The Path Goes Both Ways

Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

by pbbr

A bird is singing on my windowsill this morning, sweet notes falling like ivory piano keys in a crosstown jazz bar. It’s autumn and he’s running late on his perennial southbound path. But he doesn’t sound hurried. Prancing back and forth on the windowsill, an avian entertainer chatting up the soft dewy dawn. I stand slowly, wincing at the surgery wounds in my belly, and reach for the shotgun.

The coffee pot is brewing on an automatic path. Savory beans roasting in their own juices, dripping, dripping. Chocolate warmth nestled in a cup,  auburn froth leveled at the top. Blended with raspberry crème. I take that first sip and my heart jumps in jagged arrhythmia.

The shower water is warm, stoking the embers of a tequila flame from the night before. The Mopar purrs in the driveway, guzzling the last few dimes from my pocket. Everything on its…

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Turned Out-pbbr

Imagine the blow to my fragile ego the day that I found out; that just because I’m paranoid meant nothing more than that.

I was paranoid.

The lights that flashed around the bend were only there to guide me; not run me in the ditch. The shellshock helmet on my head squeezed tighter than any itch.

I was stymied by a world that never had it out for me in the first place.

Turned out my misfortune was all my own creation. Turned out my enemy was the reflection in the jailhouse mirror.

All the insights I thought would free me, were chains that held me there. And all the things that I thought would hurt me blew as wisps of air.

Perhaps too much time in dark corners made me comfortable with blindness. Perhaps the lack of sun was the reason behind my sickness. Because it turned out there were no aliens or government corruption. Turned out the only one spying on me was the most subjective one of all.

But he had the most valuable insight! you might say. And that might be a lie.

Not to say that the end of days isn’t slowly creeping nigh; this world can sustain only so much pain before she decides to die.

But imagine the load of carrying it on your shoulders. The weight of the future of all mankind because your rigid fingers slipped inside some slippery scorching panties. Because God didn’t whisper in your ear at night. Fundamental religions aren’t always about brimstone and handling snakes. They will teach you fear and they will teach you piety, no doubt. But they will also stack the stones high on your back.

Until your spine must crack.

Chemicals are there, too, a steady stream of hallucination; piebald irises and quivering fingers that seek cessation. How could I have expected to see any sky when clouds were my favorite shape? And violent answers to no questions asked, those were the kneejerk reaction. Yes, I know misfortune was a jailhouse I created myself.

I was paranoid.

There were no family conspiracies, no diabolical plots. Only reactions to loud noises. Self-defense mechanisms from those with the same blood in their veins. I can hear their whispers, he’s at it again, he’s at it again… is that a shovel he’s picking up?

Who wouldn’t talk behind your back when they can’t talk to your face? Where do you expect them to talk?

Turned out the only director of the play was chaos. And he wore a mask named Friend.

Crawling out of a dusky maze and free of perpetual haze; the chains that always bound me are clanking behind in pain. They miss the warmth of flesh; they miss the cries of disdain. But the further I move away as a slug in a trail of salt; I can see and feel warm light ahead and universal gestalt. I know the sum of the whole is greater than its parts.

To walk this path and come out unscathed would be the greatest sin. To look into the sun and be blinded, immersion in its pure beauty, is worth the price of admission. And what did I pay anyway?

I know that my misfortune was no one else’s fault.

I was paranoid.

But it turned out not to be a bad thing.

Based in the piney woods of East Texas, pbbr is a founding member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective. He is a technical writer by trade and the author of “The Scale of Savages” under the pen name Patrick Brendhan, available on Amazon.

There’s no place like alone-PBBR


A Global Divergent Literary Collective

By pbbr

I ran buck wild for a porky child, sometimes even faster than the bullies chasing me. Bare-skin feet scrambling across playgrounds, through alleyways, through drugstore parking lots. They caught me once, I can still feel their blows. They caught me twice, I can show you the crooked scar. There were love handles on my side and dirt in my neckline, but there was not a third time. Adrenaline is the speed of children.

Running through the woods I was almost home. But I was out of breath in the Texas sun, heavy shoulders rising and falling under my sweatstained shirt. The pines were too skinny to hide behind. Catcalls and fistfalls were approaching fast. Then a ditch beside the channel whispered my name. There was a cargo barrel at its bottom and I slid inside, a rusty comfort beside the tide. In my mind it was a spaceship…

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Mechanized Paranoia

A Global Divergent Literary Collective

Digital positive from celluloid negative.

by pbbr

Everyone who passes me holds my life in their hands. I can’t stand to look at them but I do. Faces behind dirty windshields, eighteen wheelers and Volkswagens, minivans. They carry the lottery card that wins my violent death, each and every one of them. In their wallets, their purses, their consoles. Only one will be lucky enough to punch it. But which one? Was it him? Her?

Wrinkled faces, hackneyed brows and unshaven jowls, they mock me with moonslatted eyes. Drivers rocketing by in a blur. I only catch glimpses of them but they seem to know everything about me. They can smell my watery fear. I can tell by the way they catch my gaze, some lightly grinning, others drooling with murderlust. Stay in your lane. Please.

A twolane highway, a nighttime deathrow chamber, paved just for me. Guttural machines roaring. Mountain roads and overpasses, headlights…

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Blame the Hurrycane (excerpt 17, “The Vacuum”)-PBBR

A Global Divergent Literary Collective

by pbbr

July 27, 1989

His trailer was crammed in a single lot at the Speckled Trout Mobile Home Park, only a stone’s throw from the channel. The smell of burnt rubber and dead fish hung in the air. Over the pines, the cranes of Barbour’s Cut Terminal banged stacks of cargo crates onto mammoth vessels. Drayton carried his lunch pail through the lightless courtyard and waved at a group of plant workers. They were hunched around a smelly oil drum fire like sentries at some backwoods leper colony.

You got a stog? yelled one, a fatcheeked welder everyone called Ogre. He wore a thin ponytail and a ball cap over his bald dome.

I only got one, Drayton said.

Well that’s good. I can only smoke one at a time. Ogre took it and lit it off the fire. I get paid Friday, he said, and held out a bottle of Mad Dog.

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Vintage PBBR

A Global Divergent Literary Collective


By pbbr

There’s an orange light from the window and I see it every night on my walk home. I wonder what’s inside. I can see a silhouette through the matte cedar sill and sometimes the shape, usually still and lithe, slinks back from sight as I stroll past. The loft is a ramshackle Moorish revival affair, wrapped in creeping kudzu, nestled otherwise nondescript in a grove of fragrant gardenia maybe twenty metres off Decatur. Some say it’s been empty for years; others tell different.

There’s an elderly man who lives there with two faces, the plump secretary at my accounting firm says. One that’s normal and another one on the back of his head. He’s gaunt as a scarecrow, and maybe Creole, although no one knows for sure. But don’t knock on his door. He’s been criminally ill for some time. And he sees things behind him.


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Sunshine Award / Daisy in the Willows


[Photo: Jack Parsons]

We have been nominated for awards in the past and have always been blessed by the experience. Due to the fact I am overwhelmed by the magnitude of work required to keep Sudden Denouement moving forward, we have not participated in the process the last couple of times we have been honored, though we appreciate award nominations.

This nomination is special because of the fact that it came from a writer for whom we have an enormous amount of respect. I discovered the work of Daisy about a month ago, and was immediately smitten. She shares our “secret language” (Sam Lucero!) and understanding of aesthetics. We were humbled and honored she took the time to recognize us and want to repay her by taking the time to respond to this nomination.

Daisy nominated us for the Sunshine Blogger Award. The rules stated by Daisy are as such:

• Thank whoever nominated your blog – Me in this case!
• Indulge yourself and answer any questions you feel happy to answer.
• Spread that radiance to some other awesome blogs to keep the light shining brightly.
• Use these questions or make up your own to ask your nominees.
• Tell your nominees that they have been nominated.
• Put your preferred logo award on display . I chose this one.

Please take a moment to look at Daisy’s beautiful site, Daisy in the Willows. Read “NECESSITY BARES ECHO” or “MRS TERSABLE,” and you will get a keen understanding of why I am so partial to her writing. Daisy is in a league with Nicole Lyons, Georgia Park, or Stephanie Bennett-Henry. I am honored to say that she is a friend to Sudden Denouement. We will put a permanent link to her page on our site, and she will always have friends with Sudden Denouement.

Questions and Answers

How did Sudden Denouement come about?

Sudden Denouement was a concept I came up with along with my friend and co-creator SRP. It was born on my patio after the Ides of April, in a midst of great chaos and disorder. Its creation created  balance in my universe. Shortly thereafter, I had met my old friend PBBR at a bar, and he brought his energy and vision to the project. His grace, intelligence, and guidance helped bring us to the next level. We continue to be amazed by his leadership and friendship. Thank you brother!

What are the goals of Sudden Denouement moving forward?

Sudden Denouement will attempt to take over the world shortly (Georgia Park/Sam Lucero). Actually, we are going to be publishing a chapbook featuring our writers by summer. Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing reviews and interviews with S.K. Nicholas (The Journal for Damned Lovers) and Melissa Studdard, a breathtaking poet from Houston whose book of poetry, I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfastleft me without words.
Who do you have to thank for Sudden Denouement?

Personally, I would like to thank Sperantia Zavala for believing in me and Sudden Denouement early on. “Nothing that I Want” is still one of our top posts, and her friendship and advice has been very important.

Georgia Park has been an integral part of Sudden Denouement. Her wonderful poetry and her council is golden. We have nothing but love for Georgia and her warrior spirit and the inspiration she provides for so many of us.

Olde Punk is a gentleman and a scholar. We have become friends through this process, as many of us have, and he, along with Georgia, was one of our first writers. I appreciate the outlet he provides me when I am stuck in a loop writing email. His poetry becomes fiercer with every poem he writes.

Nicole Lyons is an angel. I am sure some of have figured that out. She is such an inspiration with everything she does. The personal debt I owe her is enormous. Thank you my wonderful friend.

There are so many others I would like to thank with nominations for this award which is another motivation for participating in this process, recognizing some of those we love and respect. Our nominations for this award are:

RamJet Poetry
The Lithium Chronicles
Mick’s Neon Fog (YO!)
Private Bad Thoughts (Georgia Park’s rawest daily poetry)
Lois e. Linkens (her poetry is delightful)
Tom Slatin
Max Meunier Poetry (the world needs Max Meunier!)
Fallen Alone
Brave and Reckless Blog (Christine is a force of nature)
The Hell’s Inferno (we love Hannah)
Malicia Frost(Thank you)
Sam Lucero(words don’t do justice)
Whisper and the Roar (the world belongs to Georgia Park)
Stephanie Bennett-Henry (Stephanie is in a league by herself)


Insidious Temptation (Writing isn’t going to save me, people are. I always remember kindness!)

Skinny and Single (The sharpest wit in the universe)

Thank you, Daisy. You are an inspiration. We are honored by this award.

Jasper Kerkau

Sudden Denouement Literary Collective