DS Maolalai  

Anthony and Cleopatra 
hey, he said, hey, 
let's stay in bed  
together. outside 
somewhere, the dust  
is settling. people 
selling carpets  
from car boot- 
backs and wine  
off from dusty 
back shelves. 
there's a horse 
turned to ribs  
by some cross- 
roads. somewhere 
blood flowing. 
it's 5pm here 
but there is light 
somewhere else, 
coming over  
the horizon like legs  
rising out 
of a bath. 
she looked up 
from where she was  
off at the window, 
hair on her shoulders 
black waterfalls 
falling on rocks, 
and she smiled and said 
yes, you want to stay in bed 
every day when I visit 
but me, 
I have things to do, 
I have friends 
and work to go to. I like 
going outside 
when the sun is up.  
like coffee on patios 
and music 
in jazz bars 
and sometimes 
outside them 
I talk to people  
I don't know. 
that's how we met, 
and that's why you like me. 
because sometimes  
I go away. 
he rolled on the sheets, 
stiffened his resolve 
and something else,  
yes, that thing 
too. yes he said 
and rolled the duvet over, 
exposing the mattress  
to her side. yes 
that is part of the reason.  

Straight down. 
the best ones 
take feeling 
and get their hands in  
at the start –  
pulling it  
down and over  
the page 
like a windowblind 
hiding distraction 
or a coffin nail pushing 
some meaning 
to place. 
the best ones are rivers, 
and like that  
take courses 
going straight 
and invariably  
only looking 
to the shallow  
eye like they  
experiments in form 
are experiments, 
not decisions –  
exercises in not knowing 
which way  
words want  
to go, written by some people  
who do not understand  
where stability comes from 
or where their feet would go 
if they ever decided to stand up, 
pick a course, 
and plant themselves.

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