TAXI DRIVER, I CAME TO THE CITY

 

A constant darkness,
the future unfolds like the road;
route unknown, the past ever present
but kissed goodbye;

my lips still taste of yesterday,
my hips the heat of your caress
that has since slipped from these sheets.

I was always bound to restless,
to rest less and less, I am creature creative;
a constant recreation concerned more with shadow than light,
more with what I don’t yet know
than where I have already ready been.

I am taxi traveller,
I will take you with me, naked
under the sweating sun, tender under starlight
but you are only fair;
you are the hitchhiker along my highway,
a distraction on route to destination.

We are not destiny,
no two are designed alike,
every soul a single sojourn.

I am city when you are desert,
I am sand when you are stone,
I will have dried up before you learn to open up.

I will meet you under moonlight,
by the gaslight already flickering
in the morning light, only the stars will see us
burning bright, for we are stars; rising in the darkness,
this constant darkness,

I will drink you and then discard you
when the dawn calls me back to destination
before you break me, I will set off before you slow me,
before you show me who you want me to be.

I am everything and nothing in your eyes, all lies,
we are only reflections, projections of hope and hurt,

I cannot be all you want
when we don’t really know who we are.

We are starlight, like I said, already burning out
before begun, drawn to distraction
and drawing on our own dust.

But I am constant, now, to the calling,
am free to flight and fall,

I will love you
Forever and yet leave you
before you’ve even considered it
a compliment to concern yourself with who I am
because all we have learned
is to look for ourselves in each other.

And yet I am other. Another.
No other, bound to no body and everybody,
at home in hotels that hold me for hire,
every stop another station in the formation,
every sheet another burn as we twist and turn
and then, in twisting, we turn,

we are roads constantly crossing,
trying to get to the other side
to see if the darkness is lighter, brighter,

but this darkness, this constant darkness
is not a dark abyss, this constant darkness
can only be conquered at the check-out.

A constant darkness,

we are all travellers on a road,
making moments, making magic, making mistakes
believing the future is forever,
but I am not concerned or consoled by forever,

I am here now, running reckless
along these roads, seeking sustenance, seeking solace,
and occasionally a comfort from the cold that comes a calling,
(I will give you what I have willing if you promise
not to take it unevenly) seeking satisfaction
in things temporary, leaving a part of me
in everything I touch,

hoping it’s enough,
hoping you will remember
the scent of my skin though we were too thin
to be true, too fragile to be anything more
than a fickle tickle,

trying to understand the sweet sorrow,
the ebb and flow, the hope and the hurt.

Goodbye can be a greeting as warm as hello.
Good boy, I am trying to be a good boy
burning through this constant darkness
and smiling as I soar and sizzle.

A constant darkness
so we can gaze at the stars in their glory.

 

All words and pictures by Damien B. Donnelly

Based on a poetry series inspired by the albums of Joni Mitchell

JONI ON THE WALL

 

After years of painting you
Tones of turbulent indigo,
Tending and transforming you,
I’m busy building you back
To basic, a fresco of freedom
For us both in walls of white,
Whittled back to what it was
Before I splashed a signature
Of substance and delight, hoping
A house could be a home, hanging you
With shadow and light, filling you
With finite fragments of all that I’d known,
Looking for a secret place, a sanctuary
For a certain time, placing Joni’s
Travelogue, framed in browns
On the bedroom wall, reckless
Daughter and muse of mine, parcelled,
Packed and now waiting removal
From this very sojourn, this song
About the midway, this intersection
Of 30 and 40, a reflective pause
In this tiny town where I never
Thought to stay, this hallow place
That prickled like a cactus tree
Till I heard it in the wind, that
Hissing, that constant twisting
Urge for going, back to the road
That lays in wait for me, cursed and charmed
But there are those who are born to stay
And others who are born to take the highway.

In that reoccurring dream
Beneath the constant darkness
Of the night, I see myself, still
Smiling as the free man in Paris
And I can hear it, even in the light,
Despite all your lofty protestations
That this place could be my place,
Soulful solace amid the hookers
And hash, but the eyes of the woman
Of heart and mind on the wall
Foretold the fear that we now face;
I am a prisoner of the white lines
On the freeway, bound not to permanent
Position, slowing down long enough to find
A place to come in from the cold,
To rest amid the warmth, a refuge
From the road, a lesson in survival,
A need for nutrition, but I am flesh
And blood and creature curious, craving
More and more from this Hejira, this journey
Not destined to be here and always,
Forever was never our factor, bound
To your tiny rooms and hallways
I’ve seen it all from both sides now
And all I want is not here growing crabby
But there and hungry and happy.

I know you will haunt me, shadows
Circling my final flight like Amelia
Lost out on her search for shore
While the black crow flies towards
The something shining, something
Seen long ago and now felt even more.

We’ve been good friends, indeed,
A fact not fiction, a love not lost
But you’ve been a mere chapter
All the same, a long season of blondes
I’ve tired of but words run short
In me now, in this place where I’m
Paying the cost, in these rooms
That have closed in on me
As time slipped by so suddenly,
So I strip you back to before,
Yet different somehow, similar
Though faintly forever changed,
The footprints never fully fading,
This flight tonight will be final
Though the sky is ablaze with stars
That never burn brighter than when
They’re already fleeting and falling.

I laid for too long neath your roof,
Dreaming of another, darker, wondering
About the what if and what could be
But let’s not talk about fare thee wells
For the wind is in and it’s set me free,
Packed with a case of you to last me
Well as I spiral through this Circle Game,
This carousel of life that looks back on itself
Through time, returning to pivotal points
Already changing and bringing me
Back into frame, to something
Once remembered, something
That can hold me, something
To inspire me, something
To encourage me.

After years of painting you
Tones of turbulent indigo,
Turning and transforming you,
I am busy building you back
To basic, finding a freedom
For us both in walls of white
But no canvas is truly the same
After it’s first been rendered,
There’s always the shadow and light,
Always something that slips away,
Always the rest that sinks within,
Always the parts that cement and stay…

While the lady sings…

“I am on a lonely road
And I am travelling,
Travelling, travelling, travelling,
Looking for something
What can it be…
All I really, really want
Our love to do
Is to bring out the best in me and in you.”