by DS Maolalai
sometimes I see a shape in my head.
the shape is a poem.
I struggle to get close to it.
today is the 11th of April.
today I got up around 11am. I’d
smoked weed the night before
and I still felt a little awkward with it.
I kept having the sensation
that I was in a town
right by the sea
that I’d been to once
when I was 19
and went to Portugal with some friends
and we drank a lot and ate hamburgers
a little way away
there was the sea. I felt like that.
I was in a bar tonight
reading a book.
I do that a lot in the summer.
Go to bars and read books. Books
feel so much better when you read them in the bar.
You might miss some detail
so much more. And I kept listening to people
talking about things
some of them were having a hard time
and some of them
were having an easy time
but the message that kept coming through
while I tried to concentrate on the book I’d brought
was that all of these people were
in L O V E
and all of the time
and in the sun
though it was going low
and casting shadows like blankets on people who were sleepy,
and in love.
sometimes I have a picture in my head
and I work on the details
and there’s a poem.
other times I just go out and hear people
there is a poem
It’s a snapshot, really.
god spent all day
peeling the sky with his thumbs
like an orange
until all that’s left
is this wide
and stretching blue
spread over the whole horizon.
We’ve been driving
five hours now,
lost in the general heading west,
watching the sun level itself ahead of us
and scatter the tree-shadows
like pepper on eggs.
Fallon is beside me
restless, shoving the radio from station to station,
drunk and willing to continue drinking
until we’ve somehow reached Kerry or died,
talking loudly about whatever crosses his mind.
I can live with it though – Fallon’s clever,
he knows his way around a sentence
although he doesn’t sometimes know when to stop circling
and it helps that he can talk on the road
since I’m pretty quiet. It helps that he’s drunk too,
since that’s where the talk comes from
and I can listen
and put myself if I think hard in his seat.
Music spreads over us like marmalade on toast
and we argue
about whether or not we’d prefer honey
or maybe bacon and eggs. We stopped for lunch a while ago
and I had a sandwich
but that was still a while ago
and Fallon was mainly on beer.
We’re both 19 right now. He hasn’t moved to Paris yet
and I live in Dublin too. It’s a snapshot, really,
a kind of carved picture
of two friends
who can drop that kind friendship like something
forgotten under the bed
and pick it up
after 5 years
when they bump into each other
A flash of Coca Cola
I am in the park
It’s spring, wet
cold and bright with the shine of drying rain.
A streetcar goes past,
flashing the dusty
Coca Cola red
of forgotten cans bleached by the sun.
I am reading a book,
sitting on a bench, a little restless.
A man is smoking a cigarette,
a couple to my right are kissing.
A bird lands on my foot for a moment and I look at it,
see bullet eyes and black cave watercolor, see the easy twitch sideways
of the curious head before it bursts away like a stone
exploding. I feel good today,
relaxed and cold
in spring air like a waterfall
freezing my fingers.
I am sitting down, I have a book to read,
the flowers are flowing like waves against a beach changing with the tide
and turning pages.
I don’t need anything else
to be happening.