Sitting in a park in Paris, France as kids
climb trees they’ll soon outgrow and birds busy
their feathers in a dance of freedom we’ll never know.
I fall through thoughts as someone tickles strings
on cords too distant to be discovered and wonder
where you sat; on the orange carpeted concerns
of the girl growing through her song of sorrow?
By the guy with the hat and harmony, probably,
the guy guarding his guitar from the bright light
of the, as yet, starless sky as if he knows already
how celebrity will one day cripple his creativity.
A blackbird bows before me, burrowing burdens
into the road, looking for crumbs since cast off,
for a little refuge, like you did, like we all do,
looking for a little distraction from the circling sun
and shining skins blustering under bland or blander.
Sitting in a park in Paris, France, as if in a trance
from 22 to 42, recalling how I first found favour
with following you; back room, no light, bedsit;
we were masters of the Marais, simple singletons,
senselessly sinking innocence into the marshes,
courting kisses of single sparks and rising over losses
we thought at the time to be insurmountable disasters.
But they were just dances, like these tiny birds
around me now, prances we perform, up and under,
over and through. We are all naked birds flirting
with honesty and invisibility under a sweltering sun,
sometimes recalled, sometimes forgotten before begun.
Sitting in a park in Paris, France, still trying
to understand the message in the melody
underlying and still trying to comprehend
the cords forged in the flesh of the boy so blue.
All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly.
This month is about Paris and letting her go. This photo was taken at the garden on front of the Musee Picasso, in Paris where I lived in an apartment right next door at the end of the 1990’s with a young Irish girl who introduced me to the music of Joni Mitchell. On my return to life in Paris in my 40’s, I wrote a series of poems, while sitting in parks during the summer, based on the albums of Joni and this was a nod to the album Blue. Like tattoos and all things that stick.
This was the original self portrait I used when I first posted this poem as Joni painted or photographed all her album art…