THE PRICE OF A STAR

 

And she sang of hope and harmony
in a borrowed frock on Tuesday nights
in a smoky bar below the Bowery
where the Irish downed their whiskey
while the Italians were always frisky
and they touched her, always, after;
her faithful followers fingering flesh
as if to caress the affection she injected
into lyrics light and loving, in that bar
beyond the Bowery where she came to entertain
the Irish and Italians who always joined in the refrain.
Though they left her, always, after,
on Tuesday nights neath the smoky light
with hope and harmony already fading
in that bar below the Bowery where the laughter
never managed to linger for that long after
and in the silence below the Bowery
as the stars went out one by one
she felt betrayed by what they’d taken; by the hope
they had mistaken to be theirs for the taking,
and felt betrayed by herself; by her need to amuse,
to be the muse in the limelight but then alone
in the shadows, always and ever after,
by that bar below the Bowery where the light
was far too low to notice that her soul
had left her long ago.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

This is a repost of a week of moon and stars 

AS THE BAND PLAYS ON…

Day 5: National Poetry Writing Month #NaPoWriMo

Amid the misty moods of jazz,
strings starring
the elegance of Ellington,
shadows caress
the couples kissing,
the barman swaying
and the affected
aficionados
converging
on the cello
player,
playing softly on seduction
sentimental moods

as the smell of him
sways still
over my skin
like fingers on the piano,
like the tune
he has played
on other bones,
(and softly sounds the sax)
on other bodies
(and the percussion pipes up)
while he moves
through the crowd;
my man of the moment,

oh my man,
I’ll miss him so…

mood moving from indigo
to let it go.

I watch him
slipping through
mouths sipping wine,
lips licking lyrics,
hands finding heat
below the table,
across the strings.

I’ve wandered down Bleaker
and tasted
the brown brick air,
I saw the sun
set down
high on the Hudson
and felt the wind
whisper the distant song
of solitude
that is never far
from my fold.

I’ve flown so far
to get here,
to this home,
his home,
amid the horns
and harmonies
(I’m already setting free)
it’s the strangest feeling
to know I am here
but will soon be gone,
for the A-train will be calling

as the band plays on…

Al Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on SoundCloud:

 

4TH JULY: NO MAN IS AN ISLAND

It may feel like winter in Paris and I may be rubbing Vicks into my chest while my nose runs like a tap from a so-called Summer (Man)Flu but these pictures recall a perfect summer when a Dutch girl and an Irish man cycled to Brooklyn and took the circle line under the bridges of New York City. We also met Winnie the Pooh in the Library! Happy 4th of July to all the Americans out there (except for Mr.Trump)

Bridges remind us that no man is an island…

 

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Brooklyn Bridge

All Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

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Winnie the Pooh (the Original) also says Happy 4th July

(he lives in the New York Public Library)

Below is the Dutch girl and the Irish boy driving through the library:

 

 

METROPOLIS

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We saw you that day, a world away from today, in a gentler time,
when your towers of trade still stood, we saw you in your brown stones
and running shoes, always running, always pacing, always off somewhere;
somewhere newer, someplace shinier, somewhere brighter, someplace bigger
and we felt so small, so new to it all, looking on;ignorant, innocent, breathless,
you with your yelling arms hailing yellow cabs, you with your giant cars
tearing along your streets, always up the avenues and over the hundreds;
would I ever remember, could I ever forget, would we ever be able to sleep
in our tower above the park, above your streets that towered beneath us,
over us, your buildings that glistened in the daylight, sparkled in the starlight,
sparkled all night, soaring higher and higher, neck ache; always looking up
to see where they ended and the heavens began, streets like soldiers marching
downtown to funky town, Chinatown, Italian town, Liberty’s crown.
We saw you like that, that day, your brown stones and yellow cabs,
the Vanguard and the Village, where he sang and I sobbed, sobbed as he sang
for me, sang for a father. We saw you, uptown for lunches from Zabar’s,
picnics in parks before midtown for belters that blinded us on Broadway.
We saw you and your hidden treasures and your childhood pleasures;
the library, at the back, behind the glass; Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too.
We saw you, suddenly, that day, with one turn, as we fell upon your bridge,
your bridge to Brooklyn, sketched by Roebling and favoured by Whitman,
and there, above the Hudson, a turn away from the hustle and bustle,
in the years before fear reigned, before terror struck and we broke up,
everything opened up and a stillness reigned triumphantly in the air,
until, just a moment later, a siren shot through the city to remind us
that while we’d found a quiet edge, it was just an edge of a great big
shiny metropolis. We saw you that day, together, as one, one summer
when everything seemed eternal. We saw you like that, that day
and never dared to think what might happen if it all fell down.

All words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly