Damien B. Donnelly


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.


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

Flights, Issue Four, April 2022