THE AMERICAN DREAM

 

There’s a man travelling states
building walls and closing gates,
he used to be a showman,
a businessman, a lover man,
now he wants to be the townsman
but what town could want this man?

There’s a man crossing states
with opinions out of date
and he’s parading his delusions
as if suggesting some solutions
like changing constitutions
and inciting petty citizens
to pointless revolutions.

There’s a man out of date
with ambitions to head of state
who’s been told that if you dream it
and can afford it, then you just take it
but House of Cards was just a show
can it be possible he did not know?

There’s a county getting bigger,
oh what’s it matter, I mean fatter,
there’s a country losing face
with its kin, with the human race,
it used to be the promised land,
was once the land of dreams,
but now that anyone can buy a gun
it’s just the land of screams.

There’s a man in the states
gaining power and closing gates…
perhaps America was just a dream
that we watched once on a screen.

All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

4TH JULY: NO MAN IS AN ISLAND

It may feel like winter in Paris and I may be rubbing Vicks into my chest while my nose runs like a tap from a so-called Summer (Man)Flu but these pictures recall a perfect summer when a Dutch girl and an Irish man cycled to Brooklyn and took the circle line under the bridges of New York City. We also met Winnie the Pooh in the Library! Happy 4th of July to all the Americans out there (except for Mr.Trump)

Bridges remind us that no man is an island…

 

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Brooklyn Bridge

All Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

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Winnie the Pooh (the Original) also says Happy 4th July

(he lives in the New York Public Library)

Below is the Dutch girl and the Irish boy driving through the library:

 

 

SCENE IN EUROPE, SCENE 7, ERUPTIONS IN POMPEII

 
Scene in Europe, Scene 7, Eruptions in Pompeii

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“You remember the dust in Florence, Marty? Well, let me tell you, I was wrong, that wasn’t dust, this is dust. How many bubkes did this cost us? Look at it, I mean, the parties certainly done and dusted in this fakakta place,” Sophie complained, not for the first time, to her long serving husband as a sea of sweat swept its way down her neck, seeping under the strap of her bulging brassiere strap and on down to places her husband hadn’t seen in years, “and where are the people? I read in a book they had folks from ancient times, days of yore or what-have-you, who were turned to stone, literally, and you could see them! Well, I ask you Marty, where the hell are they?”

“That’s a lot to deal with all in one go, Soph. You want me to start anywhere in particular?”

“Oy, Marty. It was rhetorical, re-tor-ic-al,” she repeated phonetically, “don’t be a schmuck, if I ever needed an answer to anything, have I ever asked you? Come now Marty, let’s face it, you don’t send a dog to the butchers shop!”

Marty ignored her little saying, and the knowing dig, but was grateful that, since being in Europe, she’d actually managed to reduce her spewing of confusing little rhymes, phrases and all around sayings about what to do or not do with life, though never her’s, alway other peoples, but she rarely managed to use the right saying at the right time, he knew her more as a woman who liked to be heard than to put too much worry into the content of what she was actually saying.

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“If we ever get to Berlin, you can be advised to just lock me up in Jane’s apartment, after we check it out first, mind you, and then just leave me there, night and day,” she told him.

“What, so you can take to peeing in the closets like Mary Margaret’s old klutz? That was a narrow escape, I tell you.”

“I just need some structure, can’t you understand that?” she asked him as she twisted her fanny pack back around to the front, “I need walls that are built to last, air conditioning, the fresh smell of polish. I believe the Germans know the difference between a bomb site and a bloody good building,” Sophie said, ignoring the still painful reminder of the loss of two shiksas who seemed like the perfect travel companions who they’d bumped into in Barcelona but who turned out, regretfully, to be no more than one half of a pack of lunatics.

“You can’t say that,” her husband told her.

“You wanna bet? Show me a good German and I bet they can show me a perfectly made bed with hospital approved corners and a decent martini, but I will say this,” she said, looking up along the remains of a cobble stoned road and off into the distance, “I will confess to being very partial to this landscape. Look up there, at that mountain, the pointy one,” she said as she mustered up enough force to raise her arm through the weight of the midday heat, “I wonder if they have a cable car or yet another form of decrepit transport to get up there. I’m sure the view from the top is just darling. And away from all this soot into clear breathable air. I need something to get my mind off all those vulgar men, loitering around that backwards station this morning. What is it about Italian men and their need to constantly touch themselves, as if it makes us gals all wanna run up to them and have a go on it ourselves?”

“I’m not sure what you mean about the Italian’s and having a right old go on them, but I do know about that mountain up there. That’s Vesuvius, Sophie!”

“Oy, look at you, who’d have known it? A schmuck like you knows the name of a hill. Marty, you wanna build one of those now, too.”

“It’s not a hill Sophie, or a bloody cathedral, and I never wanted to build a cathedral in the first place, thank you very much. But I will tell you that that hill you’re talking about, that’s the damn volcano that tore this place apart,” he informed his uninformed wife, “but if you want me to send you up, then I tell you now, Sophie Moskowitz, I’ll sure as hellfire carry you up there myself,” he told her, eye to eye, in no uncertain terms, “and throw you in.”

“Marty,” she yelled at him as the already ruined walls shook from the force of her gravel grazing voice.

“Sophie,” he yelled back, sending further reverberations into the city of what used to be.

And then there was silence. It was a standstill. It was 40 years of marriage together, day in, day out. It was 50 days on holiday, alone but together, back to back, with no family to break them up and distract them from each other. It was Pompeii and the weight of its own destruction in the scorching midday sun reflecting poorly on their own long standing, but often fragile, union. It was blisters, bowels, bunions. It was flights, fatigue and foreigners. Eruptions were bound to arrive, eventually. They just had no idea who would blow first.

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After 30 minutes of time out, Sophie found Marty sitting in the remains of the 80BC Roman Amphitheatre, looking more broken than usual as he sat on one of the steps, melting in his white tracksuit. What a vision, she thought to herself, this ancient site with its rising stone walls all around her and her ancient husband amid it, certainly no gladiator but, well, he’d done her well, so far. Maybe his angina was acting up again, she thought as she came towards him, although she was secretly more concerned that he’d get dirt stains on the seat of his white pants.

“But you love me,” she began coyly, hopefully and her head nodded with a mix of rejection and old age.

“But I love you,” in said as his facial frown cracked like plaster and he reached out and took her fine freckled hand in his as he stood up, next to her, and they looked around as if there were Pompeiian King and Queen.

“You know Soph, we’re just like this place. Once young and happy and now just crumbling under a heavy layer of ageing.”

“Oy vey, I gotta tell you Marty, you sure are full of shit sometimes. The only thing heavy about us is your mozzarella and basil filled pizza belly. How I ever managed to marry so beneath myself, I’ll never know,” she told him, much to his surprise as she looked out over the walls of the amphitheater until her gaze closed in on the point of Vesuvius, once again, “but I guess we gotta face it,” she continued, rubbing her free hand along the length of her husbands arm, at the end of which their hands were forever entwined, “it’s gonna take more than a volcano to tear us down!”

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All Words and Photographs by Damien B. Donnelly

To the East of Ignorance

I had wanted to show you it all;

For you to revel

As much as I

In the magnificence I had seen

And felt.

Perhaps it was my fault-

In the extreme-

Maybe my blinkered view,

Like the race horse-

Seeing only the green of the track

And the glory of the win ahead

While missing the money hungry betters to the sides

And the jockey with whip behind.

But still,

The entire time your view

Saw only the concrete beneath your feet

As if you feared to place a step

Wrongly

And so lose your American footing.

You proved as cold

And impenetrable

As the surface upon which you walked,

Moved only by a metal banister

That you pleaded with me to photograph

Least your creativity

Failed to capture it.

Yet it was you who’d become captured;

Trapped in a foreign land

That you had longed to see

And yet failed-

So perfectly-

To look upon.

To create means more than just

Standing on the spot of inspiration.

You lolled about

Almost as inanimately

As the statues that surrounded us.

However,

Their shadows appeared to sway

In the sunshine

With so much more gusto than yours-

At least, until you fell needy

And your dull American twang

Rang out monotonously

To disrupt the ambience

And civility

That enchanted me

And washed over you

Like you were oil-based,

Cardboard cut-out,

Dull reflection

Of someone else-

Hardly remembered.

Alcohol loosened you

Along with athletic fumblings

In a beamed ceiling room

In Saint Paul,

But we were neither drunk

Nor naked

All the time,

Although it felt like I had stripped

Bare for you,

To show you my secret

Parisian life

That, malheurusement,

Over half the world shared.

In that tree-lined park

Below the radiant sunshine

I feigned sleep and watched you

Behind darkened shades

And wondered

Where you were.

You noted it strange how the boys played

Football

Instead of baseball

And I realized

That you had not even boarded the plane

Or removed yourself

From your ignorant States.

I chilled in the warmth,

Amid that sun-filled square,

On that Sunday afternoon

In July

As I watched you

Fall intrigued

By little boys at play

And your comic books

Became all the more

Disturbingly understandable.

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