FALLEN FROM FABLE, day 13 of A Month with Yeats

 

It’s day 13 of Jane Dougherty’s A Month with Yeats and today’s inspiring quote is from ‘The Hosting of the Sidhe’ by W.B. Yeats: ‘Away, come away: empty your heart of its mortal dream.

My poem today is called: FALLEN FROM FABLE

 

When this mortal coil uncurls

is it a fall into a feathered freedom

we fly, away from the cry and the critic

of this shell of an earth, this hell

on earth, do we really need to reiterate

the ferocious fable of that inferno below?

It’s here, burning through the seeds

we failed to sew and we are both

the basis of its bloodbath and

the ashes of its aftermath.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Jane’s blog is: https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/a-month-with-yeats-day-thirteen/

THIS CAN BE PARADISE

 

All tides,
like time,
trickle away,
all thoughts
are tempered towards forgotten,
all hold;
to the harbour of has been.
All waters
wash through rivers
to find the ocean.

We are water
washing through paths,
plotting our way
towards that dream
of paradise.

Today we are hope floating,
tomorrow; no more
than faded memories.

Build paradise
along the path
and not just in the dream.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Based on a Twitter poetry prompt from #ShapePoetry

KISS HIM

 

‘Kiss me
before the light fades
into the dream of what once was’
she pleads.

Kiss him
and fall,
and then look for him, let her look for him,
falling through the fine hold of false hope
as he moves off
to twist through other sheets.

Kiss him
and he is gone
evaporated in a lips touch
not a minute more than much
and yet she looks for him
she still looks for him
as if his breath were traceable
as if his touch was reachable
as if his promise
was trustable

Kiss him
but once
and watch her fall,
identity,
like the dream of what once was,
lost in a single kiss
drowning in dreams that follow
as he moves on
to other dreams
to shatter
with that same kiss.

‘Kiss me,’ she pleads
as the dream finds light and bleeds
onto the folds
in the empty space
on the bed
beside her.

All Words by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:

THE REOCCURRING DREAM

 

I have
reoccurring dreams
where I swim
in seas

where I have
no feet but fins
where I have
guts and gills

I have
reoccurring dreams
where I swim
in seas

where the bottom
is boundless
where possibilities
are endless

I have
reoccurring dreams
where I swim
in seas
while in reality
I drown
in shallow streams

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Photograph taken in Curacao , Dutch Caribbean 

 

THE AMERICAN DREAM

 

There’s a man travelling states
building walls and closing gates,
he used to be a showman,
a businessman, a lover man,
now he wants to be the townsman
but what town could want this man?

There’s a man crossing states
with opinions out of date
and he’s parading his delusions
as if suggesting some solutions
like changing constitutions
and inciting petty citizens
to pointless revolutions.

There’s a man out of date
with ambitions to head of state
who’s been told that if you dream it
and can afford it, then you just take it
but House of Cards was just a show
can it be possible he did not know?

There’s a county getting bigger,
oh what’s it matter, I mean fatter,
there’s a country losing face
with its kin, with the human race,
it used to be the promised land,
was once the land of dreams,
but now that anyone can buy a gun
it’s just the land of screams.

There’s a man in the states
gaining power and closing gates…
perhaps America was just a dream
that we watched once on a screen.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

ELEMENTS

 

In the uncertainty
between the darkness
and the dawn
there is the gentle dream
of what might
one day
unfold,
in the wings
of the new born bird,
with feathers still unfurling,
there is the fear
of that first flight
still to be flown,
in the page
that rests before me
there is a story
begging to be told
between the weaving
of words
I’ve yet to find,
in the first kiss
I place on your lips
you may taste
the real truth
of why
one day
I’ll have to
let you go,
in every house
not yet a home
there are walls
newly mounted
waiting for memories
to fill in
the cracks
already forming,
in the taxi
we took together
to somewhere
since forgotten
I held your hand
and thought
of someone else
long departed,
in the woman,
not yet a mother,
breathes the ties
already tethered
to the child
she’s yet to bare,

in the waters
broken with new birth,
in the air
that echoes our secrets,
in the fire
that drives our desires,
on this earth
that we tear through in taxis

there are songs

we’ve never heard
we’ve never known
we’ve not yet rejected

still waiting to be sung.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Photograph taken in Tarragona Zoo, over looking Sydney Harbour, Sydney, NSW.

Audio version available on SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/damien-donnelly-2/elements

ON LIPS

There are questions
never answered
and lips
never kissed

There are moments
never mastered
and truths
never told

There are trusts
never broken
and those lips
that still persist

There are dreams
never woken
and those ideals
now growing cold

There are tongues
never tangled
and hands
never held

There are deceits
never dangled
and lips
forever missed

There are bonds
never broken
and desires
never quelled

There are truths
never spoken
on those lips
that never kissed.

 

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio recording available on SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/damien-donnelly-2/on-lips

 

BOY ON THE MOON

 

            I woke up to the sounds of early afternoon cutting into the late morning as the bus bell, resounding from the end of our street, signalled the first stop for the beach, kids shouted jeers and shrieked with laughter as they played catch in the neighbour’s yard and Mum twisted the knob on the washing machine back and forth before it finally chugged into gear like the Saturn V Rocket roaring from Cape Kennedy. I could hear Jinni tapping her tiny plastic horses’ hooves on the window ledge in her room next door, humming Let the Sunshine In for the millionth time while downstairs, on the back porch, Dad switched off the already irritating voice of Nixon on the wireless and instead spun Davis’ Porgy and Bess on the ageing gramophone. The Dickermans’ had had a wooden incased portable turntable for years now while we still had to make do with grampa’s old one even though we’d more money than anyone on the beach side of Branford hills.
            Jackson, Haines and Todd Tierney turned up as Mum cleared away my late breakfast tray and were allowed stay all afternoon. Jackson, the only out-of-stater in our little group, had just come back from Boy Scouts camp with his newly built Estes Big Bertha model rocket, standing almost 2 feet high, it was big, black, bold and my, was it certainly yare. I watched from the bedroom window as they set it up in the yard and followed the trail of white smoke as it soared into the air before the red parachute burst out and returned her to the ground. Ayah, I thought, Bertha was wicked enough but, for me, the shiny white Trident model with its sleek line and red stripe was much more akin to Armstrong’s awesome Apollo.

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            Mum kept the smiles on our faces with mid meal bites; a long grinder packed with cold meat, lettuce and tomato, her best-in-the-town cherry lemonade and double helpings of apple pie. Dad turned on the Linkletter show and cracked up the volume for the neighbours to hear and Haines ogled at my kid sister out the window as she cartwheeled around the yard. We wrapped the rest of the afternoon up in Monopoly. Tierney, the old nutmegger, cheated twice, Jackson spent almost the entire time in jail, just like his grandfather, and yet, somehow, I still lost even though I’d managed to trade Short Line railroad with gumball-brained Tierney early on and had also been the lucky son-of-a-gun to call shotgun on Illinois Avenue before anyone else, and usually only jail is more popular than this place, usually!
            The boys set off home after they’d brought me down to the parlour in time for the news so we could check in with our three bravest countrymen. It turned out that our Space Race heroes were no more talkative on a rocket than they’d been on land. They’d spent their second day in space cooking, sweeping, making coffee and forecasting the weather. Cronkite told us that no news was good news but Jeez man, give us a little something, I thought. This was Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, but for real. I’d been dreaming about this moment, awake and asleep, from lift off to set down and no sweeping brush or coffee maker had got in the way of the weightlessness of my body floating through space. The final news report was some story about someone who said sorry to someone else who had once said something about spaceflight not being possible even though someone else had said it would be and now that someone was embarrassed because someone else was actually right and three humans were now in space. Phew!
            Pops returned me to bed at 9pm that evening with a tummy fit to burst from Nellies creamy clam chowder, whose smell could not even be matched by the blueberry cobbler she’d made us for dessert. Once Mum had helped me with the final duties of the night, toilets and teeth, I took my torch and elbow-crawled my way under the blankets, dragging Pops childhood copy of Amazing Adventures with me. In Pop’s day, when Buck Rogers was called Anthony for a reason I never understood, the coolest toy was Rogers’ Rocket Police Patrol Ship, which he now had locked behind a glass case in this study, the one room in the 15 roomed house which smelt constantly of spicy flowers, the lasting residue of his Connecticut shade, constantly smoked, cigars. I wasn’t often allowed play with the ship, unless a doctor’s visit had left me too unsettled, but I always pictured it in my head when I went swashbuckling with Buck and his galpal Wilma Deering. Rogers had miraculously awoken after a sleep of over 400 years and within days was battling the Han race with rocket pistols and jumping belts. Suddenly it was turning out that science, space and super heroes were more real today than yesterday. A man was now on his way to the moon and there was sure nothing more wicked than that. You know, plenty of people who couldn’t imagine it yesterday now believed in it today. Who knows what else could happen with a little time and imagination, perhaps a crippled boy of today could rise up, all by himself, tomorrow. One step at a time.

 

All Words by Damien B. Donnelly

IN THE WAKE OF DAY

 

I see you sometimes 
in motions and moments, 
on lips being kissed
and hands being held, 

in that taxi while thinking of another,

in those arms while I searched for slumber, 

I see you sometimes 
in paintings of people,
in colours of contentment 
on canvas, connected, 

I see you on the streets that I covet
serene and smiling in the shadows,

I see you in reflections
that have yet to become,

I see you in suggestions
that have already been done, 

I see you held in other’s hands 
and caressing kisses on other lips

                not mine,
                not yet,

I see you 
no more in the dream 
but in the wake of day,

                awake and waiting 

 

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

THE MATTER OF THE MUCK

 

The Americans and the British were bent on finding Jim Morrison while the Irish and the Japanese, for some reason, longed to add new kisses to the now ball-less Sphinx lingering over the long decayed body of Wilde, who probably watched down over their stupidity and offered a wicked wand of wit as their rouged up lips found a free side of the concrete to consecrate. Kissing a carcass is much like kissing an ass, you come away from both with a distinct desire to rinse out your mouth immediately.

At one point, somewhere amid the ongoing battle of the trees reclaiming the conquered landscape, I took a turn into the shadows and a darkness fell all around as if a cover had been put on the sun like one drapes a cloth over the cage of a bird mid song and suddenly the silence is stifling. Darkness comes over you in the same way when unannounced. The weight of its dominance takes on a persona as its very essence runs its icy touch along your skin. Under its spell, and there was a spell upon me, I lost all sense of direction, trapped so strikingly between the desire to run towards life and the horrid reality that I was standing upon so much death. I didn’t believe in ghosts, not because I was sure they didn’t exist, but because I’d never thought about them or allowed such superstition to cross my path. But there, in that twist of day and night, amid the moss covered beds of those who had long since reached out their heads and hands to eternal rest, everything was open to suggestion.

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I twisted and turned over directions in my mind, the routes I had taken that brought me there, both literally and figuratively. I’d come for the fun, to find the forever flames of the famous, now fruit for roots and worms. I’d come also to escape, to escape the daily drab of life, the 9 to 5, the rush hours, the traffic jams, the gossiping, the nattering, the crowded metros and shoulder shrugs. I’d come to death to escape life and lost my way beneath its shadows. I’d wanted something different and found something terrifying instead, mortality. Under the silence of the surreal, I heard bones rotting, flesh festering, souls scratching, ties breaking, my heart beating and my watch ticking, teasing me with every minute I had wasted seeking diversions from the right roads, the real roads. The track trembled before me. Tombs lay broken and open, dark holes reaching into darker realms that only Dante had dared to dwell on in life and all that watched me were birds; black birds, big black birds, baying, sinister sentinels and not a single dove to drown out the darkness.
I felt my own skin tighten around tensed muscles, pulses pound around veins as if starved for blood, as if my whole body feared its finality, foresaw what would one day become of it, here in this place of buried beds and eternal sleeps where the angel creeps and mourners weep.
Suddenly I heard a child’s voice laughing and I turned and ran towards its distant direction but my feet heeded not my mind and my footing fell upon a broken branch of nature and the break of my ankle echoed through my frustration as I fell while nature itself looked and laughed and length. I fell upon a grave. I fell upon an open grave and I lost sight of the cemetery. I lost sight of the trees fighting the concrete columns. I lost sight of the weeping madonnas. I lost sight of the stone eyes angels and so, as I plunged down, deep down, I closed my eyes and waited to be swallowed by the bowels of the earth.

IMG_4379

With a shock, I jumped up, in bed, at home. My bed, my home, not a grave, not the end, not Dante’s inferno. My breath could not find itself in the confusion, still stuck in the dream, in the nightmare disguised as a dream, down in the layers of hell. Eventually, in a sweat, I managed to make it to the bathroom and turned on the tap to wash my face in cold water and drown myself back into the security of reality. I looked in the mirror, it was still me, still my refection, still my face. I looked down to turn off the tap and noticed the dirty water running down the drain. Then I saw my hands; covered in muck, my body; covered in muck, my feet; covered in muck.
What in hell is going on, I asked myself? What was happening, had it all been real, had I actually been to the cemetery somewhere under the cover of night and nonsense? I looked back into the mirror at my reflection and it smiled back at me. My heart stopped. My skin tensed, just like in the dream.

My reflection was smiling but I wasn’t.

I wasn’t anymore.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

All Photographs taken at Cimetière Père Lachaise, Paris, France