Yellow walls and a view., DS Maolalai

Charles Hood, Mermaid Centaur


Yellow walls and a view.


its funny –
a new place,
well furnished
with a bookcase
and carpet, the gas
and the electric
paid in my name –
and somehow I find myself
missing old rooms,
their walls close as skin,
no furniture but a bed
and a toilet and table.

once there was a girl
that I hadn’t seen a while
coming over
and I, by myself,
had allowed things
to go somewhat toward rubbish –
empty beer bottles
sat around the sink
like old guys outside
a hotel, and fruitflies
which had been living there
so long that they’d developed literature.

and after throwing the beers away
I had to go around
sneaking up on the flies
quiet as a cat in slippers
and crushing them with my thumb
until the mirror
and the wall
and the books and all the furniture
were covered in these little black polka-dots –
blood I guess
if flies do have blood
and bones and wings
and sticking out legs
which waggled when you blew them
like bramble-leaves.

it was only gods luck
that this girl coming over
wore glasses
which I could sweep off romantically
as I kissed her
when she walked in the door.

this new place
has pure white walls.
looks like a room
in a midpriced hotel. all that’s missing
is a fridge full of liquor
and the knowledge that sometime
I’ll leave.
the walls in my last place
were cracked
old tobacco thumbnail
stained yellow
with a view of the street.

DS Maolalai


Review by Vyarka Kozareva

The poem Yellow walls and a view. is interesting with the use of juxtaposition (old abode—new abode) as a literary device to emphasize the emotional aspect of the protagonist’s personal perception of place.

The new appearance of his room proves to have all properties to be considered a cosy one:

good furniture, symbolizing the good taste; bookcase—intelligence; carpet—softness; gas and electricity—warmth. However, something hinders that room from providing the comfort, contentedness and happiness to its inhabitant in the way it previously did. The missing connective link in the psychological conflict is a girl with glasses, and all the concomitant romance.

The author D. S. Maolalai chooses yellow for the walls to colour the atmosphere in which the past feelings are constricted, feelings already transformed in something old, faded, time-subordinate.

Time passed, conclusions drawn. The past is written in a polka-dot-style on the mirror, walls, books, furniture.

The new, pure white walls symbolize the sterile present days: emotionally passive, distant, and estranged.

Easy to read, no unnecessary abstraction, familiar to everyone whose souls bear love prints. Three reasons for which this piece of poetry deserves our attention.

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