The Dream; Sunday Night, Almost Light.

I dream of dark nights
that cannot hold their identity tight,
that break into tight pieces of light
when mind succumbs to dream’s dimension
and stumbles (still sweaty under sheets)
upon hidden altar in open field,
light cast as day amid dark of night,
depth of dream, this stone altar cast of granite grey
and cold where congregation gathers,
each pebble imprinted with the palm
of every parishioner now present before me,
though I know no rock embedded in this sacrificial table
(where body is broken and blood is drunk)
is a captor to my own print
because still I sleep somewhere
above the grey clouds turning translucent
like my skin in this dream
and grass burning green behind the hazel of my eyes
that know this sight is not sound in sense.
Children come to candle
and their faith gives way to flames fired from fingers
in this field of unfavourable familiarity,
in this night of broken light
where community comes together to confess,
confide, comfort or criticize my coming.

I dream of day borne in a twist of still night,
stilled light, still strange in fields I’ve flown from
and now flung back to where heads turn
below those clouds, low and grey, baying,
still grey, stilled breath, as if all colour
(except the growing grey and grinding green)
have not yet been considered.
Stony eyes, cast in concrete that could crush,
cower upon my questioning
of how I fled so far from all that stands so close.

I dream of dark nights
on old roads I could walk blindly,
your cold caress of cross now left behind me
in that stone-cold field now returning to shadow
that the night somehow chose to light for me,
I shiver beneath the darkness,
on this shady street where I stand
and somewhere, in the distance, in the bed,
I lie looking for shelter beneath my blanket of sleep.
I come upon a clearing,
a turning, a returning, I am home,
not my home but a house called home,
that old home I no longer hold the keys to
(though my pockets tingle with too many connections
to other doors now closed).
But it is the home recalled
only in photographs now fading,
not in the building still standing,
a meander of the memory
I barely have the right to call mine
like this skin turning translucent,
twisting off the bone, falling and fading
from a form I seem to not recognize in this sleep.
Still, I search in pockets
hoping to pull out not another cross
to carry on shoulder, to bear down on this tight chest,
growing tighter under this night, now darker,
on this dark night once somehow light,
in this twisting dream
I am both aware of and oblivious to.
I find no key or single soulful saviour
in this starless night,
even the simple sailor had at least the stars
when lost at sea, what hope is there to be found
when one is lost in the dream
he never deemed desirable to dream?

And I stop,
time stops, breath stops.
I stop on front of open door,
wide open in this still night,
still a dream, still asleep,
but I did not open the door,
I did not break handle upon floor
or toss dishes from dresser
or painting from wall.
I did not.
I did not ache for the field
or the weary worshipers watching me
find footing upon a land that has forgotten my print,
whose eyes still creep across my flesh,
sensing its scent to be something foreign,
something to fear.
I did not come willingly
within this nightmare
to stand before this open door,
this battered threshold,
this scene that has lost all soul.
I did not come to drown within the dream
but then came the scream,
behind my ears,
tearing through this dark night,
dark dream, once for a time light,
that scream creeping along the covers,
slipping through time and its displaced dimensions
and settling upon my mouth as I open my eyes
from all that was a dream,
open eyes to the sound of my own scream
beneath the stilled light,
filled with a stilled fright,
below the darkness
that uncovers the stillness of this night,
almost light.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



You handed me the book and left,
off to another room,
another existence beyond my sight,
(even sight of that moment was selective),
you left me with that book in hand,
hand in hand with that room
where black edged over white,
where comfort was clinical and cradled no clarity
(though I wasn’t looking to be cradled),
that low-lying little room
(where tattered ties lingered in loss)
behind the camouflage of a cobbled courtyard
with its constantly burning candle
whose scent I couldn’t make sense of
(funny how some flames don’t even flinch
when faced with the flicker of fragility)
and a cut-out on the wall, in the corner,
for a door that didn’t exist, a cell-like sliver of space,
within all the space at my disposal,
to hold me hostage as I slipped off
and back to a time I hadn’t released
(and I’d let go of so much that was lighter, lesser, lonelier
since having been let go myself at the offset).

I placed the book down
(along with the weight of its words)
on the simple sofa as you returned
(in saturated shades of grey;
minimum resonance that mimicked movement,
sedentary seemed to be your salvation),
a sleek but sedate sofa I had yet to sit on, be sedated in
(those sessions came later; you in your slate covered silence
on the low-lying chair behind and me; in situ,
on that charcoal sofa, lying,
trying to lay truth on all the lies
I’d crossed and tangled and torn,
trying to stretch out of that small room
and fall back to another, once red, back then,
now fading, right now
like the threads of the sofa; tensed tightly
with the mass of moment and memory
I was manoeuvring through alone
as you sank into your silence
thinking you were a pedagogue of pabulum
while I wondered who would save me.).

But that was a question I had yet to ask.

You sat down that day,
that day of the book and its position between us;
gifted child, grown adult, growing weary
of these wet tales I’d been telling everyone and no one,
for too long, and you; ash dappled with stony surrounds.

I slipped back, as signalled, to the story,
once my story now being shared
and slightly severed from my shadow
(that single story you sensed was sentenced
to an eternity within that red walled room
so far from your white walls
with its crisp corners and black floors
baring only shadows I was supposed to see light in).
But I caught your shiver at the sight upon that sofa,
said book not on the shelf, so out of place
(so out of line with your carefully constructed
compartmentalised components of conditioning),
I saw you fix upon the book
as I whizzed through multiple times,
twisted through the tension
of being someplace else while in situ,
in a taxi with his hand, long ago,
whizzing through new streets
with a trunk of baggage I needed to unload,
in a bathroom crying while he watched
from the cold side of non-concern
(and yet even then I didn’t want to be cradled,
not by a caretaker I couldn’t comprehend
until I did but by then he was already gone),
in bed, within the stillness of those red walls
that comforted and cramped the child
trying to comprehend the form and yet, also,
there I was, on front of your silence, your stare
and sudden your distraction with that book,
now displaced, like we all are
(like I was, or so you might have said had you spoken)
now in situ, on the sofa I had yet to sit on
while I soldiered on alone,
unsure if you were with hearing me,
helping me or hating me
as I turned through my own pages of the jilted journeys,
the mindless miles and the million stars I’d lost hold of
as I reached out for others; bigger, brighter, bolder, better,
then falling, fading, soon to be burnt-out,
felt to be forgotten, but not.

I stopped, in situ, next to the sofa and the book
and noted your distracted attention
to all that was now out of place
(within a space designated
for those lost to their place)
and I wondered if this cell had been built
to sooth the souls who came searching
or to cradle clinically a single stone
who couldn’t spark a brighter colour.

And the patient lost patience with the pretence.

All words by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud



I found you once
like a raindrop on a window
that can only caress the extremities,
not the truth,
not the folds we fabricate
between our own fact and fiction.

I found you once and was folded
for a time

like origami…

fingers running lines along skin,
folded into form unknown,
pressed into position
with little resistance,
pleats to bridge the gaps
between the unfamiliar
and more favourable.

I was paper

being played with
for a while, like the rain
running down the window;
falling, forming, falling into fragility,
reforming, falling, leaving lines already fading,
folding into another, other…

for a time,
for a time to pass the time
between the fact and the fiction,

between the transparency
of the glass
and an inability to hold the rain.

All words and photographs and mini shirt and tie origami by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud









in the mind

that had no

existence before,

a platform to ponder

in a place that doesn’t

exist, in truth, until it’s been told.

I move through this Hemeroscopium

like an architect building a house

into a home, unearthing light

to contrast the shadow

my thoughts have

been confined in,

a helix that

spirals out

from within,

that will return

and move on, return

and move on, up towards

that light turning transparent,

sentence into substantial structure,

considerations becoming concrete

clarities that form walls, fold out

into roofs that consider creation

compulsory, stories rising from

basements, tales spinning

off, casting reflections

upon the windows

of this place,

this mind

that watches

the sun rise and set,

time twist and turn, again

and again, the circles, always

the spiralling circles, even in a straight

sentence, even in a slotted surface.

I build spaces to house beds and

beams and bright lights to lie

before this tower of truth

and watch the visions rise

and fall, like the sun, like

the laughter, like life,

like tales, like


that never stop

while always changing,

an ancient arch now foundation

to modern moment, a true temple

of contemplation in this space holding

space, light and space, shadow and

space, sentence and space, space

between the sofa, space

between the


All words and sketches by Damien B. Donnelly