E-ISSN 2457-0265


Vol. 4 Issue 3

DS Maolalai

If Only I'd Been a Painter


days on the days

and then on

their years

and I thought of nothing

but the sky

and its opening – its red light,

its dark

and its melancholy. I thought of it

much as water

in a glass must think

of the glass, as unread books

must think of the shelf

they sit upon. the rose

rising westward

as the sun fell through

and burned the clouds

to thunderstorm. the bearing lines

of highways, as they humped

their cargos up. the texture

of my wallpaper, blue

shading to black

and purple. I lay back

on the sofa,

eating toast and staring

through the windows. god,

stretched on a long

workday, legs

to the horizon, flaming

a blue distance – the colours

and their autumn








on weekdays you never

eat breakfast, but you do

on weekends - you sleep in;

eat your breakfast

at lunchtime. you're a hell of a cook -

I'm willing

to wait for it,

though I'm generally up

for some hours

by then. moving

through the apartment,

quietly bored,

like a cat, photographed

walking in the morning

across tram-tracks,

casting a shadow

the length of a man.

reading books.

drinking coffee.

eating slices

of toast. I rise

like a flower, and wonder

if it's lunchtime.






People in Daylight Situations


for lunch we sit

at the bare kitchen

table, and use 

our spare chair

to prop open

the door; allow in

the light

and some air

and the flies. we eat


our broken

and half-toasted

sandwiches, drink

hot tea and put

our phones on silent,

watching the dog

as she rolls on the lino

and begs.


lunchtime: this

is our daylight

situation. the river


breezing lazy,

dragging flies

from wicklow. cups

of tea and work

phones off,


avoiding the office

an hour. peace falling

like streetdust

off the wheels of july

bicycles. passing

the butter

to make another

sandwich. the milk

for another cup

of tea





In the Park


picking dried blood

from the sides

of my nostrils, like paint

off an old

wooden door. wiping my nails

on a crumpled

up napkin. inhaling

quite freely

and copperish.



The Trap


I come in from work

and the kitchen

collapsing. dog

barking and sounds

which sound various,

like objects


going over. I open the door – a mouse

is in a trap –

his mind said bacon

and then it said

hide, and he pulled himself

into a corner,

just out

of harms way. the jaw

has gone down, and one paw

has gone useless, and the dog

is barking, yelling excited

at air around the mouse

with her ass up.

the creature,

very cute.

confused, wild frantic

and no real predator – she doesn't know

what her mind

should make her do. but here is some interest

anyway – she knows that

alright. I pick up the trap

and the mouse hangs down

dangled like a key

from a tasteless keyring.





The Clothes-Horse


hanging out laundry

we fold our week

away; let days drip

in rhythm,

check stains,

the wriggles

of life

coming loose. 


and we spread

things out,

dangle them,

free as the wings

on a butterfly,

remembering the dry heat

of july air

and the wet heat of packed bars

heavy with over-

full glasses.


we hang them to wring

on the folded

out clothes-horse

which orders the kitchen

and passes the time.

pours loose dye in its water

to stain the white lino,

stands in our way

when we make cups of tea

quite politely.




A Passing


am I not

what caused the hand

to shudder? to offer someone


and remember

it's july? I write

my fumbling verses

for my family

and put them about

in poetry

magazines. perhaps

that is why

I have trouble

with emotion when I’m sober,

and then

only alone. my mother


when she called

to tell me of a passing

and was cut off suddenly –

she thought that I'd

hung up on her

rather than blame it on the line.

I complain about that,

hold the memory

bitterer than any death.

is that me?

throwing roses

down on caskets

because they're what bloom

in any season? I carry

so many

books full of poetry.

pages fall

off my shoulders

like petals in heavy rain.





Early on


I wrote quite a lot

in the voice

of a character. this was

early on – I wrote

about scumbags;

all bukowski

and filth.

thought it was obvious

that if I wrote poetry

then what I was writing

wasn't all about

me. it wasn't – I

was a fool. spent my time

reading damn

stupid magazines. thought

it was worth it

to get my word out. it wasn't.

thought it was artistry – like that's

always good. like a sun

shining over a factory

and burning through various

carcinogens – such beautiful colours;

no value at all.





About the Poet

DS Maolalai has been nominated four times for Best of the Net and three times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden (Encircle Press, 2016) and Sad Havoc Among the Birds (Turas Press, 2019).

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Published by The Alternative.