by Jamel Hall

Sunday Coming Down

The slight shudder of newspaper
adds accents to the commercial break.
My mother in her meekest vestments
paces the house singing songs of jesus,
of better days, and inheritance.

His name pressed to the walls
like a cigarette stifled in ash.
In the kitchen, the cooker whistles softly
trying to hush the house as if it were
a child with a skinned knee.

Sunday morning descends, aging
like an expensive ale. I rise late
noting the thickness of the room.
The ugly rumble of the washing machine,
and the subdued scent of ackee
a whetstone to sharpen my senses.

Humid hymns hold the air
as if they were passengers on a bus.
My brothers voice tangled in laughter
and TV sounds climbs the concrete steps
losing luster with each vertical bump.

I chase my stomach across the passage divide
halted by the haze of the radio. Crooning electric,
quaking with conviction; choir belting promise,
reward, and punishment.

She passes unmarked books in hand,
voice like a straw broom bound in iron.

My mother in her humble dress
tosses her church purse aside
and paces the house,
singing songs of better days.

Her husbands’ car wakes at the gate.
Songs of Jesus.
The grand children may visit today.
Of inheritance.

Nina’s Child

My body is no longer heavy with your loss,
you were much too good to it.
Every kiss cooling fever, fingers playing
my scalp like a tune. Palms a salve,
wrapped tight against life’s meaner seasons.

Dear heart, I miss you like the sun misses
Its lover, wide berths and fraying shadows;
days spent plashing light across the stencilled earth.

I still dream you in Paris sipping tea
at some roadside café, tattered dictionary
sleeping peacefully atop tattered novel.
Map tucking table like morning linen, juke Jazz
rising Fahrenheit in your bones, soft melodies
seeping Nina into your sediments.

Love I understood.                                                          
I bet the band will play your heart to rags,
thin strips of paint-soaked memories
no longer good for much.

The crowd will touch and shake and sway,
calling back to a place they never knew.

You will nod your head and sing
on nights that colour some kind of blue.


Your lips taste of salt,
nothing will grow here again.
My tongue dry and bitter
all that is left, is to leave.

The house without sound,
my footsteps on the cold floor,
wait I had almost forgotten my keys.

‘I’ll find them and go!’

Perhaps they are under the carelessly
flung robes of our morning,
maybe by the paper on the sun deck
where we whittled down days to afternoons.

I’ll start, in the living room, penned in by
empty candy dishes, wickless candles,
and old photographs of people who only
smile when viewed at angles.

“I’ve found them, I’ll take them and go.”

My hat! I cannot find my hat!
“It is frayed and fading but it is mine.
One little look, that’s all I need.”

By the mirror, on that table with two tones,
one leg shorter than the other.
I always put it there.

“I see it, it’s right where I left it!”

My voice echoes through the rooms.
I have collected myself.
I think it is time to go.

White Noise

Will you still look at me with
half-moon eyes when the feelings
That marionette-ed us in the small hours
Abruptly turns to ash? The siren sounds
of a receiver sparking tinder-ed air.

Will the memory of minutes past,
fingers etching skin be enough to call you
back to the comfort of these crumpled sheets?

A leapfrog of hours, the inevitability of dinner,
the world beginning to remember your name.

A loud lie from an all too quiet place.
The hum of a fan held close to ear
becoming bridge and tunnel static.

I will hear nothing over the search
for saucers and cups, over the whistle
Of punched steel; while you weight words
In the market of hearts.

Pot on tray, matched cups, biscuits beside butter,
knives neatly crossed. A proper tea,
served at the table, while you finger curtains
and wait, for the sun to set fire to the sea.

Will you look at me then, head tilting in consideration?
Or will you again slip out the back, slide along the house
and disappear into the darkness of a slightly dozing city?
Will I finally find the right reasons for you to stay?

This day and the Next

On a church morning sitting in the shade
of a fern tree listening to an old man
whistle to the beat of his god, I waited.
Patient breaths paced for some sign,
some grandiose gesture clothed in a
sheppard’s humility.

From the pulpit a voice booms.
Vibrations made speech coaxed through
coaxials and quarter inch cables rise
and spill out into the street like a bar room
brawl. Pauls penning chase cars like hungry dogs
passing people walking the sunned scene.

Light spills through the branches tattooing my face;
in the church, children shift and shuffle under thumb.
The old man rises like a bird leaving X’s in his wake.
The Noon day sun paints us all in a hue of gold.

…In the slow birth of light that marks the beginning
of a new day I packed, moving carefully
amongst the furniture that had sprung like a stand
of trees drinking the carpet dry. Slowly searching drawers,
sweeping nooks and crannies for defining moments,
for something to name as important.

About the Author:

Jamel Hall

Jamel Hall is a writer, art curator, event organizer, occasional musician and freelance everything else living and working in Kingston, Jamaica. His poetry focuses on the small, complex and common stories that make up human existence. The work tries to engage all the sense seamlessly transporting the reader to small places and moments in time. Hopefully leaving a little piece of poetry with them each time as they come and go. As a Poet, he has won local competitions in his home country, performed on stages across Jamaica and taught workshops to adults as well as college and high school students. Jamel has had three poems published to date, Clash by Uk Journal Ink Sweat and Tears in October 2018, The Art of Falling also in October and White in November 2018 both by Jaipur Paris based magazine RIC Journal. He most recently completed a two-month Writing Residency in Bali, Indonesia on December 19, 2018, which was awarded to him by the Esirom Ltd. and the Sama Sama Residency Programme.