We are born

through barriers that break,

water carriers through canals 

into comfort and concerns 

were borders are built

to nurture nature

while we are compartmentalised,

still, more silent, less severe;

fortunate, less so, white, less so,

gay, straight, one gender, 

less gender, clever, less so, 

a part of peace 

or placed into parts 

where peace falls apart.

We cross borders 

not all, not everyone, 

not the fortunate, not those

who can do so comfortably 

but the others, the less so,

running from rage, rape, ruin, less,

running to refuge, reprieve, relief, more. 

We build barriers to keep us safe,

to keep the flowers in focus

and not the fragility 

beneath their bloom.

We build barriers, bigger, higher,

sharper, not to shelter but to shield 

all we don’t understand, all we fear

until we are left inside with fear itself.

We are born

through broken barriers 

but fall too quickly to forgetful.

All words and drawings by Damien B. Donnelly



I have parts of me 

twisted like rotten roots 

in drying soil

and parts of me 

supple as feverish fruit,

thirsty for attention.

I am both 

crumbling skin

trying to flee this figure

and sides so smooth

that they offer little hold.

I have broken borders

to be free

and built boundaries 

to hide parts of me

I don’t yet comprehend.

All words and drawings by Damien B. Donnelly



Walls cannot keep us from war,

defences are not always the deterrent,

destiny is not capable 

of being confined in a cage.

I captured a corner of comfort 

but it grew cold, 

capturer and captive, 

alone is not alive,

solitude is not always 

the solution

when looking for solace.

All words and drawings by Damien B. Donnelly



On blood soaked walls 

he painted his pain 

in shades of scarlet 


on walls worked red

he captured the child

with cries that still 

are drying,

on scarlet walls

he hung his hurt

on hooks too high 

to handle,

in rooms since then

he sees that shade

still kindling 

in the dwindling candle.

All words and drawings by Damien B. Donnelly