As we are now approaching Easter, our Friday poem this week will be from Damian Walford-Davies’ Judas.
In short-lined, intensely suggestive dramatic monologues, Damian Walford-Davies vividly summons moments of fear and swagger, doubt and passion, despair and nonchalance as an outlaw Judas finds himself haunted by his chequered and extraordinary past. Familiar stories are rendered strange and uncanny as the reader is caught in multiple ironies. As striking as the unnerving images on the news loops of our TV and computer screens, these poems locate us on the hazardous streets of a divided city with a companion-guide who shares with us his own troubling and troubled version of history.
Drawing on conflicting representations of Judas spanning twenty centuries, this chain of poems sets out to challenge orthodoxies and easy pieties. Judas offers an imaginative map of ancient enmities – and dares to hint at resolutions – in the form of a dramatic autobiography of the man whose most famous act (they say) was a kiss in the dark.
You’ll paint me gross – gripping my shins, retching silver coins. Let me put you straight. All I’ve got’s loose change for late-night kofta stands outside the Lions’ Gate, where tote-bag tourists sip tart tamarind from paper cups. On Friday night I saw the city wane and wax to pixels on the screens of untold mobile phones. From unbuilt minarets, muezzins hoist the pale Passover moon above the gospel of the Separation Wall.