ART ISN’T EASY

 

Colour
catches on canvas as we lean towards light,
a beam to break the boredom like a breath
above the water after diving up from darkness,
ripples run across the current,
ink spreads out like veins upon this page;

art isn’t easy, breathing isn’t any better-

both come up from down below,
rise through risk into life, into looking lively.
The texture of the wave is as temperamental
as the tone that sets itself out upon the page.
I dab the brush, horse hair taps connections
and colour comes at a gallop. It is clear-

control is not concerned with the creator.

This body needs air, runs broken, breathless-
breath and then less and less and less
and sometimes, sometimes I need to turn back

and teach the lungs how to draw. In.

Ink dries and petals stand, enchanting time
with their dismission of the word wilt.
Colour catches on canvas, clear and captured
and I lean in with the hope of drawing fresh
breath before the dive recalls me to paint
panic.

   

All words and paintings by Damien B. Donnelly

RED INK

 

I love and lose in circles, scratching
at skin tipped in ink, trying to find
the truth beneath the colours
I’ve let others colour in, hiding
the paler flesh I held from view,
we always need to hold on to something.

I am not comfortable over quiet dinners;
too much stilled air coursing
through the courses as I question
the seconds ticking by, in silence;
will you find me failure and flee?
But I’ll always be the first to fly
since that first flight I had no hand in.

I stir the stilled air with performances;
shy boy in the spotlight singing songs
he can’t quite find the notes for
or find the right to call his own.

I love and lie in circles that spiral
back on themselves, that cast further
reflections, not quite clear, on the boy
now faced as man in the mirror,
that flood more ink into that fading flesh.
‘Chromolume No. 9, Georges?’ she asked,
once, in a play, how many more?

Variations grow stale, thought becomes
tension, creation becomes controlled,
breath becomes bearer, bleaker. My chest
beats too quickly to let in fresh air,
fresh flesh, compressed, repressed.

I cannot lie in these circles,
these spirals that seem to linger,
longer, no longer. I am looking
to find a new shape; turning back,
returning, recalling that first mark,
to measure how far from it I ran,
to see what was left behind,
to lay it to rest and find the rest,
the rest of me beneath the red ink
tipped into this fragile flesh.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

18th poem for National Poetry Writing Month

BREAK OF LIGHT

 

I choose the path;

this winding way

though the midway,

battling though the brambles and briars,

I have stains on my soul,

I have splinters in the tissue of my beating breast,

beating, breaking, panting,

I have moments

when my feet no longer feel their footing,

when falling is all I can handle,

I choose this path;

this way of winding words,

stringing sentences into steps

that carry me to places

I never knew existed,

I have ink stains on my insides,

I have empty areas that have been erased,

their only trace now a vacuum

where vanity once ventured,

I choose this path;

this winding way

of silent shadow

and am grateful

for the break of light.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly 

PLEDGE ON THE PAGE

 

I lay
loyalty
on the lines
that curl from curious
to consolidate as considered,
follies that find their form
someplace between
the pledge of pen
and integrity
of ink.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

From a poetry prompt “Pledge’ on @Microprompt