“The Pressure of Poetry” and Other Poems

by DS Maolalai
****

The pressure of poetry.

fly

watching
as the fly bashes the window
like one single coming
and determined
raindrop. in the sunlight
I brandish poems; a collection
by eileen myles. the world outside
perhaps is more desirable,
but I’ve opened the window
and she doesn’t seem interested.
so instead
the pressure of free verse
poetry – I am precise
as a simile
and strike
like a wounded
verb.
***

 

Her sausages

sausages 1

are scorched
brown and white
like the back
of a springer spaniel
or some bastard cross
of king charles
and the rashers crack
with a smack
and satisfaction.

there is a gift,
of course;
cooking like this. when I try
I turn the heat
too far to char. my sausages
blacken
and the skin
splits. she says the trick
is to do them without oil
at first,
then add a drop to sizzle
when they’re already mostly
done. I’m scared
to try that method
and sure I’d ruin the bacon – I only know
my parents way;
burned in so much butter
that they slide like ice
around the pan. anyway

I’m vegetarian now,
though not
when it’s going to be
awkward. her sausages
in the morning
taste amazing; I love them
as much as I love
her.
***

 

Like water for dolphins.

PIFSC_20130715-S28_ACU-5669

and it rained all night
and dropped the morning
rotten. 5pm
and the day cleaved clear,
like water for dolphins,
fresh as dry silk. my feet
driving pedals,
their wheels
driving me. cycling from work
on a sunny evening – the horizon
a gold ring
which you take in your teeth
and pull. around, all lorries, freight moving
and double decker buses
like skyscrapers
sliding sideways
until the air burned
with friction.
but it was fresh, the last
of the mornings drying rain
cooling me,
and I was air
pressing water,
kicking forward
like a pond louse
in luxury
and july.
***

 

The seed of a scene for your novel.

jack-london-commons

“My mistake was in ever opening books”
From Sea Wolf by Jack London

and yeah, reading
is all peaches
but there’s a point
where you start trying
to live the image
of the things you read in books
instead of doing it
the way
real writers did – Orwell
wrote them for money,
Bukowski very polite
and Kerouac
lived with his mother
in a three room whitewashed house –
everything that happens to you
suddenly seems not to have been worth
happening
because you cant manage to catch it
as something you’d see in a novel
or see it
happening to someone who wrote one,
and suddenly there’s nothing
to pluck for significance
as if the important things
were obvious
like pears in winter
bursting with juice,
things you can feel with your fingers
and check for perfections
– do you think that Jack London
was doing the things he did for material?
– do you think that’s why Hemingway
was so interested in killing his last bull?
enjoy the apple,
it’s not the seed of a scene for your novel
and if you are so desperate for a novel
then you can just read one
but that’s not what anyone
you read about
would have done.
*******

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)   

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