The Statistics of Opinion – David Lohrey

We hate the man in the White House because he eats McDonald’s.

We hate him because he orders his steaks well-done and uses

ketchup like a rube from St. Louis. Americans have adopted

the snobbery of Princess Margaret. We expect the President

to eat popcorn in white gloves.

Yes, this is who we are. We no longer want a President. We demand

a Queen. We treasure the wealthy not the greedy. He’s too much

like us, this man in the White House. The poor love him because

he eats the way we do. He spends his money in the same way

we would if we had any.

There’s a touch of the gutter in the men we send to the big house.

Some people have too much; that’s what makes us resentful. Not

Trump. We appreciate his desperation. We understand his hunger.

He’s not at all like the rich we’ve seen before. He knows his dough

is not permanent.

They’ll tell you how much they admire TR, because everyone loves

a rich man in power, but what I loved about Teddy was his delicacy,

his appreciation of nature, his love of the outdoors, his refusal to eat

with a spoon. All this came from his childhood asthma. He could ride

bareback and use a lasso.

You can’t blame Obama for wanting to be rich. What’s $50,000,000?

Change from the bottom of Oprah’s purse. After eight measly years

in the White House, he was bidding for a basketball team. Now, he is

worth nearly 800 million. And counting. Soon, he’ll be worth over

a billion. He has contempt for people who work for a living.

You turned your face away. We are deep into a period of misrule. The

Presidents are leaving power richer than when they come into office.

Clinton, Obama: trash, bless their hearts, but both now vacation on private yachts. They look down their noses at Trump. He’s beneath them. They

know real money. They can smell it.

I don’t want anyone to come down here trying to be kind. Trump teaches

us how to embody shrewd ignorant verve. Guts, not condescension. Not

the milk of human kindness. Too much of that and you’ll be ready for death.

He’s the kind of guy who’ll tell you you’re stupid, right to your face. Let’s face it: he reminds us of our mothers.


David Lohrey is from Memphis, where he grew up, and now lives in Tokyo, where he teaches and writes for local travel magazines. He graduated from UC Berkeley and then moved to LA where he lived for over 20 years.

Internationally, his poetry can be found in Otoliths, Stony Thursday Anthology, Sentinel Quarterly, and Tuck Magazine. In the US, recent poems have appeared in Poetry Circle, FRiGG, Obsidian, and Apogee Journal. His fiction can be read in Crack the Spine, Dodging the Rain, and Literally Stories.

David’s The Other Is Oneself, a study of 20th-century literature, was published in 2016, while his first collection of poetry, Machiavelli’s Backyard, was released in September 2017. He is a member of the Sudden Denouement Collective.

The noise of this brain

By Devika Mathur

And so I crumble in my own jaw line

Leaking from the iris,

A stoned mahogany stuck

Beneath the frivolous sky,

I lie like a pond, open and scarred,

Rummaging through your eyes,

To seek something that belongs to my lip.

I fail.

I fail the second day as well.

My mind talks pills and potions

A volatile adamant touch of burps.

A ripple lost and secured.

My mind is insane, forever.



Devika Mathur, a poetess from India is a published poetess and is a lover of everything dark and surreal. Her work has been previously published in Sudden Denouement, Visual Verse, Dying dahlia review, two drops of ink, Madswirl, The rye whiskey review among various others. Find more of her musings at https://myvaliantsoulsblog.wordpress.com

Absconding – Joey Gould

20181218_114046.jpg

Absconding

When I left my job I folded my apron like always, tucked

into my hat. Six months since the supermarket rows–apples

stacked once twisted & picked–I check into a dive hotel

in Chelsea with a room the size of my body but free apples

at the desk. At the ferry, a storm culls the sky like a produce knife.

Rain, rain, passing front, then stars: belligerent dappling apples,

sparkling cider in dark sky over Governor’s Island, Lady Liberty

bright as a promise. Squint long enough & any tree will bear apples

or maybe they’re given us to sample on arrival at the farm

in the sparsely-paved pinelands, Maine, littered with unheard-of apples,

varieties that drip summer when sliced, cry & bleed sugar—

cold mustering a nor’easter backstage for after apple

season, the pond cool enough to sting skin while dragging

the dock from its posts to the boathouse. Andy takes an apple

but leaves a basket of late peaches. Uncle!

I had lost my admiration for you. I’m sorry, dear apple,

for leaving you in fascist rows, for the poorly-cut quarters

for the bruised side hidden under a PLU sticker. Apple:

I remember being a mouth full child. Let’s get there sweet,

because we’re all going somewhere to be apple-

sauce. To the loud world, its musty-colored figs, riding the long

whalebone skeleton people marry under, apple

orchards when out of season. Gaunt capillary networks

dull white as a Macoun inside, bone-core of an apple

thrown out the car window on I-95, radio blasting Lady Lamb

on a cyser-crisp Sunday, singing: you are the apple.

I’ll carry my past in a tucked-away apron pocket. We all do, we all

secret away what we found: a kiss, a glimpse, an apple.

I’ll never leave the store. Or my heart won’t, that bloated, red

goat. How I run from it. How I should hold it soft like an apple.

Joey Gould is a long-time contributor to Mass Poetry who has twice been nominated for Bettering American Poetry and once for a Pushcart Prize. He has performed in The Poetry Circus, Elle Villanelle’s Poetry Bordello, and The Poetry Society of New York’s Poetry Brothel. He writes 100-word reviews as poetry editor for Drunk Monkeys. He’s working on a website: joeygouldpoetry.wordpress.com

You can follow Joey on Twitter @toshines

Sudden Denouement Classics: To Quote Walt Whitman- Mick Hugh

whitman

Are there pastorals in a pixel?
I’ve heard it said so.
That a perfect moment holds life’s memories…
yet the playback waits for death.

No better than the world
in a meek man’s hands:
show me the roses growing naturally in the graveyard,
or a romance with a wick for the years.

We can get high enough
if we run the old Buick
with the garage door shut.

We can get high
walking the Lincoln Tunnel,
or gasping for breath
from a Newark overpass.

A thousand office faces
find their dreams in computer screens,
still glowing when the day shuts its lights.
Wither the aortic valve,
just from a lack of use.

Lazy eyeballs,
cataracts,
myopic Coke-bottle glasses.
The smoke-stacks in a Cezanne.
Mesothelioma
in the gold mines of a wedding ring –
are we done yet?

Febrile seizures on a death-bed
awaken his famous past:
canyons in the skin
that ran the red of roses.

He’d take his books for walks
till his legs got lost,
down by the waterfront,
down Washington Street.

The clamor of half-built high-rises,
soot of the tent towns
under the highways:
the fast clacking of sharp shoes on the sidewalks,
a briefcase to withstand the bullets.

Strange creatures that lurked down the streets,
mange and tendon and quiet whisper.
The dog with chopped ears
pawed the Plexiglass shell,
and whimpered,
as the clerks and the lawyers brisked past.

A daisy grew in a pavement crack.
A daisy grew and the seasons churned
on a playback twice as fast.
Stop.

Stuck at a stop in the traffic-thronged street was a truck,
hauling concrete to the next empty lot, being filled.
The driver could barely be heard:
the hum of idling traffic,
the overpasses rumbling above;

beneath the sounds of airplane thrust
and the debates of World News Tonight,
the truck driver,
red faced,
barely heard,
shouting out,
“I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass!”


Mick Hugh is a writer for Sudden Denouement, and the groundskeeper at Mick’s Neon Fog.


 

Sudden Denouement Classics: Daffodils-Olde Punk

Daffodil

The smell of rotting agendas always waft in your wake.  I’ve grown accustomed to your sand storm daffodils.  It’s not what you once were, but what you could be that still intrigues me.  Potential, potentially terminal, with velocity.  Sniper taking aim, the looks you throw with abandon.  I lie still sometimes and pretend I can hear the screaming in your eyes.  I would have given it all for you, you know.  I do not think it would have mattered to you.  You are the song Reptile by The Church.  I can see you sauntering and stalking in the sun by the beach every time I hear that song.  Which is often, ’cause I like to pick at open wounds.  The bloody mouth of puckering pink skin attempting to heal is such a turn on and a visceral reminder of your violence, my violet-skinned lecher.  Your Krispy Kreme coochy-coos hardening my arteries.  And then, slow syrupy suicidal sex. Something in me went dormant when you left.  I vaguely remember why, but it’s fuzzy like flash backs from a blackout or a bad trip.  Which I only had once or twice, but that was more than enough to keep from doing it again.  I would for you though, if you wanted to.  Crashing around in the forest at dusk under deep November skies and yelling fuck-all to the universe.  You were always the spark that started Devil’s Night.  A goddess of Bacchus’ loins.  There was nothing I would not have done for you.  I died when you left.  The husk remains, with the frozen portraits of your jack o’lantern smile burned into my retinas.  My skin still shudders with the traces of your touch.  My gypsy witch, evil love cursing the hearts around you like a speedball on fentanyl on meth that is the last run of the roller coaster and heart is pounding and I will be with you soon and my veins are flame and my heart is a jackhammer and I will be in you soon and I will kill you soon and soon I am coming for you my beautiful malady with the melody of death on my lips… and a fistful of sand storm daffodils.

 

image courtesy of Pinterest and Awkward Family Photos

GI Distress

By Kindra M. Austin

definitely you.

Don’t be stoopid. It’s not me—

1.

Shush, now.

I know

break-ups are rough. Tough like

Rawhide.

Ever watch a dog chew on processed cow skin?

That shit’s indigestible; causes intestinal

swelling and diarrhea, etcetera.

Funny,

some relationships are (un)just

oversized break-ups in-waiting,

glazed with meat flavoring for optimal taste.

2.

I used to lounge with you

outside in the summer dark.

Under the stars,

we’d swig bottles of Miller Lite

and inhale Marlboro tobacco;

two Alphas trying

to cancel each other out.

3.

Shush.

That’s a goddamned lie.

I

never had int’rest

in your use-less

competition.

Now you howl by yourself,

wondering

who will clean up your vomit.

It’s not me—

definitely you.  


Kindra M. Austin is a very sweary indie author and editor from mid-Michigan (you can find her books here). She’s also the co-founder of Blank Paper Press, a founding member of Indie Blu(e) Publishing, founder of publishing imprint, One for Sorrow, and a writer/managing editor at Blood into Ink, and Whisper and the Roar. Austin cut her poetry teeth in April, 2016, and joined the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective in 2017. You can find more of her foul mouth at poems and paragraphs.



A Stable Life

by Mick Hugh

For three years I’ve sat up in my tree,
in the shade of dreams,
and the roots have slowly
been drying up.

For three years catching wafts
of the vinegar and rotted fruits,
of our American Dream,
recessive trait of responsibility.

Who knew at the age of 22,
hot-blooded crotches
and itchy skin for sunshine,
that a Fortune 500 would be their Jubilee?

What pederast had it out at 18
to be a financial manager
at corporate Walgreens?

The treelimb you sit on breaks,
and the fall takes a few months.
Rat cages and sychophants
fed twice as much for listening.

The heroics of monotony.

Remember your days
reading textbooks at your desk,
group projects and algebraic thinking:
Little Davey you’ve been cultivated for this.

No need for you to sweat callouses and rough hands,
they’ve got another desk for you.
Pear-shaped where the body-fat masses on their seats,
little economic engines-that-could.

Genetically modified flowers
blossom without sunlight,
without color or stamens;
a horse without nuts
makes an easier ride.

Have a house,
have a kid,
be well-fed.
Pad your stable.

The American frontier
is a corral on Main Street,
Maple Street
and daydreams of Carnival Cruises.

Masturbate on lunch break,
a few white tears
in a bathroom stall.

Life lived,
life lost,
100 million limp-necked stiffs
have cordoned-off unnecessary risks.

Welcome to your stable, kid.



Mick Hugh is a writer for Sudden Denouement, and the groundskeeper at Mick’s Neon Fog.

Cohen, Cave, and Joy Division Crash This Bar

by Nathan McCool


I gather up abandoned bottles kissed with

cherry lipstick and cigarette scents – bring them to my lips and eavesdrop on the white noise inside.

“Come on back in, one more time, for the encore of “The Butcher Boy”; come in for

the closed viewing of PSR B1919+21.”

And this is when the boredom of barrooms

comes alive.

Right at the moment I emit pulses

that tell the masses I am not part of them. I’m sending you a signal, you tiny, little world.

See me here spinning and burning in my own

mind. I hop on stage to sing you a melancholy ballad and follow it up with “Tower of Song”.

That’s where I am. Another hundred floors below Hank Williams

and screaming to tell you,

“It’s the loneliest down here.”


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.

WRONG TWIN’S LULLABY

by Basilike Pappa

It said sleep / the voice said / slide into / me / like a fish / in water the voice said / dreamless / I’ll catch you / just sleep it said / you’re tired and / it’s time to / sleep.

Like this / it said / the voice said / close your eyes / slide / let go / see? it said / like this / come to me / easy / you’re tired / just sleep.

That time / it said / remember? / that time in the sea / the water closed over / so close to the shore / but that current / that sneaky tricky current / it said let go / the voice said / like fish / you’re tired / sleep / easy like this / don’t blink.

And you thought  / why not / easy / the water quiet / like a sheet / it said now sleep / and the world will wash you by / stay still / finish it / go down / deep / a stone in water / so easy like this / like sleep / heavy dreamless / sink.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow / it said like this / no more of this / just sink / slide / sleep / for a moment it was easy / to let it all go by / bead after bead after bead / meaningless string / remember? it said / you don’t but I / remember how wide-eyed / you escaped me.

Close your eyes it said / that time that street / remember? the voice said / it was me / slip of your feet / in the rage of its machines / don’t blink / stand still / and the world will crush you by / like a wave / like a current / in a sneaky tricky sea / don’t cheat / now sleep.

And I’ll catch you / said the voice / why not believe in me / it said tired / don’t think / slide / dreamless deep / ready? sink! / for a moment you were ready / but you cheated / backwards step / you caught yourself / quick / no sleep / through my arms you slipped.

It said sleep / the voice said silk / let go / and the night will pass you by / why not / easy / and I swear it’s not me / now and forever deep / just my twin / not me not me / not the voice in the sea.

Why not believe in me / in my arms / I’m my twin / like this: see? / easy / close your eyes / come to me / don’t think / sleep / never pushed you in the street / try me / the voice said silk.

To the voice I said like fish / through your arms I’ll slip like this / voice current / hair seaweed / I am wide-eyed / you’re no sleep / no end of cheat / to the voice I said don’t speak.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow / I said I like this / yes! more of this! / be quiet now / like a sheet / I don’t know what it means / but I know how it feels / sun on skin / daisy fields / sitting idle by a stream.

Quick / I blink / backwards step / I catch myself / you can sing your lullaby / all you want but never me / never in your dreamless water / I slide / I slip / easy: see? like this / there are parties I can’t miss / if I’m late don’t wait / eat.

Always sweet / a sheet of silk / but your singing goes six feet / under daisy fields I think / so don’t

speak / don’t sing / quit / here’s my finger / ready? Sit!



Basilike Pappa lives in Greece. She likes her coffee black, her walls painted green and blue, her books old or new. She despises yellow curtains and red tape. She can’t live without chocolate, flowers and her dog. Places she can be found are: kitchen, office, living room. If she’s not at home, I don’t know where she is. You can find Basilike up late with a notebook in the Silent Hour.

Photography by Jimmi Campkin (jimmi campkin.com)

Post-Partum Depression David Lohrey

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Post-Partum Depression

There’s been no birth but I am suffering from post-partum depression.
Do you know the feeling? Something’s been taken away.
I am a passéiste; I do not have my eye on the next thing.

In the garden, the Delphiniums are in flower.
We’ll do everything together; we’ll change the world.
We’ll abolish all private property except my house.

I said in my last poem that everyone should eat popcorn, but that’s not
because I like it. I just like the sound of my voice. My fantasy is to live
in a Faulkner novel but that doesn’t mean I refuse to wear underpants.

I wanna get me an emotional-support peacock and move into Flannery
O’Connor’s old house. They prefer moist, cool summers and do not fare well
in hot, dry weather. One does still hear dreadful stories.

The greatest birthday present I ever got was a potted tomato plant from
Armstrong’s on Azusa. It cost $.79. There is nothing on this earth
as delicious as a cherry snow cone.

Who takes advice from a poet? Tamara is soaking. Robin betrayed me.
Now hear this: I don’t think women should be allowed to vote. How’s
that for a blast from the past?

I saw my first film by Truffaut in the Mission; got my first piece of ass on
Craigslist. I’ve been trying to sell the same radio play for 25 years.
I’d prefer to live in Arcadia and drive an Audi.

The plants also dislike sudden winds or rain. Except for the dwarf perennials,
most delphiniums need staking. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Who’s afraid of red, white, and blue?

Heavens to Murgatroyd, that’s about it. This is our common tale of woe. Some
thrive in the present, others not. It all comes down to the Tootsie Roll.
Things will never get better as long as we think FDR was a nice guy.

[David Lohrey is from Memphis, where he grew up, and now lives in Tokyo, where he teaches and writes for local travel magazines. He graduated from UC Berkeley and then moved to LA where he lived for over 20 years.

Internationally, his poetry can be found in Otoliths, Stony Thursday Anthology, Sentinel Quarterly, and Tuck Magazine. In the US, recent poems have appeared in Poetry Circle, FRiGG, Obsidian, and Apogee Journal. His fiction can be read in Crack the Spine, Dodging the Rain, and Literally Stories.

David’s The Other Is Oneself, a study of 20th-century literature, was published in 2016, while his first collection of poetry, Machiavelli’s Backyard, was released in September 2017. He is a member of the Sudden Denouement Collective.]