Des Donnelly, «watching the tall and the short and the failed» -poetry

Navaho Hand Signals

I detected an amount of Navaho hand signal
creeping into the Queen of England’s waves
this really bothered me
thinking one of us must be imagining things
probably a mixture of Parkinsons and Alzheimers
although she never knew where the kitchen was in the first place
or what day the bins went out
or why she bothered exchanging waves with ordinary people.
The advisors remained smug
satisfied she could never climb over the railings
well, not without inside help
British duplicity always lurking, waiting,
with an arrow for the backs


Botched Suicides

I woke up after the attempt
with a straw up my ass.
I knew this seemed strange
almost able to taste right from wrong.
This is the problem with botched suicides
you end up a serious burden
or an easy target for sadistic carers
inserting tubes in the wrong places
for badness or kicks or boredom
meanwhile what is left of your brain
is like a runaway car, all hit or miss
you stand there in a pathetic way
a spastic flailing a broken tennis racket
hoping praying for a connection
with what is left of your intelligence
just enough to ask yourself;
was this smart?


The Ghost Of Amadeus

I hear music after switching off the radio
even I know this is not good
my mind filling in the missing bits
that aren’t or may not be there
I think about transcribing what I’m hearing
wondering how to write it down
or will make sense to a non prescient musician
perhaps then I‘d be in business
reborn as the ghost of Amadeus
tidying up my unfinished stuff first
then moving on to the echoes in my soul
not really caring if they liked it or not
content to see the staves filled in
knowing it would outlive current critics
their time always short, just limited to one life,
ask any dead composer or poet.


The Riverside Café

in the Riverside café
watching the tall and the short and the failed
an almost genuine bag lady
bent over her trolley protectively
pseudo professional men
with matching ties and shirts
and bags of foolish books
on the fringe the young hard men
with tints in their hair
swaggering in the sun the colour reflected
loud and bellicose in their clump
clearing their footpath with their auras
room to let their heads expand
the gentleman in a funeral black coat
stout shoes clicking and clacking on the tiles
a Victorian kind of formal in his step
and the arm for his companion,
like the closing scene in a sad film
slivers of life that cut like glass

©Des Donnelly
photos 19th cent. creative commons

Des Donnelly – Poet, Co Tyrone, Ireland & was born in County Tyrone in the North of Ireland in 1955. He hasn’t won anything. Inured to poetry by psychotic Christian Brothers masquerading as teachers he returned to writing poetry in the early 90’s. His work has been published in an anthology of Tyrone poets and online via Right Hand Pointing. He received an award from the Northern Irish Arts Council for a collaboration with textile artist Clare McCarroll. Themes of struggle, woman and god’s ambivalence dominate. His inspiration is often drawn from a single word or a fleeting image that is skewed in some way, that jumps out unbidden, often unwanted. He also writes under the pseudonym ‘Drax’.