DON’T COME TO TAME THE CAT

 

Red sun burns below a blue moon
and the tiger rips through trees
to escape the cat. Sometimes
small things need to be as sharp
as an icicle even when the sun
comes to burn red beneath blue
moons while she sings of those
crazy cries of Havana’s love.
She sang of Paris once while
somewhere else and California
while in Greece. She was blue too,
like that moon, while in green
and again with those icicles
and no baby for birthday clothes-
letting go’s a bitch, like moving on,
even if you’re just a fearless pussy
cat and the tiger is too scared
to fuck with you. Earlier, luxuriant
leant in, hissing all over her
manicured lawns of blue pools
and strangling centrepieces.
Always the blue below that burning
sun and those picture-perfect settings
as if to foretell of all that will follow.
Red sun burns below a blue moon
and pussy purrs alone while the tiger
takes cover beneath the shade of
the green cactus tree with phallic
spikes that look like limp icicles.

   

All words and drawings by Damien B Donnelly. Some thoughts inspired by the music and lyrics of Joni Mitchell

SIMPLE

  

Love is a simple thing-
a jaded house waiting
to be resold, to be a home again,
you knock unexpectedly
and I utter Enter, please,
much like last time,
already setting the table for two.
Love is a simple thing

fragile and foolish and forgetful.

Love is a simple thing-
a game of tennis,
a juggle of balls back and forth,
the hunger to have the control
of love and all its advantages
before it’s match point
with a set of side-lined backhands
played below the baseline.
Love is a simple thing

blinded by the sexy shorts and those tight strings.

Love is a simple thing
like the heart-
it needs oxygen to survive,
like any organ-
it needs the right fingers
to play it perfectly

Love is a simple thing-
find your oxygen before
laying the table or crossing the court
or reaching for the note
you were never meant to play.

   

All words and sketches by Damien B. Donnelly

BLOOMING SHADES

 

Everything is cyclical like sunlight and seasons
and hair styles and hemlines. Everything is cyclical.

I found you at the first turn- a pencil line on a blank canvas
by an academic of fine fashion with a fringe of falling violets,

it was the back side of the Botanics, at the later side of winter,
all grey, even then, back in my untasted youth, even there,
surrounded by all that should have been blooming green

but I just saw the shadow between the black and the white,
the empty bench in between the bark, not the blossom sitting
a frame away, left side, across the bridge, more to the main path.

Roads, wood and diverges and me-
always looking for another way out.

Everything is cyclical like creation and country and going out
and then coming home again and again. Everything is cyclical.

I found you recently, again, on a green day, later, when my hair
was greyer but my soul a sway more centred towards the violet.

I stole a piece of you, this time, on film but when I looked back,
after coming home, I noticed how I’d caught you in that shade,
that former shade found in between the black and the white.

Everything is cyclical like births and blossoms and sometimes
belonging and sometimes colour when it’s blooming grey.

 

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All words, drawing and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

SOUTH CIRCULAR ROAD, DUBLIN 1995

 

I slipped recently onto an old road
that had circled back onto my diverted path
to find myself at first flat, basement floor,
25 years grown between us like the weeds
in the forgotten garden where I looked to see
if the cobbles still recalled my sole
before remembering how, on winter nights
that seemed bluer than black,
in hallowed hallway, I’d sit by the payphone,
juggling coins in jars of naivety and watch the lights
from the traffic flood the darkness like a fanfare
through the curved window above the door
and dream of how it would feel to slip, finally,
from streets that simply circled.

I slipped recently onto an old road,
happy to discover that even diverted paths
know how to accept circles as something to grow
to love, like certain weeds that complement
the cobbles where I found a part of my soul, sitting.
Waiting for me to call back.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

HEARTH

 

The old walls have been walled in
by warmer ones
but their youth has nothing on the cracks
and secrets the originals would disclose
if you could still sit around that old fire
and watch the smoke rise up to the high ceilings
since brought down to a more manageable level
and yet I have seen that hidden height-
looking down from the upper attic-
and I know there are whispers trapped
in those forgotten few feet
just like the heat that must still linger
behind the fake wall and down below the soot
now gathered over the old hearth
where you all once gathered to hear the tales
of how life was tilled and turned and that shrill excitement
when someone first turned on a light,
indoors, in a wide-walled room with high ceilings
that kept the heat away from the feet,
a little room where once there was only darkness
just like the light that was turned on, out there,
in that Space where this world spins
while we know nothing of the whispers
that were once words,
echoing out from other planets that too evolved.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

BEFORE THE STILLNESS

 

I sit, in stilled space,
trusting time and these proses
to act as forgivers
to all I cannot forget. I sit here,
in this stilled space,
taking trips that tease time with twists
and turns. I move not
in straight lines but articulate thought
through the acts
these tracks have taken, the un-regrettable
mistakes that brought me here
where I sit, in stillness,
in a space, not always my place,
a space grown damp since first stone
was first set
into place by hands I never knew, hands
ground down now
to nothing more than bone,
just like my bones
that will one day come to know the dampness
of all that has surrendered
its forgiveness to all that was not forgotten,
when the final lines
have been laid and I forgive time itself
for the finality of its stillness.

I sit and come to trust.

  

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

FREEDOM IS A WISH ON THE WIND

 

I steal
deep into space, in the far field-
inches are miles these days
and miles can hold worlds.
I kick
imaginary balls into empty posts
and run tracks that dig circles
around the turns I cannot take.
The eye spots
white specs, like snowflakes, dancing
on the far side of deep ditches-
daisies making their own chains
while
les dents de lion
cast their own wishes out
into a breeze that knows no boundary.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

SEA AND SAND

 

Sand slips under foot like memory into mind,
waves wash up along a country lane leading down
into a secreted sea, past a thistle that pricks not;

so much beauty cannot bear a beast.

There is breath in these back fields I recall
on the curve of this spiral game, returning like these tides
that tickle the familiarity that floats on the foam
of the waves I once forged freedom on,

getting far enough out just to find my way back in.

Home is not something you recognise until you return,
like the smell of this sea stretching out to islands
that look in on me, as if trying to find a way to connect,
home is not something you miss until you swim out,

not something you recognise until the tide takes you back in
to that secreted sea, stashed away down a country lane
and you recall

how the sand once felt under foot.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

PERMISSIBLE TO ASK?

 

I take the boat out on the water,
rowing out to come into the stillness
in this place where space is still displaced.
Chez moi, c’est quoi, c’est où ?
Il est permis de demander ?

Merci, I say, still, when I should just
stay still, like this water where I row out,
stretching limb, exhausted, after the search
that brought me back, to pacify.
Pacifier- je peux le toucher, presque…

but these movements, however measured,
deprive peace from pacify, remove the stillness
from all this space I am, still,
struggling to reach. Mais.

Priver, je ne veux pas, non, non plus.
Je ne regarderai pas mon nombril, pas comme avant.

Moi- I shed who I was, am, along with time
but not breath- I lost breath, once- tu te souviens,
tu étais là, non ? Oui ! Tu ne te souviens pas.

Regarde ce bateau-
hope is a delicate placement of desire upon wish,
of wood upon water.

Je suis le bois, ou non ? C’était toi avant,
Mais tu as été viré. Viré. Fired. Sacked. Sack.

Meanings can give way to so many misunderstandings,
like translations- so much gets lost in the turning,
in the movement, going out and coming in,
with each row

further out. On the water.

Sometimes thought is not what is needed but stillness
within a world that cannot stop.
Arrête. Stop

but that word is too final.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

RANDOM REASONS

 

I live in a country
where people say thank you
to the drivers of busses-

honestly.

In the mornings, on school runs
and city excursions,
a country where people say thank you
to the drivers of busses,
even at middle door exits
where they’ll nod, all the same,
to the front, to the driver
in that cordoned-off cabin-
in case of commotion-
they’ll throw down a gesture
or the wink of an eye
that says thank you for the bus ride,
that says thank you to the driver
of the bus who’s inside.

I live in a country
with those giggling girls
I could’ve clattered this morning,
those giddy little girls with their gangly limbs
which they swung across aisles
like granny’s long knickers
in the garden on lines,
swaying our patience
off the handrails, this morning
like J-Lo’s but younger.

I live in a country
where these 5-year-old rascals,
who I pictured pounding beaches
for equally thick things to trample,
all scurried off the step
while saying thank you to the driver
of the bus they’d just battered,
Thank you, sir they said
and then jumped into a puddle
and splattered.

I live in a country
where people say thank you
to the drivers of busses

and I realise why I came home.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

 

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