Our lives were lived in London then,

2 boys at play on shades

and stages,

in 4 bedrooms

that couldn’t bind us


In arms we sobbed

from 1 of our 2

3 seater sofas

in our 4 bedroomed house,

watching dreams disappearing

beneath the ashes of the Apple.

Eden had ended for the West.

No one knew who they were anymore,

the afternoon dawned into darkness,

arrogance had eaten the eagle’s feathers

and I only saw shadows in reflections

of myself in mirrors

that couldn’t capture the truth

of who I was or who

the 2 of us had become.

There was confusion, everywhere,

on all sides of the world, on all

the streets in shock, the television

a mirror to the madness

we couldn’t move from.

We were voyeurs to the violence

and already traumatized

by the thoughts of revenge

as Bush read books in the back row

of a preschool of potential

pacifiers or partisans.

And now, today…

We’d stood once, together,

years earlier, before the 2 sofas

and the 4 bedrooms

and the discontentment

and then this word called terror,

2 boys in awe

on the top of the world

with Broadway just a bellow below,

not realizing that life was but to Rent,

that No Day But Today meant this day,

not some day, somewhere.

It was now, here.

Jonathan never got to see his story,

hear his one song, his glory,

rising like Mimi from death.

A musical is but a muse on life,

plots are not planned in the spotlight.

A house is not always a home.

Towers cannot always support

the grayness that chokes between

dream and destiny.

We all have our stories,

our songs and our sorrows.

Love is love is love.

Love is…

I dream I see the planes

fly over and not into,

I dream…

we are there in London, still laughing,

still in the bedroom, still loving,

still on that rooftop, still standing

and all is still possible.

I dream

the towers in every territory

are rising from the ashes.

But we are no longer 2 boys

playing home in 4 bedrooms

in SE26, on September 11, 2001.

We have stopped counting

what we’ve lost, we have run out

of numbers and can never

go back to before.

But still,

I wish…

All words by Damien B. Donnelly

We saw the musical Rent on Broadway, New York, at the Nederlander Theatre on June 24th 1999, Jonathan Larson, its writer and composer, died the morning his show opened for off-broadway previews. He received a posthumous Pulitzer prize for Drama and Tony awards for best musical, best book of a musical and best score. It is still running in cities all over the world today. We stood on top of the World Trade Center on the 23rd of June, at 2.20 in the afternoon. But we can never go back.


Last weekend, possibly the final weekend of glorious sunshine for another year, we went to Strasbourg, the final birthday celebration, a city that is fully French, was once German for almost 50 years and is now filled with pretzels, flammenkueche, and all around adorability…

And good cocktails! What? I’m Irish!!!

Seriously, I wanted to eat everywhere! And tried!

On your bike! No cars in the city centre after 11am, Joy!!!

This is an actual school, lycée! It must be for wizards!!

Saint Paul’s Reformed Church, one of the many churches along our boat tour

European Parliament 

Flammenkueche, Pizza Alsace style

Petite France area of Strasbourg, Can you imagine this with the Christmas market in full sway!!!!

We had the best sauerkraut with fish here! (Choucroute de la mer). Not from the troff!!! 

Shadows within the Museum of Modern Art and below an art installation outside by Brooklyn based artistic collaboration FAILE

A moving Spider at the museum of modern Art, in top hat too!

And a goodbye from the glass modernity of Central Station 

All photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


I hold a balloon,

I watch it rise,

this sphere of air,

I hold this balloon

and then let it go,

watch it fly

up, into the air,

higher and higher,


into the sky

and you too,

in the south,

you hold a balloon,

you watch it rise,

this sphere of air within air,

you hold that balloon

and then let it go,

watch it fly

up (my down), into the air,

higher and higher,

up (my down)

into the sky

your sky,

your southern sky

now sleeping

below the line

of these northern lights,

two balloons

both rising,

one above

seeking shade,

one below

before the snow.

I hold the sun

in the north,

I hold the sun,

I throw it


higher and higher,


and you catch it


in the south,

I throw the sun

and you catch it

as the moon

but when we throw time

I am forever playing


For Liz.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


The moon is a diamond dream, a sweet shadow
of midnight, butterflies drunk on sleep
into which we seep like the blood red sun
beneath the blue blood sea and we are waves
in bottles bobbing along on the beauty
and the briny, too intoxicated to think
of our time being temporary, too insignificant
to think of ourselves as anything other
than spotlight central, hurtling through this journey
of shiny and sleepy and catching reflections
on the slippery surface of the rest; the best
of what we’ve yet to be. The moon
is a diamond dream and this journey;
a blind belief that cannot be broken by the truth;
we can master the major even if we are minor,
we can catch that kiss caught in another corner
of this cosmos even as we burry more and more
of ourselves within the bright red borders
but we broke from Eden and it didn’t end.
We are self-starved delusions winging it
on a whim of wonder beneath a glass cloud
in a sky of shining steel. We are diamond dreams;
how we shimmer in the shade of the moon.

All words by Damien B. Donnelly


Rough round that rose bordered hem we ran,
regardless of where her skirts did scurry,
no fretting to the fraying of her fringes,
never noticing how nimble had turned to not-so nifty
above that border of red roses, oh so pretty…

We carried you, like a child, that day,
winter now withered as the bark
made a place for the bloom and I wondered
if April had ever held so soft a day?

Rough round that rose bordered hem
we ran, regardless…

We carried you, like a child, that day,
the old village hushed as if all had now
been said, as if all had since been seen
and I wondered if that stillness amid all
the emotion was your soul on the breeze.

Rough round that rose bordered hem
we ran, remembering…

We carried you, like a child, that day,
our toes retracing your well worn
steps, our memory meandering
through the journeys you found for us
on busses and trains on lanes
to foreign towns and holy lands.

Rough round that rose bordered hem
we ran, reverberating…

We carried you, like a child, that day
and remembered every knee you bandaged,
every tear you had dried and every belly
you filled with your apple pies and custard bakes
those fresh brown breads and coffee cakes.

Rough round that rose bordered hem
we ran, repeating…

We carried you, like a child, that day
as red roses fell from our hearts like tears
as that breeze brushed our cheeks like a kiss.

Rough round that rose bordered hem
we ran, in reverence…

We carried you, like a child, that day,
your body as weightless as it was lifeless
as we covered you in the red petaled ground.

You carried us all, in your arms,
and now we carry you in our hearts
along our journeys forever more.

By that bed, in the village
that housed you and still holds you,
hemmed in forever by a border
of bright red roses, we sighed
by those borders now broken
by all we took for granted,

and felt the touch of the torn
comes at the fall of that one bright rose.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



Queue up, check in, board, sit down, take off, eat, sleep, movies, sleep, sky and sea, cross continents, curtail time, more sky and sea, more food, a hint of something hotter, then sand and land and then we land. Finally, fingers fumble over cameras caught in a current of silken sarees sweeping through streams of jasmine tipped traffic in colours more complex than creation can count, colour is a commotion on this carriageway, is in motion itself, looking for life to light upon, though no life here is a still life, and it’s hues are brilliant billows on the breeze, too busy to be bound to any one stretch of land, like the feathers of the peacock parading along the packed pavements, unperturbed by the petrol pouts of motorbikes careening through the chaos, honking through the hustle and bustle of the crowds who live their lives along the roadside markets and mayhem and mini vans selling mighty mangosteens and a myriad of spices in sacks that seep with salivating scents and ignore the rules we westerners have grown so weak and wearisome under and their curious eyes watch from precarious positions on backs of yellow lorries and sun seasoned trucks with bandages to stop them breaking, in a saffron stained city that has no brakes, eyes that smile, that furrow and frown, that wonder, naturally, on the reason that lies behind my gaze, behind the flash of my lens. The air; awash with tastes my tongue tries to catch, the landscape; burnt with tones my thoughts can’t even tackle when out of nowhere, amid the cars careening and trucks trumping and crowds cutting through, idolised cows come calling from the city’s stacked streets in search of sustenance and a simple shade and suddenly we slip into a slow stream as if the cattle are a cathedral and their coming; a blessing. A man, blind to all light, weaves his way through this carnival, three sheep by his side, as if they’ve always been with him, as if they were family and I wonder who is leading who; the man, the sheep, this car or me? Amid all of this life carried out in cars, on corners, at crossroads, along grassy knolls and sandy banks, with the stalls and the shoppers and the scents and the smiles and the sarees and that sweating sun, there is a freedom beyond the weight of politics and poverty, there is a simple survival stirring and it is I, in my branded costume, who looks the fool traveling through, taking it in, thinking I am better off with all my laws and rules and beds and baths and running water and walled in farms. I am the foreigner, swept up along this sojourn amid what looks like the fortunate whose fortunes look more favourable than mine.

The carriageway is a cattle call
we can be lead or we can learn
the blind can find sight in scent.

all words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



We smoke liquid laughs,

embrace clouds of midday butterflies

that come in celestial clutters,

listen to smiles kiss the skies

that dazzle this vast ocean.

We are self starved

and cracked like overcooked caramel

but we draw our delusions from dreams,

we are nothing if not imagination

waiting to dip our wings into the world.

All words and paintings by Damien B. Donnelly



Rustle rocks,
the night has murmured to the soul;
Peace cannot rest in the shade for long,
it seeks but a sanctuary for a season,
Eden could not flower forever,
there were other fields waiting
to be found as fertile,
other apples begging to be tasted,
other counties where curiosity
wasn’t a closure to the contract.

Behold this wind, this wild thing,
its tendrils tug so on my flesh.

Bright is the breath
as the path waits to be pressed.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



Sandy shades of dust speckle the ground and gallant tones of green dot the landscape from which the scent of olives ooze, before mixing with the aromas of musk, distant Morocco and the comical smell of burning tires. At dusk, I was driven by a blind taxi driver, judging by his driving, along a road which seemingly stretched through the sea whilst seagulls dove for food before the final setting of the sun. That morning, I had strolled along golden sands and watched tides sweep over my feet, I saw white robbed men close their eyes and wrap themselves in prayer and peace. I saw the sun rise and pour its rays over the tombs of those who had long since gained eternal rest. A simple life witnessed, with riches extending far beyond the grasp of materialism.

The sun rises over setting souls,
white waves sweep over strange scents,
gulls are savages on all shores.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


This poem was originally a part of my Joni Mitchell series from two years ago but it felt appropriate to be a part of this series of Journeys…

I have been courted
by counts and clowns,
too costly to count,
too considered to be questioned,
too comical to consider courtly
while in cities crowded with crossing carriages
and calm corners curated in comfort.
I have been coloured in, cared for,
cooped up, critiqued, cried out
and carried on, careless at times,
cautious at others,
I am creature creative
within this creation
in constant recreation,
a commuter
on this continuing carriageway
as cryptic as these clouds
of cotton-like complexity I cannot catch,
this carnival carousel of colours
not always complimentary
but of constant curiosity
that keeps on careering
and I am caught, concentric,
in consensual contentment
on its current that cannot be caged.
I came to the city,
this city, a city, other cities,
on a calling caught,
to cast all caution into the chaos
so as to compress the cost,
to consider the curve of common cliche
and covet the calling of the unconventional,
to cast a cry into the canyon
I have cut from my own carcass
so as to be counted as contestant.
I came in from the cold corners of complacency
where the crows were cawing callous
with the canines of carnality
to carve my confession
upon the confines of concrete
so as to comprehend the kisses I’ve captured
and the cords I’ve become a connoisseur of
within these courts that have contemplated me
and these circuses that have certified me
as compliant competitor.
I can only compliment the countless confusions
that called me careless
and I considered too crude to be counted,
but they count as the catalysts
that corrected my compass to
its calling within this circle
I am committed to seeing through
to its conclusion.

Shine on, shadowed sky,
with your stars like songs
singing along their sojourn.
I see sinister no more in shadow
and sight not always in sun.
We are seagulls and snakes
and saints and sinners
in the same situation,
searching for stimulants,
singing in unison
of our struggles and our strengths,
striving to see salvation in the spotlight,
searching out that spark to court
in sex and sense
that will send our souls soaring
into the stratosphere.
We are songs being sung
in a simultaneous serenade.

We are stars.

We are not nothing and never will be.

See how we Shine.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly