An Hour With Jake

An Hour With Jake

the phone knows it’s Jake,
the ringtone changes to one
with a depressed air.

I think he used to be
in the military
as he always
manages to bypass
the answerphone,

and it rings,
and rings,
and rings,
and rings,

five minutes is the limit.

“hi, it’s Jake.”
“oh, hi Jake, how’s things?”

scripts roll.

his, a tale of how
his wife,
his dog,
his work colleague,
don’t understand him.

mine, a crafted questionnaire
designed for glibness,
adding to the
self-help deception.

third Thursday each
month, 7pm – 8pm.
in two years,
little has changed.

this week he’s convinced
the goldfish has started
swimming with its back to him.

some weeks I switch him
to headphones and catch up
with important things in the office.
other weeks, the negativity
hijacks me, and I slump
in the armchair and
watch the crack creep
across the ceiling.

the end is always the same,
Jake giving thanks for my
empathy and kindness.
me, having to wash myself
from the inside out,
with Malbec.

© Davy D 2017


A moving tale, Davy, honestly expressed, with empathy laced with Malbec.

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Despair has a way of entangling one and then another – sometimes through just a phone call. Powerful writing, Davy.

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This is so interesting, so much in here. I appreciate this insight into your life.
That paragraph, “mine, a crafted questionnaire…” begs some fascinating/poignant/empathetic conversation, well, all of it does. Over Malbec of course. Powerful write, I agree!

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This is a lovely and light write on a dark subject. Great ending. I have not tried it, but it seems you and that other poet I posted a link to on my blog were right: the beginning and ending of good poetry is good wine.

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A really powerful poem here, Davy, and a very intriguing one. I felt it tangling up as it went on, as though becoming tangled within Jakes mindset. I also love the imagery of ‘washing’ ones self out… Really well crafted poetic tale.

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Reblogged this on Creative Writing Reblogged.

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I love how this one finishes up, Mr. D. Washing from the inside out. Seeing the scenes play out before it. Nice work.

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Hello Mr D! I hear there are friends running around these virtual parts!?

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Davy, we’ve come for some malbec.

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I really was touched by this piece. I think we all know that person named Jake. We try. We do our best to be there and listen even if that means putting the phone on speaker and doing ten other chores while babble on and every so often answer, “Uh huh, hmmm, really?”
You made me feel less guilty about not paying total attention to the person who is the Jake in my life. You perfectly described the feeling of helping a friend while still keeping negativity at bay. It’s rather nice to know I’m not the only one who does this. 👍

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    Thank you Lesley. It is always difficult and I think sometimes in our lives we can become Jake. I think what I was describing is human nature and we all do this at some time or another. Many thanks for taking time out to read and comment Lesley.

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      Oh yes, we all can become Jake at any given moment. Life is rarely smooth sailing. And complaining now and then or sharing our thoughts to that one person who will hear us and be attentive is a two way street. Perhaps that’s why it’s important to pick up the phone and listen or at least attempt to. Because we never know when we will be the one calling. Let’s hope there is someone to answer our calls should we transform into Jake.

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      I certainly hope so Lesley. If we can remain mindful, compassionate and take a step back sometimes then it may help someone in the future.


Very relatable and you get right into the draining feeling that such calls evoke. I need a nap just from reading. Ha ha. Wonderfully evocative poem.

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Oh, I am not familiar with the police work but is this like forensic psychiatry? 😅 Vivid imagery, D. That kind of empathy is healthy– being concerned but not letting their troubles weigh you down. Also, it might means a mundane routine to one but that must made a big difference to a Jake. 😁

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    Maria, it was more an observation on the counselling Police Officers receive after traumatic events. You leave with a Jake feeling and that got me thinking about how this may pan out in ordinary life. Thanks for the insightful comments.


Oh my gosh–I used to be a Jake all the time…but have cut back (improved positive attitude) to just now and then…. You’re a wonderful and loyal, compassionate friend to him, Davy. I couldn’t help but laugh about the goldfish, though–was he serious? And what’s Malbec?

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Oh my! Well done, Davy.

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Davy, it’s so stimulating to read a poem on a topic that’s so seldom explored in poetry. Especially a poem as exceptionally well-crafted and sensitive to word and detail as “An Hour With Jake”. And the theme is universal: Nearly everyone of us has known a Jake, nearly everyone of us has been one.

I can’t see a word that needs to be removed, nor think of a word that needs to be added. And I believe the same can be said of the observations and imagery.

You know, I almost didn’t read this! I’m in such a rush today. Yet this was more worth my time than almost everything I have scheduled to do. I’m going to return to it, too, the first chance I get.

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    Paul, these kind words are deeply appreciated. This poem must have been sitting in my psyche for some years, an accumulation of a number of experiences. Thanks for taking time to read and comment 🙂

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I too have a friend who is so negative and self centred I find my sympathy is running dry – my empathy disappeared long ago. Interesting conversation….

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I am still laughing! Having been on both ends at different times, can definitely relate.😂

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Wonderful description, Davy. My father was a therapist and used to come home exhausted. You expressed so well what we’ve all experienced with our own Jakes. I suspect I’ve been guilty, during certain periods of my life, of being a Jake, too.

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the weight of your words is clearly felt. this is definitely intriguing. like an opening about a mystery novel or the first page of a story about a disturbed and retired army. nice. nice.

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Thanks for this Paul and for the kind feedback 🙂


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[…] D’s recent work, An Hour With Jake, is a masterful treatment of the topic.  The craftsmanship alone is excellent: I couldn’t […]

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