Jeanne Bessette

                                                  Jeanne Bessette

D.S. Maolalai





People in precarious situations


At Swim Two Birds is a bestseller again

and there's this disastrous fashion for magical realism

and long novels about the lives of young women

and stories about the way things are and the way they ought to be,

people in precarious situations

and long drawn out affairs

and walking north on O'Connell St 

you see in letters


written in white like it's shining in the sky

and nobody ever remarks on it

or on the words BATTERSBY AUCTIONS

going vertical down Harcourt St

or D'OLIER HOUSE writ in gold opposite Trinity

and they say they're going to tear the Brian Boru down

even though it's protected 

because they want to put a station there 

when trains start going north to the Airport

and then where will the music be on a Tuesday

not in the Diggers christ they even kicked Luke Kelly out

not Smyths, not the Porterhouse, they're wine bars now

and anyway the air in there is all wrong for music

and they tore down the homeless camp on the canal

right after that hurricane picked up all the tents

and the whole world is spinning two of my classmates are on the bestseller list

another one is Active for Palestine 

and writes these sad poems

Melissa's in Toronto still and Aodhain will be a doctor soon

and my apartment is a mess, my muscles gone to wire

the coffee's cold guitar broke open Jack's in Carlow

Cian's in Paris John still has his magazine but he has a daughter too

and she must be six by now I've had six bottles of wine this week

and I can't do magical realism or 

the way things ought to be

because there's too much magic already

and not enough all at the same time

and things are how they ought to be

because that's how things are

and they wont get better or worse

than how they are

and that's all too

in the end

that anyone around can handle.


DS Maolalai recently returned to Ireland after four years away, now spending his days working maintenance dispatch for a bank and his nights drinking wine. 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.