Literary Yard

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‘Mostly it’s pigeons’ and other poems by DS Maolalai

By: DS Maolalai

Mostly it’s pigeons.

it was one of those days
which get wet
without raining – something
fallen overnight,
without ever coming warm enough
to clear. the city
like a basement apartment
with pipe problems,
and everyone
walking down the steps. and the bird
had died that morning
and must have lain there
all day. it was
bad weather for scavengers – the bird
was a starling
and mostly
it’s pigeons which die. at least
that’s in dublin,
anyway. feathers
lay flat
with the weight of the weather
and stuck
at odd angles
out of damp. and its eyes
were diamonds
in a cheap jewelry box,
its feet scratched the pavement
like the stalk
from rotting grapes. close by
cars passed,
people going home to their heat,
radios inside rattling,
in discussion
of music
and news.


My sister’s new house.

my sister’s new house – 8
people there, all of them early
20s, all of them
good drunks, all
clever –
a place
for parties. far better
than my house, taken like a thief
from a grandmother in hospital,
a place
for sad poems
and nothing else
at all.


Hay fever

we’d come in
after lunch on the football field,
our shoes
with thick red pollen
like tannin from tea.
plant-jizz; randy daffodils.
a joking complaint. but that
was in the summer months only
and even then,
we can hardly look to plants
as examples
of self-control.

we stayed inside, drinking tea
and making jokes at one another.
like daffodils
walking the halls past us,
springing up nectar
in hives
all year.

we were all
as good as we
were ever going to be
and threw it away – all anyone wanted
was to kiss each other
and we got through that
by staring
and saying cruel things.
no idea – all genders
throwing stones
to see what they would break.

was 15 years ago
at the outside. I’ve been doing better
of course,
still buzz
my bees up, but by now
I hope
I’ve learned
to deal with it.



Paris is good she said
had you been
to Jaipur
you could not say Paris
is the loveliest city.
no I said
but I like the sound of it.
she purred
like a cat
and pushed me like a kitten.
I was blind drunk by then
and nearly
toppled over the bedspread.
she said
all kitten
and wonderful english
is wonderful. monkeys crowd the streets
and there are spires
and crowds
of the most beautiful beggars. the beggars
are not like the beggars here – no
heroin-hound amongst them.
oh yeah? I said
and freshened her drink. no
she said booze hounds
yes we have them. but no junkies.
just sick people. show me your poems
she said
you got me back here
telling me about your poems.
I’m here for a reason I’m not
just some floozy you picked up.
I will
I said
I will. I got up
and then fell back in the bed
like an acrobat.
I can’t find them I said but hell
I’ll recite one to you. say
do you want another drink.
give me your glass
I’ll get you another glass of drink.
the bottleneck
hit the glass too hard
and shattered it. glass
went into my fingers
slivers went into my blood. my blood
then tiled into circles
and then
wrapped in a towel like a handkerchief.
I’ll tell you more about Jaipur
she said
sitting me down on the duvet.
come here
let me tell you more
about Jaipur.


Set time aside to study.

I heard she gave some good advice
when she broke it off with me;
“never go out with someone
with a bathroom full of poetry.”
well fuck her.
I like to read
when I shit. so what?
that way what I’m shedding out of one end
somehow gets back in on the other.

she used to write pretty good plays and poems
and talked a lot about depression:
she probably got even better
and killed herself
or else got on medication
and lost what spark she had.
and yeah
you can tell me I poeticise it;
“death as the price of genius”, all that wank,
all that
only able
to create in madness”
(sometimes I think of mumbling this at the funeral
and getting slapped half-way round the casket)

but hell,
I poeticise everything –
my own shits too;
they’re the only time I ever get
any reading done

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