DS Maolalai

Black cherry and earth tones.


the description of flavour
on a yellow label
spells more in character to me
than the taste of wine –
the way they talk about it
as if it were something alive
with sweat and nails and organs
makes pictures for me
as of an old fat woman
doing something technical in a stone shed
or a man in a field with fingers
brown as leather
and tanned as the dirt on cured wood.
“black eyed cherry and earthen-work tones”,
seem vital, even if the taste
puts me more in mind of a brick building in an old city
falling down on a hot summer saturday
or a clay pot falling
and breaking on a kitchen floor –
and it’s the same with any product,
anything with that special
old-world stink –
pasta drenched in olive oil and pine nuts
seems to have had more sun in it
if, when I buy it,
the sample is displayed
in an earthenware bowl,
as if it hasnt come from a fridge
full of packed meat and fish
and sat for days
on metal shelves.
and if an orange
still has one leaf at the top of it
I can suddenly taste california
and feel a hand taking it from the tree,
the tug and snap
without any mechanicals,
as if I had somehow
got back to a time
where I could taste things,
red salt in an olive,
red blood on a red steak,
and feel actual history
which I guess is why they do it
like putting on your best shirt
and shaving in the mirror
and letting bar-talk cover up
who you are.

between finger and thumb.




DS Maolalai

DS Maolalai recently returned to Ireland after four years away, now spending his days working maintenance dispatch for a bank and his nights looking out the window and wishing he had a view. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.