Beauty is breathtaking

where breath is less
and beauty is all.

Beauty is breathtaking
before it’s been taken from you,
then we are no longer bound to blind
and breath is less and less and less.

We breathe in beauty
in excess
as if it were endless,
as if we were never bound to be less and less and less.

We are chalk
marked for a rainstorm.

We breathe beauty with every breath,
with every kiss caught from lip’s press,
we press beauty into flesh,
flesh fresh on beauty that is fleeting.

Kiss him back,
Kiss her again

before it’s gone.

‘Kiss me,’ she whispers with eyes eager
and he kisses her eyes
and her lips grow eager
to feel the beauty that is breathless,

that draws in each breath, less and less and less.

We are not bound to be endless,

we are chalk
marked for the rain storming in the distance.

And so we press more and more and more

falling into the fragile fold
that holds beauty as it is falling,

for we are falling
into life,
into lust,
into love,
into loss,
into all that will fade
when the rainstorm has fallen,

for we all are fragile.

Capture beauty
before the breath grows less and less and…


All words and collage by Damien B Donnelly

This is a re post from my series based on the albums of Joni Mitchell



We held hands over hearts
housed in other folds, ink
had tipped another name
into your flesh as we fell
into holds, harbouring no more
than musing moments, the south
going north for something different,
something foreign, someone fresh,
perhaps that was all we ever were;

a diversion from all that was defined,
from all that was assured. I was never
going to be anything more than something
to adorn an ordinary day in a city far away,
I would never be ink penned in permanent,
signed in the shade of your skin where
sorrow had somehow settled into shadow,
we were too thin to be anything more
than temporary, a painting the artist
considered too crude to be continued,
too confrontational to be anything more
than crass. We were hearts folded
into the hands of other houses, however
hopeless, however harmless, however much
we kissed and cavorted, teased and
twisted, we were branches bound
to other roots, ties are eternal to the trunk;
foolish is the fragile foliage that always falls.

Time turns tides, suns set,
touch is only temporary,
a kiss can be enough to curse.

I hear you, in the wind, at times, messages
that come calling from places I cannot picture,
from sheets I have never set my skin to,
from sweltering stones I will never step upon,
whispers of what once was, a wish
for something that was momentary
to have meant something more monumental.
But not every harbour hides hope, not every
hope is enough to hold a heart. We were
brushes, tipped with colours that weren’t
compatible, merely complimentary enough
to court a spark in a corner where comfort
felt a little less cold for a while. You called me
beautiful, at midnight, on a Monday
and I called you mine neath the gaze of your eyes
and we laughed our way through all that was truth
and all that lingered on the other side of our lies.


All words and photographs by Damien B . Donnelly

From a poetry series inspired by the albums of Joni Mitchell.



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



I’d never heard the call of the green
though my eyes caress it
in a certain light
and so many walls I’ve covered
with that same colour
to curate a comfort from the cold.
I’d never heard it, till now,
till the windows stopped
keeping out that chill.
Blue, I never found blue cold,
on the contrary, I see the sky
coming down to caress the seas I’ve crossed
in a coating of calm encouragement,
even in the snow, in the moonlight,
that blue light connecting its contours
like icy jazz notes on a single saxophone
on a smoky soirée, in a time the greying mist
of memory hasn’t quite drained.
Blue never, but white; chills.
I had red walls once and, at the time,
thought them a tribute
to my, as yet unexposed, pride.
I since recall them
as something more melancholy;
a call in themselves,
but in my child’s mind
I was scarlet conquering
on Sunday afternoons
on the inside of the rain
as oldies played across the tv screen
long before I even heard the song
from the singer in blue.
Blue, songs are like…
songs are like souls catching flight,
in my mind they are shadows;
black and white blurs,
but in the air they take flight
like cormorants of colour
over those green lands
my eyes are seeing
with more interest than ever before
as I come to drink again from that case.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

14th poem for NaPoWriMo



Here in parks in Paris, France, I potter
through a past so old and cold
that it cannot be parted, we cannot
easily outrun our own ruins while Cali
beckons me with her rock and roll band;
those make-me-feel-good brothers
and sisters since seduced back
to their former States and somewhere,
in between, the loneliness lingers;
the hazy clouds of craziness I have crossed
and the curt corners I have yet to console
on this journey through time; today,
in the blinding light of a frozen park
in Paris, France and tomorrow beyond
the clouds where Cali is a calling.
In shades of blue, ice cold, I see the breath
collapsing into weighty snowflakes
that makes all movement morose
in this Sunday morning of sunshine
that somehow still shivers skin
on both sides of the ocean, on both sides
of these clouds where I’ve looked at love.

Today, I potter through parts of Paris,
France, that are pressuring, impenetrable
and oh, so pleasurable like cases
of bitter sweetness but tomorrow
I will come to court the hissing
of those Cali lawns that are calling
in a Spring called Palm, waiting
to ignite a spark from a snowflake.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

I am off to Palm Springs tomorrow so see you all in a week


My series of poems ‘I Came to the City” has been inspired by the music and artistry of Joni Mitchell, whose music I first head in a little back side, one floor up apartment in the Marais in Paris in 1998 played for me by my flatmate at the time Tambourine Therese and this music and visual art has never left me, hence this series of introspective, external, political, jazzy, rambling, rolling poems.

The ‘I came to the City’ title comes from the name of the A side of Joni’s first album ‘Songs to a Seagull’, the B side is aptly named ‘Out of the City and Down to the Seaside.’

Each poem followed the albums in chronological order from folk, to confession, to jazz, to restlessness, to the 80’s political unrest, to introspection, age, reflection and affirmation. Joni designed most of her album art and so I have taken inspiration from each cover to go with each poem in the series. Joni said once in an interview that after each period of writing comes a period of painting, although she was never sure which came first, the music or the art. Either way, this was my tribute to an incredible artist who has faced the spotlight and, in spite of its intensity and scrutiny, has remained one of the greatest and truest artists to put pen to paper, a voice to words and colour to canvas.

Below are the albums and my interpretations…

Thank you Joni Mitchell.


Songs to a Seagull, 1968

My poem, A Song for the Sleeping Bee:

Soundcloud audio: 


Clouds, 1969

My poem Potters on the Road:

Soundcloud audio:


Ladies of the Canyon, 1970

My poem Gone, The Garden;

Soundcloud audio: 

Blue, 1971

My poem Boy So Blue:

Soundcloud audio:


For The Roses, 1972

My poem Could Have Been More:

Soundcloud audio:


Court and Spark, 1974

My poem Longing; The Taste of Things to Come;

Soundcloud audio:


The Hissing of Summer Lawns, 1975

My poem The Hissing in the Summer:

Soundcloud audio:


Hejira, 1976

My poem Taxi Driver:

Soundcloud audio:


Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter, 1977

My poem A Muse on a Rough Rouse:

Soundcloud audio:


Mingus, 1979

My poem The Sum of Who We Are;

Soundcloud audio:


Wild Things Run Fast, 1982

My poem Correcting Corinthians:

Soundcloud audio:


Dog Eat Dog, 1985

My poem Appetites:

Soundcloud audio:


Chalk In A Rainstorm, 1988

My poem Capture Beauty:

Soundcloud audio:


Night Ride Home, 1991

My poem Two Rooms in the Land of the Frogs:

Soundcloud audio:


Turbulent Indigo, 1994

My poem Turbulent Sacrifice:

Soundcloud audio:


Taming The Tiger, 1998

My poem Lilting Lullaby:

Soundcloud audio:


Both Sides Now, 2000

My poem The Other Side:

Soundcloud audio:


Travelogue, 2003

My poem Travelogue:

Soundcloud audio:


Shine, 2007

My poem Confession:

Soundcloud audio:


All Words by Damien B. Donnelly. All photographs and artwork by Damien B. Donnelly, inspired by the visions of Joni Mitchell




I have been courted
by counts and clowns,
too costly to count,
to considered to be questioned,
too comical to consider courtly
while in cities crowded with crossing carriages
and calm corners curated in comfort.
I have been coloured in, cared for,
cooped up, critiqued, cried out
and carried on, careless at times,
cautious at others,
I am creature creative
within this creation
in constant recreation,
a commuter
on this continuing carriageway
as cryptic as these clouds
of cotton-like complexity I cannot catch,
this carnival carousel of colours
not always complimentary
but of constant curiosity
that keeps on careering
and I am caught, concentric,
in consensual contentment
on its current that cannot be caged.
I came to the city,
this city, a city, other cities,
on a calling caught,
to cast all caution into the chaos
so as to compress the cost,
to consider the curve of common cliche
and covet the calling of the unconventional,
to cast a cry into the canyon
I have cut from my own carcass
so as to be counted as contestant.
I came in from the cold corners of complacency
where the crows were cawing callous
with the canines of carnality
to carve my confession
upon the confines of concrete
so as to comprehend the kisses I’ve captured
and the cords I’ve become a connoisseur of
within these courts that have contemplated me
and these circuses that have certified me
as compliant competitor.
I can only compliment the countless confusions
that called me careless
and I considered too crude to be counted,
but they count as the catalysts
that corrected my compass to
its calling within this circle
I am committed to seeing through
to its conclusion.

Shine on, shadowed sky,
with your stars like songs
singing along their sojourn.
I see sinister no more in shadow
and sight not always in sun.
We are seagulls and snakes
and saints and sinners
in the same situation,
searching for stimulants,
singing in unison
of our struggles and our strengths,
striving to see salvation in the spotlight,
searching out that spark to court
in sex and sense
that will send our souls soaring
into the stratosphere.
We are songs being sung
in a simultaneous serenade.
We are stars.

We are not nothing and never will be.

See how we Shine.

All words and photo collage by Damien B. Donnelly

This is the final poem in the series which has been inspired by the artistry of Joni Mitchell and each poem has followed her albums in chronological order.

Audio version available on Soundcloud:






In the park
bodies are bare and bending
in sweaty forms,
see the skin still salivating
as if fresh from the frolics,
when we were fondled and found,
some born to be bound
and then others;
fickle fools thinking thrusts
were as true as trust.

But truth is told only in time;
touch turns from tenderly
tempestuous to temperamental
and all too temporary.

I had a king
in a castle in London
who showed me Soho
and Shakespeare
and Sondheim and song,
I had a home
in the confines of concrete
with textiles and textures
and people who thought
I shouldn’t want more,
I was a shadow
of winter in summer,
I was a peasant
unprepared for the palace
of people and places and graces.
I was the blue note in a home
where I didn’t belong.

I was caught
and caged in the concrete
I had pasted and painted
with colour to keep out
the cold.
I was the killer
of kindness in the castle
when I couldn’t keep track of the ties
too lonesome to hold.


Truth, like ties,
are tenuous,
like I told him once
and he laughed
and I knew I’d already lost him.
We were drunk then,
daily, ravenously rampant
by the river, raising the rafters
of romanticism into something
more erotic as liquor left us
more likeable,
more pliable.
More, you asked,
more of more and more
and we were whores
to the hunger, fools rocking
on a trust, that I had told him,
would turn out to be as tenuous
as it was temporary.

My old man
was a funny one,
a drinking man,
a bottle collector
who liked me like his liquor;
in cabinets next to cast offs
and collectables he could polish
at his pleasure.
My old man
was a fond one
of class and culture
who liked his treasure
in bottomless glasses
and freshly pressed sheets.
My old man
was the party clown
when the lights were leaving
and the drink deceiving
and despondent, at times, I think,
to think that he could have been more,
to think that we could have
had more.
My old man
was a bottle collector,
a drinking man
of class and culture
but there wasn’t enough room
in the bed for us all
with the more and more and more.

The sun is shining now
in this park, over sweating skins
poised for it to be permanent
while I watch the clouds gathering
just beyond the tress

where the vultures
are devouring their own virtues.


Alone now,
a flight of feathers
free from all shackles,
walking the single lane,
secure if it is to be
for a single day
or forever.
and casting off
the cages that once encased me,
feeling strength
that has long since slumbered,
heading along the highway
and holding all that is truly mine,
slowly retuning
to my natural state,
my own body embracing
its bounty, baring its beauty
like the womb; nurturing myself.
Loving alone now,
getting to know the curves
and the quite corners
of this midway of me
and the miles I am making,
true to the tales
of my own travelogue,
all natural states eclipse
for in returning
to this part of me,
once pushed aside,
once cast out of spotlight,
I am moved,
almost elevated,
parallel to that
which I am bound
into becoming.

I am the waters
no longer resting,
I am the stream swimming
from the city to the open ocean
and already I can feel the breeze
that those bound parks can only ponder.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:





What is life
but a book to read
from both sides,
from either end,
from all there is to see here
below the constant clouds of consideration
and from far on high
where the clouds are carpet
and the stars are as close to perfection
as we can get,
for midway
through this meander
of noise and nonsense,
of love and what is left
in its place
when it has parted,
i am no closer
to the correct question
as I am to the unachievable answer.

What is love
but a sunlight
seen out of season,
a breath to better us
when there is no air,
a rainstorm
when all we can see
is desert dust
sweeping over the highway
where our hope is headed
while we are bound,
to faithful,
to fearless,
to ferocious,
as we falter, fail and fall
and rise again,
better for the bruises
ready for the next round,
prepared to bleed out
our lives along
this road we are rocking.

And still I can drink another case
of you, and you, and you, and you, and you…

What is life?
What is love?
What is the point in asking?

We are here…
happy, hurt, healing.

We have cut through the clouds
and reached the other side…

what more is there to fear?

All Words and Paintings by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:





I thought we were templates for tattoos to tell tales on,
I never thought to the tire skids and teeth marks time’s tiger
would temper on our skins. Here kitty, kitty, we call
and curiosity comes crawling out from under as cat with claws uncut.

Cute kitty, come catch, we call through the forest foliage, fooled
into thinking we are the keepers of the cage within this corner
of creation in constant recreation all around us.

I thought us all thoroughbreds, better bred, slices of a bigger plan
but it’s true that thought is not to be trusted, not all that is kneaded
rises as we were led to expect. We are busy bakers, blindly baking
in ovens too hot to hear our hunger, too closed to be open to our urges.

Cast out of kitchen we cower as canines caught between the cage
and the carnal, praying for peace with paws ready to pounce
on all possible prey. Falling on four feet in the forest already fading,
we are shadows of former selves, cut and claimed by the marks
our own malice has made of us. In the forest falling no one hears
the crazy cries of the lives who once howled only for the lilting

lullaby of love.