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)
Vitamins, freshness, health.
devouring carrots, sweet as red fruit with potatoes, broccoli and a couple of glasses of wine. I boil them until they are soft and eat them hunched over with my fingers, taking them in, whole mouthfuls at a time.
my girlfriend is a kitchen musician; prepares symphonies with the roaring wok and oil - chicken spins waltz-pacing, spices scatter and sweet potatoes roast hard in buttery sauce like a brass trumpet. I like it; there's food sometimes you want to eat, but alone I'm not interested in anything but whistling.
at home my meals are a tune hummed by a man hammering wood with his mind on something - not caring much for flavour, I aim at true simplicity; vitamins, freshness, health, all out of the earth. and being able to leave the room and not worry as the pot boils over.
I'd bang them out, wine-drunk and excited, and send them off to magazines. I had a list; ones which liked me and ones I liked and I'd fire unedited like a shotgun scaring birds. each one I'd submit 5 times to different places. then I'd wait for any to come back.
in general it started with rejections; someone would say they didn't like a poem so I'd open the laptop file and straighten its teeth a little, patch up wounds and blacken its hair like a dealer with a tired racehorse. and send it again, somewhere else. it was pleasing to do this with my evenings - this mild commission of poetic adultery.
eventually one would be accepted sometimes, but since at any time five versions were floating, often it wasn't the most recent. then they'd print it, happy with the words I'd replaced and I'd smile and hope the other versions were bad enough that no-one else would want them.
a note for any editors considering this poem: the exceptions, of course, were the ones I sent to you.
very poetic for a certain kind of poetry. and very walkable: you can take stroll if you want to on the same streets as Joyce did and see pretty much the same thing; town gone stagnant beyond the addition of a plastic line to the shopsigns and electric wires running to grumble. but there's this pressure here and everywhere a dusty grey of bookshops – the broken pottery in your grandmothers house almost impossible to endure. Americans are lucky - when they walk around the towns they have, all they have to get them down are politics.
they could have charged more so close to downtown but they didn't, and I always paid my rent - a worthwhile investment on their part. once they sent me a message to say the keys had been changed and new ones had been dropped under my doorway. this guy across the hall had been evicted, apparently, and they were worried he'd try to get back in. unfortunate - he was the only one who knew me and when I knocked after work on someone else's window to ask if I could get upstairs to my new keys they thought I might be him. I called the landlord and waited in an alley - he was there too, wanting to talk to her. we traded cigarettes and shared a half-bottle of wine and he told me it was all a misunderstanding. I was worried he might confront her and I'd have to step in - but he didn't. just followed us up the stairs, asking if he could collect his oranges and some shirts he'd left behind.
laying tracks to the bathroom from my bed. I'm sick of getting up in the night to piss - this new pneumatic system should solve most of my problems. it didn't though. weeds grow in every garden; you can hardly bar the wind from handing over seeds. I lie on my side and slash into a cylinder, but then I find I also want a glass of water. also, my girlfriend left me for someone who smells better and I think I'm developing a cold.