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I sink beneath your skin
like sea
sweeping over sand,
you, a thousand grains
while I wash over you
in warm waves,
your salty sweat


below my current.

I slip between your lips
like cream
coming into coffee,
our senses fired
like frothed fluid
as we pound passion
into fragile

once fresh,
now feverish,
once timid,

now tasted

once begun,
we can never go back

You are now the sea
and I the sand,
upon your back,

I am now the coffee
and you have taken

to the cream.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:


Today felt like the last blush of summer sunshine on the city that always shimmers, both in shadow and shade. These are some photo highlights I took this morning on my morning potter through the 5th arrondissement; heralded by Hemingway, the sunflower filled Jardin des Plantes and the touch of autumn rainfall on my shoulder along the Seine wth the rose windowed eyes of Notre Dame upon us all…

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



I         You         Us
being so much water
and yet the lucky
do not drown
in the very essence
of what they are

I         You         Us
we are all oceans sunk beneath the surface of the skin

I         You         Us
so much water
beneath the skin,
we are movement
cast out
to current curiosity

I         You         Us
all movement
like ripples on the water
and we are water,
and we are as deep
as we dare
to dive

I         You         Us
daring divers
discovering our own
essence in the depths,
the lucky ones rising
like waves,
washing upon the shores of our world

I         You         Us
so capable of watering our waning world.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio available on Soundcloud:




We hang ourselves whole
by the ropes that we weave
into wishes, veins that vie
like vines by the nooses
we knot around necks,
twisted and tangled
around muscle and tissue
that dries no tears. We
are stained with the tears
the years have taught us
to play with. We try to play
happy songs on hardened hearts
than cannot be healed, cutting
ourselves on cords too costly
to be constant, too broken
to be buoyant.

We hang ourselves whole
thinking hope can fill the hole.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:



There are words
caught in his throat
that he cannot speak
or swallow,

there are thoughts
once captured
and cradled
now fallen from his mind,

and butterflies flap in the garden.

There are names
once rooted in his heart
now wilting like leaves
at the onset of autumn,

there are places
that once held prestige
that have tumbled from memory
like crumbling ruins.

Butterflies flap in the garden,
and, like all that is fragile,
they will one day fly off on the wind.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio available on SoundCloud:



If this is love
then ask no questions
I cannot answer

so disappointment
cannot distract us
from determination.

Accept the uncertainly
of this rocky road
set out before us

so doubt does not
divine disaster
before it dissolves us.

See today as the future
and tomorrow a bonus

least time tests us
with what has yet to be

and teases us with what
we wasted yesterday.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:



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I had wings
the skies would have no limits
I had fins
the seas would have no depth
I had trust
the clouds could not delude me
I had belief
the currents could not drown me

I am man
and bound to faults and fears
I have eyes
that cannot see through the tears
I have feet that tire of walking
I have arms that cannot always reach

the things I want to touch
the places I want to see
the person I want to be

and yet
I have a heart

that’s fuelled on hope.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:




And so man
within his story,
with all his guts
and gluttoned glory,
failed to reach the heavens  
with his flying ships
and roaring weapons,
looking upwards, 
always upwards, 
never sideways,
never backwards,
never wondering 
how he stood
with his feet
in the burning wood,
on this one time fertile Earth
once filled with hope,
once filled with worth.

And the gods
laughed on high
from their positions
around the sky,
from their comets
in the clouds
encircling a world
now laid in shrouds 
and its curious little creatures 
with hungry hands
and augmented features,  
clambering and clawing
over cadavers, though always falling,
trying to catch a glimpse 
of what was lying
in wait on front of them
but missing the destruction
they were leaving
in their disruption.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Photograph taken from a moving car somewhere near Balmoral, Scotland



He stands in the shadows, staring out the window of his one bedroom suburban house onto the street outside. The late afternoon sunlight skirts the jaded red carpet as if looking for a way out. An old typewriter gathers dust on a desk next to stacks of unwanted, and seemingly unworthy, manuscripts. A breeze blows through an open window, filling the room with a sense of unease. The laughter of children playing outside occasionally drifts in and out, breaking the eerie silence. His gaze is upon these children and lately, his thoughts have been incapable of leaving them.

A bachelor all his life has meant no chance to have children and with his 86th year approaching, the possibilities seem to have fallen away like the blonde hairs that once covered his balding head. Although his chance has long since faded, his wish for children is something that will continue to haunt him for as long as he hears the laughter.
As his life draws to its climax, his spirit itches to move on from this existence and yet his fragile body continues to breath and he remains staring out a window, nurturing distant dreams that are now as futile as the pages on his desk. Manuscripts that he had hoped would fill the void in his life and yet all he could bring himself to write about was that very void. A void that nobody wanted to read about. He is now become a prisoner trapped inside his own body; a body that has changed while his feelings have not. He doesn’t remember growing old and yet his frame has welcomed it. No longer standing with the poise of a young man, his back now slouches forward, his pace has slowed and all movement has become an effort. There is little on his body that is familiar to him any more.
The mundane pattern of daily life tries to convince him that he is settled. He settles daily into his cream cardigan, his brown slippers settle unto his feet from morning until night. His pleasures are all but dead, except for his smoking, though even that brings a chesty cough. Alone in his house, he is noticed by no one because life has passed him by. His aching body no longer fits into the momentum of modern living. He takes one final glance out the window before climbing the stairs with legs no longer capable of climbing. On a single bed, he rests until dinner. The children continue to play outside on the street.

He tries to go for a walk everyday, but who can go far with legs that want to rest. Resisting the temptation not to, he forces his legs to take him past his neighbours who watch over their children with the usual parental intensity. He watches them run when their little ones fall over and hold them tightly as if to smoother their tears. The moment shared by parent and child is filled with so much love that their bond is almost visible, as beauty is to fragility, as love is to loss, while alone he simply clutches a cigarette. They barely notice him anymore. He is the old man who lives in the old house with the old curtains and the musty smell. He wanders on, past the school playground where again children laugh and play and, watching from behind the wire fence, he feels isolated. He lowers his hearing aid. With no sound, the visions are less painful, but for all too short a time. When the scene needs no sound to hammer home the truth, he moves along, continuously smoking and pent up with jealousy.
He passes the graveyard where voices jeer him from deep inside his own head.
“It will be the end with you, my friend. Your grave shall be bare but for you. No one will continue your name and none shall follow yours on the tombstone. When you go, your name will be no more; for you are the last.”
This is the place that hurts the most. This is the place where green eyes drown in bitter tears. He has been here many times lately, dressed in his black suit, bidding a final farewell to others like himself. But there were always children huddled together on these occasions. They may have been adults, but they had always been children to their parents, in the same way that a single lonely old man can only be a single lonely old man. When the inner voices mourn too loudly, he moves on, using each headstone as a morbid crutch. The hardest truth to accept is that which lies directly in front of you. Waiting.


It has been one week since his 86th birthday. A single card rests on the mantle piece; a sympathetic token from the local Meals on Wheels. There is not a sound in the house, all is quiet. No one looks out from the shadows, no one is haunted by the sounds from the children outside. Junk mail collects in the letterbox. The last of the evening sunlight just hovers in the hallway, creating ethereal shadows in the musty air on the stairway. Upstairs, on a single bed, there is a single body surrounded in silence. In his room, there is not even the sound of breathing. His body is lifeless. His name will continue no more.
All Words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Photograph taken in the gardens of the Musee Rodin, Paris, France