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Diarmuid ó Maolalaí

Your Friends' Lives


is still down the country.

his placement's over

but he lives


in his grandparents' old place

and says groceries

are pretty cheap too.

I guess he'll stay there

until he gets a job as an architect;

then come back

and still live

in a nicer place than I do.



is in college;

his doctorate is

almost complete.

he lives at home, pays

no rent,

spends all his spare time drinking

and going to the park.

I guess he'll finish up too,

get a job

in a natural history museum

spend the rest of his life

counting bones.


I get out of work at 4:45,

walk on the quays,

try shops

and sometimes

pick up a shirt.

there are bargains to be had.

then I grab some wine,

come home and sip it

and read my rejection emails.

I patch up the poems and send them out again.

the room I rent

is 900 a month,


but private

with no view of the street

or anything else.


when you're describing them in a poem

your friends' lives

make a pretty poor mirror.


I live

like a badger;

sleep and eat,

write poems

and relax against the sun.

I wouldn't trade

with them

or god or anyone.

A Lot for the Theatre

I saw your play

with your mother and father

and your brother too

without much interest.

we said it was good

of course,

because what else are you supposed to say?

I told you I liked it

and even named parts I'd liked -

a lot of it

was good too

even though some of it hadn't been so much.

I wanted to like it

and I wanted you

to like me.

then you told me

they'd fucked with the script

and my misgivings were right.

they were children.

they must have decided somewhere along the way

that it was easier,

better to do something

a child would understand.

you had been paid 50 pounds for the script.

that's not much

but a lot for the theater

when you're starting out

and you were angry

and then you didn't want to hear my opinions

even though the things I had liked were all things you had done.

and it was Edinburgh

and I think 2010.

I met your brother for a cigarette

and he agreed

with all of it.

he agreed with me

and you,

but you thought I didn't know.

you were right

I never knew.

I just wanted you to be happy.

you just wanted me to go away.

you had written a play,

got it put on,

beaten people out of it,

and that wasn't enough;

you wanted me gone,

wanted the poetry,

wanted the words

to all be you.

you wanted me gone

I know the feeling.

A Bottle of Wine for the Rockpool

one weekend


into summer

when the sun sloshed out like a bowl of soup.

it was hot and

sticky and

made everyone smell like


the streetcars rattled and blasted

heat like an oven with each opened door

and we decided


let's take a day,

let's get out

and go to the lake

go and look at the island

doubling itself

with a picnic

and a bottle of wine for the rock pools,

lobster in sandwiches,


and anything that wouldn't make us sick.

and you said something about the weather

being like a new animal

making all the other ones nervous,

even the flies lying down -


the flies were lying down

because the air was too thick to swim in.

that morning I checked

with a knife,

opening a window

Diarmuid ó Maolalaí is a graduate of English Literature from Trinity College in Dublin and recently returned there after four years in the UK and Canada. He has been writing poetry and short fiction for the past five or six years with his writing appearing in such publications as 4'33', Strange Bounce and Bong is Bard, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Out of Ours, The Eunoia Review, Kerouac's Dog, More Said Than Done, Star Tips, Myths Magazine, Ariadne's Thread, The Belleville Park Pages, Killing the Angel and Unrorean Broadsheet, by whom he was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He has also recently published a short collection with Encircle Publications entitled 'Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden'.