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Five Poems
by DS Maolalai




2nd hand.


the goodwill

on Bloor

was fantastic - I'd looked up flats near there

before I got lucky

and ended up in Kensington;

it was right next to

a stripclub

and I liked browsing the shirts

and imagining

that some of them had been tore

from the backs of men

who'd got a little too into the show. they had

quite a lot of books too

and you could pick up a set of weights

2 dollars

and a shirt to show the chest you got

5 dollars more.

the paintings were all bad

and they never seemed to change a leather jacket

but up and down the aisles

the kids tried out bikes

and a girl in sunglasses

would be checking out a party dress

and saying to strangers


do you think

if I spin too fast in this

it'll keep my ass on?"




a line, (a short blue one)



The wine. Like Macbeth.


She sat there

across from me.

Red mouth open,


like a lizard on a rock.

And her skirt was pinched in fists

and bunched over her spread knees.

Hours drunk

on whiskey

that she had been mixing 50/50

with dollar store cola

and chunks of sinkwater ice.

And I was pretty well gone too -

waiting to get paid had left me hungry

all week

and I told her,

said "Baby, I can't move over there,

I can't spare the protein, you want to be in my head

to see how dizzy I am? Did you ever see that movie? I feel like

that guy who got shot

and he tries to move

and moving is what kills him. I'm ok now

but if I move I think I'll die."

She sneered at me

and whirled her skirts.

Showed leg and white skin

all the way to the corners

slightly fatty but with shape

and patterns from the chair.

And she said

"I leave it here out for you

like a plate -

chopped and served

and steaming,

red and dreadful juicy

and even now you can't fuck me,

can you?

Even now you're sitting there

in that chair my mother bought me

all that wine down your chest -

what's even the point of having you here?

I called you up to fuck me

and you just want to sit there and let that wine get you

and talk. What movie? You think I brought you up here to talk about movies?

This isn't a checkers game, king me."

She drank more of her black sticky mixture

slugging the sweetness of it over her teeth

and onto her red tongue

red and waiting

for more sugar to go down

and leave her even fatter

and more squeezed out than before.

"The wine", I said "like Macbeth, baby.

No power, but the will all the same. Let me try this."

And I tried to get up, moved forward, hit one of the bottles with one of my feet, staggered like King Kong at the top of the tower, and fell until I was on all fours awful on the carpet, looking at the carpet, yellow with cigarette air and red in patches with spilled wine and cola. And I looked up, and I looked through her knees and long white-pale legs at their center, the short blonde hairs

prickling like desert plants, and between them the rest, open

and glistening like spilled strawberry jam.

And it was a few feet away from me.

And it might as well have been miles.

And I let my head,

heavy with winefill

and gravity's pull,

flop forward like a water barrel onto its side

and with my fingers

I slightly rubbed the frayed and balding footrest

of her mother's sofa seat.

"Macbeth", she said, sneering again. "You and your fucking Macbeth. And that Shakespeare. Your problem is that you were reading books in highschool while everyone else was learning how to fuck. You and your Shakespeare and your George Orwell and your Frank O'Hara and your Joan Didion and your Richard Adams. God, why do all the guys I bring home only want to talk about Shakespeare", she said. "I need someone who talks like a normal man. Next time I'll find someone who never read any books."




a line, (a short blue one)



My new leather jacket.



I treated myself,


picked up

a new

leather jacket.


and I like it,

my leather jacket. it's brown

as the inside of an oak tree

and wearing it

I feel like a shark;

a little broad at the shoulders

and loose around the wrists


but giving all the same

an impression of speed.


my last leather jacket

has been on me

every day

for almost 8 years now

so I thought it was about the time

that I got a new

leather jacket. the old one

looked burned by now anyway,

stained out and scorched with the winey grease of ages -

stories half remembered,

girls kissed,


catching handclaps on cigarettes.


it was built to my body

like an old car

that nobody else could start.

I felt like an old sofa

in that jacket.


this new leather jacket

is crisp

and shiny as astronaut teeth.

it suits my complexion

and wearing it

feels like leaning against a wall in the sun.



plays cards with men -

the cards are marked some sneaky way

and he keeps mixing up the rules

between blackjack, pogs, and tabletennis.

in my old jacket,

softened with spilled drinks

I was lucky

if I could get away with my shoes on.


in this new one

I feel like I could throw the table sideways,

finally scatter the dice and the deckchairs,

lean over

and punch god

a good one

quite on the mouth.




a line, (a short blue one)



Drinking with Matt.


if we were going to go drinking

we were going to go

drinking -

it was serious

going drinking

with Matt. he was probably

the best friend in London,

but boy,

he knew where drink went. he once invited me around

and told me to show up


to his house south of the city.

then it was the pub

with no preamble - cheap drinks in wetherspoons at breakfast,

losing at darts,


and whole pitchers of liqour


like we could force down the sun.

we worked together

and in work

he was funny

and stretched relaxed as a cat

but he got things done. here

it was the same.

I haven't been back

in a while

to London

but I bet

he's drunk


beer in glasses, wine, white vodka,

flowers of summer

blooming and blooming

like fire

again and again.




a line, (a short blue one)



A beautiful Tuesday.


instead of making plans

we let the weather decide

and ended up staying in bed all day

listening to hail

as it played against the window.


snatches of simple static music

from a radio

in a foreign country

spun out on long distance stations

as they settle between stars.




a line, (a blue one)


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