5 POEMS – DS Maolalai

A retreat.

the autumn each year

smelled like old crates

of apples. and winter

the softness, a skin-

wrinkled must. and the house

was his passed-away

uncle’s house next to an orchard;

he had plans for it,

he told us, through the smell

of old fruit – it would make

a perfect guest house; had views

of the sea and the mountains

to make painters bite

down on their brush.

and solitude for writers,

and silence for musicians

and solitude for painters

and a quality of light.

each evening the yard

would be lit up

with cigarettes – it would make

a great commune – a retreat

and a stage-ground

for tourists and athletic

german backpackers. the sheds

fell to ruin. the orchard

a haven for wasps.

he curled in his wine-

sodden comfortable

bedroom. said next year

he’d do it, when the weather

was better. and next year he’d do it

when the apples were ripe.

~

Hops.

I open the windows

and let in the smell

of the brewery. it’s over

the river and pumping

the scorched smell

in the air like a gift.

it comes like a cat

through the window.

rubs its fur over

my legs. I lie on the sofa,

an arm on my eyes.

close my mouth, breathe

through my nose. the hop-

smell gets in and puts hands

on my memories – god

the world’s such

broken biscuits.

~

Firecrackers.

birds coming down

like drops from a turned

over wine-bottle;

I am going

for groceries, my route

through this plaza

alongside the canal

and a bridge going

into rathmines.

it’s a place

people come

to feed pigeons

sometimes.

5-year-old kids

spilling old bags

of breadcrumb

and watching the flocks

form a fist. flight

struck suddenly

in shock out of motion,

like firecrackers

bursting in reverse.

they land,

settle feathers,

and collapse in a circle

scrambling in scraps.

and sometimes swans,

lumbering from the water,

sticky with thick-necked idiocy

and blundering through the crowd.

the children are excited

as these things happen. everything

is new to them

like water in balls

on a leaf. animals

inhabit the world.

I step around the flocks

as delicate as I’m able,

trying not to disturb things

or get in the way of any videos –

I remember childhood

and won’t send birds away

just because seeing flight

now is less remarkable

than I remember

when it used to be.

~

The artists and the arts.

discussing the art

and the artists

who made it

with some 20

year old kid in

this artists collective

which began collecting

recently in the back

room of this local

bar – someone works

here, has let them set

tables out, selling

all these magazines,

these mimeograph prints

and prints done in other

styles also – lino,

paper-rubbings –

tattoos in one corner

with sailor-ink sheets.

it’s good, it’s like walking

into somebody’s garage

and seeing all their interests

in piles and around – bicycles

old issues of magazines

with poems. sculptures,

some photography

and cameras they’ve restored.

it’s incredible – they all seem

like they have so many

interests. and the bar

is doing business – the turn-

out impressive. and the women

are all gorgeous

in that way you get

with artists. and the men

good looking also,

in that scrawny

artist way, at 20

and with skin

as tight as condoms

on their bones. I appreciate

the interest – the artists

and the arts. this drawing

of an art-scene out

of wanting to get drunk.

this poison out of snake-

bites being sucked

and spat on tarmac.

this kicking over rocks

and seeing worms.

~

The reason why I have not married you.

because anything mortal

might also betray. that: the fear

and the reason why I

have not married you.

I walk through the docklands

and see boats pull to harbour

with steel plates

scraping the dockside.

like buildings which bang

against buildings. I work

and call plumbers

and electricians – patch pipes

and fix wires. then

I come home –

and usually you are well,

but sometimes

you get sick also.

like buildings.

like every

building.

my fingers try muscles

and bones –

bang them and crack

them to place.

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