Full poem can be viewed at Modern Literature.
The story of life
The story begins
not in the present,
not with any intent,
but in the mind of the writer,
lost, perusing his tomes,
as he creates a new history
with words filtered through
experiences and such
The story may
as well be about another,
or the men who are forgotten,
like our whims,
and our sins,
whose existence we deny
even in our most
It’s a persistent search,
deep in the circular ruins
of unfinished books
and untrimmed wishes,
and he knows,
he has to take the turn,
that the maze ends
at the simple door,
but the platitudes
and attitudes keep him
away from the ending
and a closure.
The aura of latent
promises in him,
lying under the cove,
illuminates the city
of the writer’s trope.
It draws the
mermaids in plenty,
with its brilliant
and they come singing songs
made of his thoughts
in those lonesome,
dark and dismal nights.
Harvesting each tune,
each note down to the last fin,
he writes the endings
that he always craved.
But with the songs gone,
a silence prevails,
attracting the hungry sea ghouls
who forage for emptiness
within all his finished scrolls.
about the missed plots,
slowly devours every twist
and turn of the story told.
So when he believed he knew
where he was going,
with a purpose, a sense of direction
and that everything was fine,
it was nothing
but the arc of his story
succumbing to an
insipid straight line.
The silence of the lone ego
now echoes in the empty heart,
filling it with deafening screams
as he fills the pages with questions,
taking refuge in the scribblings,
complaining and complacent
the writer goes on to announce
that it makes absolutely no sense.
Stories don’t however end,
all it takes is another
turn in the maze,
or of releasing the mermaids
from their cage.
The story of life
is all about filling the void,
and letting the songs
fill the empty gaze
till another writer comes along
and flips your scribbled page.
[ESP’s writing can be found on Esprambles.]
The teak wood is warped by the humid pressure of sadness distilled. The floors creak with the weight of my footsteps, steps that travel in circles through the memories that won’t be still. The curtains flutter in the ocean breeze, tattered tissue paper stained with questions I won’t ask. The windows are caked with streaks of salt, tainted with the taste of my tears. I can’t see the beach, only the remnants of a sand castle we built and abandoned in our youth. I hear the waves beyond, roaring, demanding vengeance for my absence, for my blatant escape from the years I could have spent with you.
The only furniture is the bed we once shared. Sheets outline only one body. Back then we were. One, that is. We were two instruments that gave rise only to one melody. We dreamed in unison. You provided the sound. I splashed in the color. I squeeze my eyes shut. My hands over my ears. I tremble under the suspense of the nightmare that won’t end. But there is nothing to staunch the scream that rips from my throat as I cannot remember the way you looked. I can no longer place your voice. Only that touch that made me prance like an ecstatic puppet, brought to life with bits and pieces of your broken soul.
I fling myself upon that damned bed, praying not for a lifeboat but for an anchor to drown me in you. It took me years to comprehend the sacrifice, your choice to be my friend. As you struggled to breathe, as your heart crashed against splintered ribs, I cursed you. I railed against your audacity to leave me stuck in an ill-constructed world without you. I wasn’t strong. I only feigned courage to make you smile. And you dared to call my bluff.
But Fate was not done with me, was she? I had a debt to pay for being so selfish, for taking what you offered without due consideration of the cost to you. She left me your body, lips that I could still kiss. Hair that still tempted my will to touch that which I would not claim completely. Hands that had skimmed over my body with desire, but restrained with innocence. And your eyes, the amber that I sipped like Heaven’s nectar. But Fate was cruel. Your lips would never again speak my name. Your hair would knot with apathy for me. Your hands would infuse me with a coldness reserved only for strangers. And your eyes that had once stolen my every secret, now raged at me like a wild animal unjustly caged.
In one soul, the skeins of my past, present and future were woven. And in one tick of fickle time, I was completely unraveled by a laughable destiny. But I had to punish myself, pour poison in a wound that refused to heal. My son bears your name, although not your seed. Your name tumbles from my mouth dozens of times each day, although you will never respond to my senseless echo. My words spill with the blood of our bond. Stories and poems and crumpled notes build an altar to a man that I would never have a chance to know.
I stand again in the middle of this house that regret built. I have a choice to make. Do I keep you encased in a shack of pity and disgrace? Or do I begin to reconstruct this cottage in disarray, without the skeletal remains of us? I know your answer. It is etched upon my heart, written in your masculine lines of grace. I stare at the reflection in the murky, filthy window. I raise my fist and shatter the ghostly face.
Bio: Writer, reader, photographer. I am no mystery. I worry too much. Sleep too little. I argue too loudly. I praise profusely. I use ink to shed my tears. I am fearless unless left alone to talk to myself. Professionally unpublished but I welcome constructive critique.
Dustin Pickering, an inspiration and a friend. He is an SD contributor and a publisher with Transcendent Zero Press. We will be publishing his next collection in the fall.
Back from the seminar with ringing in my ears. Today,
a special session in learning to be offended. The teacher
is an empowered victim, an obese libertarian who spends
her afternoons at the Palm Springs hotel pool in a lace bikini.
In her youth, one hears, she sued the San Francisco Ballet.
She won a space in a spring production playing the part of a fat swan.
In college she took the chancellor to court to gain admission to the men’s
locker room. She made the men shower in their jockey straps.
Now she has diabetes and wheezes when she climbs stairs. She
has taken up as a topic The Smiling Face of Whiteness. She made us
buy her book and a set of tapes read by a transsexual prisoner at Folsom
whose claim to fame is that she once sucked off Johnny Cash.
Whiteness, she contends, is a kind of one-dimensional way of being
in the world. This, no doubt, contrasts with the multi-dimensional Eskimo.
I felt instantaneously resentful, in contrast to her position that whites
endlessly forgive their own transgressions. I forgive nothing.
Curricula emphasize terms like Pythagorean theorem and pi. It’s as
discouraging, she points out, as being too fat to model. Schools
perpetuate a perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks
and other Europeans. She asks us to consider the proposition that 2+2 = 5.
Aspiring math teachers of color must learn to develop a sense of “political
conocimiento,” which means answers from whites are always wrong. She
quotes from a Vanderbilt University professor who writes that the field
of mathematics is a “white and heteronormatively masculinized space.”
“Things cannot be known objectively; they must be known subjectively.”
There are no right or wrong answers. Don’t accept your white teacher’s
corrections. When he says you’re in error, look him in the eye and tell him
that is just his opinion. (If his eyes twinkle, sue him for sexual harassment.)
Only when whiteness ends, can forgiveness begin. So many minorities
“have experienced microaggressions from participating in math classrooms.…”
We are tired, she insists, of being judged by whether we can reason abstractly.
White thinking leads to white ways of being. Now repeat: 2 +2 = 5.
[David Lohrey is from Memphis, where he grew up, and now lives in Tokyo, where he teaches and writes for local travel magazines. He graduated from UC Berkeley and then moved to LA where he lived for over 20 years.
Internationally, his poetry can be found in Otoliths, Stony Thursday Anthology, Sentinel Quarterly, and Tuck Magazine. In the US, recent poems have appeared in Poetry Circle, FRiGG, Obsidian, and Apogee Journal. His fiction can be read in Crack the Spine, Dodging the Rain, and Literally Stories.
David’s The Other Is Oneself, a study of 20th-century literature, was published in 2016, while his first collection of poetry, Machiavelli’s Backyard, was released in September 2017. He is a member of the Sudden Denouement Collective.]
Trapeze Artist of the Moon
“You are in the dark because you are trying too much” – Aldous Huxley
Olden song whispers
in my ear
Able to echo
over the dark milieu
Faint copy of the prudish light
carved in black and blue curlicue
the smallness of the evening
The grafter of the moon
loves as if
Love is green silk,
of slow springs
The whole world
sings in a lily-of-the-valley
Whose tongue is numbed
by the language of the night…
Spoken beauty is never true
It is the paleness of a memory
in the protection
of the saffron mornings
Aided by ghosts,
cinders of fear
While we walk
The silvery evening
is an intensity
and an immensity.
You live as if
life is a dance
We’d live as if
life is a kiss
from flickering flames
and festering wishes.
cover the shoots
of your dreams
We are the masters
of two small islands:
One of carton trees
and hollowed plastic flowers
where the moon lives.
In her eyes
the thawing vernal lights
“Writing is an Iron Tale, must be tough and sincere to the core of human perception of pain as valor. I am the grumpy T-Rex who started writing out of pain, not because of a polished world. Writing out of love is painless and herbivore. As we sometimes taste blood, ours or others’. Nevertheless, some words are so expensive that we are better left with them unspoken or write them with the ink of a Ghost…” She is a teacher, small entrepreneur and cyclist.
Working out logistical issues with our judges. We will be featuring works by our judges next week while working to get the contest results finalized. Thank you for your patience.
Once upon a time
Along a path I wandered
As a fallen leaf does wander
Lain upon a stream
… as though dancing
… as though careless
… as though young
Wherein dark woods I stumbled
Ensnared by fallow spindle
Which bade me kneel my sacred ground
And I bent my back upon the point
Until impaled… and unbeknownst
Cursed with waking sleep
Stitched shut within a shroud
Despite the mirror and the mist
And fifty shades of greys
Bleeding into grey
Like some tawdry love story
If tawdry is worn and caked with grime
And the love story… benign
In glass funnels
With the perpetuity
Of a spinning wheel
Each turn bought with youth, all but spent
Until you kissed me
Full on the mouth.
Like a slap.
© Vicki Wilson
I am an amateur poet, published author and professional technical analyst… all of these things mean I basically solve puzzles for a living, and to keep from dying. I know this because I died once. Metaphorically. Six years of a slow death by industrialised decision making. In the end I was so numb to living I ceased to exist. But burn-out has a silver lining, you wake up and all you have left is steel and the rich black of sticky charcoal to make your mark. I am still learning how to hold a pen, how to form words into a living thing, but my scratchings are mine, they are made with the corpse of who I was. I offer them as evidence I exist.
I have recently published a children’s book – written and illustrated by myself – under the banner of dragonflypublishing. You can find me there writing my next one: https://www.facebook.com/dragonflypublishing.au.
[Sudden Denouement is proud to announce that ESP (Esprambles) is now a member of the Sudden Denouement Collective. He is a powerful, unique voice and we are honored to call him one of our own.]
The black hole soul
Every sound, every act, every scene
is drowned by a sigh that still echoes
long after the hearts have broken,
the ones you left in the vacuous ruins,
lost like the howl of the proverbial wolf
that never existed except for its curious moon.
It sounds like the laughter you often hear
one without a purpose or a reason,
defying everything you stand for and believe in,
shaking the tree of your life that somehow stands,
but you keep searching for its missing roots.
A spring breeze tries to carry the autumn leaves,
those dead leaves take flight but settle around,
like undying memories haunting your busy days
and every time you close your eyes for a respite.
The stars you see are familiar
as you remember how they say
that the dead become stars,
but you know it is love, friendships, dreams
and such beautiful things in your life
that you gave up aspiring for stardom
which haunt you in your dark sky of conscience.
Unlike the dead and the buried,
the stars will die once they burn up
the last remnants of their story,
as every atom of your past gets fused,
releasing energy that fights gravity
of your implosive thoughts
and brings sanity to your subconscious.
The light beams that keep you awake
in the moonless, cloudless and sleepless nights
seem faint because you have gone distant
and probably are the vestiges of the once
bright and brilliant feelings, elated emotions
which are dying or already dead
for even light travels at a speed slower than
your ruminations and reconstructed sights
in these restless but fateful nights.
But you keep living with the knowledge
of an imminent death, vying for immortality,
you wish that everything that is you,
and that defines you, will once become a star
in the unending night and emit a light
that will hopefully meet the beams
sent by your past and resonate
before plunging into the spectacular black hole
that is the universe condensed in your ubiquitous soul.
[ESP’s writing can be found on Esprambles.]