THE OTHER SIDE

 

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,
from far on high where the clouds are carpet
and the stars 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 are we are bound, barely,
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 photographs by Damien B Donnelly

From my Joni Mitchell inspired series of poems from a few years back.

THROUGH THE SANDS

 

And when they danced
she would hold him, her
perfume by his face, his
hands as her strength
as they waltzed through
their current as the tides
swept the shore, through
love and labour, to the first born,
still born, through the twins
who stopped the tears
and the girls who tied
the bows as the sands slipped
through time and the pace
became a quick step, through
the hands that held and those
hips that swayed through
the melody they were making
as they danced through
waves of washing houses
into homes, children into
strangers; rarely calling
and barely remembering
but on they danced as red
locks swept into silver strands,
as full head turned to bald head
on an older head as they turned
to the music now made
in the memory, till she left him,
finally, one morning in May,
as he rose to the sunlight but
she had lost to the moonlight
and so he built her an alter
of sea shells and sentiments
and now he turns, alone, across
the sands still slipping,
as the stars plot a path for him
to reach her in eternity.

  

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

From the poetry series A Month with Yeats

SUMMER SUN IN THE MARSHES

 

Three boys and a girl, coasting carelessly
from teens to twenties and coping lazily
with hangovers beneath the summer’s sun.
One blonde and three browns, laughing
amid golden rays that filled the most perfect
of squares in the once marshland of Le Marais
with its cobbled streets, men of elegance
and women who followed their trend.
We were setting no trends, the four of us,
but caught up in the richness and comedy of it all.
We were Irish and English and one of us French,
young, unknown, foolish and arrogant
to everything but ourselves and ignorant
to who it was that we were.
We were like the ground we sat on;
a once sinking mess belonging to a world
of daylight dreaming, where un-cautioned laughter
tickled our sleep though not our feet, but suddenly
we’d found potential in possibilities
seen through slumber-less eyes, far from dreaming.
I was laughing with one, blushing with the other
and was sleeping with the one so typically French.
I’d befriended the one I’d hoped to sleep with
and undressed with the one I should’ve remained
discreet with. I would later miss her, lose contact
with him and wonder how to stop sleeping
with the other. But that day, in that light, in that heat
of that summer, we’d found our way, heard our voices
and finally found what it meant to belong.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

This is a repost of one of my older poems

THE LIGHT IS TOO LIGHT

 

Light leaks like water
dripping from the faucet.

You called me baby
before you really knew me
and stopped calling at all,
afterwards
drip…
drip…
nothing.

Light lingers in quite corners
like memories that refuse to flicker,
not acknowledging that the night
has fallen.

We pour over each other
like liquid on a perched desert,
sucking sustenance from substance,
leaching life from any length,
dryer…
dryer…
death.

I dived deep down to the bottom
and found only a drought
drowning on the ocean floor.

Were you the desert or the drought?

Was I the ocean or merely drowning?

Bubble…
bubble…
nothing.

Light lifts the illusions
we sleep upon beneath the darkness,
when everything is possible
and no one ever parts.

I am not one part us,
I am not one part you,
I am not one or the other,
I am the I that was your baby.

Remember?

I was light, you said in the midst
of so much weight but you remained
light on love, regardless.

Light leaks like dripping water
from a faucet
drip…
drip…

onto the broken plates and half eaten hopes
that cannot be either washed or erased.

Light is too light to lift the stains
from the remains of what began
with the words

I want to drown in your eyes.

Light frequently floods
the flaccid lies we feed ourselves
just so we can get from day to night.

    

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

This is a re-post

TAXI DRIVER, I CAME TO THE CITY

 

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

A FISH CAUGHT ON THE CURVE OF THE MOON

 

Love
is a red
Russian rose
on the run,
a bouquet
to brush the blues
from their burdens.

Hope
is his hand
on her head
in the night,
taking flight
as that blue bird darkens.

But
her moon
was in Pisces
and she was said
to be expunged
by her sensitive soul

but
in his hands
he still held her,
his red
Russian rose
and so
he painted a song
to perpetuate her soul.

Her moon
was in Pisces
and his heart
in the bloom of her hand.

All words by Damien B Donnelly. Painting, Le Paysage Bleu, by Marc Chagall

GPO for Poetry Day Ireland

 

It’s Poetry Day Ireland so I am supporting from abroad. This year’s theme is Truth or Dare so throughout the day I will be posting a few of my older poems on Truth and a few more on being Irish…

General Post Office

1
Beneath the pillars
of your past,
I posted letters
between your walls
and wondered
if they rubbed up against
the souls of your saviours,
if they met with memories
that were made and measured,
bruised and battered
between your bricks and mortar
before being buried in blood.

2
How many letters of love
lined in lust and longing
have perfumed your pillars,
working their way
through your worthy walls
and haunted halls
in search of hungry hearts
to hold them, to open them,
to hear them.

   

All words and photographs of Dublin by Damien B. Donnelly

TOPPLING HIS TOWER for Poetry Day Ireland

It’s Poetry Day Ireland so I am supporting from abroad. This years theme is Truth or Dare so throughout the day I will be posting a few of my older poems on Truth and a few more on being Irish…

Toppling his Tower

What can I lay by the feet of such beauty?
What can I offer my love on this land?
A garden of roses, omitting the thorns
with this golden ring I hold in my hand.

But a garden of roses, omitting the thorns
is barely enough to garland your grace,
so I’ll pave you a path in the finest fabric,
a velvet so sweet to mirror your face.

So I’ll pave you a path in the finest fabric,
a cloth of brocade to comfort your cares,
a daylight distraction to hold your attention
from rebels and riots that are not our affairs.

A daylight distraction to hold your attention
to paintings and poems that hang by our side
in a tower I’ll build you to keep out the cries
of a world lost to power and drunk on its pride.

In a tower I’ll build you to keep out the cries
and a lark then from the meadow I’ll borrow
so she’ll sing of the stars and the moon that is ours
as we’ll lay in arms and let love sooth the sorrow.

But restless was her soul on the call from outside,
her beauty diminished by the sounds of their cries
and one day he lost her where his paved path divided
and he cut down her roses with tears in his eyes.

I gave her the finest, the fairest and fancy,
I gave her the beating heart of this man,
but she was bound to the call of the lost and the lonely
which now I have become and therein I see her plan.

   

All words and photographs of Dublin by Damien B. Donnelly

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

LIFE IN TECHNICOLOR

 

A caress of candy apple red
on a Hong Kong carriageway
of Persian blue busses
and yellowing white stripes,
a notably normal night
without a star in sight
where nothing really happened
except for a sweetening fold,
caught by a camera
and time passing
and that bus in blue going by,
the lives of two commuters
entwining their way through
their lanes of life in technicolor.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly