New notes quivering on a quaver, new rhythms
rattling through the repercussions of older rhymes;
echoes of former crescendos that crashed too soon,
convoluted cords that quickly constricted comprehension,
reasons now realised to be unreasonable, yet old fears
still trickle-down worn keys, no longer black and white,
no longer wrong or right, (is there a right note?) is it wrong
to not want to be deceivable. Will he stay, this time,
(maybe this time) should I leave, like I didn’t last time,
the first time, the second, the third, the fifth, though here,
with this new chorus, playing now in double time
along the lower keys, fingers fiddle with flesh, fresher
than before or am I just older than ever, older than the rest,
and what of the rest of me, what is left to be played?
Has the lady sung her final encore, not yet, no! More,
I feel there is more. But is it enough to share, will he care?
Will he be willing, be sturdy? Can we carry on the tune
long since started? Can this time be more worthy
or am I just more worried or wordier?
Is this the warm-up
or the wrap?

All words by Damien B. Donnelly



There was a heart
like a plant
in a garden
in a garden
like a plant
a heart
under sunlight
and sometimes shade
a gentle shade.

A heart
in a garden
a quiet garden
with a fence
a pretty picket fence
around a house
around a home
and that garden
tending to the heart
like a flower
under sun
and sometimes shade
the gentle shade.
A heart
in the garden
like a flower
till someone picked it

pulled down the fence
and picked it

still growing
still beating

and then dropped it
on the sidewalk
in the shadows
when they saw
across the street
something different
something else
something new.

There was once a heart
growing in a garden
but cut
like a flower
and now
no water
no waiting
no nurturing
no tending
can bring it back to life.

A heart once
growing in a garden

now only a hole
that never seems to fill

untended in the shade…


All Words and Paintings by Damien B. Donnelly


Audio version available on Soundcloud:


The ghost

I’m haunted by

Is the one I’ve created

Myself, alone,


Without intension

Or foresight,

Without the slightest foundation

To fright.

The ghost

I’m haunted by-

Lurking but a fraction away

From a fingers touch,

Like the mind numbing


Of a menacing muscle

Convulsively contracting,

That lingers

Amid a thousand other

Consciously thought out,

Relatively reasonably


Is that one

That chills the most

Being from my own hand

Uniquely and ubiquitously

Carved in slivers

Of tempered steel.

The ghost

That haunts me

From Winter’s Fall

To Summers end

Is not

The nocturnal nuisance

Of nightmares,

Nor the shape shifter

Behind the sheet-

Shivering in shadows,

Nor the mythical entity

Or pulsating phantom

Of plasmic slime.

The ghost

That haunts me

In waking breath

And sleeping dream,

That resides on the edge

Of my happiness

And motivates the core

Of my sadness,

Is none other than I,


Or rather the self

I must become,

But the fear,

In truth,

Is what happens


I fall forgotten

Before begun.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly