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.

BOOKENDS; YOU MUST FINISH WRITING THE STORY BEFORE YOU CAN PUT A COVER ON THE BOOK

 

So many sunsets.
I kissed you goodbye but forever never followed,
I thought us broken but we were just bookends
looking for a final story to stack between the regard
and the lack of regret.

I kissed you again, later, after leaving, after returning
but before going, again, and the water stopped.

I caught our reflection for a moment, in all that stillness,
in all we had held of each other but then I blinked
or you rippled

and, all at once, we were done.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly.

This month is about reflections. I moved to Paris, the first time, when I was 22 and stayed for 2 years and then circled back around to this city of shadow and light again at 40. This year will be the final chapter as I pack up the boxes and consider Ireland as home again after 23 years. Who knows if there will be another story to tell of us one day…

La réunion de la fin et le début/The meeting of the end and the beginning

 

C’est la fin
mais c’est aussi un nouveau départ
il fait froid dehors
mais le soleil brille encore
nous avons perdu les choses
mais nous continuons
nous apprenons
et avec le temps
nous allons gagner, 
c’est la fin
mais aussi
il y a encore
de belles choses à faire…

It is the end
but it is also a new start
it is cold outside
but the sun still shines
we have lost things
but we keep going
we learn
and with time 
we will gain,
it is the end
but also
there are still
more beautiful things to do…

Happy New Year Everyone

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

31st December 2015, Paris, France

A Face in the Crowd

You,

With your red shirt and blonde hair

Desperate to scrape your way out

As I slipped myself in,

You,

With your tired eyes and fading blond hair-

Slouching towards the end of another day

While sensing the closing was near.

 

You,

With that smile not nearly as bright as the rest

Who basked in their own glittering reflections

As the mirror ball turned like a voyeuristic eye,

You,

With your eyes dimmed and dazed

From too many dreams dreamt and spent

In the arms of lovers that proved losers

And touches that never turned out

As promising as the dream suggested

In those early days when you’re supple skin

And boyish frame

Had been seduced by the warm mouths of men

Before you betrayed yourself

With your own naivety

And unstoppable self-belief.

 

They say,

After a time,

Money changed hands

Amid various embraces-

Did it change you amid the exchanges?

 

You,

With your red shirt and blonde hair

Spiraling southwards and sinking into shadows

While sobbing silently into shaking hands,

You,

Sniffing up lines in toilet stalls

To rise above and turn your tricks-

Just barely paying for one with the other.

 

You,

Who I passed on the stairs of that club

On that rather bland night,

Followed by a rather bland introduction,

You,

Who ran your hand along the velvet of my red jacket

Though I cannot recall the details of your face

Or the shade of your voice and yet, I can recall

All that those colorless eyes had unburdened onto

Me, coming in from the outside, new to it all-

The scene,

The crowd,

The needs,

The sometimes selfish wants of men

And all that lay hidden behind those empty caresses-

All that you once succumbed to

And then grew so quickly to hate.

 

You,

With your tired eyes and blonde hair

Off to a new world to conquer

Or just another world to sleep with,

You,

Off to repeat another round of the tireless tedium-

Comforting addictions we become used to

And a ruthless routine we become a part of.

 

You,

With your red shirt and blonde hair,

It had been a long day

But in that moment,

Amid that crowd

And behind those eyes,

The closing for you

Appeared

So terminally near.

 

You were to me but

A face in the crowd

As the rain poured down

Over a random night,

Nothing unusual,

Nothing specific,

Nothing different,

And yet I’ve noticed

Your absence

Ever since.

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