And I see you
standing with apron on
on a Sunday morning,
rollers turning
mum’s sleep
into mother’s style
like time turns
moments into memory,
I see you there
in the kitchen
before the bacon’s burnt
and the sausages sizzle,
before the decision
of where to go
to find God
(we were faithful then
but never loyal)
hoping to find him
singing somewhere
as it’s Sunday
and it’s spring
and everything seems better
with a song
aside from the peas
you’ve been steeping
since last night (after Dallas)
Mum’s marrow
and soon to be mushy
peas peer back at me
from the distant pan
on a distant Sunday
in the kitchen
on the yellow lino
and the yellow
caged canaries
who died
in their dozens
(careful excavating the yard)
as the morning
moans towards mass,
moves in the memory;
time springing
from somewhere dormant
to somehow recalled.

And I see me
up the stairs
in the biggest room
for the only child
(I took the box-room
for a change of air
in summer)
drawing daydreams
and escape roots
on wooden floors
I stained one summer,
neath the reds walls
others thought angry
and I thought cozy,
maybe happy little me,
happy in my own anger,
happy on my own,
in my own bitter brooding,
brooding for better days
and lips to kiss,
a kiss,
the simplicity of a kiss,
had not yet tasted
from tender lips
that kiss of betrayal
(had not yet tasted
that first kiss
which is gone
once it’s given)
me, in my red walled room
waiting for the hold,
no longer forbidden,
no longer unacceptable,
a bedroom of shelter,
of sanctuary,
of singing out,
out of tune,
out of need,
out of want,
to break out,
I’d repainted walls
and pulled down closets
at 16
now I just needed
to come out of one!

And I see you
in the distance
in that time
that spring recalls
from slumber,
from the window
above the garden,
by the van,
the travelling van,
that white van,
that smelly van
always washing
as if trying to find
in all that grease,
in all that confusion;
wash, shine, polish,
harder, rougher,
harder on yourself,
harder on the rest of us,
for the rest of us,
sorrow in the springtime,
no marrow on the bone,
no back bone!
Oh hush now,
you hear me,
you can’t get
beneath the surface
with brute force;
it’s not as strong
as the brute you spray
in the morning
on your frown.
See the reflection
in what you have
not just the objection!
Look Daddy;
see it all,
it was all right there
in the kitchen
in her apron,
in the bedroom
in my closet,
she’ll grow tired of you
(she did before)
her foot’s been out the door
longer than it’s been in it!
(Was it ever fully in it?).
Shut it
if you wanna keep it,
have it,
hold it,
for they’re about to run away
and leave you with nothing
but the marrow
going mushy
in the pan
that I never
acquired a taste for,
just like cars
and polish
and peas
and the pieces of you
I couldn’t put together.
Three peas in a pod
that I never learned
to swallow
on a Sunday
in a Spring
that time just can’t digest.

All Words and drawings by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:


7 thoughts on “ONCE, ON A SUNDAY

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