“Like False Hazel…” * Four Poems * DS Maolalai


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.


You make me hungry

pink and pale white cheeks, round
and lovely as scrubbed potato-skin,
flowery and smooth and savoury powder soft,
especially in summer,
when flushed with sun,
you lay down in grass
next to the dessert flowers,
and smiled as fresh and lively as white butter,
and talking as crisp
as a little bit of salt.

and your laugh;
that high laugh
without control
but predictable,
the startling shriek of someone dropping a wineglass on a party floor
and then descending to the continuous rumble
of glazed cherries tipping over and rolling from their box,
bouncing off brown sugar
and mixing with the mixingbowls
through the sprinkled flour,
and shaking to a stop
who knows where;
your laugh gets everywhere
and makes my whole home smell of recipes.


Seeds on a breeze

monday morning, and empire rises;
walking to work as the daisybuds bloom,
dotting the grass of front gardens
and punctuating daybreak
with a million fresh
fried eggs. no matter anyone’s
careful trimming
and delicate lawnwork,
colour radiates from the green,
expanding with gentle chaos
and seeds
flipping on a breeze.

detail gleams and seagulls
scratch the summer. night-time chokes. monday morning;
a weekend spent relaxing, or burdened
with a satisfaction
from breaking the back garden
to tempered
natural beauty,

a dog
brought into your home,
and slowly learning
where to piss.


My spanish neighbours

I woke up slowly
to the sound
of alarms
running like buzzsaws
but it was warm in the bed
and it took some time
(this happened)
for me to decide
if it would be worth
even bothering
to get up.

I did though – something
in the hum
cutting through the moss of my brain,
making me realise
I might burn
if I stayed there. nobody was
yelling. I think
that would have woken me up better;
a proper shout. as it was
I stumbled blind
through night-time detritus
and touched the door,
steps from my bedside. it was cold
so I opened it.

my spanish neighbours
were playing at the alarm-box
right by the entrance, looking embarrassed
and a little stoned.
“don’t worry – there’s no fire”, the girl
said. I nodded. pretended not to notice
the smoke
skipping out of their doorway
like a sneaky toddler
at their parents’ party. I was tired.
I wanted
to go to bed. before I got back
I checked my watch. it was 2am.
strange time
to be burning dinner.

—About the Author—

DS Maolalai is a graduate of English Literature from Trinity College in Dublin and recently returned there after four years abroad in the UK and Canada. He 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).