A haunting is happening in this house that holds me
A sinister spirit that sighs in the shadows
A feeling of fear is feeding on a frenzy
As it ghoulishly groans and gasps from its gallows

A breath is baying by this bed that now binds me
With its fetid foulness that’s flitting by my face
A mischievous menace that will not let me be
The already dead trudging through time and space

A demon’s devising a death to destroy me
As he cloths me in his cold and callous caress
While neither face nor fingers nor form can I see
But there’s dread in the dark that I cannot suppress

A sour scent is staining the sheets where I slumber
And it’s reeking of rank and rotten revulsions
It exhales a heinous, a horrible, hunger
Its demonic desires and its cursed compulsions

A miserable monster while mumbling madness
Is slapping and sliding something sharp on my skin
Between life and death there’s not much to divide us
The guidance to good and the seduction of sin

A haunting is happening in this house that holds me
A sinister spirit groaning from its gallows
A face is now forming and two eyes can I see
As I’m dragged into darkness, sliced neath the shadows.




I release you
From the obsession,
From the overly long
Ogles of observation,
And a grass,
Seemingly green,
Long since remembered.

You are no longer
That deep desire
In the distant darkness,
Distracting me,
Daring me
To deploy,
To defect,
To retour.

That significant
In the shadows,
Swaying slowly,
Seducing me,
Enticing me.

I release you
From the waking dream
And the nocturnal rêver,
The phantom waiting
For the return
And the temptation
Teasing me
With time.
The illusions
That eluded me
In waking light,
The visions
Deceiving me
In the shade of night.

You are no longer
The haunting hunger,
The taste of what once was,
What still could be,
That insatiable need
Never fully quenched,
Never truly tested.

You are now no longer obsession,
You are now just a place called home.




You’ve lingered in the shadows

For so long now

Hovering like some ghastly ghost

Breathing a beat behind my neck

Baying in the stillness

And beckoning me

To see you

To hear you

To return to you.


You’ve lingered in the memory

For a lifetime

Refusing to dust and die

Replaying your part repeatedly

Washing me in waves of what was

And teasing me with

What I left

What I forgot

And what we became.


You’ve lingered neath the skin

Like a venom

A serpent silently slivering

Seeping beneath the bones

Salivating on the separation

And hissing at me

To succumb

To submit

To surrender .


You’ve lingered in the lines

For pages past

Writing your way into rhymes

Wriggling through the rhythms

Stealing sense from my sentences

And poetically pointing me

Back to you

Back to me

Back to before.


You’ve lingered in the pictures

I took of you

Finding you always solitary

Seeking out the unseen shadows

Peeking into parts undiscovered

Perhaps to persuade myself

To trust you

Be part of you

Be seen with you



A Little Repose

You haunt me, you know, your park benches empty in the shadows of moonlight

And your lamplights; desolately romantic as if longing for a lovers embrace.

I know not why you have called me out of them all. A million people

Thread through your streets everyday, every night, yet I am the one

With pen in hand, scribbling questions that you never answer

As I stare into your magnetic waters that tug at me from lands afar.

Are there others who wander you aimlessly, haunted by a melancholic longing?

I know not. Do they gaze on you with unwavering love, forgetting your scars

And bruises, your brutish bureaucracy and snappish shrugs-

Or do they just despise your perfection, your pride, your success?

I see only ever increasing circles in your waters, dragging me down,

Pulling me in, asking me why I parted and when I shall return

To be sucked in, hauled down, ripped bare and naked in front of you.

Ten years on- our anniversary, I am saddened, sombre, elated and overjoyed

In your presence but still know not why. Is it the simply the je n’es sais quoi?

A man stands before me and looks down at you from a bridge, hand against face,

And watches your motions. Is he as captured by you as I? Can he leave you,

Release you, let go of you- like I cannot. What lies so deep within his stare?

What makes him stop, like I, upon your bridge, before your Lady, our Lady, and look

And wish and wonder? I know not what his reasons are as much as I know not my own.

Am I your folly or is it you that are mine? Tell me, speak to me, inform me,

Embrace me amid your precious Pomp and Circumstance or let me go,

Sail me off and set me free. For I am yours for the asking, yours for the calling,

Yours in waiting, devoid of answers but so full of questions.

I smile when my feet hit your floor, cry when my eyes see your treasures

And fear everything you made me into, everything I ran from

And everything I left of me, with you, in my passing.

I am open book without ending, a poem without a point,

A line without structure. Is this it? Are we finished?

Or is this just a little repose?



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

Haunted Heart

What particular particle

Of the self

Left itself behind

In your absence?

What form of matter

Is this

That moves

When all else in the night

Sleeps soundly?

Because here I am,

Stirred so,

My body jerked alert,

My eyes wide open

And my senses

Shouting to me

That you’ve just left the room.

And yet,

I know deep within

The deception

That resides in this thinking,

I know this feeling

Lacking in fact,

I know this belief

To be hallow of truth.

It is not

And cannot be,

In any reasonable way,

Your scent I can smell

Still sitting in this now chilly air.

It is not,

And likewise should not be,

The soft shuffle of your shoes

I can hear crossing the hall.

Tell me now,

In all seriousness-

With my conscious mind in control,

How I could believe it to be

The touch of your hand

That brushed me from slumber

Or the gentle kiss of your lips

On my neck, so soft,

That teased me out of a dream?

Why is it that now,

So much more than before,

You are the resonance of every

Waking thought,

As if all else

Were but secondary servings

Of something less substantial.

I am failing

In these nocturnal


To understand

How your absence

Speaks more about you

Than your presence,

All memories

Now more concrete fact

Than what was formerly a reality.

How does this present

Present you

More to me now

Than in the past?

I held your hands,

In those final moments,

Before you found your freedom

As the darkness

Released you finally

While everything else lost itself-

For what seemed like forever-

To silence

And a darkness of another sort

Fell upon my life

In your passing

And floundered to find its exit

Within me,

For so long after.

You see,

My dilemma,

My dearly departed-

I thought you gone,

I thought us done,

I thought our forever, over.

And yet,

Here I am-

Sitting up alone

Where once we lay together-

Blind to the sight of you

But convinced

Deep down,

In the depths of my soul,

That you feel me,

Hear me

And see me.

I know, with every ache of this solitary existence,

That you have left this earth for good,

But I cannot explain,

In any humanly perceivable way,

How much I feel you haunting my heart.