Tongues taste
our thoughts
when our thighs
twist and tumble,
when we slip
from sensible
to supple, shuffling
off our slips,
when lips lick lines
of longing, disrobing
desire from distraction,
curious to current caress,
covetous carried toward carnal,
slipping onto soft sheets
soon to be sweaty,
soon to be soiled
with that sensual scent,
soon to be hard, harder, hotter
(you had me at hello but you know that now).

Tongues taste
our thoughts
before we’ve even come
to embrace them.


All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:



We evolve
from wombs to rooms
we revolve around, a space
within space where we whisper
tender tales into tight twists
in curt corners crammed
with comfort and chaos,
this shifting space whose sides
echo with movements that time
has noted but pain
has not yet processed…

Fragility unfolds
throughout space;
my space, your space, the space
that used to be our space, their space,
space now displaced, washed down
with whispers that were once wishes,
that was once laughter, light and liquid,
liquid days when you drowned
in the other’s desires that drove
toward lust, that dove toward love,
that fell, thereafter, toward tired
and toxic; tender turns
toward twisted,
tick tock.

Tick tock.
How time tolls
over hold. Hands
hold and time turns and then
time folds and hands turn
taunt through this place,
this space, once our space,
their place, now displaced, this room,
once loved, now rarely reserved.

We lay, we lie, we fall, we fight
until we leave a weight
behind us in our flight.

Whispers of loves now lost
rattle in a past still present,
not yet processed, pain permeating
into pattern, tissues soak
up solitude, torn tissue, twisting
and turning like the hands
of time as we try to find ourselves
again, trying to become a whole
within the hole, trying to clutch
hope again, however hopeless
it is to hold hope
within the hole
that houses us.

We connect and come loose,
we break (each other often,
accidentally on purpose)
and feel the noose pull tighter,
pull us further from the other.

Left are we with lines drawn
by love’s touch, like trees are we;
after each struggle more circles,
after each encounter more lies lines
spiralling us further from thoughts
thought to be central. I am anger.
You are sadness. We are over.
They are done. Who is sorry?
Is it important anymore?

We are whispers whispered
in rooms disjointed, reflections
cracking under the hunger
and heartbreak, the love and loss.

We are music in the making
until the melody meanders off,
until the cords are cut, until
the harmony is too harsh to hold.

We fall, we let go, we fall, we let go…

we continue, we are a continuum
of connection and confusion,
curious concern and self obsession.

We are whispers of the noises
and nooses we navigate in
and under, over and through.

We are particles of passion
and pain that penetrate the self,

that identify us, that mark us,
that make us who we are.

Particles so primal that we would perish
if they ever departed from our persona.

And so we persist, are persistent.

And so we beat on,
beat bruises onto our own flesh.

Beat on. Beat. Beat.

We are nothing if not beasts
with breasts bare;

beating to be broken.

All words and sketches by Damien B. Donnelly. Inspiration by Giulio D’Anna.

So, where did this poem come from:

Last Monday night, here in this city of light and shadow, I was one of the fortunate spectators at Espace Pierre Cardin, Theatre de la Ville (a single movement away from an unusually still place de la Concorde) to witness choreographer Giulio D’Anna’s post-modern dance theatre entitled OOOOOOOO. It was bare, bold and breathtaking and, with Giulio; it always is. I can call him Giulio because I knew him when that was his name. Now he is Giulio D’Anna, visionary! Quotation mark intended.

Giulio, originally an Italian student of ballet (and medicine), found favour with contemporary dance in Florence, studying with Simona Bucci, before moving to Amsterdam to study at SNDO (School for New Dance Development) and his career has not stopped since he graduated, although some of us were lucky enough to see it taking off even beforehand!
Now an award winning choreographer, he is paving this occasionally unsettling but always intriguing journey through what he calls the dramatic body. Parkin’son is possibly one of the most moving pieces of dance theatre I have ever witnessed. The truth and emotional strings that carried each movement of the duo onstage was that said duo was Giulio and his actual father who is actually living with Parkinson’s himself. A moment of blood and bone, father and son, battles and bonds, youth and all that comes after.

This piece on Monday night, was inspired by a visit Giulio made to the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb (and I though that’s were I lived, poetically at least!). A piano on a bare stage in shadow and light gradually fills with 8 characters whose loves and losses unfold through the physically and emotionally charged 1 hour and 10 minutes. We are introduced to them by a collection of truths appearing on a screen at the back of the stage; a collective CV; where they came from, what they believe in, how they love, who they love, how they have broken and if they still hold hope. At the same time as being unnerving, unsettling and uncomfortable, it is engaging, enthralling, stirring, thoughtful, compassionate and, just at the right moment, hilariously funny. D’Anna’s ensemble opens us, the viewer, to our own feelings of how we hurt, who we hurt and asks us the question to which there is no truthful answer; what we would be without that beating heart that trembles and terrifies within each one of us. What if we didn’t beat?

There is beauty and colour in the Museum of Broken Relationship, shades of light and laughter putting a pattern onto pain. In this piece too, on Monday night in the city of shadow and light, beauty resonated in all its rawness. I was already writing in my head on the metro home.

His website is simply http://www.giuliodanna.com but this choreographer, creator, questioner, philosopher, dancer, carer, and friend, is far from simple. You can find him online, on YouTube and certainly, one day soon, in your local theatre. Book early!

OOOOOOOO will have its final performance on the 29th May 2017 at the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb. A fitting completion of a circle for a piece of post modern contemporary dance/comedy musical whose inventor is only just beginning.

Watch the trailer for OOOOOOOO here: https://vimeo.com/76032170

Audio version available on Soundcloud:




Blue boy
harbouring at hints
from other hues;
breathless to be breezy,
tu sais? A longing
to lay with lavender,
on a lawn of iris
and amethyst,
to be lyrical with lilac
in its supple shade,
to whisper over walls
like blankets over bodies,
like worry over waves,
ready to be ruby
in red,
ripe and raw
like the apple
in the orchard;
teasing temptations,
like willing wine
on the tip of the tongue
flowing like blood
through the body,
glad to go towards green,
to the shamrock and the sage,
to be mellow in the moss
and jovial in the juniper,
to gain again on the grounding
that was my fertile founding,
bounding back to the beginning,
(we can never go back to before- really?)
to venture back to the verdant valleys,
face to face with the unearthing
of all that came after
in cut and colour of that solid soil
from the cedar to the ochre
(are my eyes hazel
because you are their home?)
returning to the roots
of my becoming,
see them still turning
in the bright bog,
Eire and her energy,
and the emerald smile
that still shines on me
so far from that distant isle.
The green light, that orgastic future,
(he called it), we beat on
but are bound back
to where we began.
Blue boy
with green eyes, (hidden in hazel)
white skin
and the orange;
(my diversion with the Dutch?).
Now I am red
and white and blue,
blue again, you see;
you can always go back to before!

Blue boy
harbouring at hints
from other hues.

All words by Damien B. Donnelly. Picture taken in Ireland in 2003.

Audio version available on Soundcloud:




Look for me
in the layers lost,
in the careful caress
that concerns the contours
of form and finesse. The million
meters mounded into magic, turned
and twisted into tastes now termed timeless,
look for me in the yards that yield towards yellow,
that burn into beauty, like ochre opening, that grow towards
the gleam of green, that flit and flow like a feather in flight, like rays
of the old days that ripple on the water. Look for me by the curt corners
of concrete where complacency converges, look for me where the columns congregate,
creation is not just a concept concerned with procreation
but with the colours and costumes

we claim to parade our personality.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:





was caught
by colour in the corner
of the castle where curtains
collected carnations,
was captured
courting curious
on the canvas of a castle
in a kingdom condemned,
was caught
by the kiss of a courter
in the courtyard where calla lilies
were cut,
missed the caution
in the cut of the calla
while her courter crept away
with her coin,
forever captive
on that canvas in colour
in that corner too curt
with the kiss of that courter
now a cancer
on her complexion
that no carnation covered
curtain could ever conceal.

All words and photograph by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:



Lilac showers
Parisian walls
to lift the day
from tones of grey,

colours whisper
to hungry minds
from lithesome leaves
to planting seeds,

branches bound
like blood to body,
to walls so willing
like veins now filling,

lilac leans
with leaves of green,
gently swaying,
thoughts are weighing,

nature bends
to hear my call
and pens take flight
on lines at night.

All Words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud: