March Madness Top Ten: Ligeia, under dimmed lights/Oloriel

Cracked like the skyline

at 18:11

countless men mine me for coal;

I suck the midday Moon

like a good symbiot,

like a pretty harlot of war,

I search myself at the garage sale,

I hollow me out,

unlatch the hands like instruments,

lick and spit,

soft, but I am dust –

disassembled to a murder of crows.

This blood builds altars between teeth,

this ocean is godless,

I am

77 silver coins shoved in the socket,

the worthlessness of thoraxes

is speaking tongues –

translated it means I who no longer know dawn.

I, eyeing this river, a carnival, alone.

I, no longer knowing the sparrows

for their marrow of strawberries,

I, stuffing the pillow with hares,

my ventricle for Doctor Death,

My mouth for the athame,

for you, lover, among decapitated carnations,

for you lover, your silences like noose

around the neck of promiscuous Miss mercy.

Now, sugar coma, the mistress

lap dancing, calling for harvest with her

young hips, Night’s offerings,

burrowing into the dream;

my tongue withdrawn to wash its harpies,

my soul a poker game of ghosts –

we are

counting the dead like lilac, lavender,

marigold, primrose, irises;

you are the softest when you count my scars

like raided tombs,

rid of furniture and amulets,

a courtyard full of chimes

under Ibuprofen skies;

the cruelest when you don’t do good your lies,

the mortician won’t sway.

And you, how are you called?

Dead daffodils, plucked,

their corpses littering

the surface of the Styx.

You are called love,

madness, aria, flame.

Spawned from the womb of Spring,

Red like heart; red like gallows.

I stay, but shut my eyes.

Out there, an arid land

where nothing grew

when Persephone failed

to make her return,

the clouds were churning

in pomegranate hues

(eat now or forever speak your rue)

and pillars pierce the veils

like bones in bloom

(shotgun and kettle),

the sparrows were shrieking,

sharpening their claws,

my blue was leaking,

wonder does it show?

A murmur breaks out,

it screams and it plows

their ancient bodies,

a malady of songs,

swaying back and forth,

a gentle disease

(can you hear it?)

of their breasts, rising up and down

(I will die smiling, like a clown)

I, a shiver, I, nobody, before

the countless white dresses

of priestesses in rows

fingering their open wounds

and chanting

“Never doubt the gifts of Aphrodite”

“Never doubt the gifts of Aphrodite”

“Never doubt the gifts of Aphrodite”


Oloriel is a poet and artist hailing from Belgrade, Serbia. She loves dreaming up things then making them happen, whilst also being a wife, mom, artist, photographer, translator and designer. Her greatest wish is to one day become a chef, and make the best pies in the world.  She blogs at color me in cyanide and cherry

Update on the March Madness Divergent Literature Contest

❤ pushing this to the top. ❤

Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

The Editors of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Secret First Draft have been hard at work reading the submissions for our March Madness Divergent Literature Contest.  We have been so excited about the quality of the writing that we have decided to share our top ten submissions with our readers over the next ten days.  We will be announcing the winners shortly thereafter.  We hope you are as excited about these submissions as we are and we look forward to reading your comments.

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for the things i never ask.

ugh. perfection.

Fallen Alone

i would’ve rather asked you
how many names you’ve scribbled
on the back of your hands
with needles,
and how many of them you’ve stricken out
when the bus stopped
in a screech,
and two footsteps always faltered
on the sidewalks
in a slow contemplation
of death.

i would’ve rather asked you
how many times you’ve stabbed your thighs
with razor blades
that sank perpendicularly
to your veins,
when the wrinkles on their wrists
folded into themselves,
like curtains closing
over their heart chambers.

i would’ve rather asked you
the number of ways
you’ve learned to sing her poem completely,
without ever remembering the stanza
that left her lips
in those seven mute seconds
that somehow got trapped between
your window and her door,
when she had been
choking herself on all those lifeless little sentences
that had wrapped themselves
around her voicebox
like a noose that tightened
every time…

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Wonder Woman

Brave and Reckless

The world needs me to be

Wonder Woman right now

But I keep thinking

That her outfit is ridiculous

I appreciate freedom of movement

As much as the next girl

And get the whole

Aerodynamics thing

But really!?

I like my ass covered

And can we talk about those heels?!

Give me a sturdy pair of Doc Martins

I need a costume

That is durable

Tumble dry low

And has pockets

Lots of pockets

Because who can fight like that

With a purse slung around their neck?

I do like the whip though

All that red

White

And blue

Seems awfully conspicuous

And that gold lame?

Completely impractical

Unless I am trying to dazzle my enemies

I also think those wrist gauntlets

Could be bigger and cooler

Maybe Q could trick them out

The world needs me to be

Wonder Woman right now

But this depression

Is really kicking my…

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Lost and Found

S. K. Nicholas

jewellery-792096_1920

There are footprints in the snow that lead me to a version of you I know so well. There are memories of who we used to be that don’t belong yet of which still linger. The hours pass in due course. The eyes of those I have gazed into during the dark silence of night- they still pierce my mind no matter how long the passage of time since I last knew them. But did they ever know me? It’s doubtful. Nobody has ever known me because my truth has never been allowed to flower. Well, not until the words begun to flow, and when they finally came, they were a personal Jesus for a personal hell, and although the struggle to speak has been a long and arduous one, to speak the truth is all we can do. There is no blame attached to what has come to be…

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When the Cradle Stops Rocking – David Lohrey

Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

b07398eca4f48361d9c8dfce1482c845When the Cradle Stops Rocking – David Lohrey

When the cradle stops rocking,
pink and blue darlings
spin in the breeze,
as these pastel posts
pen me in, lest I fall.
It’s dark. Why’d they turn

out the lights? That man came in again,
repeating my name. He pressed his wet lips
against my cheek and blew.

I want that ant to follow my eye.
His friend circles above,
keeping her thoughts to herself.
Her mate can’t seem to get in.

Silk threads above hang loose and
dangle. Is it a trapeze; is it for fun?

There’s so much murmuring I can’t sleep. The flying duck
and the mouse dance but don’t sing.

It’s the woman’s fragrance I miss most of all,
and I like her cold finger behind my ear.

[David is lost in Japan. He is a smart, kind man who writes amazing poetry. We are thrilled to…

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