At the Altar of Life
granite and obsidian
carved into all that is, was, or will be
are the letters, in silver
of my existence
I am the nightbringer
I am shadow, and dust
lost dreams and broken homes
dark rooms and rust
I appear as you do
but the curse I bear
Oh, the sorrow
you will come to know
all of you are candles
But I am a pyre
You will love me, feed me
carry me home
Call me friend, brother, sister, lover
Wife or Husband
we strive to live as you
We wish to taste love
As you do, to commit freely
And oh, the sorrow
How I wish to give
But all I can do is
The lies, the drugs, the sex
The gambling and gin
The doctors, the lawyers, the authorities
The institutions that came and went
All to quiet this
raging conflagration within
You can never understand
your love you give and you give
Over and over
more and more
With the fears and the memories
of what has come before
The Wasteland in my mind
haunts dense and deadly
the war with ghosts
that no one can see
This chain of horror
that clenches my throat
Of use to none
I will scorch and burn
Everything I see
I try to show you how to burn
Just like me
I am the nightbringer
And I can only grant you
Oh, the sorrow…
You have come to know
The hard truth you see
the only way to save yourself,
The only way to love me
Is by letting me go
And you know who I am
I know that you see
Mark these words dear
before you burn
Just Like Me
HUSH written by Nicole Lyons, is a searing collection of poems that takes the reader on an emotional ride, through the tunnel of mental illness and reckless love.
Nicole Lyons’ voice undulates from pain to ecstasy, at breakneck speed. Erotic, soulful and authentic, Nicole has written a raw memoir encapsulated in poems. Stepping off the cliff, delving into HUSH, readers will find themselves breathless and wanting more. -Julie Anderson
The first book from Nicole Lyons is now available here.
Hush cover design: Sherri Smith
Hush cover model: Julie Anderson
Hush cover photo: Paul Empson Photography
You can read a glowing review by Jasper Kerkau here, and if you’re interested in reading some of the galaxy’s most liberating, moving words, I recommend that you follow the amazon link above. Nicole Lyons is the creatrix of The Lithium Chronicles, as well as being a consulting editor and writer at Sudden Denouement.
This poetry collection has a beginning, middle and an end. It covers two months’ worth of misadventures in the life of an embittered and slightly arrogant young woman who decides to quit her job to become a poet out of spite after being called a few choice names. Sometimes you will like her, sometimes you may not. Sometimes you may laugh or cry or want your money back. But life’s not very fair that way, now is it?
This is a coming of age story, and that age is almost thirty.
Georgia Park is creator of Private Bad Thoughts, curator of Whisper and the Roar a feminist literary collective, and a writer for Sudden Denouement
A brief, rave review by Jasper Kerkau can be found here. And if you’re interested in witnessing one of earth’s most epic poets in motion, you can invest in her work here.
when did you keep god under your tongue,
an uninvited pill
from that plastic nurse behind a wall,
and reaching out to hand you an orange
in a paper cup made in L.A.
for whom did your milky eyes blur,
or from whose unseen stare did the water
of your ribs buckle and hide
when you knew that worship was a mask we
that rituals and skin
give us a tendency to forgot how to say no?
i was born in a summer cage that sold
whispers to me
in body-sized trash bags, flung at donation
trucks where you wait and
where you drive up and pry a hole, pull out
unwanted secrets you can take home
and cherish as yours from other people’s
unglamorous lives; a boy scout’s book
on how to make a fire.
a girl scout’s book about how to cook on it.
my heart’s in a shot glass that says
‘i ❤ san francisco.’
on the floor by a fireplace
in his basement.
and i think that’s where i swallowed ‘god.’
[Sam does sixredseeds.]
We stand like stones
beside the throes of the ocean,
beneath the gaze of
the holiest of crows
floating above the bones
and wreckage of those lost
at sea, you let your
pride swell and you sank with
an anchor at your feet,
cursing the moon
to let the water just recede,
pleading with every angry
to allow yourself to
swim out in decline,
the commotion of being
born of immaculate design,
you stand alone inside the mountain,
shouting that you want to call god
on a burner
to hide your trail,
to scorn him, to convince yourself
that you aren’t yearning for something
more, learning that there’s
no one there
to stop the drone. What are you
holding to? Solitude
asks nothing of us, and you
shouldn’t be ashamed. Scared,
maybe, but bring that to the
light and up it goes in flames,
four hours wandering
the skin of the sea,
the shoreline adores
and your subtle step.
[Howl Davies is the creator of The Sounds Inside.]
the man i loved who never knew
was tall like most men girls love & never tell
he was t h e unreachable one in missing scenes of my other life — one i could’ve had, but couldn’t, & now i can’t at all —
he was that untouched n a m e i never murmured aloud
a strangled sonnet that i would recite to a chasm in each yearning lover’s prison-grey heart, wet-eyed with a desert-tongue and a diamond gun,
because you’re holding the smeared organ
the holy medal in my scalded dreams, where no one can hear what i whisper into my own nebulous mind,
so i scream in my head when i see you,
even in this inner-woven world where i can confess
to the fake piece of you that isn’t really there,
i don’t, i wouldn’t dare.
[Samantha Lucero writes stuff sometimes at sixredseeds.]
next-day sore, fabled romance memories we’ll never have again hang themselves over the morgue of my shoulders. they sling there on the murderess hews of my collarbones like a noose. over the rubble of me like a shapeless dress, they cling. my sadness is a one-size fits all.
there’s a bad mystery of stitched up, prayer-words smothered & held hostage underneath the humid crucifix game of your nails. maybe we could be in love. your calloused hand, my beating throat. memories are ghosts that can physically embrace me; embrace us.
like dirt-sweat in a ghost-tour day of that hot mouth street in New Orleans, where the grinning specter-folks wanna stay like pasted gaslight posts in booze-colored hurricane beads. where there’s oiled-up candles in the balmy night lining decatur & quivering tarot cards in a sweaty palm telling me i’m meant for greatness. hail the votives for a virgin or a saint-chief, & watch palpitations at every pop-up table. my black boots on powdered sugar all over the concrete long after sleep should’ve gently tapped, hold the the dust of cemetery reflections & the 24/7 menu of the cafe du monde.
meet me for smoke, insomnia, primordial love.
you don’t need the blonde smiling photograph of her burned onto the back of your eyelids when things go wrong for us.
i don’t need the memory of him sewn to my back like a corset scar, like an unhealed secret.
we can make our own memories now. let’s erase them.
let’s erase it all & grow old
in the sweet, warm arms of new orleans where desperate, spilling souls belong.
[Samantha Lucero is an unseelie that has a nursery of shadows at sixredseeds.]