I steal scents from strangers,
skins skirting a sense of someone else
like flowers sent to the wrong address

and thoughts lean towards intense,

fragrances on the less familiar
that feel more personal
than these perfumed impostors
pilfering my past, more a fancy to my form
than a complete composition of theirs,

I can tell a dahlia from a daisy.

I slip through these scents
on these skins of strangers
through moments on metros moving
and slide suddenly
into arms once wrapped in
and sheets once strangled by,
the prick of every rose
that can one day rot,

(one must remember to change
the water in the vase!)

all memories of muscle and muddles
that have since slipped from this lined skin,
like veins vying on leaves that have caught
themselves onto the branches of other trees.

Stale tales on the scents of new strangers.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



It’s outstanding
what odours
can own,
how biographies
in bottles
can board,
how illusions can lie lay
in liquids,
how subtle scents
can be savoured.

I sprayed you
on my hands

-so cold to caress-

from a bottle,
a simple bottle,
in a shop,
a simple shop,
in a city
that never saw us,
in a land
that never heard us,

or knew
what we felt
or how we smelt,

that never caught
our connection
shattering into pieces,

leaving nothing
but a sweet scent
on the sheets
of other beds
in other streets.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 17.51.32
It was this morning and yesterday again,
          a smell, a scent, on the metro, in my nostrils,
                    a decent into the memory, a revery playing, replaying 
                while the crows counted Round Here, they sang, 
          this year and that other year, all at once,
we sang our own song, once, once, once
          but time, like the metro, took us off and on
                     into different directions, obligated to other distractions, 
                                           men and marriage, movements and meanders,
                                 an Irish song we sang, you sang, I listened 
                    and then I left while you stayed on,
        stayed on track in that other year 
but I came back and you were still there
           still here, Round Here, as the crows sang,
                     are still singing, those counting crows
                                   their words still ringing 
             in my ears, today, on the metro,
  with that scent, that odorous accent
            that opened a gap in time between yesterday,
                                            when we were young, and today,
                                                              grown worldly and wider, 
                                           this morning as my mind rushed
                            and passengers crushed onto carriages
            commuting, lines crossing, junctions joining
as I went to work remembering who we were,
     I wore waistcoats even then and you a brown coat
                            that caressed your curves and concerns,
                                   I went to work while traveling onwards,
                                                     along the same rails,
                                          in the same direction
                      as before but different too 
                             some things old
                                  and some things new,
                                           still me on the metro,
                                                  still me and there’s you.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly