Blanket light,


in the back seat,

not all light is light,

the sun can burn through its beauty,

the mind can tear through its thoughts

as wheels will themselves

across these bridges,

feet too far from the ground

to feel its gravity,

we build our own graves

along these roadside reveries.

Blanket light,


in the back seat,

leather licks skin,

we cannot wash away the dust,

we cannot break away

from that grey light

burning bright behind the sunlight,

we are desert bound or ocean open;

we either dry up or seek salvation

in the comfort the current creates.

Blanket light,

a burning blindness breaking

through the open window

on this back-seat taxi-taker.

Destination is not always the desire

when running from reason.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



A factory man
forged in fights
on streets
and bars
on iron clad nights
and a local girl
born and raised
in longing,
and dreams unglazed
who crash sometimes
behind the shades
to drink,
to fuck,
to drop their blades
on this desert town
of dirt and dust,
of cactus,
and mounting rust.

An old train tears
right through the town
to tense,
to tease
all those around,
it rarely stops,
just blows on through
the drab,
the dust,
that vacant view.

A factory man
forged in fights
on streets
and bars
with small town sights

and a local girl
born and raised
who now owns
a ticket
toward freedom days.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on SoundCloud:





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.

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.


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

A Face in the Crowd


With your red shirt and blonde hair

Desperate to scrape your way out

As I slipped myself in,


With your tired eyes and fading blond hair-

Slouching towards the end of another day

While sensing the closing was near.



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,


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?



With your red shirt and blonde hair

Spiraling southwards and sinking into shadows

While sobbing silently into shaking hands,


Sniffing up lines in toilet stalls

To rise above and turn your tricks-

Just barely paying for one with the other.



Who I passed on the stairs of that club

On that rather bland night,

Followed by a rather bland introduction,


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.



With your tired eyes and blonde hair

Off to a new world to conquer

Or just another world to sleep with,


Off to repeat another round of the tireless tedium-

Comforting addictions we become used to

And a ruthless routine we become a part of.



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


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.


La Mere et Moi

I am sure it was Spring

But in the scattered photos

By my slippered feet

The weather recalls it winter.

Your first foray

Into the new world I had run to,

Forsaking the familiar

For the unknown,

Discarding childish ways for adult desires.

Your glistening eyes lit up

As I showed you the treasures I had found,

Enlightened eyes-

That hid so well the tears

Reeked down since my departure.

Eyes that frowned upon my green sofa bed

Resting but a foot from the floor,

That laughed at the view from my first window-

All but another window perched

But a hands throw away-

And loving eyes that saw through mine

And smiled-

Relieved, relaxed and entranced.

And quickly you began to revel amid it all-

My new transitory family

Who took you to their hearts

Tempted you with cocktails,

Boat rides

And frolics within a Spanish tavern

In the Frenchest of all cities.

You slowly found my raison d’être

And the joie that had become part of ma vie

Became, as always,

A part of yours.

My adventure- you now a witness to,

A part of and integral to.

You had been no more

Deserted by me than I by you

And so geography became now no more

Than a different view

And no longer a means of separation.

You floated through the city,

Your feet feeling nothing but comfort

Even as I dragged you up the steps

Of Montmartre-

Hiding from you the lift behind the trees.

With the wind freezing our faces

And tears streaming from our eyes,

We huddled together in queues

Filled with adolescent vacationers

And mounted fair Tour Eiffel.

Through the nights falling darkness

The city lit up below us

And I traced for you

The paths I had taken.

You left amid only tears of joy-

My life no longer to you an empty canvas

A world away

But a painting being filled up and coloured in

In tri-color,


Damien colour.

We painted away the days and nights


Mother and son-

As inseparable

As Mona from Lisa

Or the Moulin from the Rouge.

It may have looked like winter

But we knew that behind the wind

Lay a spring in bloom for both of us.


We had earned our time in the sun

And we would wear its rays

Like medals of honor.