Damien B. Donnelly is the host and producer of the poetry podcast Eat the Storms and the editor-in-chief of The Storms, a journal of poetry, prose and visual art. His debut pamphlet, Eat the Storms, published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press, was featured on the Poetry Book Society Winter List 2020/21, followed by a Stickleback micro collection and In the Jitterfritz of Neon, a conversational pamphlet co-written with Eilín de Paor. His first full collection Enough! was published by Hedgehog in August 2022. His poetry and short stories have appeared in numerous journals, both online and in print. He is available on Twitter, @deuxiemepeau @eatthestorms and @StormsJournal
That Snarl Amongst the Goddesses
My sister has two birthdays,
born from one woman to give to another,
separated by religion and the snarl of a nun
that my mother can never forget.
My mother gave her up before she met my father
and discovered his infertility.
I came later, restoring a semblance of sanity
for a while, until he found that same snarl.
My real mother is a goddess, of course.
Identity is easy to construct
when you haven’t a single clue and only one birthday.
Dance Floor Distractions
Your Cork accent like honest air
in a club staple, reeking of styled London queens.
Catching sight of myself in the rim of your spectacles,
being seen, under arousal of a drumbeat we didn’t own.
Even after I named he who I hadn’t brought out, your want
didn’t wane and I; darker than the white of my flesh.
The road from Paris to London to lost in the permanence
of Hampstead and all its pillars and 2.4 expectations.
He never wanted to dance, so I’d left my steps, packed
in a case, under the bed like dust awaiting the vacuum.
You wore white shoes over your Cork accent in Soho Club
on Sunday afternoon that pretended to be night.
I didn’t want to leave him, but I’d come so far that it seemed rude
to turn away from being seen, albeit but temporary thrust.
On the dance floor, in those spectacles, I saw how I’d let your lips
find my mouth, later, parched and trembling from the pillars
I couldn’t find my way down from. Your Cork accent,
like honest air, on a Sunday, in Soho, far from anything honest.
Here now, flown back to nest,
these streets hold no shadows of my former shyness.
They do not call me by nickname,
or any given name –
their name, her name, his name.
Back then when there was no him and barely a me.
Here now, back to where they all began, before me;
their nests, their streets, their lanes, their stories
I borrowed. Adoption only comes with the essentials.
Funny, to be here, in this nest, in this position,
you say it’s home and there’s truth in those words
like saying we’re family; but this was never my home
and our blood is not the same.
We look out at the same land, same tree, same leaf
but we do not perceive the same stars at night
when the garden is gone and the universe asks
where did you come from?