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2 poems by Jake Wild Hall

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Two Dead Men Walk into a Room

the one I remember

holds me close to sky

juggles fire over me

and my sister contraband

stuffed petrol tank

a woman breaking

the one everyone remembers

naked and blue smiling

on a front page making

Christmas happen after

a sentence a paycheque

a small relief strapped

to a quickening heartbeat

I don’t know how I’d have lived

with you if your funeral

didn’t offer a redemption arc

you found me difficult to love

maybe too much mirror

when I remember you

I find it difficult to love

maybe too many lessons

I could have been a rib

I could have been a throat

you could have been the car

I could have been you

you could have been the cell

I could have been you

Spudding a friend who’s been away for a bit

the music is turned to 11

fills the estate with childhood

I walk past a van see a ghost

reach in a fist and say safe bro

love love and all that

heaven is knowing that your friends are back

seeing their mums smile down from three floors up

I’m sure most people don’t know

what love is what forgiveness is

I have only ever seen boys leave

the estate keeps shrinking

it seems like god is pulling

the shrink wrap off the people

who pray for him the hardest constantly

so when one comes home

we throw a party till they leave again

all the drinks spilling off the mantelpiece

the speakers popping from the bass

barbecues filling the air with smoke

we don’t care that they won’t let us into heaven

we found our own way in


Jake Wild Hall is one half of Bad Betty Press, his debut pamphlet Solomon’s World was longlisted for Best Pamphlet in the 2018 Saboteur Awards. He is a multiple slam champion and his work has been published in magazines, anthologies and online journals. His second pamphlet was published in 2019 and he is currently working on his first collection.


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