Red sun burns below a blue moon
and the tiger rips through trees
to escape the cat. Sometimes
small things need to be as sharp
as an icicle even when the sun
comes to burn red beneath blue
moons while she sings of those
crazy cries of Havana’s love.
She sang of Paris once while
somewhere else and California
while in Greece. She was blue too,
like that moon, while in green
and again with those icicles
and no baby for birthday clothes-
letting go’s a bitch, like moving on,
even if you’re just a fearless pussy
cat and the tiger is too scared
to fuck with you. Earlier, luxuriant
leant in, hissing all over her
manicured lawns of blue pools
and strangling centrepieces.
Always the blue below that burning
sun and those picture-perfect settings
as if to foretell of all that will follow.
Red sun burns below a blue moon
and pussy purrs alone while the tiger
takes cover beneath the shade of
the green cactus tree with phallic
spikes that look like limp icicles.


All words and drawings by Damien B Donnelly. Some thoughts inspired by the music and lyrics of Joni Mitchell



And so I come north
where the air cuts colder,
where daylight is a breath
that barely bays, night
a blanket bound to days.
I am not here to stay but
on a sway through ticking
time, to see what rests
where the light is less,
where day finds end before
being truly bent, where life
harks to harder as the day
hangs darker, dreams now are
the comings and goings,
the stuffing out of hours
before a bitter blanket of
blinkered blindness. Sad hearts
grow sadder, they say, grow
seasonal into sombre, into
the shadow of a city standing
still, waiting for the will. Days
fall short, are gone before
they can be caught, like hours,
like time, like the hand in that taxi
I once held, like all we cannot
hold, like all that ticks onwards,
all that moves off with the light
while I come here to the land
which time has left behind it.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

From the poetry series A Month With Yeats



Sitting in a park in Paris, France as kids climb
trees they’ll soon outgrow and birds busy
their feathers in a dance of freedom we’ll never know.
I fall through your thoughts as someone tickles
strings on cords too distant to be discovered
and wonder where you sat; on the orange carpet
caressed by concerns of a girl growing
through her own song of sorrow? Next to the guy
with the hat and harmony, no doubt, who guards
his guitar from the bright light, in the as yet
starless sky, as if he knows how celebrity
will one day cripple his creativity. A blackbird
bows before me, burrowing his burdens
into the road, looking for crumbs cast off,
for a little refuge, like you did, like we all do,
a little distraction from the circling sun
and shining skins blustering under bland and blander.
Sitting in a park in Paris, France, as if in a trance
from 22 to 42, when I first found favour
with following you; back room, no light, bedsit;
we were masters of the Marais, simple singletons,
senselessly sinking innocence into the marshes,
courting kisses for a single spark and rising
over all those losses we thought at the time
to be utterly insurmountable disasters.
But they were just dances, like these tiny birds
around me now, prances we perform, up and under,
over and through. We are all naked birds flirting
with honesty and invisibility under the sweltering sun,
sometimes remembered, sometimes forgotten
before begun. Sitting in a park in Paris, France,
still trying to understand the message in the melody
underlying and still trying to comprehend
the cords forged in the flesh of the boy so blue.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

This is a repost from my Joni Mitchell Series


And so we move along the coast, Busan, the beach version of Seoul…


Of course we arrived to a rather wet beach and not just from the tide


A major city in the making 


And everywhere there are mountains, even in the city


Nightlife taking shape on Saturday, the only night the kids have off from study


The harbour bridge


The bridge from our wet hotel rooftop


The port and the fish market (with the winged roof)


Gamcheon Culture Village, a city slum getting a facelift


Gamcheon Culture Village and La Petit Prince dropped in to have a look


Gamcheon Culture Village


Traditional Hanbok in Gamcheon Culture Village


Gamcheon Culture Village where even the bikes are colourful 


Gamcheon Culture Village


Gamcheon Culture Village and the steps to the stars


Gamcheon Culture Village and daily life captured 


The pound in Gamcheon Culture Village


Gamcheon Culture Village


Dolls house in Gamcheon Culture Village


Gamcheon Culture Village


Jagalchi Fish Market, shame you can’t smell it


Jagalchi Fish Market


Jagalchi Fish Market and giant crabs


Jagalchi Fish Market


Jagalchi Fish Market


Jagalchi Fish Market


Jagalchi Fish Market


Jagalchi Fish Market


A little Louis at Shinsegae Centrum Shopping mall


The city growing up


Green onion pancakes, mackerel & somewhere, out of frame, there is, of course, kimchi


Bus to Beomeosa Temple and this man lovely became our tour guide


Beomeosa Temple entrance, there are three gates in total


Beomeosa Temple


Beomeosa Temple


Beomeosa Temple


Beomeosa Temple


Beomeosa Temple


Beomeosa Temple Tiles


Beomeosa Temple


Beomeosa Temple


Beomeosa Temple


Beomeosa Temple and one of the Buddhas 


Beomeosa Temple


Beomeosa Temple


Beomeosa Temple guard


Beomeosa Temple and the boys (men)


Stream in the Beomeosa Temple grounds.

Next stop Jeju Island for the last port of call… 

All photographs by Damien B. Donnelly



Day 23 National Poetry Writing Month #NaPoWriMo

Decades by four
and one year more
have tempered time
to twisting root
beneath this ever
changing shore.

Lands by four
and to one returned
as curious caught
upon my boot
my bags now tipped
with lessons learned.

Summer fires
have blazed this land
flames that fired
forbidden fruit
that etched their mark
upon this sand.

Kisses that sank
beneath the grains
while others I thought
to be absolute
now wait for time
to shift their stains.

The sun has often
turned to storm
hearts were hot
then tears dilute
as I break and fall
and rise through form.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


Day 9; National Poetry Writing Month #NaPoWriMo

Wander, he thought, and wander did he
across the land and over the sea,
adventure, he thought, but distraction came free
as distance dissolved the boundary.

For a while, he thought, a while to flee,
to see what rests, to see what can be,
understand, he said, this need to flee,
understand, accept and set it free.

Relax, he thought, and relax did he
across the land and over the sea,
feel, he thought, the possibility,
let dreams delight in discovery.

But hold, he though, what you cannot see,
those hearts you left across the sea,
release, he said, if it’s not to be,
all bonds too fragile you must set free.

Just fly, he thought, all across the sea
fly like a bird, uncaged, and set free,
draw the vision and see what can be,
feed on the flames of positivity.

For a while, he thought, a while to flee,
your name, your nation, their opinion of me,
but to find yourself again is the key
and not lose yourself in that quest to be free.

All Words by Damien B. Donnelly. My own self portrait aged 18

Audio version available at Soundcloud:




I have crossed oceans
without feeling the weight
washed beneath their waves…

I have cut through clouds
without knowing the worries
they whisper to the stars…

I have flown

from darkening dreams
towards tomorrow’s daylight

and yet
the light’s already fading
on front of me

before my past
has even slept

before my future

somewhere far behind me

has even been conceived…


All words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

AT THE RISING SUN; Tunisia, Remembering Brighter Days


Shandy shades of dust speckle the ground

And gallant tones of green

Dot the landscape

From which the scent of olives ooze,

Before mixing with the aromas of musk,

Distant Morocco

And the comical smell of buring tires.

At dusk,

I am driven by a blind taxi driver-

Judging by his driving-

Along a road

Which seemingly stretches through the sea

Whilst seagulls dive for food

Before the final setting of the sun.

That morning,

I had strolled along golden sands

And watched tides sweep over my feet,

I saw white robbed men

Close their eyes

And wrap themselves

In prayer and peace.


I saw the sun rise

And pour its rays

Over the tombs of those

Who had long since gained

Eternal rest.

A simple life witnessed,

With riches extending far beyond

The grasp of materialism…




Scene in Europe, Scene 8, Madrid and the Reoccurring Scent of a Dream

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Henry sat on the edge of the bed feeling his burgeoning body cave and crumble. He was exhausted, confused and broken. In Cologne, after a date that proved as evaporating as water, he’d met a group of Spaniards celebrating their last night before heading home to Madrid the following day, and, although he spoke no Spanish and they had hardly any English, he managed to wangle a free ride to Spain.
Little did he know that it would take so long, that the car would be so small or even worse, how much and quickly they would all speak, simultaneously, in a language he’d only ever heard his mother’s overly familiar gardener speaking. The trip unfolded into a 17 hour long cacophony of voices clashing within the confines of a sardine can while everyone sweated, salivated and slurped up whatever liquids they could find from motorway takeaways. Sleep had been hoped for but proved impossible sitting between two 18 year old boys intent on beating each other up. He’d envisioned an entirely different kind of road trip when they’d first made the offer, thinking of positioning himself between the two girls of the party but they turned out to be the designated driver and navigator and claimed the more spacious position in the front of the car, so close but just far enough to be out of reach.
Up till now, his European vacation had not overly taxed his Father’s credit card but his Father had told him that, if absolutely necessary, he could treat himself to a little comfort and so, as soon as he arrived in Madrid, he jumped ship, or car, grabbed a cab and headed to straight to Plaza de Santa Ana and the ME Madrid Reine Victoria Hotel, lush and lavish and on his list of just-in-case-emergency hotels.
“A shower and then a little rest,” he told himself as the bed seemed to lift up to meet his back and sooth his aching head before, almost immediately, all went dark. The next thing he knew there was a bright, warm light shining on his face, his mouth was so parched that his tongue kept sticking to the roof of it and a drool had dried itself to the side of his stubbled cheek. He moved slowly in the bed realising he’d fallen asleep, missing the afternoon and dinner, along with the entire night as it was now 11am the following day.

After a much needed shower, he gelled back his blonde quiff, admired his now refreshed physique and set out through the tiny, twisting streets of burnt orange buildings, bustling with determined locals and distracted tourists until he made his way to the Puerta del Sol, the swarming centre of the city and centre of Spain itself, with its famous Bear and Madrone Tree statue, the symbol of city, and the ever ticking bell tower, famous to all Spaniards as it rings in the New Year on every TV in the country while everyone tries of gobble down 12 grapes in the first minute of the midnight. Freeing himself from the crowd, he took the Calle Mayor with its 19th century buildings either falling, fading or fabulous, he found his way down to the sun drenched, sand coloured Palacio surrounded by melting tourists all queuing to see the guilt lined walls so he wandered around the neighbouring Almudena Cathedral instead before managing to make it all the way across town to the Prado Museum before 4pm.
“I’m gonna know this place in less than two days,” he told himself when he got back to the hotel and through down the postcards of El Greco, Goya and Velazquez before devouring two twisting, sugar coated churros looking like giant french fries.

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An evening nap left him dozy when he woke up as the clock flashed 10.15pm and he thought he’d missed another night till he heard the heavy bass of a sound system steaming in through the open window. Dressed casually in a fitted black V neck tee and white jeans, he took the elevator up to the top floor and gasped as the doors opened to the sight of the city spread out before him, glistening in the night light while the coolest group of people partied and paraded above it; beautiful girls in revealing dresses; sleeveless, backless, breathless and men in cropped trousers of every colour imaginable. It was the United Colours of Benetton meets Victoria’s Secret, all under a magnificent sky full of stars.

“Como Estas,” asked a dark haired goddess as he stepped onto the wonderfully scented terrace while she offered him a glass of champagne from the tray in her hand.

“Muy bien, gracias” he said, a little shocked at her beauty but taking the glass anyway as she looked him up and down and smiled seductively before turning away and vanishing into the crowd.

“Como Estas,” came a voice from over his shoulder and he turned to see another dark diva smiling at him while serpent-like curls swayed over her barely covered breasts. Henry didn’t know where to look but couldn’t bring himself to divert his eyes.

“Muy bien,” he replied again, ‘I am fine’ being the only reply in Spanish he knew how to say but she’d already turned and was sauntering away like a model twirling back on the end of a catwalk.

This felt crazy, like he’d woken up to his hottest, favourite dream, with audio as well as visual.
As he watched her disappear like the last one, into the crowd, another girl, this time a blonde with silver painted lips and an almost transparent dress, sailed past him, blew him an air kiss and offered another “Como Estas,” without even stopping for a reply.

Henry knocked back the champagne and made his way to the bar for something stronger but, from out of nowhere, another tray of champagne glasses came up to his face, held again by another Spanish beauty, offering the same “Como Estas” greeting.

“I’m in love,” he answered this time, the last glass kicking his courage and labido into place, “you smell amazing,” he told her as the nights breeze caressed him with her scent, realising it was the same smell he had been inhaling since the doors of the elevator had opened.

“Lo siento, no hablo Ingles,” she told him before she offered the same greeting to a man standing next to him, along with the same enticing smile. At least he understood when someone told him they couldn’t speak English but he was a little offended that the smile and look of come-to-bed-with-me wasn’t just for him.

“Fucking hell mate, d’you see the ass on that one?” questioned the man next to him in a heavy British accent.

Henry turned, relieved he could finally speak to someone in his own language but a tiny badge on the collar of the man’s shirt distracted him. It looked like a tiny bottle and splashed across it were the words ‘Como Estas’.

“I’m sorry, you mind if I ask… what’s with the badge… on your shirt?” Henry asked, pointing to the welcome words that he’d originally thought were opening lines and already a little worried as to what the response might be.

“Ah, didn’t you get one in your room, when you checked in, with the stash of samples? I’m with the sales team, over from London… for the bash. So there’s an American team, eh?” the man asked him, “didn’t realise they’d take it global, so fucking soon. It’s a bit cheesy for my liking but I guess you lot like cheesy, sorry mate.”

“That’s all right but I’m still missing something, sales team for what?” Henry asked.

“Christ mate, you had too much bloody booze or what? The launch… this launch. ‘Como Estas’, the new perfume. Don’t it smell like a real dirty fucking dream?”

“Yes,” relied Henry, deflated and disappointed yet again, “like a reoccurring dream you just can’t wake up from,” he admitted as he downed the glass of champagne in one go. Europe was suddenly beginning to smell far to aromatic for his liking.


All words and photographs by Damien B. Donnelly


I am sitting in a cafe

In a city now called home,

I’ve travelled many roads to get here-

And most all of them alone.


There’s been multitudes of languages

And a million changing faces,

Solitudes of silences

And unforgettable embraces.

I am eternally the estranger

In a land of other locals,

Externally the optimist

As my now grey hair reduces.

I’ve found all the answers

To questions never wondered,

But have yet to find the answers

To the questions that I’ve pondered.

I am happy more than tearful,

Alone more so than lonely

And happy that my insanity

Has never toppled my stability.

I consume myself with worry,

Awake myself with doubt,

But take comfort when the laughter

Drowns all darkness out.


I am sitting in a cafe

In a city that’s now home,

But as every car passes by

I wonder where next I’ll roam…