DS Maolalai

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Artwork by Gene McCormick

The syllabus

just down the road
there's the Bleeding Horse pub,
in Ulysses
Leopold Bloom
convinces Buck Mulligan
that he should try
to sleep with his wife.

two minutes from there,
the Bernard Shaw,
a hip bar now
serving pizza
to pretty girls
and serious young men with large glasses
and craft beer and buckfast
are 17 a bottle.

near Stephen's Green
there's Davy Byrnes
and even a bar now
called Jimmy Rabbitte's,
named for a character
from a Roddy Doyle book; the first addition
from the new generation.

you can't stop for a pint
in Dublin
without getting an quick undergrad course
in the history
of Irish Literature.

and having sat through that
already once,
I prefer to stay home.

I need my toothbrush back

and you can go
if you want to;
go ahead, meet someone new;
go to a bar or a band or bookshop
or somewhere else that people talk to each other
and go on, even begin to imagine
that this is the good one,
this is the one that'll make all the others
feel like practice; the shot that you finally sink, the poem that gets
this is the fish you pull all the way in
banging rocks against the line. this
is the one that won't lead you to asking
in 3 or 4 months
I need my toothbrush back
and my book
you still have my copy of A New Path to the Waterfall
I need those back
if you have a minute
or just leave a key by the letterbox
if you don't, I need them, I do. we don't
learn anything from experience
but some of us are lucky;
I've never played darts sober
but I've still struck
a few bullseyes. you
go on out -
go meet someone new. I'll read Waterfall
in bed
and eat a slice of toast
smeared over with butter
and blackberry jam.


DS Maolalai has been nominated twice 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).