Do you remember Paris on occasions when Spring winds

Wash in from the east and the sound of drinks on terraces

Sweep over the city, recalling those lazy days- a lifetime ago,

Before we knew London together or what it would be like to part?

Do you, do you remember Paris, my room, our love

And all those carefree dreams we shared and found

As we lay at night in that single bed, in the corner, wrapped-

Not just due to lack of space- so tightly in one another,

Long before I lost myself and you lost me?

Do you dare to look back on those weekend meanders

Through the cobbled streets that I thrilled to show you

And you longed to see through my eyes, as well as yours?

Those early days of bloom that fell so timely to nights

Back at the water castle, a name-deceptive metro stop,

Where kisses would take us through to the dawn.

Remember our first Spring and how it warmed into Summer

As we sailed through the city like no one else existed

And no time could have been more suited to such a pair

Who fell in love with dogs in pet shop windows as we strolled

To Pont Neuf, to sip on wine, wave farewell to the sun and sleep

Under the shade of a tiny park, at the bottom of the bridge

On the first site of the city, by the walls of its Musee du Louvre.

Remember that rainstorm, that marvelous Sunday; we woke up

As the lightening struck and birds flapped wildly to find reason

Amid the mornings madness why their feathery wings failed

To find flight. Funny how I missed any warning in their fluttering.

I remember your first night in my city- deep in The Banana

In Les Halles, with Yasmine’s infectious grin, boys in towels

On table tops, the piano, the dancing and the DJ who sang

And the morning that found us before we had stopped.

Remember La Grande Jatte, in the shadow of Seurat,

On a sleepy Sunday morning when we stopped

To make connections beyond what the eye could see-

To remember what the painter had seen? You sang

Of the colors between the water and the sky, ignorant

To all but us and the music that filled our minds on that ordinary day,

In a simple Summer, during a Sunday stroll, on an isolated island,

Where everything seemed more and more extraordinary.

On Hugo’s trail, we searched out the ghosts of a Paris long fallen to history-

Stench filled sewers, Luxembourg gardens and finally, and above all,

By a tree in the far reaches of LaChaise where Val Jean had laid

His miseries to rest. Was it later that night I confessed to be falling

While in your arms and your eyes replied that you were already there?

Do you remember that time at Disney? You, the one with the Mickey ears and I,

The one with the childlike fears till the valium kicked in- your treasured

And unused stash- an airplane’s roar enough to set your hairs on end.

Do you still remember those endless nights in the Tropic; sipping on Gin Fizzes,

Fresh from the cinema, sandwich grec’s on the way home along rue saint Denis-

It’s ladies only then awaking to their nocturnal life?

Remember that single bed in the corner; I always woke up stuck to the wall

Or wedged somehow between bed and brick. The sofa, the table

And the sunflowers of plastic- so not what you’d imagined at all.

Remember those early wake-up calls as Monday morning broke our spirits

And sounded a parting- a rush to the station and tears as you left me

Wondering, always, when you’d return.

Do you dare to venture to the times we shared

In what seems like a lifetime ago when not a minute suggested

What time would design and we’d one day have to let go?

Remember Paris,

Remember you,

Remember me,

Remember us.


A Little Repose

You haunt me, you know, your park benches empty in the shadows of moonlight

And your lamplights; desolately romantic as if longing for a lovers embrace.

I know not why you have called me out of them all. A million people

Thread through your streets everyday, every night, yet I am the one

With pen in hand, scribbling questions that you never answer

As I stare into your magnetic waters that tug at me from lands afar.

Are there others who wander you aimlessly, haunted by a melancholic longing?

I know not. Do they gaze on you with unwavering love, forgetting your scars

And bruises, your brutish bureaucracy and snappish shrugs-

Or do they just despise your perfection, your pride, your success?

I see only ever increasing circles in your waters, dragging me down,

Pulling me in, asking me why I parted and when I shall return

To be sucked in, hauled down, ripped bare and naked in front of you.

Ten years on- our anniversary, I am saddened, sombre, elated and overjoyed

In your presence but still know not why. Is it the simply the je n’es sais quoi?

A man stands before me and looks down at you from a bridge, hand against face,

And watches your motions. Is he as captured by you as I? Can he leave you,

Release you, let go of you- like I cannot. What lies so deep within his stare?

What makes him stop, like I, upon your bridge, before your Lady, our Lady, and look

And wish and wonder? I know not what his reasons are as much as I know not my own.

Am I your folly or is it you that are mine? Tell me, speak to me, inform me,

Embrace me amid your precious Pomp and Circumstance or let me go,

Sail me off and set me free. For I am yours for the asking, yours for the calling,

Yours in waiting, devoid of answers but so full of questions.

I smile when my feet hit your floor, cry when my eyes see your treasures

And fear everything you made me into, everything I ran from

And everything I left of me, with you, in my passing.

I am open book without ending, a poem without a point,

A line without structure. Is this it? Are we finished?

Or is this just a little repose?


Deuxième Peau/ Second Skin

You are my armor

To the world. My shield

To forge in front, to fight

The battles of which

I, myself alone, unmasked

And naked, am far too fearful for.


You are my role

Upon the stage of life

When the lights are on and the audience

Shifts slightly in their seats-

Judging my movements,

Motivations and intonations,

You are my script to fall back on,

My spotlight to lead me and that all important

Costume to cover me.


You are my Second Skin, a sheet

Of sheerness, unseen by the hungry mob

Who crowd, and cram and crow around me,

A protective gauze to sooth

Away their punches, to replenish me

When they’ve drained me

And to smile for me

When I’m dying inside.


When they look at me

They have no idea

I am looking at them

Through you.


To Dance with Time

Hit me as hard as you can, oh fine

Fleeting friend called Time. No more

And no less can I do with You

But run through You-

Tasting as much, laughing as hard

And loving as wildly and willfully as possible

Before your clock tolls

And You sound my final bell.


I am not your prisoner and You-

No more my guard than my companion,

My light and shadow all at once-

Giving me enough time to watch

How You take it from me,

Never do we stray from each other

For a single moment. But moments

Are what I shall build on as we tap out

This dance together-your tick-tock, tick-tocking,

Pulsing through my every heartbeat.


Oh sleepless, invisible One,

Is there no rest for You as night falls

And I slumber softly, at play in dreams

Of hopeful tomorrows and cherished yesterdays,

Your claim on my expiration fails to set any fear

Alight in me, though I know not the date nor time,

Nor the how or why,

For today I’ve existed, loved and laughed

And, if tomorrows be no more,

Then ring out the sound, evermore,

Of my joy for today.


A Face in the Crowd


With your red shirt and blonde hair

Desperate to scrape your way out

As I slipped myself in,


With your tired eyes and fading blond hair-

Slouching towards the end of another day

While sensing the closing was near.



With that smile not nearly as bright as the rest

Who basked in their own glittering reflections

As the mirror ball turned like a voyeuristic eye,


With your eyes dimmed and dazed

From too many dreams dreamt and spent

In the arms of lovers that proved losers

And touches that never turned out

As promising as the dream suggested

In those early days when you’re supple skin

And boyish frame

Had been seduced by the warm mouths of men

Before you betrayed yourself

With your own naivety

And unstoppable self-belief.


They say,

After a time,

Money changed hands

Amid various embraces-

Did it change you amid the exchanges?



With your red shirt and blonde hair

Spiraling southwards and sinking into shadows

While sobbing silently into shaking hands,


Sniffing up lines in toilet stalls

To rise above and turn your tricks-

Just barely paying for one with the other.



Who I passed on the stairs of that club

On that rather bland night,

Followed by a rather bland introduction,


Who ran your hand along the velvet of my red jacket

Though I cannot recall the details of your face

Or the shade of your voice and yet, I can recall

All that those colorless eyes had unburdened onto

Me, coming in from the outside, new to it all-

The scene,

The crowd,

The needs,

The sometimes selfish wants of men

And all that lay hidden behind those empty caresses-

All that you once succumbed to

And then grew so quickly to hate.



With your tired eyes and blonde hair

Off to a new world to conquer

Or just another world to sleep with,


Off to repeat another round of the tireless tedium-

Comforting addictions we become used to

And a ruthless routine we become a part of.



With your red shirt and blonde hair,

It had been a long day

But in that moment,

Amid that crowd

And behind those eyes,

The closing for you


So terminally near.


You were to me but

A face in the crowd

As the rain poured down

Over a random night,

Nothing unusual,

Nothing specific,

Nothing different,

And yet I’ve noticed

Your absence

Ever since.


Let the Wind Carry Me


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Let the wind carry me, let me not worry about the where and why
build in me the desire the want and the love for lands new and fresh
let me smell it on the breeze bring me the dream on your current of air
I await the sign the yearning the draw
the moment when I know what for wherefore whatever…
 carry it onto me let it embrace itself around me
let it unfold itself within me
carry me forth to tomorrow a new day a new dawn in a new land

A beginning that brings with it the best of my past my roots my memories and all the faces that made me who I am let them live within me as I walk on fresh soil new and unaware childish innocence awash with white
at play with creation while evolving…
like the water to the wheel turning again and again
round and round always the water
but never the same droplet

Let me wash onto a new shore naked just skin and bones flesh just flesh
no clothes or jewels to adorn me cover me or pretend of me
let me be just me breathing fresh moving and happy

let the wind carry me to whatever whoever wherever

my path in its hands

my eyes closed 

my trust in its force

my senses aroused

let the wind carry me
for I am his to command to direct to learn from
to find my way

let me be but a droplet of air
let me feel what it is to be moved
for then I will know what it is

All words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


I drifted away once,

Carried off by a delusional dream

Of how it all could be-

Consumed and captured,

Completely confused

And so far removed

From everything


And intrinsically valuable

That I forgot for a while

Who I was,

What I had

And how to return.

I was swept away once, long ago,

By everything I’d ever imagined

That I lost sight of everything

I’d ever had or held.

I’d cast myself somehow

Off into an infinite ocean,

Driven to dive deeper by desires

But only to find that down deep,

In the dark,

Every excessive dream loses luster

And fades forever

Amid the fathomless

Faith of the forgotten

But alas,

I did not wake until the bottom found me

And roared its laughter in my ears

And then,

In those too few precious moments

Of understanding-

When the truth finally surfaced within me,

So deep below,

Every movement made to swim back

To the comfort of your shoreline

Sent such ripples all around me

That I lost sight of where you actually lay.

Will you ever know how the sorrow

Grows within me

As time passes

And we remain


I let myself drift away, once,

Only to fail later in finding favor with the shore.

If I were an ocean

I would send ripples

Through the waters

To warn you of my sinking.

But I am mere man,

Trapped inside a body

Of drowning emotions,

Looking always and evermore

For that selfishly forsaken shore.


Sunday Morning Rituals/Yesterday Once More

From your bedroom

This morning,

This ordinary Sunday morning

In September

As I holidayed at home

And watched from the window

The saucy shadow of winter

Teasing the sun’s final rays from the garden,

The scent of your hairspray came

Floating through the air

And transported me

Through a lifetime of living

To that other life we shared together

As mother and son

In the place that once meant home

In the very truest sense of the word-

Where family and friendship were both

Born and battered,

In a place called riverside-

Though the banks of that brook

Were rarely as poetic

As the postal address suggested.

I was 12 again,

Watching you from the hallway,

Tossing and twirling the comb around your curls,

The pink chiffon scarf with its gold trim

Caressing your shoulders-

Catching the glittering flakes of uncaught spray

As you froze your style into place

And etched its vision into my memory.

That smell has become, over decades of time

And an ocean of deep distance that parts me from it,

Forever tied to your Sunday morning ritual

After the peas had been left to steep,

The shoes polished

And the soon-to-be eaten roast had been

Dried, dressed

And doused in as much formality

As we ourselves

Were adorned in

Before we took off,

Along the riverside,

Flaunting our finest

In the face, and for the grace, of God,

Though inside we knew the truth-

This pomp and ceremony was not,

As once suggested,

To serve any invisible deity-

The community’s communion procession

Alone was more fashion on-show than

Faithful conversion of body and soul

But amid this parade of pressed pants

And fall’s favorites,

Crying kids

And Mum’s perfume

I dreamt my life away.

I still remember the boy-

Two rows ahead,

Boxy jacket,

Patient leather shoes and

Quaffed fringe of blonde hair.

He was my Sunday dream

In that house of worship,

I wanted to be him,

To know him,

To love him.

It was he who I prayed to

And knelt before,

It was he who I asked

To be saved and held

And protected-

Not the man in the white robes

Sipping the last splurge of wine,

Standing there above us all-

Looking down but rarely seeing,

Removed from the crowd-

Speaking out but failing to hear.

I already knew

What it was like

To carry a cross



This man of the cloth-

With his pious parables from the pulpit

Could not save me,

His words were as foreign to me

As if he had been talking in that very oldest of tongues

That pompous priests once used to preserve for themselves

Their palaces of power while

Leaving parishioners ignorant

To point of the performance.

So it was the boy ahead of me,

The one behind me

And the other one

Two rows across from me

Who became my heralded heroes,

My momentary muses-

My glorious gods of worship-

Men in men’s clothing

Walking in men’s footsteps,

Not vicars in vestments,

Angels on high,

Demons below

Or celestial forms.

My dreams of that neighboring boy’s

Compassion for me

Had just as much obtainability

And promise

As that Boy in the Bible

Who was born for my betterment-

If only I could be like the others,

Act like I was told

And defy the devil within me,

Whether I knew those deemed

Demonic deviations

To be of my

External making

Or a part of my

Inner essence.

Just hours later,

Sunday afternoon rituals

Were setting the fire

With real coals-

Damp from outdoor storage,

Foraging around the local DIY store

While Dad watched the match,

Mum playing records on the radiogram

While I hummed along to

‘Its only just begun’

As I sat by the front window,

Nestled on the back on the big green sofa,

Watching the rain fall

And wondering when the boy would call

To take me away

And let it all begin…

All these memories

Came back clearly to me

This morning,

This Sunday morning

And just like in the song says

‘Some can even make me cry’.

It’s yesterday once more

But altered slightly,

Similar but not the same

Familiar but without the frustration.

It’s still Sunday morning,

We’re still mother and son

In another home we’ve made-

Far from a riverbed

But closer to comfort

And finally

At peace in a place

Where there’s room to grow

In honest understanding of each other,

Those around us and everything that combined

To make us who we are

While allowing us to keep in our hearts

The memory of who we’ve been.