I had you,
for a while, at hello
till I turned out
to be someone
you didn’t know

as the sun set
and the shadows
slipped over uncertainty,
like obscurity
was a form of security
to cover those curt corners
you’ve learned to conceal

instead of trying to heal,

concerns you’ve turned
into crutches,
crushed within stubborn fists
at the end of well worn wrists.

You can clamber
in the scullery,
clap and crash the cutlery

but you cannot drown out
all matter

not all can be washed away
with the dish water.

I cannot be mounded
having, of late,
just unfolded.

I have cracks

like the plates
you are washing,

as if weights
were dissolvable,

as if this liquid fairy
could wipe away
the weary.

I am porcelain;

chipped and torn,
trying to accept
the fragility of this form

still unfolding.

I have stains on my skin
like tattoos of my disorder,

I have shadows on my skin
that will not be kept in a corner.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


Audio version available on Soundcloud:

REGARDING REFLECTIONS, day 16 of A Month with Yeats


Day 16 of Jane Dougherty’s A Month with Yeats poetry Challenge and the quote today comes from ‘He Mourns for the Change That Has Come Upon Him and Longs for the End of the World’: ‘Do you not hear me calling, white deer with no horns?’—W.B. Yeats

Jane’s blogs is:

My poem today is called REGARDING REFLECTIONS


What follies the daylight

carries when then,

before the darkness,

a blindness banishes

the glitter we have

heaped onto our horns.

the night has no light

for lies and disguise.

Blood runs black

in the moonlight

and no one can

see your fear.


And there you stood,

somehow in the shade

of shadow, somewhat

in the mirror watching

and I, leaning on the light,

by the doorway, waiting

to enter your world,

your skin, your body,

and I saw your breath

as it billowed in the glass

all frosted, all fuzzy

and I took in your scent

there in the room

now vacant of all else

but you looking out

to see what the pale

reflection could offer

of the inside and me;

waiting for you

to come back from

that frosted reflection

within the mirror, darkly

shadowed by all that lay

unsolved, by all as yet

unresolved and then

we revolved and it was I

watching and you, my dear,

waiting for me to find you

and lead you back home.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on SoundCloud…


We stood in arms, two boys at play
as the sea swept the shore below,
as the wind wound its way around us,
trying to cut through us as a bird
battled above for the right to go left
though the current had other thoughts,
saw other connections in this flight
of feathers fighting the force of rising
and falling, of coming and going,
of getting to and moving on.
We took the boat that took our breath
as it waged through waves, past homes
housed on hills born from the water
that held no shelter (can it still caress?)
that offered no comfort from the cold
(where to find the heat?) as you slipped
your hand into mine in this foreign land,
you and your foreign hand already feeling
so familiar, coming in, coming closer,
going out and coming back stronger
like this boat that sweeps the shore
from city (of sexy trams traversing
and curved girls smiling) to the walled
edge of nowhere, where the guns
sound the silence in the shadows
of a ghostly grandeur where soldiers
once stood to secure their settlement
and I told you I would fight dragons
for you if we make it through the waves
that come and go, these motions that make
or break the connections we are now
curious to keep current, these arms
we want to keep so close.

On the train I left you and climbed
the steps to the east of elsewhere
as you continued along the tracks south
and then so far south that the sun
still shone, both with other connections
to catch but aware of the current
of comfort we had begun to create
and I wondered if the bird found its way
home before the guns roared again
through the sky. And later, I wondered
if it were that bird, that same bird,
that echoed through each of us,
as we made our way, separately,
through the night.

We take tracks on lines ever crossing
but are bound to circles ever spinning
like echoes calling back on themselves.

We are tides torn between the depth
of the ocean bed and the safely
of the sandy shore.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:



in the dungeons
of men’s minds, below
the dance halls and the giddy
galleries, deep in a declining darkness
holding no pride over permanence, appetites
edge on apps to ease entrance as dogs eat dogs.
These are no longer the days of Wilde’s wit
and wicked word play, temptations are
no longer teased from tongue
twisters but twisted from
tongues in the darkest
part of the night
where dogs prowl
the popper pool, sniffing
out stimulating stimulants,
playing with prey, praying for applause
to that great god ground down; credit card cuts
of white lines that can’t quite cut through
these savage times. Digging deep
in the dungeon of darker minds,
men make moves too difficult
to swallow. Dogs eat dogs
and I realise I’m more
captive to caviar

than canine.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:





There was a man I used to know,
who came a calling long ago,
back in the days when I didn’t know,
when I didn’t know the truth of me,
when I didn’t know who I could be.

There was a boy once, long ago,
fragile as filigree and falsetto,
there was a boy I used to know,
who didn’t know, I didn’t know.

I am a man now not from here,
who’s watched the shadows disappear;
the jeers and shame for being queer,
I’m not that same boy anymore,
I’ve set my sail to another shore.

If you said ‘home boy’, I wouldn’t know,
if you said ‘go boy’, I would not know

I couldn’t say which way to go.

I came a calling long ago,
I caught a calling that pulled me so,
came from inside and would not let go,
and now I can’t let it go,
can’t let the calling, can’t let it go.

I had a hero long ago,
he played me music sweet and slow,
I was the string at the Château d’Eau,
I was a puppet in his travelling show.

There was a puppet he used to know,
of sugar sweet and gentle snow,
but strings grow cold over melting snow,
and so he had to let me go,
he had no choice but to let me go.

I will not keep you, you have to know,
you’re just a pull of my cross and bow,
i’ll release the string and watch you go,
I will not want you to know me so,
we’ll let it burn out in the afterglow,
that’s the blow, but this I know,
and here I am to tell you so.

So you can love me before I go,
and you can taste me but then forego,
you can hold me like Calypso
did so long ago till she let go,
for this I know, I will let go,
of all I don’t know, this I know.

There was a man I used to know
who came a calling long ago,
I loved him so and yet I let him go,

I couldn’t say; ’I cannot stay’
but now he knows and so it goes.

There was a boy I used to be,
silent and still like a sleeping bee,
trying to hide behind a nobody,
but now he’s no more a part of me,
I see him sometimes out at sea
and in the shade of what used to be.

But he’s not me, that sleeping bee,
just thought it was who I was meant to be.

But it was not me, he was not me.
You see; that nobody; it wasn’t me,
there was a boy I used to be
but now this man, this man is me
or at least the only part I’ll let you see,
for all the rest, all the rest,
I’ve learned to keep that just for me

I learned you gotta keep something
because love;

It don’t come free.

All words and drawings by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud: 





I am standing
because others have fallen,
I am carefree
because others were brave,
I am kissed
because others were beaten,
I am open
because others were caged,
I am integrated
because others were segregated,
I am enraged
because others were electrocuted.

I am vocal
while others were silenced,
I am loved
while others were shamed,
I feel change
while others were chained,
I feel inspired
by others who were restrained.

I am walking
on the path others paved,
I am thankful
my days weren’t so cursed,
I am grateful
to those who came before
and will never be ignorant
to the fight that came first.

I am happy
to stand in the shadow
of those who fought

for the right
to live

in the light
of love.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available at Soundcloud:



I see you
in pictures
of a past
barely present
on a wall
already crossed
that we once
sat upon

I see you
in pictures
of a hold
hardly held
in a place
already parted
that we cannot
return to

I see you
in pictures
of a truth
never tested
with a smile
still surviving
from a time
now long gone

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



We can see paradise
We can see poverty.
They live in the same place
paradise and poverty.
They are neighbours.
They are related.
They cannot exist
without each other.

We can feel happiness.
We can feel sadness.
They live in the same body
happy and sad.
They are connected.
They are family.
One would not exist
without the other.

We can touch black.
We can touch white.
They live in the same skin
black and white.
They are not neighbours.
They are not family.
You cannot separate
that which is the same.

We can feel straight.
We can feel gay.
They live on the same street
straight and gay.
They are brother.
They are sister.
They cannot have hope
without the others help.

We can hold love.
We can hold hate.
They shelter in the same heart
love and hate.
They feed on our feelings.
They fester on our fears.
We can hate to love
but should never love to hate.

We can hear music.
We can hear silence.
They live in the same instrument
music and silence.
They create harmony.
They share equality.
You cannot hear the music
without respecting the silence.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio Version available on Soundcloud:


You were watching
While I was sleeping
When time stood still.
Was I dreaming
We were loving
While time stood still?
In our meeting
There was comfort
And time stood still.
I was hungry,
You were chocolate
When time stood still.
In the morning
You were pensive
And time stood still.
Were you thinking
Of me leaving
As time stood still
Or where you thinking
Of his returning
While time stood still?
In our first kiss
I saw our last kiss
When time stood still.
In the daylight
Who do you kiss
Now time’s no longer still?
Do you watch him
While he’s sleeping
Now time’s no longer still,
Like you watched me
When I was sleeping
While time for us stood still?



When I die,
Will the world know
That I have lived?

When I laugh,
Will they know
My eyes once held tears?

When they sing my praise,
Will they know
They once inflicted pain?

If I stand alone,
Will they know
They put me there?

If I speak of hatred,
Will they know
They taught me the words?

If they speak of acceptance
Shall speak of forgiveness?

When I stand
Before the end of days
For all the world to see,
I want them to know,
To understand,
The person that is me.