Iulia Halatz – All roads lead to Rome


Ellen Rogers 2

All roads lead to Rome

All roads lead to Rome
and poetry
-Delmore Schwartz

All words lead to Love
And the poetry in the afterLove

I wish I wrote poems
For the dreamers of barren lands.
They do not go to Rome
They go to places
That cannot be.

Maybe love is a colorless, odorless
shapeless haze
We see through
with the eyes of
the bricked sky,
pathless oceans
walled shrubberies
streeted lunarian trails
breathing and tingling
In the perfect nightmare
of flowers…
Vines reward our sun
with the sweetness
of grapes
wedded in perpetuity with
the linear shades of amber.

From the Good Place
Where joy is an illumination
To the Place that Cannot Be
They would have worn
The silver claw
of the Moon
above their heads
Art by Ellen Rogers.

Iulia Halatz

“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.



The Heat of Her Gaze


S. K. Nicholas


As time momentarily ceased its wicked game, I stood there in the heat of her gaze. Naked. Just bones. Less than bones, a soul squirming before the watchful eye of God. She was still my girl, and I was still her boy, and even though we were older, and our bodies had begun their gradual slide into the great celestial grave, just the sight of her put the feels into my heart. She didn’t move, and neither did I. Her eyes bore into mine with no trace of emotion on her face save for the slightest almost invisible trembling of her lower lip. I opened my mouth to speak, and then decided against it. In her arms, she held an old cat that looked at me with a hint of recognition, and of which I in turn recognised but from where I couldn’t quite say. What might’ve been strange for…

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I don’t think they know

HJD writes

Grayscale Photography Of Topless Woman

envy-stained drawing of a pin-up model in front of me
tear easily, like waxed paper asks me how I knew I was a woman
illusion / equal, maybe even superior
stalk yell touch herded into corners of the schoolyard where the teachers couldn’t see me
me, woman, or woman-to-be
first time catcalled – age of 10 / advances by older men but still a girl fiddling around being a cock-tease
I was going to be a woman, push-up bras and strings, eyelashes pitch black, get powdered and pinned down covering myself in “yes” like a perfume. learnt womanly sentences by heart – yes, yes, I don’t mind no really thank you for the compliment that’s so sweet of you (I was seventeen.)
I get what I create the papillae on my tongue melting into words that seem starved once they reach my fingertips
laughs and threats and gazes pats on…

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An explosion of talent. Much love for this unflinching voice.

Pure Ultraviolence

Sometimes, in the dark, I can still feel your name on my wrist, burning through the skin. The insignia of guilt.

I always knew we wouldn’t survive.
From the start, I knew we’d never quite fit together. Inevitable. But, red flags never really mattered as long as you gave me shelter.

I knew you back when my playlist was half indie and half pretentious. I miss the way your eyes would glaze over when I’d talk about fucking someone famous. I miss how you didn’t shrink away from my awkward immaturity. You saw me: girlish, sometimes vapid, hopelessly out of touch. You didn’t bury me under some modified, false image. Your honesty bordered on brutal, but you never asked me to change.

I knew you could love the hurt away. At times clumsy, stumbling, stammering, and imperfect- but still love. My heart was ruined. Ugly from falling apart so many…

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That’s so OCD.

HJD writes

grayscale photo of woman flicking hair

I used to murder my family before I went to bed
woke up around 3 AM and murdered them a couple times again omg lol
every time I walked the street there was a body left behind
charged with so OCD how do you plead?
my body’s a pest spreading lmao
the clock keeping me awake
someone rubbed their cheek on the carpet
left poundings on the walls
(the damp eats them)
forgot to chain the door
and we’ll probably be at war tomorrow
#obsessive compulsive disorder? xD
haven’t slept alone for 7 years smh
my pillow reeks of thoughts
what if I miss my own funeral
what if I was supposed to be somewhere else
what if it is time to wake up
what if I still want to sleep?

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Making up for lost time.

The Writings of Jasper Kerkau


“I dread cemeteries and public restrooms,” I lean in slightly, wondering if I am hearing her correctly.
“Perhaps I was looking for something different,” trying to find the words. “I know—instead of telling how you don’t like awkward conversations in restrooms, why don’t you tell me something you do like?”
“Hmm.” She puts her finger on her chin. “You know it is all so confusing.”
“Perhaps.” She holds up her empty wine glass, looking for a waiter.
“This fucking waiter,” adjusting her dark frames. “I don’t know why I am even doing this, I hate Merlot.”

[Jasper Kerkau is a writer, publisher and editor for Sudden Denouement. His writing focuses on fragilty, bad conversations, and lingering doubts.]

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I Beg Her Pardon

The Writings of Jasper Kerkau


I beg her pardon, a sleight hand pushed under skirt, into the moss with tinge of necessity, a lower magic, a form of essence and hunger. “You seem so serious,” I hear her breath on my skin, fingering the darkness, a different memory, a different never again will I be so stupid. I slide foot into shoe, fall floorward, over pile of slumped-up laundry, tangled jeans. It is worse than before, a new forever, the walking away, the forward motion toward isolation that isn’t as cute as it was last time.

Jasper Kerkau

[Jasper Kerkau is writer, publisher, and editor for Sudden Denouement Publishing and Literary Collective]


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Mick's Neon Fog


Not getting anywhere because you’re moving in arbitrary, haphazard directions.

“The idea had been Denver, but Neil was a desultory driver and we spent days in St. Louis before stopping in Memphis to call on Lisa.”

“Our desultory conversations hatched fantastic plans that had nothing to do with Denver and everything to do with not staying in one place for very long.”

(Note: Merriam-Webster lists “disappointing in progress, performance, or quality” as a third definition, but that’s shit usage for a great word. Consider this example:

“The first two games, desultory losses at Denver and Chicago, certainly validated the camp that feels the Seahawks’ era of dominance has ended.” (The Seattle Times)

Here, desultory means disappointing and gives the noun no new qualities. If you’re going to use a great word like desultory, use it in a way that connotes a new quality.)

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by Nitin Lalit Murali

I called my father today and told him that his death

will give me closure.

“Why don’t you jump off the balcony

while I’m talking to you? You’ll do us all a favor,”

I said, seething with rage.

Echoes of abuse never become whispers;

the past lies mangled like the hind leg of a deer

in the mouth of a lion,

the future is as cut up as paper put through

the shredder,

a voice in the dark

that’s as sharp as a blade screams, “Injustice!”

But does that give me a right to become the very man

I detested growing up?

A tormented, tortured, theatrical fool,

a disgruntled, discontented, disgusting do-nothing,

an uneasy, unstable, unsettled madman.

I wish there was more to life than

looking at my shattered reflection,

I wish there was more than drowning

in a green abyss of self-loathing and hate,

I wish there was someone who’ll love me

unconditionally and help me purge the

anger out.

But I’ve realized that this arid valley of dry bones

is the only place I’ll ever know.

Nitin Lalit Murali is a poet, flash fiction writer and essayist from Bangalore, India. He also enjoys reading literature of different genres and listening to jazz and neo-classical music. He started writing seven years ago and art has consumed him over the years. He blogs regularly at Fighting the Dying Light