1 Lyric I’ve looked at life from both sides now. 2 Observation You trained as a butcher, cutting into death to see how it lived, in place of opening up to a life before death found its way out. 3 Fact I could barely see over walls at 5, no taller than those pigs your brother kept in city sty, fattening bellies between compress of concrete. 4 Reality Gone now, ground down by conglomerates, skyscrapers rise in Smithfield, cast shadows over meth centres. There’ll always be cracks. 5 Curiosity Google retraced your tracks today, where they paved over pigs but left the parade of your altar boy days, running home with coin to a mother you later avoided while she filled my pockets with all the coins that your devotion was too much to believe. There is more than one way to bring home the bacon. 6 Revelation Behind the house, no longer hers or yours and whitewashed away from any attachment to me, I watched the College of Surgeons leaning and wondered if playing the butcher was as close as you got to being a doctor back then, if coins meant I love you like that 5 quid you stuffed in my fist for sweets when I said I was gay and if life, love, and all the clouds, when seen from other sides, make it any easier to swallow the portions sliced across our individual plates?
AFTER CABREL after Samedi Soir Sur La Terre by Francis Cabrel
Saturday evening on the Earth, tout simplement. Was it always that simple? Nothing special, nothing different, some things shine better in shadow and turn out to be a reflection of an impossibility when shown the light. I wanted us to be something other; not just hand-holders under lamp lights by the stilled river where all the stars shivered as they sank below le Pont des Arts. Later, I learned that pedestals perish under pressure, under all that pride. And then, I heard him, in Saint Paul, in another cheap hotel that cost too much with curtains that couldn’t keep out the starlight, while shivering, while trying to escape London. Samedi soir sur la terre, a simple story, tout simplement, already sung, already done. We’re shooting stars; we can’t be tied to bricks or beds or bodies or rivers too dark to hold a simple light.
ALL WE HAVE IS THIS. A MOMENT INSIDE THE TICKING
There is no place but this place. Even the horse flesh we ate once, believing it to be bear, has turned in taste, between cleared course and the journeys taken since. There is no place, but this place, this tick inside of time. Beyond the eyeline is imagination. You know, my tongue doesn’t tremble anymore at the thought of your specific lip but is triggered by the taste of all the flesh that’s come as a single course to my kiss. Each moment is not made of a memory specific. Right here, in this forest unknown to these feet, branches snap, leaves flutter like butterflies that do not recall the chrysalis and so flap before the fall like a memory that is merely an echo of some other place no longer there because there’s no place but this place. Rotten is the flesh of the horse we mistook, once, for bear. We’re composites of all we tell ourselves to make it through.
Damien B. Donnelly is the host and producer of the poetry podcast Eat the Storms. His debut pamphlet, Eat the Storms, published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press, was featured on the Poetry Book Society Winter List 2020/21. He followed that with a Stickleback micro collection and, in Jan 2022, In the Jitterfritz of Neon, a conversational pamphlet co-written with Irish poet Eilín de Paor. His first full collection will be out later this year called Enough! He likes baking cakes and falling over.
His blog is https://deuxiemepeaupoetry.com/
His podcast website is https://eatthestorms.com/
His Instagram handles are @damiboy and @eatthestorms
His Twitter handle is @deuxiemepeau
His Tiktok is @eatthestorms and his YouTube channel is www.youtube.com/user/deuxiemepeau