Sad Havoc Among the Birds

So yeah – I’ve definitely mentioned it before, but for any of you that don’t know, as well as making needlessly cruel comments on The Avocado, I also sometimes publish poetry under the name DS Maolalai. I’m pretty good, I think – I’ve been nominated for the Pushcart Prize a couple of times, and also for Best of the Net. And I recently published my first major poetry collection and figured I should tell y’all in order to get my hands on that Avocado Bump which considered is so important in the literary world. The book’s called “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” and it’s out with Turas Press, which is this cool little press in Ireland who’ve been going for a few years.

Yeah. So I thought it might be interesting for ye to see it, since I’m sure there’s a few commenters who like books that post here. There’s a few poems in it that were even kind of influenced by The Avocado – and a few more that I was told under no circumstances to include because, as you might expect by my commenting style, they were deemed by the editors and owner of the press to be too slanderous to include without getting sued (that’s 100% actually true).


The collection was originally going to be called “Horses! Horses!”. “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” comes from a letter written in 1895 by the lighthouse keeper stationed on Stephen’s Island, after his cat had escaped and began bringing the bodies of a newly discovered species of wren to his doorstep. He decided that he had discovered a new species and had sent it to taxonomists in London to be identified and officially described. During the correspondence he mentioned in passing that “the cats have become wild, and are making sad havoc among the birds” – this was about six months before the species, which existed only on this one island, was declared officially extinct. The story goes that they are the only species to have ever been entirely eradicated by an individual animal, which might not be true, but if nothing else it lead to a beautiful phrase which I was amazed hadn’t become more well-known when I heard it.


I also had to do a reading from the collection last Tuesday, which was honestly the most intimidating thing I’ve ever done – I’d literally never once read poems in front of people before getting up and doing it for this collection. I’m told I did ok – a plus being that there was another collection being launched that was written by a lady who’s only really interested in rivers and lakes, so the fact that a couple of my poems featured prominent fuck-words in them really livened things up. There’s a picture of me (I want to say above this) before the reading began holding a copy of the book, but I’m not going to share any of when I was actually reading because I don’t think anyone needs to see a human being sweat that much.

Anyway, though – here are a couple of samples of poems from the book.

People in desperate situations.PNG


One for Jack Chick.PNG


And here’s a poem that definitely isn’t included in the book, but is in fact basically just the text of a comment I made that got about 8 upvotes one morning, but with some line-breaks added. I wanted to get it in, but I was told it didn’t fit in with the overall tone. It was featured instead in a compilation called “Blood and Bourbon”, which has less of a strict policy about how many upvotes a poem should be worth from The Avocado.

An argument online.PNG

If you want you can get your hands on the collection here.

I tried to get them to let me include a discount code that I could share, but profitability for small-press publications is on a knife-edge as it is, so I was told that my weirdo internet friends could go hang.

So yeah – that’s it – sorry; I’m not all that much of a salesman. I think it turned out good though, and I’m proud of it. And I know I’ve built myself a persona as kind of a dick sometimes, but I thought it would be cool to have you guys see something I’m proud of.