PERMISSIBLE TO ASK?

 

I take the boat out on the water,
rowing out to come into the stillness
in this place where space is still displaced.
Chez moi, c’est quoi, c’est où ?
Il est permis de demander ?

Merci, I say, still, when I should just
stay still, like this water where I row out,
stretching limb, exhausted, after the search
that brought me back, to pacify.
Pacifier- je peux le toucher, presque…

but these movements, however measured,
deprive peace from pacify, remove the stillness
from all this space I am, still,
struggling to reach. Mais.

Priver, je ne veux pas, non, non plus.
Je ne regarderai pas mon nombril, pas comme avant.

Moi- I shed who I was, am, along with time
but not breath- I lost breath, once- tu te souviens,
tu étais là, non ? Oui ! Tu ne te souviens pas.

Regarde ce bateau-
hope is a delicate placement of desire upon wish,
of wood upon water.

Je suis le bois, ou non ? C’était toi avant,
Mais tu as été viré. Viré. Fired. Sacked. Sack.

Meanings can give way to so many misunderstandings,
like translations- so much gets lost in the turning,
in the movement, going out and coming in,
with each row

further out. On the water.

Sometimes thought is not what is needed but stillness
within a world that cannot stop.
Arrête. Stop

but that word is too final.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

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.

IN THE SEOUL

 

This city does not sleep,
the wind as wistful as thoughts I cannot gather,
here, on this sojourn to the south of Seoul.

Horns honk along highways
waking drivers out of daydreams the night can’t decipher
and we buckle up and giggle briefly in back seats
but I cannot distinguish those star-bound lanterns hung with hope
from the knotted sheets I know not how to untwist.

On the soft slopes,
where Buddha has been worshiped into rock,
helicopters chase the rising sun
while you chase the parts of yourself pills cannot pacify.

Dysphoria is the new mantra.

This body won’t sleep,
this mind has taken to meander along this midway
as trumpeters announce connecting trains
we are always breathless to keep up with,
where palaces accumulate space
in place of standard stains of garish gold,
here, on this eastern stretch of the journey,
here, where cars honk in foreign tongues, far from familiar.

All is not what it once seemed,
this mouth no longer makes sense
as I cut across these sweeping vistas of strange words
breathed with bows and ways so traditional they worry the West.

Here, where there is more space to breathe and my lungs ache to adapt.

In the North,
strange armies are Trumping connections
the other continents are too confused to comprehend.

But here,
south of the strangled ties and demented ducks,
sitting sweet beneath a wiser moon,
the streets are awash with twinkling stars
below a billowing blanket of nature’s blossom;
a covering of comfort which concrete can’t squash and man cannot master.

My body can’t sleep…

I’ve seen too much but still hope for more
while this city wakes up to who it truly wants to be.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly. This is a reworked poem for a week recalling last year’s breathless sojourn in South Korea. Photo taken outside the Dongaemun Design Plaza.

COLOUR DANCES LIKE A FLAME OVER CONCRETE

 

Colours catch fire over concrete, catch life, catch the laughter
that will not linger for as long as this concrete. Measure moments
not in length but in weight, weight, don’t wait to catch life;
it is cold to be concrete and watch the flames flicker out,
to be caressed but never considered consumable.

We tried to catch the fire that burnt through our time, tried to clamber up
and over the volcanoes tearing terrifying tracks into all that grounded us.
But there were cracks in our concrete, sparks of colour, yes, but specks
of weight too, too much weight, too little breath. Fire steals oxygen,
colour cannot cover over all the chaos, makeup is something we use
to cover a bruise, colours catch fire even when never considered consumable.

Catch the colours before the fire captures all in concrete.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

This weeks ideas come from last year’s travels through South Korea.

I took this photo at the Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul.