DS Maolalai – 1 poem

Like going on holiday


Your life 

explained to cats 

might leave them laughing.  

at 14, and kissing someone; 

getting a taste  

for hands 

and tongue flavour. 


Kissing a lot of people then, 

over 10 

or 15 years. 

falling sometimes  

hard in bed 

as if lost, 


in a tunnel. and then, suddenly, 

love – a bird 

landing by the window. a thing 

you’ve handed 

which you now can’t do without. the way that once 

you didn’t carry a phone 

and now you have one.


Like going on holiday – placed in your bag 

like a book 

you won’t read 

but you carry anyway 

because not doing so 

would be wrong. 



DS Maolalai has been nominated seven times for Best of the Net and three times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016) and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019)


DS Maolalai – 1 poem



It’s beautiful; this hot

hazelnut coffee,

made with sweet syrup

and no hazelnuts at all, tasting

nothing like hazelnuts

and much like the future

which bangs outside, brassy,

band and big.


It’s sunlight and slamming

the pavements, slamming the window

and slamming your hands

on the coffeeshop table

like the clip

of a closing pianolid,

and you’ve gotten two messages

since sitting down,

and both of them have been good; delicious

like false hazel. it’s a wonderful thought,

isn’t it,


that all through the future

we will still have sun

on the street outside, and

good messages coming, still have coffee

which tastes

something like hazelnuts, and no hazelnuts

floating in our coffee.





DS Maolalai has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016) and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019)

DS Maolalai – 3 poems

We tried to do it perfectly



We tried to do it perfectly;

packed the car

with sandwiches, with flasks of tea,


a sleeping bag

and a bottle of wine.

then we struck


with no destination in mind.


We had wanted

to get lost on the backroads

and find somewhere to visit

people don’t go often

but it was hours

before we were even out of Dublin

and Ireland

has been signposted to death.


You drank wine

while I was driving

and played with the radio

and got bored pretty quick.

4 hours in

and we were looking at the coast,

all the way to America,

with nowhere to go

but backwards.


We’d tried to do it perfectly;

once there was a hawk in a field

and once rainshower

and the country spread around us,

green and glistening

as a dropped bottle.


You tossed a can at the sea

and complained that you needed the toilet.

I sat

with my ass on the front of the car,

eating a sandwich

trying to remember

the last time I’d been excited

by home.






The prince of milky bedsheets



You say

you are

in love again.


is a writer

of course

for magazines,


of course,

and pretty hellish



Parents with car factories in germany

and business interests

stretching all the way france.



of course

are a traitor to your friends

for wanting


for accepting it,

the price of new love.

you accept

our mockery.

one does.

and gossip

which comes

with young bodies,

trotting like a puppy

on a walk to the shop.

our scorn

is a price

for the prince

of milky bedsheets.


All you want

is all

that anyone wants,

for someone

to be in love with


like the river

shearing into a shoreline

or the twist

of the ungrateful snake,

life whips around

and bites,

less miserable

than you are.






On me every day



My wallet

(fake snakeskin)

with its tinderscrap of receipts

and its plectrumbone

of exempt debit cards.

a blood donation slip.

a drivers license

cradled with age.

10 Canadian dollars, 20 American dollars

15 euros

(all I can spend).

2 durex condoms (real snakeskin)

and 4 coffeeshop loyalty cards,

2 stamps apiece.

a crumpled photo of Melissa

smiling by some shrubbery,

her eyes back home.






DS Maolalai recently returned to Ireland after four years away, now spending his days working maintenance dispatch for a bank and his nights looking out the window and wishing he had a view. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.