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.


5 thoughts on “I WISH…

  1. I don’t even know where to start. . .I wish, too. Echoes of Ragtime–“we can never go back to before”

    I may have told you that my older daughter wrote her college entrance essay on Rent and what it meant to her? Also, coincidentally, we’re seeing Rent again this year in Philadelphia.

    What a cute photo of you–grinning with your whole life ahead of you.
    And yes–love is love is love–always!

    • I never knew that about your daughter and her entrance essay. Maybe it might make an appearance one day on your blog as a guest feature!!
      At the Rent interval in New York, a group of homeless artists performed outside on the street; life and art! A beautiful mix!
      At the final performance in London, the entire audience stood outside on the street, middle of the road and we all serenaded the cast with Seasons of love while they watched and cheered from their dressing room windows, it was a wonderful way to say thank you to their talent and show our love.
      I felt a little Ragtime reference was needed, the birth of a nation, hardship, the loss and the final acceptance!
      I was just 23 in the photo and the World was such a bright light and the view from the top of the tower seemed suggestive of so many possibilities. I have followed many of them and hope we all find a way in our hearts and minds to follow a few paths for the ones who no longer have the life to do so.

      ‘And when he is old enough,
      I will show him America,
      and he will ride
      on the wheels of a dream.’

      Here’s to the dream!! 😘

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