I wanted to write you
a valentine,
now that it’s now longer
now that you’re no longer
my valentine.

I’m sending you
a card,

along with chocolates,

to balance
your bitterness,

like the ones
you never sent.

If you were now
my valentine
I’d eat you
like chocolates,

I’d suck,
and swallow you
in seconds

to forget you.

If you were still
my valentine
I’d press you,
like a petal
between the pages
of a book,

of a book
I never open
and then wait for you

to perish.

If you were now
my valentine
I’d do my best
to banish you

just as I vanished
from your vision,

just as you left me

for affection.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 18.57.36

Between je t’aime and je t’aime, moi non plus
there is so much more
than love and hate;
I love you
I put my trust in you
I thrust myself into you
I lost my thrust in you
I hate you,
je t’aime, moi non plus,
I love you
I ache for you
my limbs ache from you
it aches to look at you
I hate you,
je t’aime, moi non plus,
I love you
I lay with you
I lie with you
I lied to you
I hate you,
je t’aime, moi non plus,
I love you
moi, non plus.


All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

(Rowing Boats in Richmond, England)


Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 02.43.41.png

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


What do you see in me,
As your eyes bore into me,
Review me, regard me?
Are you looking at me, within
For a version of yourself, without?
A comfort, consolation, connection?
Am I your opposite or your equal,
Your reflection or your desire?
What subtle certainly sways you
To share your secrets, so suddenly,
Your dreams and your desires,
Your appetites and aberrations?
What tenacious tendency
Towards the truth tempts you
To touch me, take me, taste me?

What was that calmness
That cuddled in between us?
And your voice, like a sound
I was weaned on and your hold,
Like the touch, a trigger, a trace
Of attraction, always known.

Did the world really stop,
Did time slow down
To meet us, to find us?
Us, two strangers
Names newly known,
Body by body, body on body,
Your eyes open and watching,
Watching you, watching me,
Taking, tasting, releasing,
Tension washing away.

It is flesh
At the end of the day,
We are people
At the end of the day,
We have desires
At the end of the day,
We have needs
At the end of the day,
What is wrong
At the end of the day?
Who we make love to
At the end of the day?
Your tastes, your looks,
Your penis, your vagina
Your fears, who fed them,
Your scars, who bled them.

It started and I waited
But you didn’t say no,
You smiled and then held me
And just let it go;

For this moment,
For this night,
For all you believe
And all that feels right,
For all that you fear
Let the senses guide you,
For all you’ve resisted
Let the curiosity drive you.

For all that you question,
And all that you need,
Let this moment find you
Finally freed.
Let tomorrow’s thoughts
Not try to tease you,
Let the fear of the future
Not find or freeze you.

So hold my hand,
And touch my skin,
As you feel my breath
Upon your chin.
Sense my lips
Touching yours,
Forget the time,
Forget the jeers.
Take this moment
As just a chapter
Worry not now
For the ever after.

We are adults aroused
By a moment in time,
We are bodies entwined,
Me in yours and you in mine.

Not One Fucking Tear

Fuck it!

Fuck it, I keep saying

To myself

In the place of

Bashing skull against wall.

Fuck it,

I stripped it all down for you,

Laid it physically

And mentally


And emptied myself

Of all my silly secrets

And petty principles

And all for this-

This insipid accomplishment of nothingness-

The fucking empty vacuum

Of the little you gave, offered, shared!

Are you greater for all you have stolen,

Am I reduced from all you have taken?

Was I but meat on the bone

To be scraped off,



Was there a thought,

Any thought,

A fucking single thought

Towards feeling

Or stand you sensorially deprived;

Incapable of consciously considering

The character of others?

Fuck it,

I say again,

Over and over,

As I sit here,

Fucked again

By the failure to forsee

The futile future

And yet, you stand there still

As if wounded,

As if innocent,

As if exempt

From all blame

While my blood drips slowly

From your tongue to toe.

Fuck you,

With your polished pristine pride

And mirrored glances

To catch but your own reflection.

You- with your caloused hands,

Chapped skin

And impenetrable heart

And that blood still falling

From tongue to toe-

Not yours, once mine.

I bled for you as you bore

Inside me,

As you bore me,


Over and over,

Bored me sensless

Until I found myself

With skull against wall

Looking for a door to open,

A handle to get a grip on,

Just something to latch onto

And pull me out.

Fuck this mess,

Fuck this situation,

Again and again,

All over again.

Fuck the promises you pissed away.

Fuck the potential that should have been.

Fuck those changes we talked about.

Fuck the Us that could have been We

While all along you only cherished

The Me that was You!

Fuck those fears I had

Of being alone,

Of missing you,

Of starting over-

Fuck it all away.

Days are passing now

And I have not shed a single tear,

Not one fucking tear for you.

Fuck you- no more!


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




I caught your scent
on the breeze today
as a stranger passed me
on a foreign street,
in a foreign land
and I fell,
a decade in the passing,
till there you were;
beside me, behind me,
inside me,
piercing my memory
with Parisian pleasures,
show-tunes and sunflowers
on this foreign street,
in this foreign land
that had never known
the wealth
or weight
of our love.
I caught your scent
on the breeze today
and was reminded
of all I won’t let go.


All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Spring Cleaning


Spring cleaning

As fresh white snow falls by the window.

Spring cleaning;

Filling countless boxes of memories

To be covered up in cupboards,

Hoovering up all you left behind

In corners too tricky to tackle.

Spring cleaning,

Polishing over reflections in mirrors

Of the many moments we made

And washing the bedclothes over and over

And entrusting the rest for time to fade.

Spring cleaning,

In December, with icicle eyes

As snows of white cover the world and its sighs.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly