‘Little Women’ and 4 more by DS Maolalai

Little Women.

I’m sorry, I just don’t
much like it – prefer
Pride and Prejudice
(and I know
that’s not a fair comparison)
but I do. I like jokes –
there’s contempt
for the characters
that I see more in one
than the other. and for openings
you don’t get better – to puncture
what’s ‘universal’
with the truth:
all opinion. then again –
I’ve only seen the movies. maybe
I should read it. take the lesson
I’ve just acted like
I learned.

The solipsist

driving home I make a point
on one street of seeing the face
of every driver opposite. I keep
almost crashing, but it’s fun. a man
with a goatee looks frustrated
and single. a woman has her phone
on her shoulder and looks stressed.
then a guy in sunglasses –
wealthy but lacking in taste. oh buddy,
you’re not in the alps
or the matrix – come on. then another man
looking serious, and different from the man
who comes after, and the woman
who comes after that, and the next
one and so on. occasionally I like to remind myself
there’s life in every person going backwards
and my sunglasses are particularly cool.

Lesbos in the Greek mythology

the moment
quite good – reading
a short history
off my wife’s bedstand
of ancient and classical
mythology –
something of Minos,
but not about fucking
the bull – just a passage:
6 words on an extract
from paragraph. ‘the lesbians
to make war.’

She’s sick. I’m never

sick. she can’t
get over a cough
and complains
that our drinking
exacerbates it.
so the 21st – sunday –
I tell her I’ll stay
off the beer
through the two
coming weekends.
solidarity – that
kind of gesture – she
kisses me. we both
walk home. anyway:

it’s wednesday 24th.
I pretend I forgot.
get a sixpack
of guinness cans
after a day full of calls.
drink four on the sofa,
the others on the thursday
and then have to write
friday, and that takes
a bottle of wine. she is still

feeling better though.
I think that it helped
just to offer. I’d hate
to think I didn’t
somehow help.


like ghosts, people walk
in the carpark. like people
surviving a fire. it’s tuesday
morning. I should be going
to work, but – some narrative –
last night the cars were
all done out when someone
got in. I’ve called my boss,
told her the story. she got
what you’ve gotten – I know,
it’s not much. the maglock
on the gate got pushed open. listen:

it is an underground
carpark: windscreens all broken
and guts were pulled out –
all iphones and satnavs.
cars like smashed crabclaws
left scattered about on a table. broken glass
piling – sandbanks to tires.

thank god I had nothing –
just a day off
and new window. and we cluck
together talking at the broken
entrance door. someone
suggests a group text
so we can discuss privately –
the problem of security
in city centre homes.

I agree but get a digit wrong
in passing on my number.
I dislike that kind of person,
and don’t mind a day off.

about the artist

DS Maolalai has been described by one editor as ‘a cosmopolitan poet’ and another as ‘prolific, bordering on incontinent’. His work has nominated eleven times for Best of the Net, eight times for the Pushcart Prize and once for the Forward Prize, and has been released in three collections; ‘Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden’ (Encircle Press, 2016), ‘Sad Havoc Among the Birds’ (Turas Press, 2019) and ‘Noble Rot’ (Turas Press, 2022)

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