On pressing parades
pedestrian pass on motors,
on mass, in autos,
under umbrellas,
in downpours of flashing lights
of signs I cannot identify,
on roads that have no rules,
with crossings that heed no caution
for those crossing, the tens crossing,
the hundreds crossing,
the thousands trying to get through
with rising intonations 
to parks, to stop on mass,
to push against the air,
to cast shapes,
slow moving shapes,
motions that move into the morning
still in the making
while they are waking
and I wander the streets
in search of lost sleeps,
in search of understanding
the red dragon and his breath that steals
from sight a sky I never see
and yet there is light, electric light,
burning down from buildings, blinding buildings,
as if to shadow all that was once natural,
all that hints at traditional,
and that still echoes with strings of beauty,
stranded streets that should be seen
but are shaded by the gleam
of glorious Gucci and pray to Prada
and all the rest of western delusions
that silence the former oriental infusions.
I am the white man,
the foreign man
trying to find meaning in the madness,
in the movement, clambering to catch comprehension
with nothing but chopsticks
that fail to find favour with my fingers
in this land where the food tastes delicious
and the streets smell atrocious.
Xièxiè and Nín hǎo are the crutches I cling to,
to clamber through,
but, like the chopsticks,
they are too fragile to be stable
and too fickle to be favourable
and I am clearly too used to home
to be truly objectionable.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:








  1. What a beautifully stated depiction of a torn place, Dami. At leat the torn-ness is what seems to shine through for me when I take in the images from both, this and ypur last post as well as your words, above. Hopefully some bridges can be found (or will be build) as well!
    Much love,

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