Previously unpublished work by Martin Hall.

Content warning: may contain words.
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I Think It's Drifting Away Now

there it goes



Dunstable was a bus. He wore his name across his face, which made him very proud. He understood how to be a bus. Stop at bus-stops, and wait while people got on and off. He was good at that part, always looking out for bus-stops and stopping carefully in just the right place.

What he didn't like was when he reached his destination and they changed his name. He thought that was wrong. Why couldn't he be Dunstable all the way there and Dunstable all the way back? It made him sad when they changed his name. One day they changed it to "Out of service" and he had to spend the rest of the day in a big smelly old garage, all on his own.

During the boring bits between bus-stops, Dunstable would sometimes pretend to be someone else. He might be a fire-engine, with a ladder on his back and a big bell ringing excitedly. Or he might be an ambulance, racing around saving people's lives, with his blue lights flashing and his siren sounding. Once, he tried to be a galloping horse, but he couldn't work out how to do the legs.

One warm night in June, Dunstable went to sleep, and in the morning he didn't wake up. The garage people put "Dunstable" on the face of a new bus, and round and round we go.



You do not enter Elderland.
Elderland enters you.
You become an occupied territory,
conquered by advancing years.
You recognise your peers
by mutual bewilderment:
How did this happen? and
Will it all be over by Christmas?



I would like to be best friends with an elephant, so that when I go to see him he would come trundling across the fields looking really pleased to see me. We would play elephant games, and I would feed him his lunch and his supper. At bedtime, I would read to him until he fell asleep. Then I would tiptoe away across the grass until I could no longer hear him snoring.



Two dreams were recovered from the wreckage. Both are presently on display at the Dream Centre in Stevenage. Also a rumour, of doubtful provenance, presently held by magistrates under the Mischief Act, and a square metre of moonlight bearing the shadow of a small cat. Three sentences, author unknown, were seen to snake out of the debris and were quickly apprehended by uninformed police. The sentences' words were hacked out and replaced into the Dictionary.
Or the wreckage was towed out to sea and set ablaze.
Or the wreckage began to reassemble itself, and we watched it go slowly out of fashion.
Or we acknowledged the wreckage ours and sat down in it, beaming hopefully into a future that was already behind us.



This poem has no friends
it just begins and ends

but in between, it tries
to meet a reader's eyes
as if a brief connection
might generate affection
This poem then might say
I have a friend, today

This poem has no friends
it just begins and ends


What Time Does the Future Get Here?

What time does the future get here
and will it have room for us
and will it accept our baggage
we don't like to cause a fuss

and what of the dead we carry
what if they choose to stay
are we obliged to leave them
what does the guide-book say

So when does the future get here
and where do we join the queue
and will there be friendly faces
and will I remember you

A former girlfriend of mine killed herself by jumping out of a hospital window.


This is where I tried to write
my broken-hearted last goodnight.

I promise you, I really tried,
but every time I tried, I cried.

I'll try again. I swear, I will,
while in my head you're falling still.



Sometimes he liked to wear a disguise, so no-one would know he was a giraffe. When he wore his Groucho Marx nose, moustache and glasses, the other giraffes would behave as if he wasn't there. In his giraffe dreams, he would rob banks, steal the Crown Jewels, picnic with lions, and attend important Government meetings, always completely unnoticed. I don't know where Eric found that disguise, thought the zoo-keeper, but as long as he's happy...
And Eric was happy. He was as happy as Tubby the Tuba. And taller.

"Oh," thought Tubby, "how happy I am!"
— Paul Tripp, Tubby the Tuba



I was standing in front of the house when a horse fell out of the bedroom window. He lay on the ground with all four legs splayed out, like a cartoon horse. I went over to ask if he was alright, and he said yes. I asked what his name was, and he said "Jade Banana". I don't know what happened next.

Maybe he got a job as a police horse and worked his way up to sergeant. Or maybe he pulled a rag and bone man's cart. But I like to think that he turned his back on horse jobs and began to write poems that no-one could understand.



Flow my tears, the iceberg said,
hurl my grief across the skies.
I am soon among the dead,
fallen as the oceans rise.


The day after the kangaroos came, Graham the mad gerbil started hopping around like a mad gerbil.
What's up with you? said his wife Guinevere.
It's the kangaroos, said Graham. I want to be a kangaroo.
I'm no expert, said Guinevere, but I don't think gerbils can be kangaroos.
Life is so unfair, sighed Graham, and he sat down to write a letter to his MP.
The next day he went out to try to purchase a tiny pouch.

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