IN OR OUT

 

Lilium lancifolium lies back
in a bed we repositioned
last spring under the scorch
of today’s mid-afternoon melt.

In a slow movement that set her
into structure, before the dawn woke
the rest of us, she assumes a position
to demonstrate the perfect pliancy
of her freckled petals and pushes
everything out to be eaten.

Next to her majesty, in the sluggish
shade of a white pot on the worm-
twisting soil, succulents seal in
all they will ever need to survive.

Somewhere in between I, myself,
am planted with all that I hold vital
willingly caged within these ribs
not even I can open while my fears

sway like stamen from this skin
as I pray for the wind to soon
introduce them all to flight.

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All words and photos by Damien B Donnelly

BOOKENDS; THIERRY’S LINE

 

One ordinary, rather hot summer night, nothing special,
nothing different, in my mind I ran my finger down
the line of hair that ran from your chest before disappearing
beneath your shorts as the breeze blew open your shirt
and I caught the smile in your eye as you read thoughts.

You, with your short dark hair amid a season of blondes
I was tiring of, you, who I never kissed or lay with,
who I never undressed outside of that dizzy dream.

Later that night, while fuelled on cocktails, you brushed
my finger along that same hair line, nothing said,
nothing promised, just that fine line between you and I,

you, with your eyes which shone that breathless night
towards a blue side of green, black jeans, red shirt
and a tan to stop just short of where that line disappeared.

You seemed like the first man I’d seen in such a long time
having been lost for a while in a sea of bleached boys,
all as harmless as they were hairless while I cavorted
about their sweet skins with careless concern for complacency.

But you looked like something else on that fortuitous night
as the setting sun sizzled and breezes briefly blew bodies bare.

That tremendous night when nothing really happened
except for the soft touch of that line I never managed to cross
and, more importantly, never managed to forget.

   

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly.

This month is about looking back and the life and lust of summer nights in Paris in order to move on. The bar was La Tropic, a gin fizz on the terrace, by Les Halles, the summer was 1998 but the location of both the line and the man are now a mystery only the summer stars can shine a light on.

DOWN THE DRAIN

 

My body

my body has a memory
my body has a memory of you
my body has a memory of your skin.

My body

my body remembers
my body remembers how it bent
my body remembers how it bent to your beckoning.

And yet

my mind
my mind has washed itself
my mind has washed itself of your name

like it was no more than scum
to be scrubbed.

 

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

This is a re-post

THE CURRENT OF CREAMY COFFEE

 

I sink beneath your skin
like sea
sweeping over sand,
you, a thousand grains
glistening
while I wash over you
in warm waves,
your salty sweat

sweet

below my current.

I slip between your lips
like cream
coming into coffee,
our senses fired
like frothed fluid
as we pound passion
into fragile
flesh

once fresh,
now feverish,
once timid,

now tasted

once begun,
we can never go back

You are now the sea
and I the sand,
upon your back,

I am now the coffee
and you have taken

to the cream.

TRIMMING THOUGHTS LIKE PURPLE THORNS

 

I take
this thistle
like I take these words,
I trim the thorns at times for desire
to be softer, sweeter, so lines can be calmer,
cleaner. I seek out the heart of the whole, for now,
for here, for this moment, for the sentiment of this song
that comes for but a season. I seek not branch nor stem, but the life
that lingers where flavour is found, where thoughts flow freer upon the page,
no longer rooted under rock, no longer locked under fear. I pierce through firm flesh
like this pen plots it’s point into the page, holding out not for the green flesh pleading for a place in purple but for the truth buried beneath the skin we have learnt to thicken,

toughen.

I cut away
at words wasteful
and suck the substance
of the tale from the source

below the scale.

   

All words and photography By Damien B. Donnelly

28th poem for National Poetry Writing Month

Lunch today was homemade mayonnaise and steamed artichokes and so came the poem

CAST OFF

Along the river bed,

long running with water

already washed through our hands,

long is not the hold we have to harbour,

long running with this water

no longer light at its level,

no longer smooth along its sands,

along this bend of river

I cast into the current, like a kiss

no longer catchable,

this weight no longer workable,

now on route to dissolvable.

From breath to bubble,

bobbing

bubbles,

from breath to bubble and then trouble,

then off they blow,

splashing as they sparkle

and splutter on to spent.

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I cast you into this current,

where shamrock slips to sapphire,

to let the past depart,

not sad of heart, not hard,

just a shadow of blue

in a bend of the bank

at the edge of expire.

To slip from soul like a skin

now shredded from recognition,

a cast off of character no longer cast

in this current condition.

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We knit until we are knotted,

we weave patterns;

loops locked under chains,

some stitches saved and others slipped,

connected to a comfort

until they struggle under strains,

a fragile filigree

we cannot always wear,

hands can only hold

what wants to be held,

we are not fortunate

for the future to foresee,

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we can not always follow,

sometimes even sheep

must make their own route

before they are wound as wool

or substance to swallow,

even the river bed must turn, in time,

twist at others, we are no straight line

but a collection of corrections

cast on and cast off,

kick off

pay off

drop off.

We are more than characters

or thinly drawn caricatures,

I am more than this flesh you see,

you see; I can fester or I can be free.

I shed this skin of a former self,

here by the edge of this river running,

running onwards, searching for its shore,

searching for something more,

for its share of the truth,

I shed this skin to let the other

parts of me find their sea.

I cast into the river bed

this weight so the rest

can float and form and be.

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All words and photographs by Damien B Donnelly

Audio version available on SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/damien-donnelly-2/cast-off

FORGIVENESS

 

If you
are forgiving
to my omission
of carving your name
eternal upon my flesh

then I will
be forgetful
to the distance
you divined to draw
your own deceits upon skin

that wasn’t mine

as I forget you completely.

All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

BENEATH THE SKIN

 

I         You         Us
being so much water
and yet the lucky
do not drown
in the very essence
of what they are

I         You         Us
we are all oceans sunk beneath the surface of the skin

I         You         Us
so much water
beneath the skin,
we are movement
cast out
to current curiosity

I         You         Us
all movement
like ripples on the water
and we are water,
and we are as deep
as we dare
to dive

I         You         Us
daring divers
discovering our own
essence in the depths,
the lucky ones rising
like waves,
washing upon the shores of our world

I         You         Us
so capable of watering our waning world.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

Audio available on Soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/damien-donnelly-2/beneath-the-skin