Le survivant.



LE SURVIVANT (du COVID-19) — 2021. 

Eux, ils disent …

que c’est maintenant le moment

de s’accepter, et d’accepter les autres

tels qu’ils sont.

Les rides du visage

me réconfortent

à l’ère de la nouvelle peste.

Je suis vieux,

mais je suis toujours un survivant.

C’est si bon.

Mais je veux vraiment savoir: 

Quelle est la valeur de cela?

Par exemple,

sur le marché boursier

de l’amour

et de l’attraction?




Oh oui, c’est un survivant …

sa mère alcoolique a le cancer du sein ;

et son ‘père’ l’a quitté bien avant

sa naissance.

Vivre dans un parking à caravanes

a ses avantages : les gens

s’en fichent que vous découchiez ou non …

ou que vous restiez absents des jours entiers.

Oh oui, c’est un survivant …

sa soeur était une prostituée ;

elle ne touche plus à la came

afain de conserver son emploi

comme caissière chez Wal-Mart.

Son petit ami, un vaurien,

vit à ses crochets …

il n’est même pas foutu de recycler

les bouteilles jetées à la poubelle

ni les canettes ou les récipients.

Oh oui c’est un survivant …

il se fait tabasser un jour sur deux

a l’école ; et giflé une fois par semaine.

a la maison. Il y est habitué et

a présent il s’en fiche,

depuis peu il porte sur lui

un couteau à cran d’arrêt

pour voir s’il peut se défendre …

comme à la guerre en Iraq.

Il rêve de posséder un revolver et espère

qu’un jour un mac connu de la pègre

croisera son chemin

et retapera sa vieille gimbarde

pour en faire un vrai bijou.

Oh oui, c’est un survivant …

Il prend ses médicaments contre le sida

uniquement lorsqu’il s’en souvient.

La vie est un doux mélange :

parfois ‘paradis’

et souvent ‘enfer’ …

cela dépend s’il est camé,

s’il a baisé ou s’il n’a rien fait du tout,

ou les deux à la fois.

Un voisin punk l’a traité une fois de pédé

Il a souri simplement … l’enfoiré a eu peur

et a pris la poudre d’escampette.

Ni chaud ni froid !

Tout cela est d’ailleurs aussi aléatoire que futile ;

comparé au réchauffement climatique,

à la menace nucléaire,

aux tueurs en série, au terrorisme …

et que dire de ces satanées galeries marchandes !

Les posters qui ornent sa chambre

sont des photos de victimes :

de la Seconde Guerre Mondiale,

de catastrophes naturelles,

d’attaques terroristes …

ceux qui lui rappellent

qu’il a de la chance

peuvent aller se faire pendre !

Sa mère joue à plein volume

ce vieux tube disco “I will survive !” …

la rare fois qu’il décide

de faire ses devoirs.

Oh oui, c’est un survivant …


Painting: Oil on Canvas. “X, Y and Z Generations … in Troubled Times”, is a series of three self-portraits, challenging the ways I see myself vs. the ways I wish others to see/experience me. Today’s challenges are many, and the successive generations barely have time for needed self-reflection in the face of the daily, fast-changing technological, climate and other challenges. In this painting I invite the viewer to face himself/herself in this world where faces and Art are often just another image. I personally experience this painting as scary and uncomfortable. What I mean by saying that the painting is “scary” is that it confirms the dilemma that I face in today’s crazy World — an “unfinished symphony” that is essentially never to be totally understood. There were never to be any figures totally painted because the pictures represent people/humanity/me in development and unraveling. The pic of me all dressed up in a fur coat is the “show guy” presenting himself to The World … (x-generation). The y-generation me with the green face is the creative and thinking me — absorbed in my own thoughts and ideas, but battling against those imposed upon me by living in The World. And the z-generation is me blocking out and hiding from The World, the mental bombardments of images, coined phrases, propaganda, advertisements, and the glaring and oppressive heatwaves and sunlight etc. That image is in the largest state of disintegration, the skin coloring depicting a body that is almost lifeless and the head partially covered by a veil of mourning. Of course, all of the images are (as is the Internet, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, mainstream media and alternative media) manipulations — leaving out ears (i.e. really hearing and listening) and other details in order “to guide” the viewer into focusing upon the sunglasses, clothing and accessories (headlines) instead of seeing the person (content) inside … and we are consequently in a continuous struggle for self-marketing and esteem vs. incompletion and dissatisfaction with systems of ethics and values that both constrain and embrace us. The painting is “The Scream” that was never really expressed outwardly. And the minimalistic pastel-colored background is the general environment of denial — “everything is normal” — that acts as a sedative, more than inspiration. NB. See Urban Dictionary for definitions of Generations X, Y and Z.



THE SURVIVOR (of COVID-19) – 2021.

They say …

that now is the time

to accept yourself, and to accept others

as they are.

Facial wrinkles comfort me

in the era of the new plague.

I am old, but I am still a survivor.

It is so good.

But I really want to know:

What’s the value of that?

For example, on the stock market

of love and attraction?




Yeah, he’s a survivor …

His alcoholic mother has breast cancer;

and his ‘dad’ left long before he was born.

Living in a trailer park has its perks:

no one really cares if you stay out all night …

or for days on end, for that matter.

Yeah, he’s a survivor …

His sister is an ex-whore;

struggling to stay ‘clean’

so she can keep her job as a cashier at Wal-Mart.

Her loser live-in boyfriend is a ‘good-for-nothing’ …

a fucking bum who won’t even bother to recycle bottles

discarded in garbage receptacles or containers.

Yeah, he’s a survivor …

He gets beaten every other day at school;

and slapped once-a-week at home.

He’s used to it: doesn’t care anymore really,

but he has recently begun carrying a switchblade

to see if it can be a deterrent …

like going to war in Iraq.

He dreams of getting a handgun,

and is hoping that someone famous

will one day pimp his ride.

Yeah, he’s a survivor …

He takes his HIV-meds when he remembers.

Life is a sweet mixture:

sometimes ‘heaven’, and oftentimes ‘hell’ …

depending on the ‘high’,

the sex or the lack of either (or both).

A neighbor-punk called him ‘faggot’ once …

He just smiled …

causing the asshole to run in haste and fear.

Who cares?!! It’s all temporary anyway;

what with global warming, nuclear threats,

serial killers and terrorism …

and those fucking ‘super malls’.

His favorite posters in his room are pictures of victims:

from the second world war, from natural catastrophes,

from terrorist attacks …

anyone who reminds him

that he is one of the lucky ones.

Doesn’t matter.

For the moment anyway.

At least that’s what he thinks

when his mom blasts the old disco hit “I will survive!” …

the one time in a blue moon

when he sets himself down to do his homework.

Yeah, he’s a survivor …






mumbles and whispers. 
mumble and whisper; 
a buzz, just out of hearing range. 
i shout: “what are you saying?
… i cannot hear you!” 
but i don’t really want to know 
unless you are telling me
that you love me, 
that you miss me, and that 
you cannot live without me.
i don’t want to hear about 
COVID-19 and other frustrations 
that devour all of us … 
all the time. 
your quick glance arrests your words, 
and you save the moment —  
already gently touching my face and 
planting a kiss on my lips.
and suddenly 
we are one … 
once more.
murmura y susurra. 
murmura y susurra; 
un zumbido, fuera del alcance auditivo. 
yo grito: “que estas diciendo
… no puedo oírte!” 
pero realmente no quiero saber
a menos que me digas
que me amas,
que me extrañas y 
que no puedes vivir sin mi.
no quiero escuchar sobre
COVID-19 y otras frustraciones
que nos devoran a todos …
todo el tiempo.
tu mirada rápida detiene tus palabras,
y tu ahorras el momento — 
ya tocando suavemente a mi cara y
plantando un beso en mis labios.
y de repente
somos uno …
una vez más.
Enjoy “Somos Uno” by Axel HERE
Poems, painting and photography by Adam Donaldson Powell.)
The embrace.
The embrace.

Photo: Adam Donaldson Powell




Differentiate dream from vision: I heard a voice

telling me it was

so softly

in whispers become fingers insistent each

a separate story in whispers become

a hand coming to rest assurance

on my brow smudging wrinkle away from shadow

Shadows become whispers

sliding into sleep, dreams descending

to a new crescendo to vision turning

on its heel and reminding

in whispers as indifferent as relentless

as ocean waves

going about the business of being ocean waves.



SPLASHING whispers gone amok;

red paint SPLATTERED on white sailcloth …

one green eye and one brown

talking with one another

but without seeing;

leaving me DISJOINTED but not perplexed.

My dream-catching whispers are now

quite rambunctious and I’m feeling rather


GASPING for words on the edge of an eternal

moment for moment

flirting with smothering cobwebs …


You’ve shown me more than my whisper can digest.

You’re falling far … far past the point of

being in love with yourself and

I want to cry more but

my tears have given way to


Turn me loose … turn me loose …

A pale oyster-moon has just slithered past

the sweet nothings and penetrated my inner ear




Don’t speak.


“Speak softly,” my conscience says.

There is no room for doubt in such proximity and

waking hours spent running and arranging

and defending and

composing and planning and


Sometimes I think that our sounds don’t

really match anymore … a mad woman running from place to place in

sensible shoes falling

asleep on buses and subways snarling

at old ladies coming too close with their

dripping …

If only men

could bleed for love

as only women can … perhaps

then I could surrender to your whispering.

You do still hear me, don’t you?

Umbrellas. THEIR

LARGE BIRDS’ MOUTHS open and shut, open and shut in silence.

You stalk my emotions, steal my words …

(Openings rest there near rapture.)

SHHhhhhhhhhhhh…….”Don’t speak,” you say.

Fuck off …

Meanwhile an honest feast takes place


in the moonlight.

Just because you’re not actually being

followed doesn’t necessarily mean that you

don’t have a right to be PARANOID.

Hey! Are we talking about your experience

of my words … or mine of yours?


CRASHED but nobody noticed my shadow mingled

swiftly yet another meek


among their own; they went right on eating.

I just want to SCREAM In silence.

SHHhhhhhhhhhh…………… WHAT?!!!



All I do is salvage the remains and begin

again A Broken Child

teeters with epileptic balance

down along the sidewalk. Paranoia reduced to one

crystal fragment fractured and reeling in

umpteen patterns,

each collecting and then returning


in its own fashion. I can’t

catch up with it: it shifts

quicker than I can move quicker than

the frenzy of my thoughts. Shiny white minnows fly

into sight like mirrors, now gone


TIT FOR TAT this for that Heads

Nodding in implied

Consent PUPPETS not the thing like

the thing itself. We accept this deception

and ravenously A broken room and all the while

the heart beats a dogged rhythm.



I get spooked when you corner me inside myself;

especially when you whisper those seductive,

unspeakable psychological assessments

against my ear-drum …

tango-like rhythms bouncing

in a stilted, jerking fashion

I follow your lead

’round and ’round, closer and closer until …

Our precarious showdown brings us

face-to-face with insecurity and dream.

An orchid unfolds an insistent

vermillion informs

pink petals distended …

endings mute into beginnings …

Screeching, flamebreathing dragons soar low over

violated plains of brainmatter.

As silk upon iron.

Vibrato persists

confused but undaunted as wings span

a trembling distance

Fires of fear incite waves of internal uproar to sear the

ulcerated lining of delicate abdominal tissue, while

glowing corpuscles ferry hysteria into distended veins

and scorch alarmed nerve endings

… crops fail, dams break, control centers malfunction …

eyelids clamp shut in retreat from the horrors

of imminent disaster but optic darkness is cruelly

marred by vermillion blotches — proclaiming realization

of all that was dreaded yet intuited

as inevitable.

Unprescribed; an estimate of

mute yet yearning finger

tips trembling search. Desist (as)

and as the war-drum heartbeats of

a million Amazons prepare to vanquish

my masculinity with insecurity at its

first indiscretion, I load my tongue with

silver arrows …

Darts soaring swerve and distort

Falling short to collapse

mid-flight. One lone note

And mercilessly catapult the words ‘I love you’

against your brazen shield and prepare to fall —

breathlessly —

into the fiery ashes of countless charred impulses

raining heavily upon furrows of creativity;

cultivating retrospect with expectation.

Tests timbre tone tenacity. Yawns

and swallows seeds of hope.

One lone orchid

unfolds out of my throat

an insistent vermillion.



Our whispering draws to a close …

the stillness of space around us

empty of airflow and sound;

all confirmed by the syncopated

racing rhythms of my own heart …

unaffected by the rotation of the Earth

while breakdancing clouds laughingly roar

with all the grace of


And there our whisperings remain,

rather indistinguishable from the multitudes

and dulled by disclosure and dessication.



Je m’accuse … je suis tombé(e)


Openings rest there near rapture: A pale oyster-moon

has just slithered past the sweet nothings

and penetrated

my inner ear: je suis tombé amoureux. (

Implicated and falling in love …)

BIRDS’ MOUTHS open and shut open and shut in silence;

one lone orchid unfolds silver arrows

loading for flight.

Je suis tombé amoureux de ton chuchotement

A hoarse licorice whisper on the edge of an eternal

moment for moment shiny

white minnows

fly into sight

like mirrors, now gone missing.


Copyright Adam Donaldson Powell and Diane Oatley, 2005 “Whispers” (a dialogue for two voices) had its world premiere in Kathmandu, Nepal (at Gurukul Theatre) in 2006. Diane Oatley is a poet, writer and dancer. She is also the author of “Swoon”, published by Cyberwit.net in 2005.








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