Image: Andre Derain – Charing Cross Bridge (1906)

DS Maolalai is a poet from Ireland who has been writing and publishing poetry for almost 10 years. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press, and he has a second collection forthcoming from Turas Press in 2019. He has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize.


was good. hot goulash
in glove weather
and the ruin bars
were exciting, if also
they seemed
like tourist traps,
like going to dublin
and only seeing temple
bar. the liquor
was awful
but the wine was ok,
and it was 300 florins
to buy
a euro bottle. I got two
and drunk
in the apartment
with my girlfriend
feeling rich
like a renaissance

The space.

the best thing
was driving cross-country
western canada
or at night through dark america
and seeing the space
and the fields
laid out
flat as a basketball court
bouncing the moon;
spread out with forests
and the highway
burning like a match.
over the mountains
between vancouver
and calgary
or on the bus
through new york
to chicago.
the land
was so wide; so different
from ireland
at home
where everything
is scrunched –
for cattle
to raise their heads
and hawks
to crash into grassland
their wings scraping galway
while their tails
are still sitting
on lampposts
over traffic lights
in cork.

The northern line.

duckfooted monday mornings,
stumbling drunk
over london summer nights,
dumb as bricks, thumping
and twice as badly sunburned.

it was a long walk home
from camden
to gg,
all up the wandering
all through hampstead
and around downhill again,
and the city behind you burning
like oz
in a comet’s tail.

but the shops would still be open though,
so you could pick up a winebottle
and maybe 10 cigarettes
and a lighter.
sicken yourself,
twisting your pants off,
and pissing
unpleasant – the tubes used to stop at 12.
now they run all night.

life would be easier
if I was back there
and single. and still in
an easy job
with not much to it. girls
who like to hear an irish accent. an apartment.
songs being broken
on the northern line.

the rain drips thickly
from the grey leaves of oaktrees.
4am flowers rising,
ready for the bullets
of urine
and morning dew.

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