Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Four Poems, DS Maolalai

Everyone's generous

a park around 7. and sunset.
and march. sun bouncing up 
from the grass at all angles
and this soft falling hill
like a candleflame light 
and a saucer of warm liquid wax. 

some dogs playing chasing.
some people 
sitting out. my god – 
there are times in the world
you'd be generous
to offer a share of.
and everyone's generous,
passing out bottles 
of beer and their loose
of cigarettes. ten-year-olds 
bike riding, teenagers kissing,

a woman, some distance off
reading and smoking 
a joint. and that's 
spring air too, 
and the smell of it
wafting occasionally 

over: like cracked open
crowding with mushrooms
on wood. wet scents
and plants mulching. 
composts and 
burning weather.

The iron.

the street fires; flat
as an unironed shirt, and an iron
pressed down, raising steam
in an arrow. now 
it is 8am, morning 
and burning past buildings. 
I drive up clanbrassil st,
rolling like a hot marble
on tarmac and in
between slant beams of sunlight
which fall sideways in shafts
as light does in a church
through tall windows.
a coffee shop open, a newsagent.
a man on a bicycle.
an office block, open
in an hour or so. I push on a pedal;
the world streams behind me
and flat. the street fires – 
creasing in one 
long direction.


has come rolling 
from branches.

peace is out 
the air. 

going to the park
or the countryside.
making some shade
upon avenues. 
a simple relaxation 
of leaves in the sun,

like a garnish
in a drink
and on a south-
facing patio. I roll 
up my sleeves
and walk 
for a while
underneath them.

the skin
on my forearm 
dapples flicked

like ripples
on a leopard's 
muscled hindleg.

On the seafront in portugal

(and I want to say lisbon,
but it might not have been)
where we saw our first statue 
there the whole trip
after such a long time hiking 
countryside; some poet or patriot – 
someone or other – 
in a market square 
facing some docks

there were boats coming in: 
a scene and an outflow pipe 
pumping continuous under. 
and the water was festering, the water 
was fishes, all crawling oil mackerel-
scale, guppies and something else
brown. the sea lapped like fishscales
with the wet necks of fish,
pressed against the shore
and devouring sewage and run-off. marvelous,

this nature, and hungover. 10 years
ago – 20 years old. like dirt in the pearl 
of a live opened oyster. 
and johanna said gross, and cian
said also; I said it was cool, 
but the wind overruled me 
by suddenly turning and throwing
the air in our mouths. in town
two blocks out from the seafront
we went to a cafe for lunch
and then to a bar. I shit only once
and pissed 4 times in succession,
thinking about fishes
as they chewed into my tide.

DS Maolalai has received ten nominations for Best of the Net and seven for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in three collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden (Encircle Press, 2016), Sad Havoc Among the Birds (Turas Press, 2019) and Noble Rot (Turas Press, 2022).  

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