Cat Nap

by Lois Linkens and Christine Ray

catnap

 

sleep stalks me, finds me an easy target

slinks in to drag me under, into the depths
where unknown dangers lurk in my unconscious
what murkiness lies behind my drooping lashes,
what shadows hide between each whistling breath?
what sharpness snuggles buried
among the feathers in my pillow,
what traps will soon ensnare
and dangle me, just feet from death?

they hook me, by the ankle
and suspend me from the tree of dreams,
around which serpents rattle, tigers prowl,
insects scuttle, poisonous, foul.
blood rushing to my head
cheeks flushed
heart thundering
as i dangle helpless

great cats bat their armored paws
at my flailing hair
like beggars round a campfire.
their claws pull and snag –
draw drops of blood
that quench night blooming jasmine
waiting below

i wake with a start. temples throb and pulse,
the bed is dry as my parched throat, blankets cold.
perhaps a girl
can be herself without the hair of fairytales.

 

 

Lois describes herself as a “confused english student,” though one quickly finds a polished, charming poet in her work. She has an elegant style that compliments her keen insight and whimsical sensibilities. It is a pleasure to present her work, and we ask you to take a second to look at more of her wonderful work, lois e.linkens

Christine Ray writes for Brave and Reckless and is a member of Sudden Denouement.  She is also curator at Blood Into Ink and barista at Go Dog Go Cafe.  She is an aspiring badass.

 

‘Far From Any Road’ – Collaboration II – S.K. Nicholas & Samantha Lucero

When I looked into your eyes that time not long after we first met, I told myself that if I was given the chance, I would go ahead and do it. And such a thing would really impress you and make you want me even though I was just a zero.

Because the black light has been here since the beginning.

When I first discovered what you were in the early hours of the morning while drunk and on the brink, you reached inside of me and brought me back. Sounds melodramatic, I know, but before I found you it was as if I were the only one and that being a zero was all I was good for.

And it’s been burning a hole for so long.

When I swallowed what you had to say, I found a truth that had been denied me my entire life by those who had never even pretended to care. In that gaze and in your hand, there was a woman I could call mother and lover unlike any other that had come before. I could feel it in my bones and in the cold night air down every street that had housed your ghost.

And that’s what brought us together.

Whenever we want, we can be without form, for our images have long since been removed along with all traces of what remains of our former lives. This vision we share, it’s of being at one with nature with no need for the insects that spend their days doing whatever they can to cling. And this nature- it’s our drink and our line of coke. It’s our needle and hand around the throat. Through its influence, we can be both pleasure and impulse.

It spoke to us when we were children.

Together, we are bitemarks and Nietzsche spinning in fields that are empty of life but full of the essence of who and what we really are, and this is why we roam far from the useless crowd doing only what we can do. This is why we seek the limits that are forbidden because only there do we come close to taking a glimpse through those doors that offer perception where the rest offer only cheapness and the drip drip of ideology that pleases the many but disgusts us.

It put the images inside our heads while we slept.

In each and every letter, and in each and every thrust of our hips we know we are nothing and yet we revel in the control that passes between us. When it lingers in our breath, we take a bite out of each other and in our kiss, we are demons writhing in the sands of Gomorrah looking for kicks that extend beyond time and space. In our flesh, we are bound to bodily delights, but what we are is something pure and something more.

It showed us the door we were both seeking.

They wouldn’t even know where to start looking, for those that have seen us at our most beautiful have long since gone to where we too will go, but only when our bones can no longer take the weight of our souls. Beneath a blanket of stars and as naked as we were born, we sink our fingers into the soil to touch the faithful departed.

And it showed us how to find it.

These are our footsteps, and these are our secrets that will carry in the wind long after the two of us have left this place behind. But we’re in no rush, for there’s so much more that we can do. I hope you agree with what I’ve had to say, because this whole thing makes me feel like God.

Yes, but who’s like God? ‘My world was christened in a stream of milk.’

Was our world blessed with crowns of barbed-wire thorns, in sheltering the quiet soil like corpse worms gone moon-cold, till the blue water left and dried the hot skin. The air paused like Sunday’s pastor during angers sermon, saliva-foam huddled in the corner of a mouth; for effect, for suspense it stayed and spat, baptized the world in a pool of breast milk, they said, and it tasted like its own doom.

We can become a laugh sipped in a cup that we share, dumped over the overpass of whirring cars onto ghostly windshields like scarecrows, become the bellowing storm rattling ribs in darkrooms where smiles like ours rest alone like dreaming tigers WHO once wanted to be warm like wolves in snow packs, but were crowned in that barbed-wire, bred into a dying lung. Let’s BECOME the eye; I was the trapped eye in the wall, in the bones smoking at 3am, up with the red sky in a silky morning sliding down a pole and a thousand other pieces of people we’ll leave behind. Only fighters left alive, no lovers.

OUTSIDE I want the wild like glad animals in oily furs crave flesh, which taste a sliver of hare-blood in the breath between their teeth. I want to sip at eagle feathers in an old Norn’s horn, palms heart-lines engraved in heart-lines, mirror-image superstitious we can press together like funeral-flowers between pages of our favorite books, in passages our failing lives desire never to forget, but will. We will be the lavender and the rose, and then the pink gum turned black on the pissed-on sidewalk.

Or we will be the slender fingers of rain that ooze from the skies through seams in the clouds, like cold memories left unthawed from asteroid belts. Be drunk on watery soup for winter rituals, hummingbird songs, and rush to hear the tight-lipped drums of braided tribes our shivering northern ancestors once followed to 9 worlds. You say let’s be without form; I say let’s erase form, Voltaire, physical pleasures are fleeting, they die out; it’s the delight, delight of the heart that matters? Or the withered husk in a mortar ground with graveyard dirt and hag-spit, where a heart could’ve lived and died, but did both backwards. We are all alone, born to die, born to live, to die. Our wailing birth-mothers knew this, my mother, your mother, the all-mother in a room that’s a pennyroyal cage hung upside down to dry for spells for little girls’ mistakes, that’s a star pulse, that’s a whisper in a place I wish I knew the noise of still. When next you see the mirror folding into itself, the steaming woman heart-shaped in the glass, remember, she is life or death, a mask.

THEMSELVES
ARE
TRULY
SET
FREE

Who will see the tears and dirt that fill my mouth with mud when I smile, or the heartbeat living behind my right eye that could kill me in a blink, but you. Winter never stays long enough, and summer never ends. And we walk until our clothes fill with steam, or I’m the steam now, and my clothes are just anyone, or maybe I’m you anyway, and I could be anyone but you. Or we could just be me. I could conceal just one dusty memory of you when I die someday, pin it against velvet with my last breath, let it glow like the last neon day of a Luna moth. If I could live with it, I could live forever. In a fluttering trance, a twitching shadow, where there’s no form, no image, no mirror, no hands, no mothers.

Yes, but who’s like God? I wasn’t christened in a stream of milk.


 

S.K. Nicholas is the man at a haunted hotel, alone on a snowy night, trying not to have a drink at My Red Abyss, and Samantha Lucero is the crumbling, lone grave on a hill poking out like a little rotten tooth at Six Red Seeds. ]

bogged, buried, bridgewatered-Lois E. Linkens & Malicia Frost/Malicia’s Malebolge

I was fourteen, and starting to decompose faster

the water spilled

over the years,

over her body

like a plague of ants.

Already kneeling in the mud

I could feel my body being stretched out 

nipples aching, labia swelling

it drove its way in,

with a silent battering ram

and swords of silk.

you were the first time

I felt the touch of death 

between my legs

oh, hateful –
but grateful she was
that the stone struck when it did.

a cry of despair,
like when I was nine,
lying on the hard parquet floor of the living room
cupping my breasts,
trying to push the knots back in
I’m just a child! I’m just a child!

she lifted dead hands
in praise of her protector,
for protect her he had,
and as layers of dirt built up,

I threw rocks after boys
who came yelling my name

she pitied them,
Leave me alone! Leave me alone!
And oh,
didn’t you know?
You’re supposed to bleed

bound to lie
in pungent darkness
that she only made danker.

Year by year,
as my body sank down in the bog
I grew more and more desperate
searching for ways to cleanse myself
an orgasm,
a reckless mascara plump on the cheek,
a slit wrist,
an aching need
for affirmation
the summary of an entire childhood,
tucked into a bra

the sores on her skin
filled with soil,

all girly things are good,

the scars on her arms

bright in the black of the bog

all girls to learn how to play nicely

how to decay without a sound

compressing yourself into a fossilized smile,

a blindfold

and a constantly repeating

“yes, I forgive you”


Lois describes herself as a “confused english student,” though one quickly finds a polished, charming poet in her work. She has an elegant style that compliments her keen insight and whimsical sensibilities. It is a pleasure to present her work, and we ask you to take a second to look at more of her wonderful work.
Malicia Frost, or Henna, is a hobbyist writer and an aspiring novelist from Finland. She enjoys surrealism, sci-fi and horror, and her works often deal with mental illness. More of her works can be found at her personal blog.]

‘ This mess we’re in ‘ – Collaborative – S.K. Nicholas & Samantha Lucero

 

   the lights are always on now, no one ever sleeps.

   i am one of those dreamless alien lights; one of those nobody’s cradled in the teeth of a high-rise window. my building’s a fang that pierces an eye of god. i loved you more because you turned away from me.

   i stare at my reflection until i become the memory of you; until i am become death and stones in pockets, and the formless outside in the velvet dark. you, the ghost that rushes in the corner of my eye, the reason i wear lace when it rains. i’m trying to read your mind, wherever it’s gone, but i can’t. i try to unearth the sandalwood smear of you on my walls and in between my fingers, but you’re not there. i’m not there either, not anymore.

   and so i’ll go to the hudson where they sell fire for your throat when you can’t weep or scream, where there’s bad news in the laughter and they find you floating the morning after.

   this mess we’re in will be over before it can begin.

   With a rock in my hand, I lay you down and taste the sweetness of your lips. I make you pretty and breathe in a scent that tickles me just right. With my fingers around your throat, I squeeze them tight and tell you that I want so much to believe. Among a bed of roses in a part of town others have no need to tread, I watch over you as the sun is replaced by the milk-white moon that makes you look like a porcelain doll my sister used to own. You, my beautiful secret. You, my only regret. You, the only one who knows me for how I am. Sit with me a while and hear my reasons. Give me a little time to tell you how this came to be. Speak some truth to heal these sins. Say something that will ease our passage to a place we were never meant to resist.

   With a rock in my hand, you move with such speed. Like a cat, you twist and turn as I stumble trying so hard to make it known that despite my deeds, I am indeed a good man. But the more you fight against it, the harder it is. The more you move away the closer I come until the only way I can make you understand is for you to see a part of me I try so hard to hide. Hitching up your skirt and sliding down those tights, I smear your lipstick and kiss your throat. Touching you where I feel God the most, I whisper to you knowing there will be no answer. Pulling your hair and sinking my fingers into the ground beneath your head, I hear no birds. I sense no movement at all as the world we used to know turns without us.

   This mess we’re in will be over before we know it.

   i could be the smooth arms of angrboda.

   i could hunt the heat lost in you somewhere like a tremble of life, find the skeleton key that unlocks all locked doors. i could keep one dying secret down in flames. i could birth in kerosene the chained wolf-child, your half-dead maid, an immense snake that cradles the sea. we could be the myth. we could be the end, for fragments like us to fit in life’s hands, full of dirt.

   i’m spit miscarried on grass, i’m all the things i thought, except the thing i could’ve been. i’m lost in my head, and you want me here. swallowing all six red seeds, I still starve in spring. i like it in the dark, with you believing, and you want me to believe in good men, when they would bury vestals alone with a lamp. leave me on a road that i can hitch hike to hell on and think, think… !

   think about a time in red converse. stepping on your toes just to get a close up, listen low so no one else can hear, fuck them, late night in a leather jacket and a pin with a gold tooth and vampire fangs. warning label. 2 packs of american spirits until we’re dry, and anne boelyn’s ghost in the tower of london. a grin of blood they never found on the wall. hell can be real. it’s here; but your face in my hands, watching me cry, that’s worth it.

   “time is a flat circle.”

   if we have one moment that matters,

   this mess we’re in can happen over and over again.

   With a rock in my hand, I use the other to cradle the base of your skull. You used to be my woman. You used to be my girl, but you just wouldn’t be tamed. I never wanted to clip your wings. No, I never wished to see you like that at all, but you never gave me a choice. I could’ve been your man, could’ve been that someone to watch over you when you needed a friend. I was here to give you all of this, yet you went a different way. You gave yourself to those who know only how to betray. It should never have come to this, but what was I supposed to do? Just allow it? Just let you fall further from grace? I’m not a monster, I’m a poet, and all I ever wanted was for you to know it. It was your choice to make.

   With a rock in my hand, I dig the soil with the other. You speak to me but it’s too late. I’ve made up my mind. And yet this isn’t the end. You are the seed that shall be planted. You are the nucleus of what I shall become. You will be mother and lover, and as I lay you down and watch you grow, the past and the future are already dancing on the same page. You have this voice but it needs to be silenced so I can hear what you have to say. You have this beauty but I need to cover it because others will surely come and attempt to sniff you out yet again. Y’know, I’ve never been this open with anyone but you. Never had the chance to be so close. It’s not how you wanted it, I’m sure, but with time you will understand, I can feel it in my bones.

   This mess we’re in gives birth to everything.


S.K. Nicholas is the man at a haunted hotel, alone on a snowy night, trying not to have a drink at My Red Abyss, and Samantha Lucero is the crumbling, lone grave on a hill poking out like a little rotten tooth at Six Red Seeds. ]

 

Am I Still Here?/Jasper Kerkau & Nicole Lyons

jn1 (1)

Emaciated by tortured flowers,
Bored expressions of expired emotions.
Stinging, charred words
dangling in thick air,
poisoned by expectation
Withered and violated
by meaningless conversation
he speaks softly,
vapid illusions
she lingers,
listens,
slowly decaying—
death beckons

I am still
here, pacing
through doorways
under a fluorescent sun.
My battle
cries flat,
pulled to hang
grotesquely
from cracked lips
plied into
an accommodating smile.
I am still
here, existing
behind shadows
inside a false twilight.
Or perhaps
I have eclipsed.
I am still.
Am I still here?

They don’t see me
swallowing knives as
they dance and laugh,
popping balloons while
I ingest their poison,
burning with acidic words
stinging the back of my throat,
I smile and nod to the world
look past the back-slapping
and soft kisses,
I disappear while they dine
on superficial conversation,
slivers of gold mixed with
trivial condiments smeared
over their delicacies.
The belching laughter hides
my diseased thinking,
the self-loathing that is divided
unequally.
They don’t see me
in the weak hours, meandering
down hallways with funny hats,
withering in their jovial retorts,
longing for someone to share
my portion, to starve themselves
on the nothingness I stab with dull
knives
They don’t see me dying, emotionally
decayed, fumbling in the dark places,
longing for an understanding embrace, but
there is only nothing, bitter nothingness.

Nothingness greets me
with twisted smiles
and happy laughter,
pouring from a mouth gagging
on the truth, and I feel again.
I feel the cold chill of terror
and death coming,
to raise the hair
on the back of my neck
as if I was a cat,
arching before
an offensive growl,
low to the ground.
I will spring and fall
into this abyss,
dance circles around
nothing, sway naked
with death, down
the scuffed floors of these halls,
writhing to the beat
of the screams they buried
in my head.
And I will arch my back
and throw my head
high
enough to drop
this slick sickness
from within and leave it
in the bones of this place,
of their place,
and it will ring,
through the walls
out and in
to the pockets
of every soothsayer
and handshaker that has fed
off the fat
of my back.


Jasper Kerkau is a managing editor and writer for Sudden Denouement and editor and writer for The Writings of Jasper Kerkau.

Nicole Lyons is creator of The Lithium Chronicles, as well as being an editor and writer for Sudden Denouement. As always, we are honored by her presence.