This city does not sleep, the wind is as wistful
as thoughts I cannot gather, here on this sojourn
to the south of Seoul. Horns honk along highways
to wake drivers out of day dreams the night cannot
decipher so we buckle up and giggle briefly in back
seats but I cannot see those space bound lanterns
of tied wishes from these knotted sheets I know not
how to untwist. Even on the soft slumbering slopes,
in the shade of the rock bound Buddhas, helicopters
chase the rising sun while you try to chase those parts
of yourself peace cannot pacify. Dysphoria’s the new
mantra. This body won’t sleep, my mind has taken
to meander along this midway, midlife, as trumpets
still announce the coming trains and palaces are filled
with space in place of stained sentiments of wealth,
this eastern stretch of the journey, those cars still honk
in foreign tongues, far from the familiar, all is not what
it once seemed, this mouth no longer makes sense
as I cut across these sweeping vistas of strange words
breathed with bows and ways so traditional they worry
the West. In the North, strange armies are Trumping
in unities many states are too confused to comprehend.
But here, south of these strangled ties and demented
ducks, sitting sweet beneath the stars, the streets awash
with numerous neons twinkling below billowing blankets
of nature’s blossom covering the city in a comfort concrete
can’t squash and man can’t master. My body can’t sleep,
I’ve seen to much but still hope for more while this city
is only now waking up to who it truly wants to be.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:


5 thoughts on “IN THE SEOUL

    • Thank you Merril. There was a lot of expectation, even in the south, hope infused with a little naivety. It is a truly incredibly country, very accepting of what has been but eager to show what can be. Hope all is well with you and your family, enjoy the weekend, big hugs 🤗

    • Thank you Alison, I have planned in sleep for this weekend, I blocked my back the other day (literally after sneezing at the office) so sleep has been elusive. I hope sleep is now something you are enjoying daily. And enjoy your weekend my dear

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