Damien Donnelly

Damien, 45, Dublin born, returned to Ireland in 2019 after 23 years in Paris, London and Amsterdam, working in the fashion industry. His writing focuses on identity, sexuality and fragility. His daily interests revolve around falling over and learning how to get back up while baking delicious cakes. His short stories have been featured in the books ‘Second Chance’ Original Writing, ‘Body Horror’ Gehenna & Hinnom, his poetry in ‘Nous Sommes Paris,’ Eyewear Publishing and The Runt Magazine. Online, he’s been featured in Black Bough Poetry, Coffin Bell, Barren Magazine, the Fahmidan Journal and many more. His debut poetry collection Eat the Storms was published by The Hedgehog Press in September 2020 when he also began a poetry podcast Eat the Storms, available on Spotify, Apple Podcast and most podcast platforms that featured guest poets every week from around the world with a common goal of sharing voices in these days of distancing.


I tear photos from magazines and then paste them
onto my skin to remind me of things forgotten.
A decoupage
I thought this body would be; a mash-up
of non-chronological chaos, a tattoo of thundering
travels telling of everything I’d stopped to touch
but mirrors make diversions toward distractions
and shadows come at random to draw attention
from moments lost to the taste once the tongue.
One morning
we woke long ago above the Boulevard de Strasbourg,
feathers in a frantic fight on the far side of the glass-
a storm I couldn’t get quite close enough to touch.
We smelt of the last night’s Fizzes from La Tropic
and somewhere, in the back of my senses, I still smell
a Sandwich Grec, rotting. That was one of the first things
I pasted
and one of the first things, years later, I noticed distance
had removed when I pulled into Gare du Nord as the rain
bashed against the glass I had reached the other side of.

We’ll Always Have… What Exactly?

I climb a ladder to pick discarded twigs from blocked gutter
at the end of the roof where the slates swayed slightly
in the storm these summer days set down upon us.
Babies grown feathers and flown nests, their beds now
fodder for winds to wash down the grey slate, going rotten,
raining into gutters overflowing. Their home now
at the reach of their wingspan
and not a chimney on a roof with gutters now gushing.
I lived, once, on the top floor of a hotel room, at the darkest
end of December and the beginning of a new breath-
Rue des Mauvais Garçons, ça commence,
c’est vrai qui ce n’est pas la Rue des Bons Enfants.
The balcony, under gutter, was as economical with comfort
as the thin pillows balancing on large lumps in the small bed
but I sat there, in the twinkling of a Christmas morning
in Tati jumper and smoked Gauloises sans filtre, drinking
champagne I’d nicked from the bar, wondering
where to build my nest among the rooftops I watched
burning unsafe fires in chimneys as clogged as black lungs
and too small to hold even a single fragile feather. I wonder
if someone watches now from a balcony in le Marais
or across the grass of Belleville’s rien de rein and catches
the last twigs of my homes being blown into oblivion.

When Viewed from the Third Angle

While you were looking down from above, trying to pick
out perfect particles from all that was passing through,
I tried to comprehend how time moved around us-
how your desire became my taste, how my books ended up
as the holders of dust on your shelves next to round mirrors
I’d screwed to your square walls on a slow Parisian Sunday
only opened to boulangeries and Mr. Bricolage,
how the reflections they held of who we were to each other
never seemed to be comfortable in the centre of the frames.
Between the picking and the screwing and all the turning
of the thoughts on tastes and those positions on shelves
under dust and in glass and later on- shattered in beds,
we missed the third angle- the one that shot through us.
The one defined by its depth.

2 thoughts on “Damien Donnelly

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