RED INK

 

I love and lose in circles, scratching
at skin tipped in ink, trying to find
the truth beneath the colours
I’ve let others colour in, hiding
the paler flesh I held from view,
we always need to hold on to something.

I am not comfortable over quiet dinners;
too much stilled air coursing
through the courses as I question
the seconds ticking by, in silence;
will you find me failure and flee?
But I’ll always be the first to fly
since that first flight I had no hand in.

I stir the stilled air with performances;
shy boy in the spotlight singing songs
he can’t quite find the notes for
or find the right to call his own.

I love and lie in circles that spiral
back on themselves, that cast further
reflections, not quite clear, on the boy
now faced as man in the mirror,
that flood more ink into that fading flesh.
‘Chromolume No. 9, Georges?’ she asked,
once, in a play, how many more?

Variations grow stale, thought becomes
tension, creation becomes controlled,
breath becomes bearer, bleaker. My chest
beats too quickly to let in fresh air,
fresh flesh, compressed, repressed.

I cannot lie in these circles,
these spirals that seem to linger,
longer, no longer. I am looking
to find a new shape; turning back,
returning, recalling that first mark,
to measure how far from it I ran,
to see what was left behind,
to lay it to rest and find the rest,
the rest of me beneath the red ink
tipped into this fragile flesh.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

18th poem for National Poetry Writing Month

GOLDEN HAZE

 
Slow comes the morning,
eyes still dazzled by the delicate stars
now off trailing dust across the universe
as if plotting tracks to tempt us
further than the stubborn stance
of our single spotlights
and I wonder how far you got
as I sit here, in the silence
of this slowly waking morning light
casting shadows on the single form
in this too big room with no door
large enough to climb through.
We considered setting sails
on cotton clouds once, long ago,
in a corner of this concrete jungle,
a single streetlamp casting courage
onto our concerns of cutting free
like a jazz break from the base,
of burning our own trails of glorious starlight
across the deafening daylight.
I am breath that still can bleed now,
here now, far from that corner we once
we painted dreams on, trying to force
the foot to slow the speed of this time burning
while you; already taken to the dust,
now a speckled starlight
cutting your own groove
into an orbit I cannot observe
while tossing remembrances
down from the night sky
that fall and flitter
above the dizzying distraction
of this golden haze of mourning light,
still coming on slow.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

17th poem for National Poetry Writing Month

THE BLUE PILL

 

Digital download,
activate avatar;
humanoid performance,
interface,
access joy,
bytes to brain,
stream a cloud cover
to convey intelligent thought
and combat subconscious combustion.

Access matrix;

choose the blue pill
and clear the cache.

All movement falls to manual override,
factory settings restored to screen,
reflected appearance is perfected

but the motherboard sparks unseen
and the password is forgotten.

Control has been passed on.

Avatar is now the host
of the show.

Not everything in the matrix
can be saved
because it’s been loved.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

16th poem for NaPoWriMo

YELLOW LIGHT

 

I never knew
how far I could bend
before I would break

until it snapped
before the sunrise
before the yearning
of the yellow light found me

longing,

looking for a lost breath
in the back of a dark chest
I had filled with every worry

that wasn’t mine.

Even an elastic
knows its limit
before it lies limp,

before it cannot recall
its own recovery,
before its tension
rips it from its reason.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

15th poem for NaPoWriMo

THE GREYING MIST OF MEMORY

 

I’d never heard the call of the green
though my eyes caress it
in a certain light
and so many walls I’ve covered
with that same colour
to curate a comfort from the cold.
I’d never heard it, till now,
till the windows stopped
keeping out that chill.
Blue, I never found blue cold,
on the contrary, I see the sky
coming down to caress the seas I’ve crossed
in a coating of calm encouragement,
even in the snow, in the moonlight,
that blue light connecting its contours
like icy jazz notes on a single saxophone
on a smoky soirée, in a time the greying mist
of memory hasn’t quite drained.
Blue never, but white; chills.
I had red walls once and, at the time,
thought them a tribute
to my, as yet unexposed, pride.
I since recall them
as something more melancholy;
a call in themselves,
but in my child’s mind
I was scarlet conquering
on Sunday afternoons
on the inside of the rain
as oldies played across the tv screen
long before I even heard the song
from the singer in blue.
Blue, songs are like…
songs are like souls catching flight,
in my mind they are shadows;
black and white blurs,
but in the air they take flight
like cormorants of colour
over those green lands
my eyes are seeing
with more interest than ever before
as I come to drink again from that case.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

14th poem for NaPoWriMo

WHITE LIES

 

What if I admitted to you,
here and now,
before I even begin,
before I even let you in,
that all I am about to tell you is a lie,
perhaps white, perhaps a depth darker.

What if I lay it all on the line,
here and now, naked,
the truth of all the lies,
would you believe me,
would you still listen,
would you still want to hear
and make up your own mind

if what I’m telling you is a lie
or if I’m just laying lines upon the truth?

We live a life
on both sides of the line
and exist somewhere
in between what we believe
and what we know to be false.

I have told the truth many times,
its many lines spilt
over many skins, in many beds

and still I lie alone.

This is what I have left;
this is the truth of my lie.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

12th poem for National Poetry Writing M0nth 2019

ORANGE COLOURED SKIRTS

 

‘And there can be days like this,’
and the boy smiled and sausages
swam past him in shorts and shades
and in the sky dogs with Madonna mikes
flew over kittens in orange coloured skirts
and Beyoncé in their boogie.
‘And there can be days like this,’
his mother said as she painted
pictures of cows in caps and snakes
in sarongs shopping in stores
for shoes to put on. ‘Put on what,’
he asked, ‘they have no feet?’
‘But still,’ she carried on,
‘there can be days like this
all wonder and magic.’
‘But how,’ he asked as he sat
on her bed, as the machine
kept beeping, as the white coats
kept creeping, ‘just close your eyes
and see with your heart
what your sight can no longer see.’

There can be days like this.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Poem for Day 10 of National Poetry Writing Month

CRIMSON CONSIDERATIONS ON CARRIAGES KISSING

 

A curious crimson
caressed his cheek
as we crossed
the carriage,

no winding words,

no exchange of the
extraordinary,

only that crimson kiss of curiosity

that blushed upon cheek
and burnt into my hunger

long hostage to painfully pale
and drained out drought,

before pressing passengers
pushed me forward
and him

too far behind…

and soon to fall
out of mind.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

9th poem for National Poetry Month

GRAZING GREENS

 

I set down
upon your shores,
those grazing greens
of my childhood memory
displaced as tears rained
over the darkness
of your sleeping fields,

once seeping with humble hope,

once filled with a fine blood
even famine could not blight,

now flooded with a feeling of regret or relief,

too dark to tell,
too changed to recognise,

not knowing if you were crying
because I had found my way home
or that I’d once found a home in other fields.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Poem for Day 8 of National Poetry Writing Month

THE BLACK OF NIGHT

 

See, he says
to the child by his side,
see how the water rises.

Wait, he says
to the child by his side,
to see how life surprises.

Dark, he says,
is the black of night,
the stars too far to enlighten.

But day, he says
to the child in his wake,
brings a light for the willing to find sight in.

I see, says the child
by the side of the man,
feeling his ancestors were blind.

All words and photographs by Damien D. Donnelly

7th poem for National Poetry Writing Month