BOOKENDS; YOU MUST FINISH WRITING THE STORY BEFORE YOU CAN PUT A COVER ON THE BOOK

 

So many sunsets.
I kissed you goodbye but forever never followed,
I thought us broken but we were just bookends
looking for a final story to stack between the regard
and the lack of regret.

I kissed you again, later, after leaving, after returning
but before going, again, and the water stopped.

I caught our reflection for a moment, in all that stillness,
in all we had held of each other but then I blinked
or you rippled

and, all at once, we were done.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly.

This month is about reflections. I moved to Paris, the first time, when I was 22 and stayed for 2 years and then circled back around to this city of shadow and light again at 40. This year will be the final chapter as I pack up the boxes and consider Ireland as home again after 23 years. Who knows if there will be another story to tell of us one day…

THIS HISSING IN THE SUMMER

 

Summer
as the city
slips into slumber,
after last night’s thunder,
as skin slides from winter’s
shawls and shackles and pitches
itself proudly in parks where not even
dogs bark, where shadows have sunk
into sweaty
soil as feverish
fingers smooth skin
with soothing oil. Summer
in the city and temperatures
are oozing over bodies, all tease
and no breeze to appease. Summer
in the city and the music mellows as fellows
fold frowns
into bottom drawers
with winter wishes and curate
concerns toward sunset kisses. Summer
in the city and she unfurls her curls like foliage
finding form over greedy grass, and he goes green
with envy and furrows his frenzy as the fountain flows
with full force, unabashedly, and he grows as greedy as the grass
while her
curves caress
his consciousness
and he wilts in watchful
wantonness while I wait for kisses
caught on Spanish lips that creep along
the current of sweeping storms and sensual
shifts, we are ships crossing under starlight, snakes
slivering over sheets, I am not his, he is not mine, he is not
hers and still not mine, we cast concern into the ripples that sink in ocean
beds
too deep
to remember and
too cold for concern,
ripples that are arousing now
beneath these fountains now flowing,
in the park, in the sunlight, in the summer,
in the city. Summer in the city and babies are sleeping
in buggies buried under bushes while nannies’ doze and daddies
delight in their sweet blooming rose. Summer shines on the city and
streets slip
from worries
and rushes to brushes
with light and lazy, humming
hazy harmonies like he once strummed
upon my strings a serenade sweet enough
to sweep us to older days, other days, days of revolution
and voices that shone as bright as this burning sun, and on
to simpler days of lemonade and laughter. Remember laughter,
back before the pitter patter of drought and disaster? We are just people
passing
through parks,
looking for stars
in between the sunlight,
looking for fleeting kisses,
treats that are never free, saints
and snakes all hissing across lawns
in summer. Summer in the city but somewhere
out there, beyond the sleeping stars and the deep blue sky,
someone is probably crying and another, senselessly, about to die.

   

All words and paintings by Damien B. Donnelly

This is a re post from a series of mine inspired by the artistry of Joni Mitchell

 

BERRY KISSES, COLOUR ON CURT CORNERS

 
Bright red berries
linger on bushes
before sunsets
like lip’s lightness
that lingers after kisses.

Bright red berries
tremble in the afterglow
of careful witness
like mouths that modulate
after tender caress.

Bright red berries
adorn towering twigs
thick and tall
like lips in favour
of that fine flexed flesh.

Bright red berries
slip with the sun
into sleep serenaded
with the day’s delights
like lips that seek slumber
to sweep over skin
as the scent of seduction
sinks between sheets.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

TRUTH OR DARE, for Poetry Day Ireland

 

It’s Poetry Day Ireland so I am supporting from abroad. This year’s theme is Truth or Dare and this final new poem recalls older days when this Irishman was still a growing boy on the streets of Paris…

 

Truth or Dare

At 22 we locked the bar at 2am
and turned empty bottles around
tittering tables, wishes weaving
into comrades’ ears of who to pick
and who to kiss; the ex-pats in Paris,
running an Irish bar like it was
their open bar, even when it was closed,
eager to acquire a taste for foreign desires,
no one ever wanted to know the truth,
we were too young to be serious
and too stupid to know that it mattered,
that taste didn’t lie on the tongue,
though it later laid lies on our lips. At 22
we closed the bar and dared each other
to dive into anything other than the truth.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly, except for the one below as that’s me pulling my last pint in the Irish bar in the 13th arrondissement of Paris.

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COLOUR IS WAITING

 

And still we will come to lick the honey
from the purple petal and still we will come
to root out the weeds of worthlessness in gardens
where others eat up all that is beautiful. Time turns
and we, in turn, follow its path, suns set and the moon
shows us its song, hold hands and then release,
hold hope and then move on, we only own the moment.
Mothers may still hand over their hearts to other mothers
waiting to be wanted, fathers may rise to be fearless
or choke on the root of their own fear, those black-cloaked
women pouring water from windows onto withered plants,
who’ve buried their living bodies in a bitterness
for all that life has lynched from them, will continue
to cry as flames flicker out along the Seine,
like their memory, revealing structure still standing
but soul no longer settled. They will still pour
their buckets of tears down the aging walls of a city
that cannot see beyond its past. If we cannot catch colour
then we too will be cremated in the concrete. But black
is only shadow until it finds a reason to ignite in light,
bark is dry but the branch bares blossom. Eat the storms,
Mother said, remember? Boil the beds of bitter blackness
until the dream rips through the rain and translucent
turns them lighter, brighter. And still we will come
to that lake where language lingers, still we will sink
beneath its depths to slip ourselves from the reflections
we have once worn and now outgrown. Still we will sink
kisses onto our starved lips and still come back for more
after love catches hold of kisses cradled on other lips.
Catch the colour, catch the kisses, catch the life
racing by in taxis, on trains with crimson carriages
connecting moments waiting to be made magical.
The starry night can be a bright light waiting for us
to paint it. Behold how much there is to love, to let go of,
to learn from. Let us be the design and not just the destruction.
Eat the storms, she said, taste the refreshment in the bright
blue rain. Colour is waiting just beyond the clouds.

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All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

30th and final poem for National Poetry Writing Month 2019

PURPLE CLOUDS

 

In that garden
of the many meadows of my mind

plants grow down
from purple clouds

carved of cotton catchable candy

and seek substance
from the surface
and not the ceiling.

In that garden
of the many meadows of my mind

fences are painted
with faces familiar

and mouths to catch kisses if you’re quick enough

and embraces
sprout like brush
to cradle comfort.

In that garden
of the many meadows of my mind

music spreads like ivy
a chorus to cut the chaos

and a crescendo of colour like a flower unfolding.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

6th poem for National Poetry Writing Month

CATCH THE KISSES

 

Catch cotton kisses
blowing briefly over bodies
on beds, on beaches
basking, baking.
Catch kisses
cuddled in cotton sheets
freshly laid kisses
caressing carefully closed curtains. 
Kisses cuddled
on sandy beaches as tides tick through time,
tickling time
with waves washing over us.
Clean, crisp
cotton kisses, candy kisses,
too delicious to last too long,
long kisses
on cotton sheets, worn with laughter,
folds of light laughter,
making movements of moments,
moving moments,
catch the moments
of bodies on beds, on beaches
where tides kiss toes,tickle toes,
wash away woes.
Summer kisses,
cotton candy kisses
on soft sheets of surrender,
like the sand surrenders to the shore,
like the sea caresses the sand,
kisses
in waves never lasting
though sinking so deep
below the surface.

All words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/damien-donnelly-2/catch-the-kisses

We Never Saw Forever

 

No more sorrys,

No more words

No more time.

No more pretending

That this is working

Our days are gone.

No more waiting

For those calls

That seldom came.

No more arms

Wrapped around me

While I sleep.

No more breath

Upon my shoulder

As I dream.

No more questions

For our future

We had none.

No more hope

For a life together

Now it’s gone.

No more kisses

To last forever

They never did.

How could our kisses

Last forever

When we never did?

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly