Valerie Jack

Poet and Playwright


A few poems from Educational

Posted by Valerie Jack on December 27, 2009 at 1:08 PM Comments comments (0)

Turning Up


The department wasn't where it used to be.

Break times had changed, but I got a third former

to show me where he'd be

and waited at the top of a fire escape

till he came up under an umbrella,

replied to my hello then looked up with good God.


He swapped classes with another teacher

to talk to me for half an hour.

He sat behind his desk asking

what had happened to various members of my year.

He caught me up with his life:

her father had died, which had been hard.


I sat on a table swinging my legs

and when the students started to arrive,

he walked across and mouthed piss off.

On the bus down to Temple Meads

I text a couple of friends to say

I'm still in love with him.





Substitute Mother Experiment


One of the monkeys gave off heat

and gave out milk, but was made of wire.


The other was covered in a soft cloth

and that was the one they clung to.






Talking to a Boy


I ask him how the ink tastes

he licks from his fingers, carefully.

You get used to it, he says,

when you have it every meal.


Then I wonder does it hurt

to break up driftwood with his hands?

Splinters?  Under the nails?

That's nothing, he says.  I used to bend

my nails all the way back here.


I don't think you should do that

I say, and he doesn't say anything.


So later I say I love that kid

and the teacher says

I used to love him too.

When he first came he tried

to rein the evil in

but it didn't last.

He started crouching

behind the cupboard -

that kind of thing.