DS Maolalai

Travel shots.

drink only
bottled water.
refuse ice
in drinks you buy. carry a bag
packed with anti-nausea medicine,
pain pills,
and antiseptic
wipes. order food 
with hot spice
and wash any fruit 
with bottled water. 

I was getting my travel shots
before flying to malaysia
with my girlfriend
for the chinese 
new year. my doctor
is apparently under the impression that,
aside from needing to avoid tetanus
and hepatitis,
I'd likely to do 
so badly with her family
that they'd be looking
to poison me 
with every offered 

The broken milk jug.

above the prison
empty branches
wrack an evening sky. cracks
in blue porcelain,
and empty weather. 

Some new adventure.

like a rabbit, wild, 
frightened half-stiff with ears and distant gunfire. hawks
swarming hillsides and stoats
teeth in the warren,
while the sky throws its head back and laughs 
a big and brown and healthy laugh.

or that moment when,
reading an adventure novel and turning the pages, 
you are distracted by the sight 
of some new adventure;
a bird dropping 
like an apple into long grass 
or a sparking of the sun 
giving the river jewelry
which races past you from of the window of the train.

the fox which flares his nostrils from beneath the wheelwell of a car 
long abandoned where somebody crashed it into a bog,
shucked open for animals to build nests out of 
the paint flaked into a battle 
of oranges and old reds
and perhaps for a child to imagine a fortress hideout in the heat of some wet day, 
something more like the heap of a wild and decaying animal .

I lie in bed in my ragged underwear
being slowly woken by the sun 
which crawls over my face like a toad 
and I sometimes think about things like this
about getting somewhere, and seeing something new,
before I remember it was thoughts like that
which got me here.

The new apartment: bad weather.

we've been here 
a week already.
with storms 
our place shakes 
like a badly made treehouse
built on a midwinter conifer. 
I am in my underwear
and a t-shirt drinking coffee - 
it's good.
it's noon now.
it's afternoon. 

below me
the river pushes birds about
like poolballs 
on aged baize
and bangs its hands
against the bridgesides,
eager as a puppy in a petshop.
I turn off lights
and drink my coffee,
eat toast
and watch the daylight 

Pages roll,

broken like seashells - moving
to a new apartment
gives me time
to think about 
books. really
it should be a minute
of reflection
and discarding
what I no longer 
like. pages
to coloured sand
and ideas. instead
becomes just a game 
of tetris. I'm 
a mathematician
and one
abandoned shirt
makes for three books of poetry.
three plates
left behind
allows two more novels. all
easy equations. literature
and quoting from it
carries. a shirt
can only impress 
the person in front of you. 



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).