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by DS Maolalai






floats in my wine

like crumbs

from a burned

bread pudding. I got too confident,

assumed that a cheap market

would sell only cheap

wine, those ones

with those screwcaps

which are so convenient

when you're thirsty. by the time I got home

I had realized my mistake

but the fish needed fridging

and I'd already torn the foil.


I met my new neighbors 


for the first time,

but they didn't have a corkscrew



so in the end

it was just

the old caveman method; got a good knife

and thanked god

I'd bought a hammer for pictures. like a man

chiseling headstones

I placed it carefully

and brought the hammer down. the glass didn't shatter

first go

which foretold already

a good night

and on the second

I had the knife in

good and steady

like a well-tied shoelace. then it was just the twist

and dig

until eventually

enough cork was out of there

to push the rest in. the air inside shifted

and I had to change my shirt,

but it was drinkable

and quite good;


vallis quietus,

viognier from lidl. you wouldn't expect it

but you can get some decent stuff there

if you go above a fiver

and are willing to risk stitches.




a line, (a short blue one)



How are you


Lucy tells me

she doesn't like

babble. doesn't like

the "how are you"

you have to ask

a check-out lady

before you buy

your painkillers

or pot of salt,

a bottle of table

wine. me,

I don't mind it. like

getting a car into gear. gives me a second

to get my questions ready. I am not

a written character

designed for dialogue,

snapping out meaning

like a flag in the wind. I am a person

and so are you

and that

is all

the "how are you" thing

means. "I am a person

and so

are you. we both

are people

and we understand each other.


painkillers please."




a line, (a short blue one)



The preacher preaching sin.


the true prophets

don't get heard,

they go crazy. mountain men

rambling at angels on high

and guys on the train

cursing the govt,


and good god

above them.



light in the desert

burning broken rocks

and camelshit,

doing nothing

but stretching out

our shadows

in the night.



can put a forest

to flame,

forget a fag and send

ten thousand trees

to cinder.


scent danger

and flee it first,

leave us

leaving our houses,



no longer


just as the roofs

and libraries





a line, (a short blue one)





you come home.

fridge gone wild.

all hairy. open

the door

and put your head back.

it goes

way back

and holds there.

like opening

a hot oven

and letting the air





a line, (a short blue one)



The eventual poem.


the best ones come

when your fingers

start typing. I've known people

who keep notebooks

packed with these little

turns of phrase,

or break off conversation

to tap them

in their phone.

but then

the eventual poem

always seems

to be about getting

to that line - twisting

like a cat

through a fence crack

to reach at

baby birds. you sit down

at the dinner table, tired

after work,

laptop going

and wine open,

and let your hands

go walking. mostly

it's just more

of this stuff. tired

jerkish self-


all about the state

of modern

poetry. but sometimes

god talks. trees blossom

and wood burns.



a line, (a blue one)


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