AT ODDS, AT THE TABLE

Day 3: National Poetry Writing Month #NaPoWriMo

Always
that fine line
between
what slots
together and what
slips in between,
those black spots
of doubt that cannot
be fully folded out
like linen that lingered
too long
before being laid,
like chopsticks
that fight for form
between fingers foreign,
like this morning,
in the park,
the birds you breaded
and tonight,
on your plate,
the duck, now shredded.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

SHANGHAI STREETS; FAR FROM HOME

On pressing parades
pedestrian pass on motors,
on mass, in autos,
under umbrellas,
in downpours of flashing lights
of signs I cannot identify,
on roads that have no rules,
with crossings that heed no caution
for those crossing, the tens crossing,
the hundreds crossing,
the thousands trying to get through
with rising intonations 
to parks, to stop on mass,
to push against the air,
to cast shapes,
slow moving shapes,
motions that move into the morning
still in the making
while they are waking
and I wander the streets
in search of lost sleeps,
in search of understanding
the red dragon and his breath that steals
from sight a sky I never see
and yet there is light, electric light,
burning down from buildings, blinding buildings,
as if to shadow all that was once natural,
all that hints at traditional,
and that still echoes with strings of beauty,
stranded streets that should be seen
but are shaded by the gleam
of glorious Gucci and pray to Prada
and all the rest of western delusions
that silence the former oriental infusions.
I am the white man,
the foreign man
trying to find meaning in the madness,
in the movement, clambering to catch comprehension
with nothing but chopsticks
that fail to find favour with my fingers
in this land where the food tastes delicious
and the streets smell atrocious.
Xièxiè and Nín hǎo are the crutches I cling to,
to clamber through,
but, like the chopsticks,
they are too fragile to be stable
and too fickle to be favourable
and I am clearly too used to home
to be truly objectionable.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio version available on Soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/damien-donnelly-2/shanghai-streets-far-from-home

 

 

 

 

CHINA IN PICTURES; SHANGHAI STORIES

Last week I was in Shanghai for work and met jet lag straight on, here are some of the pictures from that week, including 6am walks through the city while it was waking and I was searching for sleep…

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The mountains of the clouds

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The customary gas mask in your room for emergencies, wrapped in a velvet pouch 

img_4120Jing’an Temple

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Waiting to something to clean

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The new climbing over the old

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Morning rituals

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Nanjing Road

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Dali time

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Start of the morning commute

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new mode of transport 

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Japanese dining

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Concept store Corso Como

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Passion Fruit Cocktail in the Coconut Paradise Restaurant 

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new buildings and old ways

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The People’s Square

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Red Queue and phone box

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Market streets

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Smoke and Flowers in the floor

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Funky food plates and twisting cutlery 

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Da Dong restaurant and our own Duck being sliced

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The Dragon’s Breath stealing the view on the Bund

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The year of the rain

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Old Town umbrellas 

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City God Temple of Shanghai

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And ending with a little consideration for the bottom…

All Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly