poems by DS Maolalai

A cabin fire.


from the window,

behind curtains,

rain cracks like logs

in a cabin-grate

fire. we could be somewhere

on holiday now,

off in the mountains,

with red wine in goblets,

not to mention the red, wine-

flushed cheeks. sitting together

on a rug of real

sheepskin, and rough walls

built by workmen

and rented to tourists

like us. the sound

of the rain

goes on without

stopping. the sky

dribbles into

the earth. and inside, I admit

we are warm, but not

comfortable. this is

no holiday. frankly,

I said something

thoughtless at dinner.

we’re neither

in the best

of our moods.






beer bottles


at night-time,


and all morning

the sparkle

and light.



in car

in an alleyway.


a dog

smelling dropped

bags of chips.




Never the topic.


to make a poem

a builder could read

or just recognise.

such aspirations.

such condescension

made worse for being true.

right now, I work

each day with electricians

and carpenters,

and they’d never guess

if you asked

that I wrote poetry.

we talk, sometimes,

about girls and cars.

talk about dogs,

about politics. art

is never the topic – well,

sometimes tv.

we stand outside

the maintenance office,

drinking tea like water

from cups. we eat

sandwiches. smoke





Fascism rises


like underdone chicken

in europe again,

and america. what,

this time

will save us?

not poetry.

never poetry.




The chef.


she has

two shelves

of spices,

a windowsill of herbs

and a fridge

filled with bottles of sauces,


and meanwhile

your idea

of a good meal

is boiled water

with meat

and two kinds

of vegetable. you boil it

hard and ignore it,

then snap back and remember

when it’s eventually

soft enough to chew.

you’re healthy anyway – at least

you try to be.


whenever you go over

she asks what you want to eat

and thinks

you’re being polite

when you say

you don’t mind.

but really,

you don’t –

anything is better

as the stuff you have at home.


you’re putting on weight,

and you know it,

getting to know her.

but god,

the energy

after a good plate

of butter chicken on rice

or perogies

with a side of beetroot

two draughts of beer – you could fuck her

six ways left

of wednesday

and will – she

wants you to –


it’s amazing

what flavour

can do.

poems by DS Maolalai

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