard, an essentially absent figure who just expects him to get on with things. Several thousand feet above this, Luke Kennard is off for a jolly to Barcelona just because. I get a Big Mac meal for lunch and Luke Kennard serves me in his little hat, his three gold stars for long service and yes I do want to go large, thanks Luke Kennard. Oh, yeah, Coke, sorry. I always forget to specify the drink and Luke Kennard has to ask me by saying Drink? in a voice which barely conceals his disdain. Luke Kennard hasn’t bothered to bus his tray, so I do it for him as it’s the only free seat; place is crawling with Luke Kennard. Luke Kennard is fairly unhappy today – an atmosphere of nebulous melancholy pervades the packed McDonalds – even though some of them must have voted for Luke Kennard themselves. I mean no, I wouldn’t even dream of it: Luke Kennard is completely cut off from the experience of 96% of Luke Kennard, so voting for him and his Luke Kennards would be an act of self-destruction. But the alternative, Luke Kennard, wasn’t exactly up to much either. It’s easy to blame the Luke Kennard media, but really what were they to do when Luke Kennard just came across as desperate to be liked, as if he held himself to no other standard: a claw machine where everyone wins every time, but the prize is just a tiny sachet of popping candy and if you put your ear to Luke Kennard’s mouth it’s like you can hear the last rains of the Anthropocene extinction.
Luke Kennard is the author of four volumes of poetry. His 5th, Like Cain, will be published in 2016.