Excerpt from Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective- Haunted House/ Nathan McCool

The doorway
has become dissociative. Things may
enter or leave without being taken notice
of in the slightest.
They will come to find the piano shuddering,
it’s teeth chattering and it’s body oddly
formed into a fetal position all huddled up
in a cocoon of drunken catharsis.
The paintings, they have become severely
bipolar and are beginning to melt
like naked candles fused to the window
looking outside and offering the false perception
that it is safe to wander between these walls. The Walter Anderson’s and the Dali’s,
the Van Gogh’s and the junkyard salvages; they
no longer know which expressions
are proper for making love, greeting strangers,
or for killing with their bare hands. And
the skeletons that hang from the
ceiling, they are entirely hysterical. They sing
long echoing lullaby’s and longer goodbyes
through a bass amp buried below them
and are often interrupted by laughter at
their small plights – their sexual organs
turning to dust and the chaffing of the
string that tethers them to this place.
Somewhere here there is a bed
plagued with anxiety and night terrors.
And on it a man with a guitar plays
a song about suicide
with a beer bottle as a pick. And any tears
in this moment, spilling even down to the
tattoos that beg you to read their ideals,
they are the purest of things; the least
haunted by disease or disorder.

I am the cracked walls and leaky ceiling.
I am the vengeful specter.
I am everything here.

Visitors are so fond of saying what resonates in this domain
is either ghostly or sibylline.
But, if you were to know the history
of this ancient vessel,
you would know it is only sublimely human
in all its love
and its capacity for great suffering.

[Nathan McCool is the dark lord over on Instagram at God Of Dregs.]

Ain’t No Prodigal Son- Nathan McCool

The star quarterback is now selling
shitty insurance to his loyal subjects.
He’ll tell you, “You can lose anything in the
world and we’ll give you something we
think is equal in worth. If you’re a good person
you’ll lose everything really quickly. Then you’ll
really rack up the money.”

The sweetest and prettiest girl of my class
is now married to the insurance selling jock.
She’ll tell you, “Yes. Everything turns out
as cliché and expected and boring as you
ever thought it would.”
They recently rode off from the nice wedding,
to a romantic honeymoon, in a new car that
the people of this town clamor to so they
can put their lips against the wheels…
And it was all payed for by privilege.

And me…. I’m at a piano, buried under a
shivering mountain of books. Tom Waits in my
left hand, Nick Cave in my right. Kurt Cobain’s
suicide note stuck repeating –
words dripping from my lips like melting wax
quarter notes. I was the child that was isolated,
dressed in a perception filter…
You all saw me, but never did because you
just didn’t want to.
And while you were kissing the feet of petty gods,
leaving me alienated on the edge
of a small shit society…
I still loved everyone too fuckin much.

But I am not what I was then.
I’ll come and tell you, “You’re passing over
your chances to have anything of worth,
and you’re so willing to protect everything
that means nothing. What is worth insuring
cannot be insured. You’ll only ever receive
such small and diminishing dispensations;
and if you have anything real in you, those
repayments won’t mean a damn thing.”
I’ll tell you, “Things will only really end up how
you determine them to be or how you decide
to let them become.”

And still, after all this time, you’re scared to
hear me. To even look my way.
So when my foot sets down
on the outskirts of town, the roadway
shakes enough to topple your golden calf.
From there I take back everything you tried
to deprive me of – I drink it all up
like Daniel Day-Lewis with a really long straw.
Every single one of you shudders and coughs, and
I say,
“That’s right. You know who I am.”

Nathan McCool is a member of Blood Into Ink and the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective. You can find the haint, dusk, and sizzling of his concrete snares on his blog, Mist of Melancholia.

Into My Arms- Nathan McCool

The place where I gathered all our hopeless dreams

only to bear witness to each of them devouring another.

My arms that always failed

to protect the things I cared about.

All of it was useless in the end wasn’t it?


I would take back the mistakes if I could.

I’d run through the world to come and 

kick down your door,

just a torrid, dreaming vagabond 

smoking lithium from a lotus flower.

I’d say, “I’m here, my darlin. I’m here for good.”


But things never turned out the way we thought they should,

and our hearts are still just opposite horizons 

torn in half by the same savage splinter of lightning.


I still dream of you swaying to my music

as you balance yourself on this piano.

I am still haunted by all the things in this world

that remind me of you.

I still sing songs 

that offer you my melancholy love

and the hope that this world does not change you, 

my dearest.

And if I could, Virgo, 

I’d bring you into my arms

and tell you that I always did love you.

I’d tell you that, no matter the paths we take,

I always will.

Nathan McCool is a member of Blood Into Ink and the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective. You can find the haint, dusk, and sizzling of his concrete snares on his blog, Mist of Melancholia.

Excerpt: A Room So Still and Quiet It Hurts/Nathan McCool

You know when I’m there, after all the blood,

after all my ghost begin to break up and

dissipate like early morning radio chatter,

after the loss

of every god damn thing I’ve ever loved,

I can tell you that I earned the cognizance

that this was never a room.

Rooms have an exit, but there is no re-entry

into what my life used to be.

It’s a black hole, and on the other side

there is a universe of all dead bodies.

So if I dissect myself,

if I show you all my organs that could never

have managed to hold this cancer,

if I do it here at the altar of all my great


I just want you to know I’ve reached the

event horizon.

But here I do not struggle, I strive. I still

yearn to be a good man. Wish that my

heart would become supermassive,

and strong enough to maybe release

one singular ray of light into all this space.

Set one lone kite free of the gravity.


If I fall through the hole and I’m never seen again,

I want you to remember I wasn’t a coward.

I was the thing that withstood longer than

all else.

Because nothing can be here if it still

has a world to belong to.

And if you don’t understand that, in a way

I hope you never do.

But if you never saw my light, if I gave in

before it could break through

I’m sorry.

It’s not because I didn’t try.

So live or die,

Be free or killed by this monster of my mind,

I did the very best that I could.

Nathan McCool – Divine

It’s all been Russian roulette and the game 

was rigged from the start. So,

you dear and distant god, what am I to 

make of these small moments between 

the hammer and the head?


Allow me this thought:

The clouds that are expelled from me

into winter’s dusk no longer take the form

of myth or fancy as they are painted 

against a dying sun. They are cotton candy 

caricatures of a man in the act of

self immolation.

I believe perhaps all of this has been a walk

down Saigon Road, and I’m now coming to sit calmly

without movement or sound at this intersection 


The world I have seen is a nuclei, and 

I am an electron in sporadic oscillation all around it.

I may leave at any given moment to bring 

the clouds of another world to wholeness

or part from them to expose them to the 

ultra violence of ultraviolet light.


Because I no longer know what I’m really staying for.

To witness war or the loss of love?

To watch children absorbed into the earth

or for them to wander off from innocence 

into the people they will become?


At this point I no longer truly think of ends,

just the momentum of the moment. 

I’ll one day have a grave like a laceration 

upon the flesh of the earth,

and you’ll all pour me in like salt.

But that is a moment with no meaning for me.


But in existence,

where misery takes up residence in my bed

so often I’ve taken to calling her “baby”,

I am an entity and an element.

In existence, I have lost more than I have

ever received; and carry more demons 

than I do pores of my skin.


Nothing out there cares if I got my druthers,

but I’ll let you know:

If you were to force me to live this innumerable times,

I’d sink these jagged teeth into life 

all over again.



[Nathan McCool is actually so cool, I can’t stand it. You can find the haint, dusk, and sizzling of his concrete snares on Instagram, or at his blog, Mist of Melancholia.]

Writin “Burnin Down the Box” – Nathan McCool

I’m real sick of all the normal talk in this town.

So dig this:


I stroll into a convenience store wild-eyed

as any nightmare; and I trade

a satchel of moirai eyes and could-be prophecies

for the cheapest, darkest beer I can pry

from the cooler’s scary fingers

at this late hour.


By the time I get home my heart’s bluebird

is already drowning.

Just a damn lightweight these days. Or so my fates say.


As usual, the violin and the guitar have been into

another tuning fork fight over why the

power for the amp won’t come on.

And one of em popped a string before

cracking the other’s head.

It’ll get nursed with apologies splattered on

a pill-shaped pillow tonight while I

find the loneliest room in the house

to write a very long metaphor in story form

on the ethics and morality

of the mass acceptance of social stigma.


I cast Lemmy’s Rickenbacker as the main protagonist.

I pit it against an angry village of cereal

all armed to the teeth in a riot

and ready for another attempt to march

on a Frank Zappa album.

(Damn cereal never stood a chance.)


As I go to write the musical score

I stretch wide above the piano;

drunk, lanky, and weary

like a dope fiend scarecrow

in the fields around Greenwood, MS

waiting to croon with Robert Johnson.

I lean in and tell her,

“There’s a wolf in my heart for you, baby.”


I write a real slow song and end it like this:

“Sorry dad,

but I really ain’t no prodigal son.

I ain’t nothing to be proud of

when the day is through.

But you and mom are gonna be alright

and I’m sorry I won’t make it home again.

But there’s just a lot in life I gotta do.

And if you won’t cry when you think of me

I’ll smile when I think of you.”


And then I nestle myself way down into

the hole in my acoustic guitar.

Down where the light never reaches.

And I do what anyone does

when they don’t believe in a damn thing

and they got no one to pray to…

I wait for nothing.


[Nathan McCool is actually so cool, I can’t stand it. You can find the haint, dusk, and sizzling of his concrete snares on Instagram, or at his blog, Mist of Melancholia.]

Nathan McCool – Response to Mick Hugh’s Proper Disturbia:

I’m just gonna puke it up. All the worthless
words. The studies that didn’t mean
a fuckin thing. All the ways I was
taught to think. The shitty, remedial
lessons I learned in school
that were so pointless.

“Let’s focus on some boring writing that
says nothing, isn’t worth a damn, and most importantly… was given high praise by people
all conditioned to clamor to the classics
and the worlds of happy endings.”

My A.P. English literature
teacher was always so determined to
analyze what every poem meant.
But only in line with what the textbooks
told her it meant.
Things in my stomach still turn to rot when
I have to breathe in the words of people like that.

Our tiny little advanced placement class,
(Mostly just people who could offer
advanced payments for their A’s)
we were supposed to write our own poem
to be analyzed. A poem that fit some bullshit
rhyme scheme that I didn’t give a shit about.
But I did it anyway, cause I’m a sucker for
making a point.

And at the last minute I wrote a poem
titled “Prayer That Nothing Spills Out”.
And after the clichés and happy endings
and sad attempts to rhyme “good” with “God”, that teacher read my poem out
loud to the whole class.

And they all got to figure it out.
Take their turns at firing off assumptions about
what I really meant. Until it was determined
I wrote about all my internalized emotions
and the hopes that I never showed anyone
how much I suffer.

And when I was asked to explain my poems intent,
I told them. I proved my point about their
shit method of assuming what someone
is trying to say. And then I laughed uncontrollably
until I puked on the floor and walked out.

Because “Prayer That Nothing Spills Out”
was about anal.



[Nathan McCool is the dark lord over on Instagram at God Of Dregs.]