Still night,

still light
in corners
not yet caressed
by shadows,

in thoughts
not yet crushed
by dreams

that will never
see the light,

that stilled light
that lingers

the stillness
of the night.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



Wilful in ways worrisome 
like in the wilderness weaned,
he was born of the breeze
and bound from baby to be breathless 

and when they caught him he said;

‘When I lay me down
let the ground make of me what it wants,
let the soil seek substance beneath my skin.’

Reckless in ruthless rebellion
like the river ravages routes,
too timid to be touched
and too tormented to be tamed 

and when they chained him he said;

‘When I lay me down
let the sun make of me what it wants
let its rays find rest on my remains.’

But as they strung him up
he heard, in the distance, the feathers running restless,
and as they pulled the rope
he knew, in the mountains, the vultures were hovering

eager, at last, to make a meal out of what was a beast of a man.


All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Photograph taken just outside of Galway in Ireland.

Audio version available on Soundcloud:



And there stands
right on front of me
at the exits of metros
still moving behind me,
where men,
always black men,
always banlieue,
who I recognise
from the streets
yesterday begging for bread,
now search
for bombs in bags
so Parisians feel more protected.
Really Paris,
is this your position
or are you just trying
to reduce the homeless
by placing then closer
to possible blasts
and kill two birds
with the one bomb?
Unarmed, untrained
and unexplained
boys looking for
booby traps
that would only
make them collapse
if they found one.
These gullible gangstas
are no MacGyvers.
Appearances, it seems,
in Paris are still everything
while the streets
stink with rubbish
hiding the homeless
from the tourists,
the jobless, non-nationals,
uninsurable non-entities,
at least the ones
you haven’t yet picked
to reassure commuters
that dangers are being derailed
before style trends board trains.


All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



the path
has been puzzling
and there are patterns
now, penetrating patterns
once thought impossible, entwined
around veins, like vines that vie for vittles
on walls already wavering, on buildings bare
as if each brick banished is a breath
I carry more
now than before
but fragments have flown,
not yet cremated but I’ve scattered
ashes over mischievous maestros who tussled
tarnished tunes along my tissue, who cut cords, crude
and often crippling, who leeched the lyrics from my limbs
when I thought a relationship meant relenting to the rhythm,
when I thought love was a note
never ending,
we’ve seen
how sacrifice
can separate mother
from her making, little girl
blue you had to give up and woman
who had let me go, the root cut from rose,
adapting far from the garden of creation, but we
adapted to adoption as if it wasn’t an option, as it wasn’t
a question, for there was always
a connection,
I see you
with the bud
of your womb now
returned to you as woman,
your vines reattaching as nature
intended while I rarely regard the roots
of my own becoming, still too busy looking
up and over, looking always for the next interchange
and questioning every other connection in a garden scattered
with those ashes, the bush burning
as the blossom still blooms,
but Mother,
I’m more you
than the woman
who made me, I am
more product of the carer
than sewer of the seed who
so long ago saw the sacrifice
in her own soil and replanted my life
in your warm embrace,
I’ve seen stars
setting fires to skies
in other lands where other
oceans wash over other sands,
stars that still fade, though they are far,
sands that still sweep into all consuming currents
while populations ponder the same problems as stars
flicker out and time slips
through our hands,
I’ve seen money
makers in plastic palaces
following white lines to narcotic
nirvanas as if salvation was snortable,
I’ve seen wiser men, on the sojourn, in India,
blind to all light, perhaps shielded from the fight,
holding tight to a smile that has slipped from our grip
with eyes still able to trap the light, with hearts too hungry
for more of more of more, polluting once stubborn seas as we
rape other roads, take other fruit from other gardens, while blind men
begged for nothing and saw more than I could
ever imagine,
the days
are now shorter
and even before night
falls there is less light that falls
and people are crying in the streets,
the flowers are folding and retreating into
the dirt as if hell might be better, Mama, people
are dying in discos and in diners and in school halls
where they should be learning to be better, not leaving blood
behind on broken desks and chalkboards with equations that don’t add up
because the book has been swapped
for the bomb,
there are
horrors happening
now, not yearly, but daily,
one chaos no longer fills one
book, but one chapter, followed by
another and another with no let up, no
intermission, our gardens becoming desert
landscapes as all that tries to exist is destroyed,
as all that was once deemed right is declared wrong,
as all rights are removed and all races viewed
as radicals,
they’ve mistaken
the mask for the man
and they can’t see though
those smiles I’ve staged to still
the shadows that line these lines,
these lives played out upon my breaking
breast, pouring like riverbeds raging over banks,
over blank pages, drowning them with tales, twists
and turns, loves and losses that have taken up home
below the shivering skin, mostly uninvited, like wild flowers
in the garden, like weeds we mistake to be worthy of their place
till the thorns bear
their treachery,
but Mother,
amid the mayhem
there are moments magic,
there are babies being heard
with first breaths beating, there are skies
singing of the sunrise, there are still sunsets
still sweeping shores where lovers still linger, long
after the first kiss, there are words whispered on winds,
glorious hymns of hope and heroes and there is art, still
filling walls with light and life, there is music
and there is, as always,
your smile
life is a series
of spirals, not just circles,
for it elevates on the turn, not
just levitates, for I am back, again,
at the beginning, but frail are the things
once thought familiar in this once foreign land
I fled and feared never to return, in this land where
nothing changes while everything moves and the shadows
I once knew have up and vanished and grass is growing where
once there was concrete and concrete has crushed all that was once
green and grand and 40 is not as adventurous as 20 but the questions
still remain unanswered so there is no turning back because, as I said, the vines
have entangled themselves around me, in this garden I’ve grazed in, from a distance,
for so long, pulling across my chest, either aching or yearning, they are drawing me down,
down towards the ground, down, at last, to regard the roots of where it all began,
so long ago, when I first dared to ask;

Will we ever have all the answers?

All words and drawings by Damien B. Donnelly

Self portrait at 19 in the Botanical gardens, Dublin

Audio version available on Soundcloud:


Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 20.13.21
Where turrets twist

light leaps around steps

long since merged
with the marks,

caressed into carpets

made bare by the burdens
they now bare,

stored in stairs that turn
ever onwards,
ever upwards,

always reaching for the rest
of the story

never truly told in the light

still leaping.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Photographs taken at the Musée de la Vie Romantique, Paris, France.


One year ago today, an Irishman on the doorstep of 40, moved from Amsterdam to Paris, to rue du moulin vert, street of the green windmill. The apartment was perfect but in need to a little loving…






A year later, the love is felt…

All decor and photographs made with love by Damien B. Donnelly


A tour of San Francisco in search of the shadows of Tales of the City, the epic Armistead Maupin series of novels, begun as a regular feature in 1974 in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper and following the lives of a group of family, friends and foes, career go-getters and castaways spanning over 40 decades of trials and tribulations, change and controversies:


Where it all beings, with Mary Ann’s arrival at the Buena Vista Cafe


The Stairway to the fictional 23 Barbary Lane, home to Mrs Magrigal and her tenants


Macondray Lane, the real Barbary Lane


The iconic Powell Hyde cable car Michael Tolliver rode in dressed as Pan


Supposedly the inspiration for 23 Barbary lane, Maupin lived close by


Maupin lived in the red rooftop house and took inspiration from his rooftop views 


Where Mary Ann Singleton and Brain Hawkins live in unhappy matrimony


The Transamerica Pyramid which Mrs. Madrigal believed to be a beacon from Atlantis  


The City seen from above with the bay on the distance 


Where Norman Neal Williams meets is fate


The legion of Honor where Mary Ann confronts Norman


Alamo Park where Edger and Anna have lunch and a homemade ‘brownie’


Below the Golden Gate Bridge


The twists of Lombard Street


The Hosts with the Mosts, Susie and Trey, in Delores Park on the door step of the Castro, Michael Tolliver’s playing ground

All Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



I have
reoccurring dreams
where I swim
in seas

where I have
no feet but fins
where I have
guts and gills

I have
reoccurring dreams
where I swim
in seas

where the bottom
is boundless
where possibilities
are endless

I have
reoccurring dreams
where I swim
in seas
while in reality
I drown
in shallow streams

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Photograph taken in Curacao , Dutch Caribbean