Poems by DS Maolalai

Pic by Quang


Toujours toujours

it’s saturday afternoon,
hot on a long weekend
and here I am
walking up clanb. st,
as the traffic knocks dust off the air
like stunned butterflies,
and trying
to plan a date for tomorrow.

oh oh
my girls desert me
when they really get to know.
I suppose everyone should
desert everyone
and tomorrow
I’ll go home instead
and write a sonnet about it
and hang up this new wall hanging I got
which is blue.

my place now
is the nicest one I’ve had
with real pictures on the wall
and a radio
and books all over the place.
I even have candles
it could be very romantic
I’m all ready
for someone to come and visit me
and not take a look at the walls.
when will we mend the concertina
when will we try to sing a song

o o
toujours toujours
just like a frenchman
I have a little nip of wine back home
maybe we should try it together
I’ll go and write a sonnet
and send it off to you
and you’ll probably
cancel our date.


My soul is cheap to rent

and my soul reeks
of wet plaster – it is
a small apartment
in a city
somewhere, away
from the main streets – it is
in a building
of brown stone brick, picked apart
in humidity
by a fingernail. and outside
the street is sticky
with trees dropping pollen,
randy as priests so each footfall
brings a sound like sellotape
being pulled quickly
from a badly gummed envelope. and music plays
in a bar nearby
and comes in
through the open window. and around the corner
the noise of heavy traffic. there, where
my body lives, quietly,
not bothering anyone, cooking pasta
and humming along.



I know this guy
who’s considering
buying a typewriter.

and he’s American
(of course he’s American)
and models himself on
old Englishmen,
from the 30s and 40s,
calls himself
after some fucking
he played clarinet
or pianoforte
or solved mysteries,
dresses very stylish
like a candy wax figurine
on top of a cake.

I can’t help but wonder
if he’s as stupid
as he seems to be.


Trying out glasses

picking your favourite shapes
and letters like apples in a supermarket,
you go back to the store front
and choose a new face.

such a strange thing
to commit on – like being born
with an option
to decide things. and for years
these lines
will show in every photo taken; it seems
it would be right
to be selective, and it’s
a nightmare.

trying out glasses
and looking at a mirror
until every decision is wrong
and you’re not even sure anymore
how your jaw goes
and how deeply set your cheeks are,
whether you’d call your hair brown
or deeply
dirty blond.


They ask for experiments

as if this were a field
of some science
or engineering;

I don’t know – perhaps there really is
some undiscovered way
of getting words across
so people
and feel them,
a way other
than putting them down
in stacks
which hold
like a child
building lego. I just know
if they find one
I’ll never see it. I can’t stand

experimental poetry – it just bothers me,
that’s all;
words which flit
like dust in a window,
flared by a breeze
and the burning sun. it might make patterns
but can rarely
make pictures. playing with words
like this is not particle physics – poetry

is not numbers – a line
is for getting out
and meaning
things. that
is to say; this
is how I like
my poetry.

and blunt. a hammer
driving a spike, shooting
a point
straight to the heart. 


About the Author

DS Maolalai has been nominated twice for Best of the Web and twice 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). His writing has appeared in such publications as 4’33’, Strange Bounce and Bong is Bard, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Out of Ours, The Eunoia Review, Kerouac’s Dog, More Said Than Done, Star Tips, Myths Magazine, Ariadne’s Thread, The Belleville Park Pages, Killing the Angel and Unrorean Broadsheet.