I got given a book for christmas and now I have to learn all over again.

on the surface there is a surface,
haha yes a big fucking eagle of a thing spreading wings over water
and i spent my early 20s learning how to stop writing like charles bukowski
because id spent my earlier ones
practically ripping pages out of dog from hell
and putting my name in where his was and sending them to magazines
but look – if i were to tell someone who wanted to know how to write
how to write
(although why would they ask me that)
it would be read bukowski only once
and then put him down and dont go back because that way is just
more of what people wrote in the 70s
and its good to know that there is a straightforward
way down the page
aside from the ladders of rhyming poetry but
the subject is so romantic
you’ll want to take that too
and we all get tired and want to sit in our grandparents
beaten comfy armchair like a big dog
but it’s not that it’s something else
it’s like looking at statues people put up
sure they’re good
but those people are all dead
and hard to compare to someone who still folds up toilet paper to make sure their arses are
there are all these books flying around
all very interesting but if you’re going to rip off someone
don’t rip off him
everyone else is doing it and they’re all bad
make your family unhappy in your own way
write poems about you or about life or about
birds or
how other people
shouldn’t write them

DS Maolalai recently returned to Ireland after four years away, now spending his days working for a medical supply company 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.