BOOKENDS; EVOLUTION 12, SOME PEOPLE THAT WE USED TO BE

 

We sit now and sip cocktails, the waiter pulls out
your chair and hands me the menu after calling you
madame. I strain now to hear your voice; softer,
gentler, feminine finding freedom. I catch you
checking your lipstick in the mirror, pulling a curl
back into place above those blushed cheekbones
still a little swollen, a normal evening in August,
in Paris, sipping gins and rums and telling tales
before swapping tables over Korean cooking
that give us a brief taste of who we used to be.

We sit here, over cocktails; the man and the madame,
looking like a couple in the reflection of a tainted
mirror and I wonder can anyone tell, as you smooth
out your skirt, that you used to be my boyfriend.

    

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly.

 

This is my final full month living in Paris and it is about looking back to see who I was and giving a moment to recognise all that has evolved and some of the breath that has returned.

BOOKENDS, STARTS TODAY AT 5PM GMT

 

Coming today and everyday at 5pm
for the next 30 days…

BOOKENDS

A GOODYBE TO PARIS

before returning to Ireland after 23 years away

A month of moments and memories, passion and partings

poetry and photography
WordlessWednesdays and StreetScenesonSaturdays

 

By Damien B. Donnelly

BOOKENDS, coming soon

   

Coming in November…

Bookends

A month of goodbyes

Spending my final full month in Paris looking back in order to move on. Each day will be a new or revised poem and, of course, some photographs of this city that I’ve been connected to since I was 22 and will soon leave at 44.

Starts November 1st,

here on WordPress.

À bientôt

AFTERGLOW

 

Hunger harbours its hold
like a boat
bent on the scent of the sea
and we are bound
to the pull of its freedom,
its current crushing all caution
as we fall folly to its friction
on bended knee in benediction,
on beds of bodies bare and breathless,
tongues tempted towards taste,
buoyant on the bounce,
fast to the flesh, I want you,
you feel me, I will leave you
famished for nothing but more
and more and more, as I walk away,
still parched, still famished,
but never foolish
enough to linger longer
than the afterglow.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

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.”

 

FRANCE IS CALLING, ATTENDS!

Packing boxes…
Separating substance
From superficial,
Measuring
All that matters
In the memory
Against
All that clutters
In the closet,
And France is calling…
Attends!

Packing boxes…
Selling superfluous
And saving sentiments,
Tittering
At trousers
Thought to be trendy
And fretting
At photos
Of faces forgotten,
And France is calling…
Attends!

Packing boxes…
Putting pressure
On the present,
Grateful
If the greener grass
Can be gainful
While worrying
If the words
Will return,
And France is calling…
Attends!

Packing boxes…
Filing fears
Into folders,
Singing
And skipping
And sighing and shaking,
Threading
The tracks
To tomorrow,
And France is calling…
J’arrive!

IMG_6867

Remembrances along the roadside

 

That day- do you remember?

In the car, me- racing away

And you- running,

Me- crying,

and you- waving.

Do you remember?

He was inside- watching, brewing, stewing.

Unable to say what it was that he wanted,

Unable to stop what he had from escaping.

We were outside- turned inside out,

Silenced to the limit,

The end had arrived; childhood given over to adult reality.

That day- do you remember?

Me, being driven away-

Leaving the only home I’d ever known.

Leaving the home he’d broken with silence-

That icy cold reserve; reserved for the undeserved-

Me, you, Mum and the multitude of others

Who tried in vain to hold out a hand;

To reach him, to touch him.

I hear his laughter,

Somewhere in the back of my mind,

Somewhere where that boy still resides

And remember that cutting smile,

That ice cold stare and those eyes that night

When they cut like a blade.

That day- do you remember?

You chased me all along and down the road

As Dympna drove and Mother cried in the seat behind.

You- with tears in your eyes

As the car tore me away from all I’d ever know.

I know that boy’s still inside, somewhere,

Painting his bedroom, playing in the attic,

Writing words to help him understand

And patiently praying that all parents were perfect.

All words by Damien B. Donnelly