Poem by Daniel Roy Connelly (UK/ Italy)
Published in The Ofi Press issue 42
In the ass (or, ‘when four legs become six!’)
Donkey tips his nose up to the soft-lipped
whispers that rise from the
worship of his bucksome behind;
the faint smell of whisky is nothing new.
His back legs have just increased by two.
Donkey has come precisely for this,
stayed out late, strayed from the gang
to slink through the centre of town, stopping
for a scratch on every dim-lit corner,
eyeing up the animal-friendly crowd.
Sirens diminish to elsewhere,
Drum & Bass bangs across the rooftops
but nothing disturbs the tenderness of man
and his by-the-hour beast. Peaceful congress
such as this is rare, Donkey concedes, though in truth
his friend hasn’t even touched the sides.
You might recoil at the flimsiness of Donkey’s backbone
but Donkey never gets praise like this back home:
Precious darling / amore mio / sweet-skinned creature and not / untight in the right light / I adore you Tesoro / I adore my donkey love / you beast / you poor worn beast / my donkey love / my precious donkey life
The night traffic doesn’t slow, there’s no rubbernecking
Donkey and his pal, the couple smoking only cross because
there isn’t room to pass, neither looks back
to see the street beacons flash in time
to Donkey’s six-legged mechanical sway.
Well, apart from a long lunch outside the greengrocers,
Donkey’s done bugger all else all day.
Daniel Roy Connelly is an actor, theatre director, writer and professor of English literature and creative writing at John Cabot University and The American University of Rome. Since 2013, his poetry has been published by, among others, Magma, Acumen, Lunar, The Transnational, B O D Y, The Journal and Ink, Sweat and Tears. His essay on being closed down by the secret police while directing illegal English-language theatre in China is available in The Istanbul Review.
He was the winner of the 2014 Fermoy International Poetry Festival Prize and a finalist in the 2015 Aesthetica Magazine Creative Writing Prize. He has recently been named winner of the 2015 Cuirt New Writing Prize for poetry.
Image: "Wood Tiled Roof Pattern" by Sherrie Thal.