5 poems by Jude Brigley

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    Jude Brigley has been a teacher, editor, coach, performance poet and a speaker, and she is now writing for the page.  She believes that poetry should be at the heart of the English curriculum and that it can play an important role in everybody’s life.  While being an experienced examiner, inset provider and research student, she still retains her enthusiasm for the classroom. In 2008, she was named as a teaching trailblazer by the Poetry Society (UK) and in January 2011 she was awarded a Doctorate for her thesis which suggested that students can be trained in poetic thinking. In the past, she ran two performance poetry groups,  and she is also the editor of two poetry anthologies, The Poet’s House (Pont, 1998) and Exchanges: Poems by Women in Wales (Honno, 1990), which were created with students in mind.

     

     

     

    For the road

    Lately, he has resented time spent

    ……………on repetitive programmes, the

    ……………………………………………………………………………………….glare of the screen, the murmur of voices.

    He has come to dread the narratives

    ………………………………….unfolding in an American city where
    …………………………………………………………………………..the police use chemicals to trace

    ……………………………………………………………………………the heart of the crime. No forensics

    are needed for the avoidance of talk

    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..the spreading of a veil of smoke

    that gathers in corners and seeps

    ……………………………………………………..into gasping promises and last hopes.

    And yet on the road he imagines

    homecoming as in a Xmas movie

    and smiles unconsciously

    …………………………………………………………………………………………….as the road reels him in.

     

     

     

    American movie

    Curled on verandas, the dogs on Thurber Drive give only a whimper to mark the
    intrusion of children’s voices on their wide street.

    At Katerina’s café, fat flies flick tongues joyfully, mosaic eyes savouring remains of
    doughnuts, while along the street the air is heavy with fat and frying in the morning
    heat.

    The smell of drains and diesel cut through eggs-over-easy and spurts of black coffee.

    The air shimmers in blue pools along the road as we saunter on the sidewalk in the
    heat.

    Wooden houses groan.

    Their slats hold the sun’s sharp touch like so many Mayflowers stuck in a painted
    ocean.

    The bougainvillea releases its heavy scent and the bees swerve back, staggering with
    their spoils.

    At night, we sit out, rejecting air-conditioning, for the city is a griddle and through
    American skies The Killers’ notes float from stadium. They hover in the dark under
    the police helicopter blades.

     

     

     

    Xmas list

    I need a new address book. At Xmas it hits home as I write my cards.

    There are the lost whose addresses are inhabited by unknown others,

    and anyway they are not the they, they were, having parted or

    split

    or become who they were not before .

    Then there are the outgrown who belonged in a place or a time.

    They are faded so that they are no longer reachable, even though their locus and the
    number on the door [perhaps even the paint] remains unchanged.

    You may have passed them in the street without a name or without a trace.

    Lastly.

    There are the dead,

    whose names you touch tenderly and wish you could write a card

    to the beloved aunt

    …………………………..or a friend with a clot in the head

    or lungs forgetting a breath.

    There is only a street and a number in your little red book that marks time.

     

     

     

    Here comes the rain again

    The rain on the window drums with soft insistent fingers,
    reminding her of the warmth of shelter and the kindness of stone.

    As a child she twtied¹ down in the porch and the whisper of rain
    gave her a strange pitted feeling and a longing for sadness.

    Wet as a seal she walks the streets with an umbrella,
    imagining herself in a wagon, on a long trek to mystery.

    Rain, splashes the windows with its summer droplets,
    running in riverlets down glass canyons and welling

    in window frames, bursting to be free, and living
    for an instant in irascible insistence of heavy drops.

    Buying a hat, she remembers her turquoise sou’wester,
    purchased from Swansea market, and when hope

    was its own protection. She has worn it,
    glad to be a land lubber, but imagining black seas,

    while the rain washes away chalk poems from the street.

    ¹Twtied – a Welshism for crouching down on your haunches

     

     

    Trade-in

    Under the North Market
    lie the fevered, fretful dead.

    She thinks of them at the pulled
    pork counter and loses her appetite.

    She wonders if the music
    played at Xmas or in summer heat

    soothes their souls or if the smell
    of baking pretzels reminds

    them of visceral desires,
    or if the scent of candles

    speaks of vigils and memories.
    Above the ground the bustle

    of commerce and keen whet
    of hunger keep crowds

    moving forward to search out
    purveyors, artisans, merchants

    laying out their wares
    over the bones of the old city.