Specific shades of blue, DS Maolalai

Philip Kobylarz, Our Fog Has a Name, Photograph


Specific shades of blue


the night bus from toronto
and stretching to new york.
and this late august,
and the country-
side burning
soft ash in specific
shades of blue: the black,

in fact, of winter: different
to the cornflower which
floats in summertime’s
night. a taste of rare steak, a heat
which fades slowly
and dopplering, resumes. a starling’s
blue wing, and a black
and blue starling
and a feeling, being blue
and being tired.

and pausing at a stop then,
food and for toilets,
stretching legs
and cigarettes. and the blue
then of smoke, rising birds
against spotlights. a blueness
on the tarmac
blue by trees
and their leaning
blue shadows;

by connecticut
and upstate new york
out near buffalo.

DS Maolalai


Review by Zeke Sanchez

I first considered reviewing DS’s poem, then set it aside because along with clear images I was getting images that were not coalescing.  However, a second look reveals reflections of Impressionism, or something chiaroscuro about it.  It’s “the night bus from Toronto” – clear language – then the rest has a meditative quality – until you realize DS is giving you a visual representation of what he/she is seeing or feeling:  “the countryside burning soft ash” may not be literal, probably is NOT literal.  Rather it’s the colors and the feel of it.  Later DS confirms this (in my view), for example, by remarking upon, “a feeling, being blue and being tired.”  The word BLUE reflects back on the earlier shades of blue and the blue starling.

After meditating on the word “blue” DS breaks into more plain language: 

“by connecticut
and upstate new york
out near buffalo.”

I guess he’s telling the reader, in plain language where the bus went to put you physically in the frame.

Scroll to Top