“I am my Father’s Son”

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“You are a runner with a stolen voice. And you are a runner. And I am my father’s son.” (Wolf Parade)

The weather is changing. In the morning I can feel it. It is just a matter of time. Eventually a cold wind will blow away all the dank humidity. I think about running, my lost passion. Before the bad back, before the squeeze of domestic responsibility, I would put on my running shoes on a cold Sunday morning and run until I had exhausted my legs, lost my breath. It was exhilarating. My life transformed when I was running; it was the action from which all good things sprang. I could never envision a life without it. Of course, I didn’t visualize the obstacles life would put in my path.

Years ago my mother gave me some dusty mementos of races my father ran in the early-eighties. I never thought of him as a runner. Later in life he had a big belly and was a connoisseur of indulgent, greasy meals. He labored at times going up stairs and seemed frail. I wondered why he quit. Thought that perhaps if he wouldn’t have stopped running his heart would not have exploded two weeks after retiring in his late fifties. I thought of him as I ran. I felt close to him. Understood what he went through getting up on an early Saturday morning and facing down a half marathon. Perhaps I understood him in a way that I never did. It was something that we had in common all these years after his death.

Like my father, I stopped running. Life happened. I think the end started with a back problem that eventually became an excuse. I slid into a life of leisure. The drive vanished. Again, I understood him; the distractions, the work, the family all became more important. Suddenly, it became easier to stop running. I wonder to myself if he ever felt the guilt, pined for the long runs,  or the silent meditative runs when all the problems of the world seem to be held at arm’s length, at least for an hour. If he would have lived to an old age, we would have those conversations. We would realize that we have a lot in common. Maybe we would have a laugh and realize that I am my father’s son.

Today, as I eagerly anticipate the first cool air, I think about him. I also think about running. My life fell apart; unlike my father, I was not able to hold it together. Now I have half a family, smoke constantly, and find myself given over to the same indulgent meals—though I have not yet fallen prey to the protruding belly. I don’t know how to fix everything, but I am sure that the only thing I can do now is take action, put one foot in front of the other and spend hours chasing the silent meditation that led me out of the darkness years ago. It is so far away but so close. All it takes is action, putting on the shoes, grabbing a water out of the refrigerator and start running.

Jasper Kerkau

Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

A Place I Can Dwell

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There is a place I can dwell, removed from silent gore of emotional life tied to humid residue of lost summers. From failure springs the renewing waters of new worlds laid out–removed of the impurities of dysfunction, bad relationships, tarnished pasts, regressed lives spoiled under the hot sun. A celebration of life! Turning from folly, the endless cycle of death and resurrection, the desire for absolution from a human problem: Lost in people, feeling tied to desire for healthy relationships, nuclear domestic dynamics. It is all so fleeting!

There is a place I can dwell, upright, given to spontaneous laughter, at peace with the balance of universal order, finding a person in the mirror I can live with. Slowly the last forces come in from remote villages, shoulders slumped, spirits broken, bones shattered; the light from their eyes extinguished by the long battle. Longing for the peaceful, tender embrace of loved ones, starting a new life devoid of the endless war against everything, their shattered nerves begin to calm. There is solace in the sun rise, the ceasefire that brings lost souls from a life of peril–and conflict–to the hearty meals, comfort on either shoulder: Silence. Is this merely a mirage?

 

There is a place I can dwell, benign rumors of demise, refuted with archaic parchment written on the heart, shown to elders who rub long beards, nodding silently as bread is broken, ceremonial wine consumed out of ornate cups. A world of possibility beckons with the hustle and bustle, normal lives being led in quiet satisfaction: Ah, everything is actually going to be alright! The grass eventually pushes the dark red stains of war off its leaves. The moon hangs passively in the sky as tired souls find solace in soft bed, the smell of candles and the laughter of children. The war over, the battered souls finally at rest. I find my place there, away from the carnage, emotional wounds heal slowly; at last, the world opens again with all of its blissful majesty.

Jasper Kerkau

Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Not Angry Anymore- Secret First Draft

Secret First Draft: Member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

1344186741_3I awoke to a new reality. The long slumber ended abruptly. Without warning, and with a minor argument as the spark, my marriage ended. There was a political argument that brought years of silent disagreement and bitterness to the surface and punctuated our differences. The fight was short and final. The truth was that the fight didn’t matter, it was merely a symptom of a long-standing sickness that had been metastasizing under the surface, a disease that had been growing as we both struggled to come to terms with the universe and our place in it. I didn’t understand this then, in early April when I awoke to the burden of having to face the world with the news that I had failed—my marriage ended abruptly after a heated debate about nothing.

There was never a plan B, which was an anomaly. I prepare for everything, meticulously make alternate plans…

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Nothing That I Want

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His left eye sags a little, but I do not get the impression he is doing what caused that anymore. I do not know when all of it happened, or stopped, or if perhaps, on some level, it still continues. He always smells of stale cigarettes with a faint scent of last night’s beer. His face looks hard, and he is too skinny. Scary skinny, but I cannot pinpoint what is wrong exactly. You never know the truth with him; it is always impossible to get a straight answer. Could it merely be the years of alcoholism, cigarettes, and drugs?  Or, is there something fatally wrong with his health after all the years of abuse? When I see him I want to shout at the top of my lungs: “Dear lord you need to go to the fucking doctor, you need a physical, something is wrong with your health. I will take you. Let’s go now!”  But, none of that happens, it never will.

He turned 44 on Sunday, and he resembles the worst version of himself. Underneath all the pain, I see the tall, handsome man with olive green eyes I once loved with all my heart. To this day I see it, but I do not feel it. I still love him like you love your family or an old friend. The kind of love that desires the best for another human being’s soul. While at the same time, I feel nothing—no hurt, resentment, betrayal, or disappointment. My forgiveness was granted years and years ago for the misplaced loyalty, poor decisions, and blind choices.  The emotions I feel can only be described as—vacant, or numb. Perhaps, I even feel a slight relief, resembling a dark private miracle, as if in a “ninja girl’s got killer moves” way, I dodged a bullet to the head. Thoughts of him will always remind me of too many tattoos, too many curse words, punk rock music a little too loud, a pack of Camel lights, and a twelve pack of beer. I hear an old Johnny Cash song playing in the background on a beautiful fall day with all the windows open and the perfect breeze flowing through our old house. I see these images in my mind, as a cool retro oil painting exuding canny creativity, deep heartbreak, and a splintery suffering, a kind of misfortune and hardship that not many I know can relate to or will ever have a necessity in their life to understand.

I do not see him often, yet when I do, after all this time, he still calls me honey but usually a snide remark is not too far to follow. I try not to let the off-color comments bother me, because I know deep down he is not a happy man. He holds the qualities of a hard-worker, someone you would describe as a real handy man. One of those mechanically inclined types who can build and fix anything; there is nothing he cannot do, and very well at that. I express all of those useful qualities, but feel it is noteworthy to interject: although he is capable of good, his deluded mind operates with several loose screws. It is hard to comprehend there was once a day I wanted to share my life with him, hoped he was capable of being a real father, thought over the years we would grow old together—as  a family. Holidays, vacations, memories, those dreams were long gone over ten years ago; we had none of that together as a family. I lost everything my heart ached for; this truth stings like salt in a cut on your finger. In reality, he was never capable of what I wanted. That is simply not who he was when we were together—or who he will ever be; I wish I saw the truth then. I wish I knew then what I know now. Oh, how I wish. I think we all wish for something different from the past, but those pointless emotions are capable of changing nothing.

He was everything I wanted at the blind age of twenty-four, and he held all my trust. For eight years following the day I met him, his faithfulness was never a question in my mind. So much older now, it is a little frightening to come to the harsh, yet sad, reality that trust is a slippery slope. Like a light switch turning off, it happened swiftly; he instantly became, and ten years later still is, nothing that I want.

By Sperantia Zavala

09.18.2016

Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

I am a F*cking Writer!

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I am a writer!

I sit on the left-hand of the gods and have a special dispensation to decode the secret, universal rhythms, find patterns in the whispers which are inaudible to profane ears. My role is that of an observer; a quiet, meditative force who has a holy charge to record the divine misery, the blind mysteries, the eek-and-turn everyday struggle of life, seen through the eyes of one who has divested himself of all worldly goods.

Who are you?

I am a fucking writer! I am convicted, given over to the great purpose of wresting the truth away from the earth, buried under layers of silt and sediment, caught up in the swirl of the waters that lean to the great gravitational forces as the world mercilessly spins in the great unknown. The curse is the burden, the pulling back the veil, looking into the languid eyes affixed on the gloss and glitter of shards of glass and bits of triviality, finding the gift in otherness, turning away from the doomed, and, alas, finding a tribe of others who beckon the same call.

What do you do?

I am a writer! Though during the day, I am an undercover laborer, engaged in the task of finding means to an end. Looking out of windows, staring at watches, waiting…waiting for life to begin. The toiling is for naught; it doesn’t define me. I work for a living, but when I put my head on pillow, or look in the mirror, I know exactly what I am. Touched by the hand of god, beholden to vision and in collaboration with a silent minority, hiding out, going through motions, learning, and watching. I am anointed by almighty forces, who picked me up and spit me into the world with love in my heart, to stand in the shadows and pay the price for all of the beauty and all the unhappiness in the world.

© Jasper Kerkau 2016

Sudden Denouement Collective

Originally Published on Secretfirstdraft.com

Night Work

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Night Work

By pbbr

A logging road at midnight, the moon my compass only
A forest floor with no bed, I’m alone but never lonely
The silence of electronics is a comforting thing these days.

I slither across the floorboards of a cabin where no one’s lived
Its hallways are abandoned, save my imaginary friends
The absence of sound is deafening; it’s the loudest tone you’ll hear.

It’s time to clear the cobwebs from the furnace, child, your brain is full. Engorged on gorgeous razors, ready to come alive. Like wiping a desk clean, it will shine again. And there is work to be done.

There’s a highway through the desert, and a panoramic tan
The softest slide you’ll ever ride is through cascading sand
It’s dry and you’ll pine for the sea, but there’s solace in its silence.

So dim the lights and seize the night, no matter which direction
Cast away the droning decay you’ve grown to know as affection
The silence of electronics is a comforting thing these days.

It can be painful, rising from the dead, like a stagnant broken phoenix. There are months and sometimes years when you could’ve been productive. But your fresh days will not be marked by this bitter past.

Memories and fragrant lies of people who never were
A vagrant bum who staggers can remind you of your passage
It’s easy to be dazzled by static that numbs the soul.

Snuff the flickering light and cancel the subscription
Tune into the beats of a universal station
One chants out between two worlds: It’s better to be written than programmed.

Can you hear the twilight song of barn owls in the pines? And cicadas tender humming? That faraway siren is not mechanical, it’s the forlorn coyote mourning. He is beckoning you.

And there is work to be done.

Blood

Devoured. I dip parchment in blood and furiously scribble incoherent texts in invisible ink. Stains everywhere. April was folly. Gave birth to half-life, sickness, and inevitably death. Each humidity drench day was an exercise in funeral preparations for a life that was nothing more than fantastic mirage. Inverted crosses and sacrificed infants give birth to […]

via Blood — Secret First Draft