Packing boxes…
Separating substance
From superficial,
All that matters
In the memory
All that clutters
In the closet,
And France is calling…

Packing boxes…
Selling superfluous
And saving sentiments,
At trousers
Thought to be trendy
And fretting
At photos
Of faces forgotten,
And France is calling…

Packing boxes…
Putting pressure
On the present,
If the greener grass
Can be gainful
While worrying
If the words
Will return,
And France is calling…

Packing boxes…
Filing fears
Into folders,
And skipping
And sighing and shaking,
The tracks
To tomorrow,
And France is calling…



Scene in Europe,
Scene 4,
Paris, L’ombre dans l’Eau / Voyages Extraodinaires

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The Arts et Metiers metro station in Paris was deserted and glowed like the inside of Jules Verne’s Nautilus with its mock porthole windows, copper clad walls and giant cogs peering down from the roof. Winter winds rushed through the tunnels before dissipating in the open space of the platform as if Captain Nemo’s ghost had finally given up his search for the unexplored. The underworld voyage of Professor Pierre Aronnax had been Jack’s favourite childhood story, even if he’d felt himself to be 20,000 leagues away from an adventurous life at the time but now, how things had changed. Not only had he left home, but he’d left behind him the only continent he’d ever known and was busy blazing his own path through a whole new one, leaving a trail of tried and tasted fruits in his wake.

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Today, he’d just witnessed 19th century cars with wings, flying machines resembling giant bats and a whole world that would have been an inspiration to Verne, all housed in the Musee des Arts et Metiers which now resided just meters above him. His childhood dreams had practically turned into reality under the stained glass windows of the museum’s 13th Priory Saint Martin des Champs stocked with early aeroplanes and avionic automobiles while a giant Foucault Pendulum swung from the domed ceiling, demonstrating the rotation of the earth. Perhaps ghosts did exist, he had been thinking. Perhaps time travel was possible, he told himself as he set down his already well worn back pack and remembered those joyous nights from his youth, spent dreaming about underwater adventures and around the world travels. And now here he was, travelling the world himself and experiencing all it had to offer. And it was already offering a lot more than a boy of 6 had even dared to imagine.

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Very slowly, the unmistakable sound of high heels made their way towards him from one of the connecting corridors. Closer and closer the footsteps came, at first from above, then apparently down a staircase until finally the sound terminated behind him. He turned around from the copper wall he’d been resting against to find a woman in a red dress currently bent over, with one foot perched upon a shiny metallic seat, while she seductively adjusted the central black line of her stockings. A reminder of the wet weather outside dripped from her auburn hair and made dark seeping trails along the back of her fitted dress. She was perhaps 40, a curvaceous size 10 and surprisingly smelt of the one perfume that had haunted his adolescence. It was the one his mother’s acupuncturist wore when she came to provide his mother with a temporary relief from the stress of her life, and by stress he meant how to decide on which glass was best to use for an early morning fix of vodka. The acupuncturist, coincidentally French, had ignited many imagined scenarios in Jack’s juvenile mind, all centred around her particular scent, which he later discovered was called l’Ombre dans l’Eau; the shadow in the water, and it was that very same aroma that now caressed his nostrils, all these years later. He stood, almost paralysed, watching this mysterious woman run her fingers delicately over the back of her lower calfs. It was one of the most erotic moments he had ever experienced, a moment when long ago adolescent wet dreams met a moist Parisian reality.

“Avez-vous une cigarette, Monsieur?” she asked without looking at him, suddenly breaking the silence, acknowledging him and his stare and all it longed for, without dismissing any of it.

“I’m sorry, I… I don’t speak french,” he replied, surprised that his vision was actually audible.

“I ask if you have a cigarette?” she repeated in english with a deliciously daring French accent that did nothing to diminish Jack’s day dream.

“No, sorry but, well… I don’t think you can smoke here,” he told her in a slightly flustered american drawl, even though since being in Europe the only thing that had flustered him was figuring out how to leave a bedroom politely when morning broke and language barriers shut down, far from late night bars and beers that had previously loosened inhibitions.

“Dommage, je besoin d’un petit quelque chose. You know? I just need a little something,” she said, teasingly, turning to him with a pout on her jungle red lips which told him inexplicably that a little something was the very least of what she was after. He might only be starting out on gaining his worldly experience, but the little he had so far experienced thought him enough to understand the substance of subtlety. He rubbed the stubbled cheeks of his face, like a lion preening himself before his prey while he toyed with ideas of what to say next, wondering how to prolong the pleasure he was feeling in this woman’s company. Stay in the moment, he told himself. Don’t let this slip away.

“Maybe I’ve some in my backpack,” he said, turning back to where his bag was stashed, already knowing there were no cigarettes inside but not knowing what else to say or do.

Suddenly, there was a clash of metal rubbing against metal and a train swept into the station, taking Jack unawares and he turned around quickly to watch it. It stopped for only a second before an electronic whistle blew and it was off again, without the doors even opening, but he could have sworn this very same woman was staring at him from inside one of the carriages, hair still wet, damp red dress clinging to her luminous body and a cigarette between her fingers on the way to her Jungle Red lips. And then the train was gone.

Slowly, Jack turned back to where the woman had been standing to discover all that remained was a small pool of water. She was gone, vanished, departed. Perhaps it was the light or the wind, which had now returned, but he was sure a shadow moved, for a moment, in the water.

All Words and Photos by Damien B. Donnelly


Scene in Europe,
Scene 3:
Famished in Firenze


Florence bustled in the early evening light as true Italians took to the streets in their finery, partaking in their nocturnal parade of pride and prowess. It was still early for aperitivo’s but the hunt was already on for the best place in town to sit, see and be seen. Sophie and Marty had found the terrace at Harry’s Bar, along the banks of the River Arno, the night before and today had downed two cocktails before the bells of the Santa Marie del Fiore had announced sunset. Marty was wearing the new tracksuit Sophie had found for him in Paris while she herself was in her usual colourful leggings, cerise today, and a lightweight North Face jacket beneath which she’d tucked her fanny pack. It was their third day in Florence and their 30th day in Europe and the sights and sounds of this whole new world were taking its tole on the pair of them, not to mention the demands of each others constant company.


“I mean, it’s all just darling, who could say otherwise, but it’s so old, Marty,” said Sophie, attempting to whisper through her gravelly voice, a tone below what her husband’s hearing aid could pick it up.

“What’s that, Soph?” Marty shouted, attracting attention from the terrace of coffee connoisseurs who preferred contemplating the gentle gyration of the Arno than overhearing foreign critiques on their celebrated city.

“Old, I said, Marty,” she replied with a raising of the eyes, wondering if any of his responses ever required her to not raise her eyes, and asking herself why he always had that damn hearing aid on so low? He never hears anything I say, she noted. “I just mean, well… I just wonder, don’t they ever wanna to build something new on this continent.”

“Well, I guess they could ship everything off to a retirement village, Soph, but I’m not sure it’d travel that well.”

“Oh now Marty, look at us, we manage to move around, relatively intact,” she said with a quick look down at his feet which were now outside his sneakers. She could actually see his bunions throbbing while she unconsciously rubbed her new hip that had been a little too active in recent weeks.

“Soph, honestly, I don’t know what you mean,” her husband told her between bites of his custard filled pastry that flaked down the napkin he’d tucked into the neck of his t-shirt as if he were back at the Lobster Lounge, although it did cover the gelato stain he’d gotten earlier from downing an ice-cream the size of his head in the Piazza della Signoria, “you wanted to see it all, Alice,” he reminded her, “while we still had the ability to remember it, or have you forgotten that already?”

“Well, it just feels a little dusty, is all. I’m entitled to my opinion,” she said, with that attitude of poor-unheard-little-lost-girl that he knew only too well had never ever suited her well stocked closets of opinions, “and I remember everything, Marty, believe me,” she continued as she looked him up and down, “I remember it all… sometimes too much.”

“Oh come now, Sophie, I mean really, you’ve always entitled yourself to an opinion, has anyone ever told you otherwise? Really Soph, as if? But what about that Duomo, the Santa Maria what’s her name, you can’t tell me you weren’t impressed by that massive erection?”

“Dusty Marty, dusty, and I can tell you, straight faced with just a hint of Botox, I’ve seen more erections in my time with a lot less dust,” she said with a shake of her head, annoyed she’d followed him down the erectile slope.

“So what about that Palace we just saw, the Pity something or other? They filmed Hannibal there, and you loved that.”

“Dusty,” she remarked as she took a look at her fingers as if to check for a residue before she pulled a small vile, filled with lubiprostone pills, out of her fanny-pack and knocked two back with the rest of her Mojito.

“Are you sure it’s not your glasses? Maybe that’s the only thing that’s dusty, Soph. I mean, I saw you take them off to look at the tush of that David.”

“Oy, don’t be vulgar Marty, I have a new hip, I don’t go that low anymore. Besides, a woman can still look, no? It’s nice to see what an ass is supposed to look like… now and again, besides the one we have to travel with,” she said, knowing that his would pass right over his empty head, currently covered with an Orioles baseball cap, “and would it hurt you to look at mine now and again? Maybe then I wouldn’t be looking at a giant stone one, Marty.”

“Soph, don’t be looking in the mirror then, your tush ain’t that big,” he said, with a chuckle that told him that he still had it; that charm, that wit that had first drew her to him.

“Oy… he made a little joke. Bring me a drink,” she laughed with her hands and fingers washing through the air as if to fan herself from the shock of his response, “who knew all this time I was shleping about with a funny man? So what’s next then, Marty, or should I call you Jackie Mason?”

“Alrighty, well… according to the last few emails about the German itinerary, Jane said she has a couple of good bits of theatre lined up for us in Berlin, so we should cross that off the list while we’re here.”

“Oh good, so we can finally get some tips on how to build a theatre back home, eh? Who does she think we are at all, I wonder?”

“Oy, enough of that sorta talk, Sophie. Besides, I hear there’s a Dante trail in town, maybe we follow that tomorrow for a few hours?”

“Marty, for goodness sake, I’ve been following you for the past 65 years, now you want me to follow another old fool into the gates of hell. Let me tell you, heat burns, Marty, and when it doesn’t burn… it fades.”

“Damn it Soph! Alrighty then, well let’s just walk along that Vecchio Bridge over there and then we’ll go wash up before dinner. I’ve got a real treat for us, Alice, you’re gonna love it, I just know it.”

“Pizza again, Marty, really,” she asked him as she placed a hand over his bulging belly, “you sure that tummy of yours can take it?”

“Well, looks who’s talking. How those pills treating you? At least I’m able to let it out now and again. Would it hurt you to push once in a while on that toilet seat, Soph?”

His wife gave him a look that needed no words and her husband’s swallow was suddenly almost as difficult to pass as her holiday poop.

“No pizza tonight, Soph, we’re in Florence. Tonight we are dining on cow. Pure red blooded cow, a Florentine favourite, according to those in the know.”

“Ay-yay-yay, now you’re talking. I am practically carnivorous. I could eat a human right now. If it was good enough for Hannibal then let’s do it. You know how much I like cow, Marty. You sweet old man,” she said as she slipped her foot out of her sandal and gently grazed it over his stockinged foot and smiled at him before turning her attention to the last of the sunlight that slowly wound its way along the banks of the Arno. He was a sweetie, she thought to herself. He might not have been one in a million, but he was her one just the same. Mazel tov!

“Yes Soph. I know how much you like cow,” he said, taking a sip of his chianti and sucking in the air over it through his teeth while he put his hand on top of hers on the table before he turning away and, just a whisper under his breath and out of earshot, continued “and they say it takes one to know one.”



Scene in Europe,
Scene 2,
L’Ora Blu- The Hour of Blue


All was cloaked in sombre shades of azure as dusk gently fell. Henry, 21 and fair haired, wandered through the shadowy slender streets of the ancient city that awoke within him so much of his, as yet, unspent youth and energy. He was only now beginning to feel the pulse of blood rushing through his body as he finally understood what it was like to look upon life and taste its endless bounty. Free and far from family ties, he’d been travelling through Europe on his father’s seemingly endless wallet of money and his mother’s gin flavoured blessing and quickly found temptations too intoxicating for his nubile body to say no to. He had a swagger in his step now that had replaced his teenage goofiness and the stubble, newly worn on his high cheek boned face, still enticed his own fingers to stroke its magnificence.

Having spent the last hours of sunlight in Piazza San Marco, amid the lure of the orchestra and the popping of champagne corks which increased his relaxation with every explosion, he left the small group of Spanish ladies who’d gathered around his table, intoxicated by his charm, carefree gaze and ripening musk, and wandered off alone to explore the island, leaving the grandeur of the Bell Tower, Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, stopping along the way to watch the market traders of the Rialto Bridge close down their stalls for the evening before he let the island and its canals be his guide. After taking a turn somewhere to the north of the island, through a cluster of narrow side streets of scorched red walls, lined with drain pipes, hanging baskets and swaying blankets on balconies being aired, he approached a rundown old bridge where a wane woman leaned over the balustrade and permitted troubled tears to fall into the water. Her taffeta skirts, in bolts of brilliant blue, billowed in the breeze while in her hand she held a single white zinnia. As Henry drew close to the woman, her scent enveloped him, an aroma reminiscent of his grandmother’s pantry filled with cinnamon sticks and almond paste wrapped in muslin cloths.


“Why are you crying, Madame?” inquired Henry, “don’t you think Venice is already filled with enough water of its own?”

“Tis the hour of melancholia, sir,” she replied and, as their eyes met, she saw immediately in his those sparkles of youth and life that were so recently his gain and so long her loss. She looked away, as if to shield herself from more unnecessary pain, turning her gaze instead to the zinnia which trembled in her hands, hands that had once been complimented on their texture and tone, which now looked like cracked particles of paint longing to fall from a mural upon which it had rested for far too long.

“I am Padua,” she told him, but her eyes remained on her fading reflection in the water beneath her, “I was once worshiped like this Venetian City, had a youth that was considered priceless and a lust for life that was worshiped by all, and not just the myriad of merry men who courted me constantly. But time is cruel and now I’m as broken as the bridge upon which I stand, as the city upon which it leans into. So quickly fallen from momentous to meaningless and I’m falling still,” she said as she dropped her single zinnia into the canal.

Henry quickly bent by the water and retrieved it, still intact, though dripping with its own tears, but when he rose there was nothing more to see except for the empty broken bridge and a rusting balustrade held by nothing but the grip of unyielding time. It was then that he noticed the old and pealing poster on the wall just across the bridge, advertising the perfume.

L’Ora Blu was written in sapphire smoke escaping from an open bottle. “We are nothing more than the memories we make,” it read, “remember who you once were in the melancholic magic of L’Ora Blu.” And there, in print on the cracked poster, was Henry’s vanished woman, younger certainly, but still recognisable. As he watched the last of the light caress the wall, her fragile hand extended out to accept a zinnia from a man serenading her from a gondola, while the rest of her body leaned toward another hand, beckoning her deep into the shadows.

Time is cruel, he thought to himself, remembering her words, but then he remembered the bar from the previous night with its own myriad of merry maidens and he turned away from the scented shadows and headed off for continued adventure with that newly acquired swagger. As he hummed a tune to himself, he was totally unaware, that with each footstep he took, another petal fell from the single white zinnia that he still held in his, as yet, unblemished hand.

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All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


Reposting for #PoetryDayIRL

Remembering home from afar…

And so again I found myself,
Of a morning, that morning,
On a winding road, once more,
Meandering like a stream,
Before it opened up to unveil
A vast expanse of stillness
Where brook and lake entwined,
Rugged roads wandered into wilder woods
And the light, that sat
Upon mossy mountain,
Reflected the break of another
Boorishly boisterous day
In a landscape where Yeats,
Having left the Mauds of his world
To fight the battle without him,
Had climbed nightly
The Thoor Ballylee
To find rest and I revelled
In what it meant to be connected
To these often harsh,
Sometimes barren,
But seldom anything less
Than breathtaking lands.

Immense clouds hanging on the horizon,
Fertile lands out front,
Awash with the 40 shades
And a silence amid so much
Awe-inspiring nature
That the Emerald in her name
Seemed so justified.

And yet, as if forever ingrained and known
But for a moment forgotten,
From somewhere deep inside
Resurfaced the notion
That it was not these lands
That I missed but
The memory of laughter
That blew above these lands,
On the breeze that crossed
Fields of verdant greens,
That skirted over grass
Waiting to be grazed on
And found rest in trees
That longed for lovers to kiss beneath.

And then, as normal as the nodding of the cap
To the passing stranger along the roadside,
I was taken back to those lucidly liquid days
Shining from my youth
When the patriotic spirit
Of a nation,
So small but spirited,
More laughed with
Than laughed at,
Doused itself in shamrocks
And drowned itself merrily
In spirits of an altogether other nature,
A time when neighbours
Knew each other like family
And a new face in town
Was merely a friend
We did not yet know…

And there I stood, home again,
Spun on that same laughing breeze
Into the past and I saw before me
The Me of today reflected
In my childhood form of yesterday
With teddy in one hand
And Tayto’s in the other,
Smiling amid laughter I had heard
But was far too young to understand,
In a land that I’ve fled so far from,
Swept up and away
On other breezes,
And yet, however high I fly
Or however much I roam,
I never seem to feel too far
From that Fair Green Isle called home.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


Scene in Europe,
Scene 1,
Prague; Crumbled, Cracked and Magnificent.


A married couple are standing in line outside Prague’s Neo-Gothic St. Vitus’ Cathedral. It’s an old, cracked, crumbled, reinvented, restored and altogether magnificent building standing in the very heart of what was once Bohemia. In their early 70’s, the husband, Marty to most, in a typical grey tracksuit which many tourists over a certain age think is appropriate to wear while vacationing, ignoring how humorous the get up is on a body that can hardly get up on its own anymore, suffers from angina and bunions on both his feet which is why his oversized trainers slide about from time to time. It is also why it took them a full quarter of an hour to cross the 14th century Charles’ Bridge over the River Vltava earlier on in the day. Sophie, his wife, currently wearing an astonishingly large amber necklace which he just bought for her at the Erpet Bohemia Crystal store on the Old Town Square, still thinks she could’ve married better if she had of held out a little longer and has a voice that sounds like it scrapes over gravel as it makes its way along her vocal cords and out her throat. She has a new hip, a new knee and would have a new face if Marty weren’t such a tight ass with what she calls ‘their finances’ and he calls his ‘hard earned cash’.


“So what’s so important about this cathedral?” Sophie asks her husband as the queue comes to another standstill.

“I don’t know, Soph, how many cathedrals must we see, I mean, really?” he replies as he leans down on her gamy shoulder to balance himself while he tries to adjust this Nike trainers for the twentieth time in as many minutes.

“I don’t wanna to see another cathedral anymore! You want to see another cathedral, Marty?” she asks him, adjusting her position slightly so that she can no longer be his balancing pole but so underhandedly that he doesn’t notice she did it on purpose.

“Lord no, I’ve had enough,” he admits as he steadies himself against the wall while the young couple behind them snigger.

“So why don’t we just tell Jane that in Berlin we don’t want to see another cathedral?”

“Damn fine with me,” agrees Marty, “though I believe that she’s already lined up a few for us to see.”

“Well, good Lord, what do people think of us, I don’t want to build a cathedral,” his wife insists with a growing impatience, “you want to build a cathedral, Marty?”

“No, Soph, I sure as hell don’t wanna build a cathedral!”

“Well then, there you go, we’ll just say that cause we don’t wanna build a cathedral then we can’t bare to see another cathedral. We’re old, Marty, can’t we be honest, finally? Oy!”

“It sounds like a plan to me, Soph,” her husband concedes with a nod and tries to put his arm around her but she adjusts the position of her over-the-shoulder-travel-pack just in time to keep his hands from making contact.

“In Berlin, we’ll see art museums,” she informs him.

“Art museums? Good Lord, Soph, what now? Haven’t we seen enough art museums already? And I can tell you, I don’t wanna build any art museum either!”

“Well, neither do I, Marty, but what’ll we do instead?”

“Drink beer,” he says with a self satisfying smile, proud of his own ingenious suggestion.

“Why Marty, you gonna make some beer back home?” she mocked him, not for the first time in their 65 year sentence of a life served together.

“No Sophie, I’d just like to drink some beer, that’s all!” he replied, as usual missing the overtones of her undertones completely while addressing her by her full name so as to give his answer a certain level of maturity.

“Well, alrighty, we’ll say we wanna drink some beer, see a little art, but definitely no more cathedrals!”

“Well, I sure do like the sound of that, Soph. You think they’ll have some of those old wartime tanks in Berlin?”

“Jesus Marty, what the… you wanna build a tank now?”

“No, I just want to…” he tried to answer before she silenced him with a wave of her hand that had ended every argument they had ever shared since the day they’d first met.

“Oh shush,” Alice tells him anxiously, grabbing his hand which she always took hold of in moments of excitement, as if to make sure they were experiencing it all together, “the queue’s finally moving,” she said with a quiver in that battered old voice of hers that brought an instant feeling of pride to her husband, “come on, let’s go see this cathedral!”

And so they did…


Coming tomorrow… Scene in Europe

Coming tomorrow to 


The first instalment of my series of Prose Vignettes entitled

Scene in Europe

The comments, comedy and commotions

of a married couple and a single man

making their way through Europe

on vacation…

Scene 1: Prague; Crumbled, Cracked and Magnificent


All photographs and artwork by Damien B. Donnelly


Hello Readers and Writers,

Just a little thank you to everyone who stopped by during National Poetry Month or NAPoWriMo. 30 poems in 30 days, I feel excited and exhausted all at once and really proud that you stopped by and spared me a moment to read my little meanderings. It really is a lovely feeling to know that people out there are reading what I write, even if it’s just something to help you fall asleep, whatever works.

Congratulations to all of you who also took part, I hope you feel as pleased with yourselves as I do and I certainly enjoyed reading your poems over the past month and look forward to see what you will all publish next.

I am now back to editing the almost completed first draft of my first fictional novel with building hopes that it will be worthy enough to find agent and publisher and a place somewhere out there on a bookshelf, now wouldn’t that a dream come true.

In the meantime, I will still be dropping by with some new postings. I am working on a set of short stories, little vignettes entitled Seen in Europe about a married couple and a single man travelling through Europe on holiday. They are short scenes, conversations, sometimes comedic, sometimes introspective that happen in little moments throughout their vacations. They are very short, short stories, so it won’t take you long to get through them, more flash fiction I guess, but I hope you stop by and give them a moment or two. Comments, critiques and likes are always welcomed.

In the meantime, Happy Days…

All artwork by Damien B. Donnelly