Pull-String Playgrounds – Introducing JL Stevens

All these threads lead to the same endings.
The fabric of pain doesn’t shelter,
and it rains all the time.
I stumble among the defense mechanisms,
and the battlegrounds now stretch
like a list of forgotten names.
The devil may understand the broken,
but he is laughing
behind the cup of indifference.
These fractures are given labels,
beautiful categories,
pinned to the walls like wrists.
I am suffocating on all
the identities they are forcing upon me.
Hesitant to say a word
as the ink falls unwillingly from my eyes.
Every sin that once separated us
is now sold back with a smile.
And the sign overhead says: Play to Win.
We cannot thrive within
these pull-string playgrounds.
Because the game is tied
too tightly to ourselves.

 

JL Stevens is a writer of psychological fiction. She is currently working on her first collection of short tragedies entitled How The Story Ends. You can find her poetry on Facebook under JL Stevens and Chaos of Thought. She loves classic literature and has a deep passion for words. She is going back to school to pursue her degree in psychology and human development, and hopes to incorporate this into her writing.

Excerpt from Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective- A letter to someone’s saviour/Oldepunk

aletterto
Hey you.  Allah

I feel nothing anymore

If I do, I can’t tell

is it supposed to be this way?

Hey you.  God, why am I

screaming at the fact that you’re aware of my failure which I see sitting demure at a table sipping espresso as the aftermath of the encounter thickens the air and afterwards no one knows what to say and I want to sneer at our confusion but find I can only shout fears in tongues at the matador in front of the corner store

can you spare a holy smoke?

You know the man who said he knew you tried to teach us

he liked to play with the little boys in the parks after dark

my parents decided that he probably didn’t know you but must have had some good lawyers cause he packed up his show and moved on to the next town

anticipating sundown.

I need a cleansing

I wrote this for you.

Christ,

I thought I left ’em all behind

those friends I never knew

and the women I never loved

the things I’ve never done

and the truths I’ve never spoken

those tears should have dried

those emotions should have died

Buddha,

I should have left when I had the chance

and now I am alone and stoned and cold

no longer so bold, I wish I would have walked away

from those lies I’ve never told

pain I never endured

People I’ve never needed

friends I never saw die

the escape route always eluded me

draining my will to try

Do you offer a resurrection

for those of us who got it wrong

will you truly offer me a chance to start again

or was it bullshit all along.

if it’s really a redemption song

then maybe I too could sing

and see what  your new tomorrow

may bring

maybe, If I can be strong

it has got to better than this

Warmest Regards,

I was Wrong

Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective is available at Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, Amazon Canada, Book Depository, and other major book retailers.


You can read more of Oldepunk’s poetry at RamJet Poetry

Excerpt from Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective-Upon the Anniversary of Your Death/Jasper Kerkau

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I carried your books—Mencken, Nietzsche, and other misanthropist tomes—boxed up and sold by the pound, exorcising all your existential angst. The body still warm, I drove your mother in silence to bookstore, trivial task, your prized possessions discarded in the abyss, torn covers and scribbled footnotes heralding a new aeon. Ten years removed, I am still touched by unforgivable grief, remembering your deep laughter and explosive spark—the glass-smashing, room-clearing nihilism that left fragments of strangeness everywhere.

I carried your grief, standing in your place, eulogizing your father and all the sadness in the world. I thought of your heartbreak, his rheumatoid-afflicted limbs, the never-ending horror of merciless suffering that drove you into nothingness as he wasted away. My shoes too tight, among strangers, swallowing my tongue, perspiring, hiding under table, echoing I can do this…I can do this…I have to do this for him. Tie crooked, I shake hands with your family—“thank you for standing in for him,” they tell me with a wink and pat on the back. I bury my face in my hands afterward in the car. I will never again speak over the dead. 

I carried your energy with me into adulthood. Swimming in blue waters, experiencing the miracle of childbirth, thinking of your eternal resignation—Methadone and Xanax—as I pass out cigars. I can’t help but think that a child would have saved you, as I see the future in the helpless innocence of my fruit.  I “bought in,” pushing carts down long aisles, groceries, comfort, pitter-patter of little feet, bank accounts, and Sundays strolling through antique stores. All the while, I feel the spectre of your life casting its pall over my experience. The sadness is at arm’s length, though I know one day we will drink from the mead horn in the great hall. 

I carried your failure with me through tragedy, running in circles, ankles and knees aching, never stopping…jogging past your childhood home. Finding God at the worst times, finding life in the place where you surrendered. She walked out and you died. I thought of this when mine left, rose from the dead, evolved, while you lingered in my shallow sleeps, haunting me as I struggled to overcome. Every day I pushed myself further away from that place you created. I was only an inch away, pushed into the shadows only to embrace the light. I did it because you could not—I did it for you.

I carried your passion, your love of knowledge, finished a degree, never walked but hid in bathroom at work, thought of you as I visualized them calling my name. “It was all for naught,” I tell friends, secretly, of course, it was for you. Your brittle life redeemed by the marrow and bone pulverized and ingested in magic concoctions, secret rituals, great revelations thrown up in silly rooms with people I never knew as well as you. I bear the cross that people will never understand, never letting go—making the life that we dreamed of in the dreadful three a.m.’s when there were too many lines and too much talk that was all so fleeting.

I carried your beauty, your friendship, your combustible insanity with me. Sat on couches, bored, trying to find that madness, but I am cursed forever to a life of mundane drinks and civil discourse, dreaming of the past. I ask your mother if they ever got a tombstone. I think of your brilliance, unmarked, given over to eternity and worms—forgotten. My life is defined by you, looking forward, being better, not being swallowed by the same monsters that carried you away. You are with me in my dreams. After ten years, I think of you ever day.

Available at Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, Amazon Canada, Book Depository, and other major book retailers


Jasper Kerkau is co-creator of Sudden Denouement, as well as Jasper Kerkau Writing.

Poetry: Buy, Sell, or Hold – David Lohrey


Poetry: Buy, Sell, or Hold?

I sent my new poem to an old friend who replied:
“I know nothing of poetry.”
Another said about the same. “I don’t read the stuff.
Sorry.” It got me to thinking.

Had I sent in a stock tip, they would have rewarded me.
I might have received a bottle of Chablis, maybe even a good one,
had I sent in trading data on Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange.
Who would have said, “I’m not into making money.”?

But one comes to learn an awful truth about one’s friends.
Not just their indifference; that’s painful enough.
No. It’s that for them poetry is something akin to masturbation.
They don’t want to hear about it. It’s an embarrassment.

My friends are always buying or selling. If I had produced a tomato,
I’d have been advised to set up a stand on the sidewalk.
The price of tomatoes is high, asparagus even higher,
but poetry is nearly worthless; like trying to sell one’s teeth.

Poetry is not a commodity. My friends are merchants.
It’s a shameful action, like going to Confession.
Can you sell your sins? How much do one’s dreams weigh?
Nobody wants to watch a friend display himself.

It’s not that poetry is disgusting. But it may be shameful.
It’s seen as a waste of time: not an adult activity, not a good investment,
something more akin to gathering pine cones or pressing leaves in an album,
i.e., kid stuff, or a hobby for little old ladies.

I feel like a cat taking a bloody mouse to her master.
As I drop my poem at my friend’s feet, she gives it a glance
and sneers: “What’s that for? It’s not very pleasant.
Your job is to please me. Go play in the garden.”

That’s the response of my once best friend. She sees herself as an artist
or at least claims to be artistic. She wouldn’t treat a painting the way she scorns poetry.
But then again you can own an oil. You can hang it.
Even better you can resell it.

Stocks and paintings are good investments, like real estate.
Cars and furniture lose value, more like a poem.
They’re best when new, but with art, the worth is in its place,
they say. It’s not just beauty; it’s location, location, location.

Poetry is a dying art, especially when the artistic disown it.
They’d rather have crème brûlée or pear mousse with walnuts.
It’s not only prettier but something sweet. Poetry is no treat, and poets
are a nuisance. They have the absurd idea that what they do has value.

 

[David Lohrey is the author of Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing. He is also an editor for Sudden Denouement and a mentor for me personally – Jasper Kerkau]

Introducing Allie Nelson – Addict

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Addict – Allie Nelson

It’s evening, and we’re both drunk as stoned birds, and you look like a young Hannibal Lecter and stink of corpses and rotting roses. I’m in bandages and heels, I cut myself on your broken bottles again, maybe because I hate myself or maybe because I hate you and I want you to see your precious little canary bleed red, dead, showing the coal mine of your palace is stranger danger. There’s needle pricks along your forearm and you’re ranting and raving about how I left you for your brother, the Prodigal Sun, and you’re the fuckup your dad kicked to the curb into a joint you call Hell with your bachelor buddies where all you do is fuck and kill and get high any means possible. I say your twin is worth a thousand yous and I’d rather you were dead by my hands than calling me jezebel and heirodule and all your pretty words for whore. Maybe you get off on me sleeping with all your friends and enemies – no, I know you do, because you own me and I own you and I only do as we please and you’re a manwhore that likes used goods – but for now you’re pretending it’s only us at night, not succubi or angels of prostitution or all the fancy terms rabbis came up for cheap ladies of the night that dress up in oxblood lipstick and leather and decorate your palace. I tried to join in on one of your orgies once and you laughed to high heaven at how innocent I was, too pure, and your wives stroked my hair and tweaked my nose and then you got back to your fucking. So much for sharing. I don’t know a damn thing about drugs and all the shit you drink and snort and smoke and siphon through your veins but silver daggers are pumping this clear heady substance into your banded arms and I’m cornered, horny, and pissed. I imagine you are the same, because what fucking loser castigates his wife for straying and throws temper tantrums then comes crawling back drunk for forgiveness and pleads for a second chance, a millionth chance, just take my poetry and books and roses and shittily made tacos and let’s pretend I’m the dragon, you’re the princess, and your fucking knight brother was burned to a crisp. You grab me from behind and I hike up the bandages and you talk about kids and how pretty I would be pregnant and I tell you to fuck off as I cum and you’re still snorting coke off my spine and we rut until I bleed and you’re raw. You mock me for missing a spot waxing but I know you’d fuck me if I had a sixties porno bush. You’ve made it a point to fuck me however I look, lathering me up to a soap with compliments and moaning and weakness as your seed spills out and I could sink my teeth into your manhood and drink down all the black sin inside you. You’re crying again, sobbing into my hair, saying how could I have left you for the better half, the sober one, the brother you hate and love in equal measure. I tell you to shut the hell up and let me sleep and that I only keep you around because you’re hot when you’re not an abomination. I’m pretty sure you raised me to kill you, and you love watching me in other men’s arms, but then you go and haunt my boyfriends and fuck me in their beds so who knows. All I know is that you think you have me figured out, but then I go and surprise you and you lose your shit and rant and rave like a rabid dog. Watchdog of the graveyard, you called yourself. The Scapegoat. Samuel the Judge. I hope the whole fucking Internet reads this and the Satanists know what a pussy their god is. The Devil’s a cuckold and cries at Victor Hugo and beats his women and is as disturbed as his favorite eponymous band. Addict Angel Extraordinaire. Waste of Space Junkie. This is just me spewing shit on the page to see what sticks but isn’t that what I always do?

I learned to write from you, after all.

https://dancewithtricksters.wordpress.com/

[Allie is a rather bubbly blonde that currently attends grad school for science communication, has a rather useless degree in biology, and works in the environmental field. She can usually be found hugging trees, eating green curry with tofu, or exploring the wilds of D.C.. Allie is an avid poet, aspiring author, meme queen, speculative fiction enthusiast, and alien centaur aficionado. She also has about 600 lipst.]

Sunday Reading: A Journal For Damned Lovers Volume 2 – S.K. Nicholas

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Just got my copy of A Journal for Damned Lovers Volume 2 in the mail. Only a quarter of the way through, but it is a fitting sequel that does not disappoint. S.K. Nicholas speaks the language of the gods.

Please pick up a copy and LEAVE A REVIEW!

Check out Nicholas’ brilliant site.

David Lohrey’s Machiavelli’s Backyard

David Lohrey's Machiavell's Backyard

Sudden Denouement Publishing is excited to announce David Lohrey’s collection of poetry Machiavelli’s Backyard. Lohrey’s poetry is rife with dark humor, biting social satire, and paralyzing honesty. His work illustrates that now more than ever, in a world overrun with vapid pop culture, shortened attention spans, and loss of a collective sanity, there is a need for voices that speak truth, spreading light in the darkness–poetry is alive! All is not lost.

Lohrey is a brilliant artist, a visionary with a keen command over the English language, an ability to make fire out of rock and wood. His collection is available on Amazon and The Book Depository.  October 1st, his book will be available on Amazon Kindle. A pre-order is available for the Kindle version.

If anyone is interested in writing a long-form review, please contact me for a copy of the book. In the process of publishing, I have learned that reviews are an important part of the process. I would ask anyone who purchases the book to go to Amazon and Goodreads and leave a short review.

Jasper Kerkau

Co-Founder Sudden Denouement