SHORT STORIES OF FEAR; WATCHING YOU WATCHING ME

 

 The Dead one

I woke to a mouth already swallowing the claustrophobic earth that mounded itself over my naked torso like crumble over stewed apples waiting to be crisped but I couldn’t feel the warmth of an oven, even buried, as I was, so close to the sparks of hell but, instead of digging down to join the demons dancing in the darkness, I ate my way up and out, through the crunch of earth now meeting the acid of my stomach, past the worms that wanted to wind their wills within this festering flesh still clinging to the bones of a body the day had pushed deep down into the darkness, although nothing works alone; the night has a moon while the day bears that ball of fire which burns through all the possibilities the light can shine upon and so, too, my demise did not happen alone but had his cowardly character carved all over its bloody finality. Oh, how we come and covet and then cum and croak. My name was Benjamin Grant when air was my everything and I wanted to taste all the world had to offer, when I thought I had found it all in him and his horny little hunger I mistook for happiness. Well, now I have no more need for a name and taste only decay, destruction, and a desire only death knows how to discern. And that desire will see his downfall.

 

The Other One, Still Alive

He woke up under a twisted blanket of sharp shadows, startled by a staggered pull of starved lungs begging for air and felt, instantly, the restriction of cold hands upon him, as if trying to close the circumference of his neck, all the while knowing the owner of those hands was nowhere near, all the while knowing what had become of him, all the time reminding himself that that man no longer sought out any air to fill his lifeless lungs in a body that would be nothing more than rotting flesh for fowl figures to feast upon, deep below the daylight, far from sight. He sat there, sweating in the middle of the bed with a fat man snoring beside him and, he imagined with a grim, his Tesla igniting gossip in the gobs of the next door neighbours, a bed once their bed, now his bed, recalling how he had dug, with his own hands, this former lover’s final resting place, a place he hoped never offered any rest, deep in the forest where only savage swine sought shelter, where only callous crows came to caw. He recalled the spot where he covered the cadaver, the one he once so openly cavorted upon, in the coarse, comfortless earth while he cried with a jolt of joy on front of the sudden stillness, the smashing silence that seemed even louder than the muffled screams his boyfriend had made the moment he had pulled the plastic bag down over his head from behind while he had been waiting for him, as usual, just as he had done every morning, for the previous 7 years, by the breakfast counter, in the kitchen. But that morning he suffocated from lack of air and a gulp of coffee he never managed to fully taste.

 

The Dead one

You came into the bathroom, once our bathroom, once our choice of towels and tiles, once the place where I would take you in the shower, against the glass, my fingers in your mouth, my breath on the back of your neck and your body bending into mine. You came in and stood by the toilet, pissing, without lifting the seat, without lifting up the fucking seat. You were still half asleep, totally naked but half asleep. You wore that nakedness often on front of me as if it was something I could never again fit into. You were always standing, posing, looking for the right light to fall upon your flesh. I had thought you meant to tease but now I realise how you saw it more as a torture. You didn’t notice as I moved from behind the door, didn’t hear me step into position behind you, you didn’t even hear me as I sniffed your scent one last time. But there was nothing. I was dead, I didn’t breathe, didn’t sleep, didn’t fuck, didn’t piss, and I couldn’t even smell. You had taken all that from me, a month ago, on an ordinary morning that had barely found its light. You’d grown tired and wanted new attention, someone new to look at with admiration so you could look back and swoon at your own reflection in their eyes. Maybe that was why I chose to break one of the mirrors in the downstairs hallway, earlier, before I’d crept up the stairs and took my position. And then, there I was, standing behind you, not fucking you, not smelling you, no longer a lover of you, raising my right arm, bringing it up and out and around until the shard of glass I was holding caught my reflection just before it found the softness of your socket. Did you have a moment to catch the look in my eyes, watching you, in the glass, before it pierced its way through your eye?

 

To be continued…

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

DELICATE DESIRES

 

We dangle delicacies
(far from looking delicate)
to tempt the beasts
to play ferocious
for our pleasure,
for our entertainment.
We put money
on the beast
who can be more brutal
than the bunch.
We are intrigued
by the beasts
whose nature
we’ve changed,
caught and caged,
who we’ve tempered
and tamed
in our need
to remind ourselves
who is the man and
who is the beast.

We dangle delicacies
(desperately delicately)
on front of animals
so as not look at ourselves
and see the beasts
we’ve become.

  

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

This is a week of considering creation; creative, caged or carnal 

WHEN THE EMPRESS IS REMOVED FROM THE EMPIRE

 

There is art on walls, winding walls,
in rooms on show with light, luscious light,
and climate controls while she’s side-lined
to the shadows to weep for the darkness
that devours her skin, stuck like tar
and trapped in stone, once tempered
by an artist’s touch now off and absent,
now long grown cold, not being of stone
but breaking bone, while she weeps
beneath polished position on partitioned
pedestal and waits in the shadow of his name
long forgotten from rooms alight with art
on walls, the art of other men,
maybe more remembered

like lands, once considered, now grown
careless in their unions next to nations
who have not nurtured the need to be
noticed for notions long ago set in stone.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

This is a repost for a week of considering all sides of creation

THE SUM OF WHO WE ARE

 

And we are all a sum of circles spinning,
spiralling, circling something, orbiting our own atmosphere,
seduced by our own stratosphere, (oh, how we smell)
chasing our own tails; can circles have tails or is it just dogs?

Although Plato portrayed us as circles split apart; restlessly
looking for the rest of ourselves, worrying the best half
is the other half that was snipped away.

So are we circles or just the unfinished sum of a circle?
Are we accounting or just counting our own charisma?
Fragmented fractures trying to add positives with only negatives,
semi-circles circling the greater circle of life, some all-seeing,
some all-knowing, some too wrapped in the self to see the shadow
and oh, how the shadows can settle over the oh-so-indulgent.

And she calls and she cries and she sees nothing and no one
as needy as she caresses her own concerns and she combs
long shining strands of sustained soliloquies over the silence, shivering.

And he sleeps and he cries and he needs all and everyone to see
how suffering stifles his strength to see beyond the self, and he breathes
his burdens over brothers he believes are blind to his behaviour.

Oh the poor ones, oh the pity; pretty girl, pity boy, how they want you
to see them as a star, bold and bright, to see how hard it is to be them,
to stay so bold and…

make way for the music; see the swines strumming the sinew as the crows
cut through callous cords and the vultures make violent overtures
on the violins and cut to crashing crescendo!

If only fortune could free them from the self-satisfying shackles
they slip over themselves. Shackles too shiny to ever enslave.

And she calls and he cries and they see themselves as singularly central
to the circle and not just a number in a sum of an incomplete equation.  

  

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

This is a repost of a poem from my Joni Mitchell Series for this week’s stars and moon theme

IN MOTHER’S GARDEN

 

Mother,
the path has been puzzling and there are patterns now,
penetrating patterns once thought impossible, entwined
around veins, like vines that vie for vittles’ on walls
already wavering, on buildings bare as if each brick
banished is a breath broken,
Mother,
I carry more now than before but fragments have flown,
not yet cremated but I’ve scattered ashes over mischievous
maestros who tussled tarnished tunes along my tissue,
who cut cords, crude and often crippling, who leeched
the lyrics from my limbs when I thought a relationship
meant relenting to the rhythm, when I thought love
was a note never ending,
Mother,
we’ve seen how sacrifice can separate mother
from her making, little girl blue you had to give up
and woman who had let me go, the root cut from rose,
adapting far from the garden of creation, but we adapted
to adoption as if it wasn’t an option, as it wasn’t a question,
for there was always a connection,
Mother,
I see you with the bud of your womb now returned to you
as woman, your vines reattaching as nature intended
while I rarely regard the roots of my own becoming,
still too busy looking up and over, looking always
for the next interchange, questioning every other connection
in a garden scattered with those ashes, the bush burning
as the blossom still blooms,
but Mother,
I’m more you than the woman who made me, I am
more product of the carer than sewer of the seed who
so long ago saw the sacrifice in her own soil
and replanted my life in your warm embrace,
Mother,
I’ve seen stars setting fires to skies in other lands
where other oceans wash over other sands, stars
that still fade, though they are far, sands that still sweep
into all-consuming currents while populations ponder
the same problems as stars flicker out and time slips
through our hands,
Mother,
I’ve seen money makers in plastic palaces following
white lines to narcotic nirvanas as if salvation
was snortable, I’ve seen wiser men, on the sojourn, in India,
blind to all light, perhaps shielded from the fight,
holding tight to a smile that has slipped from our grip
with eyes still able to trap the light, with hearts too hungry
for more of more of more, polluting once stubborn seas
as we rape other roads, take other fruit from other gardens,
while blind men begged for nothing and saw more
than I could ever imagine,
Mother,
the days are now shorter and even before night
falls there is less light that falls and people are crying
in the streets, the flowers are folding and retreating into
the dirt as if hell might be better, Mama, people are dying,
dying in discos and in diners and in school halls
where they should be learning to be better, not leaving blood
behind on broken desks and chalkboards with equations
that don’t add up because the book has been swapped
for the bomb,
Mama,
there are horrors happening now, not yearly, but daily,
one chaos no longer fills one book, but one chapter,
followed by another and another with no let up, no
intermission, our gardens becoming desert landscapes
as all that tries to exist is destroyed, as all that was once
deemed right is declared wrong, as all rights are removed
and all races viewed as radicals,
Mother,
they’ve mistaken the mask for the man and they can’t see
though those smiles I’ve staged to still the shadows that line
these lines, these lives played out upon my breaking breast,
pouring like riverbeds raging over banks, over blank pages,
drowning them with tales, twists and turns, loves and losses
that have taken up home below shivering skin,
mostly uninvited, like wild flowers in the garden, like weeds
we mistake to be worthy of their place till the thorns bear
their treachery,
but Mother,
amid the mayhem there are moments magic, there are babies
being heard with first breaths beating, there are skies
singing of the sunrise, there are still sunsets still sweeping
shores where lovers still linger, long after the first kiss,
there are words whispered on winds, glorious hymns
of hope and heroes and there is art, still filling walls
with light and life, there is music and there is, as always,
your smile
Mother,
life is a series of spirals, not just circles, for it elevates
on the turn, not just levitates, for I am back, again,
at the beginning, but frail are the things once thought
familiar in this once foreign land I fled and feared
never to return, in this land where nothing changes
while everything moves and the shadows I once knew
have up and vanished and grass is growing where once
there was concrete and concrete has crushed all
that was once green and grand and 40 is not as adventurous
as 20 but the questions still remain unanswered
so there is no turning back because, as I said,
the vines have entangled themselves around me,
in this garden I’ve grazed in, from a distance, for so long,
pulling across my chest, either aching or yearning,
they are drawing me down, down towards the ground,
down, at last, to regard the roots of where it all began,
so long ago, when I first dared to ask;

Mother,
Will we ever have all the answers?

All words by Damien B Donnelly

Main Photograph of Mum and I in her garden back in 22 July 2002 on her birthday.

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And today, 22nd July 2019, still filling our garden with joy…

Happy Birthday Mum, Love Always

THE KIND OF CREATURES WE ARE 

 

Strange are the creatures we are
beyond the bones that break
and the backs that bare,
striving to question our own conception
within this creation ever depleting

(and yet we all want more).

Strange are the creatures we are
beyond the fingers that fondle
and the footprints that fade,
striving to find a love completely,
a comfort to cover the concrete

(that we poured on the soil ourselves).

Strange are the creatures we are
beyond the blood that feeds
and the flesh that festers,
striving to hold the stars in our hands
now that our planet we’ve pulled apart

(the greener grass of another galaxy).

Strange are the creatures we are
beyond the tongues that taste
and the eyes that envy,
striving to have all that we can hold
not thinking what we’ll leave behind

(not thinking of those we leave behind).

Strange the creatures we are
beyond the heart that hurts
and the needs not enough,
striving to stay afloat within the fear
yet laughing as we’re carried away.

Strange the creatures,
these creatures we are.

All words and drawings by Damien B. Donnelly

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN

Day 8: National Poetry Writing Month #NaPoWriMo

 

Sun shines in the valley
where the sun king came to stay,
shade is shy in the valley
at the king and queen’s hideaway.

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Shadows slip through the valley
down from stars to under stairs,
some secrets slip through the valley
whispered from lips of concrete heirs.

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Sun shines in the valley
on swans now savage at swim,
the sun shines in the valley
though the peasants weren’t allowed in.

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Shadows sneak through the valley
through the greed gathered within,
shadow is splitting the valley
like guillotines cutting through skin.

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Sun shines in the valley
as gold from the fountains flow,
the sun shines in the valley
where follies fade and legends grow.

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Shadows sleep in the valley
along paths where tourists thread,
shadows are stuck in the valley
like dust on ideals long dead.

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Sun shines in the valley
as Apollo rides the waves,
the sun shines in the valley
and drowns the suggestion of slaves.

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Shadows stretch through the valley
pressed into promises made,
shadow is song in the valley
on benches where kisses once laid.

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Sun shines in the valley
in the sun king’s palace of pride,
the sun shines in the valley
where they often just came to hide.

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All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Photographs taken on Sunday 2nd April at Chateau de Versailles, Paris, in the sun.

FALLING

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We twist and turn
as we tumble
into each other
away from ourselves
we are creature curious
entangled and entwined
in what others can offer
touching and tasting
trying hard to remove
the I’s from the us’s
we are covetous
we are envy
we are want
we are greed
we are ricochets
rocketing to-and-fro
between what we are
and what we crave
we twist and turn
and turn again
to the something new
the something shiny
the something still unseen
we twist and turn
and then we fall.

All words and layout by Damien B. Donnelly