BOOKENDS, SEASONAL STREET SCENES ON A SATURDAY IN PARIS

All photographs by Damien B Donnelly

The final photograph is me, today, back at Alesia, the 14th arrondissement of Paris where I first lived over 4 years ago when I came back to live in Paris for the second time. Today I was back here for lunch today with Mary, my dear Irish friend, who I met in Paris when we both first moved here 23 years ago. Circles closing and connections continuing…

BOOKENDS; STUMBLING THROUGH THE DREAM, WIDE AWAKE

 

I was silent once amid the noise, stumbling through smothering,
a bare canvas cradling nothing in arms that had promised everything.

I circled the globe once to find that home was just a word,
a word that makes a memory to plot a beginning,
not weighted but weightless.

I am, like you all, no more than a burnt-out, used-to-be, fading star,
somehow sparkling in front of you though my future has already faded
somewhere light years away.

As I hurtle through this voyage, my eyes fall sleepy, looking for rest,
looking, always, for the rest of me.

I am the sparrow, lost to its nest, forever flying in circles, catching
your scent on every other breeze with the hope it will, one day,
fly me home on your courant d’air.

For all that I have become, it is because of all you’ve shown me,
for all that I lack, it is everything I left in our bed.
Sleep softly on it.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

 

This month is about looking back at my life in Paris in order to say goodbye and this poem is a collage of a group of poems I wrote just after i left Paris, the first time, in 1999.

BOOKENDS; EVOLUTION 12, SOME PEOPLE THAT WE USED TO BE

 

We sit now and sip cocktails, the waiter pulls out
your chair and hands me the menu after calling you
madame. I strain now to hear your voice; softer,
gentler, feminine finding freedom. I catch you
checking your lipstick in the mirror, pulling a curl
back into place above those blushed cheekbones
still a little swollen, a normal evening in August,
in Paris, sipping gins and rums and telling tales
before swapping tables over Korean cooking
that give us a brief taste of who we used to be.

We sit here, over cocktails; the man and the madame,
looking like a couple in the reflection of a tainted
mirror and I wonder can anyone tell, as you smooth
out your skirt, that you used to be my boyfriend.

    

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly.

 

This is my final full month living in Paris and it is about looking back to see who I was and giving a moment to recognise all that has evolved and some of the breath that has returned.