Nuance of Damage – David Lohrey

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Nuance of Damage
I.
Hope is faster than light,
its speed beyond measure.
It’s alive, today, but what about
tomorrow? Easy come, easy…
I need something to build up
my courage.

One advantage is sleep, an endurance test:
a locomotive or a pillow. We learn to calculate
the commotion. Suck the straw, hang out, hit the hay.
Who’s to say? One cedes territory, one
establishes boundaries, one signs along
the dotted line. Some choose Southern exposure.

Gross indecencies stare us down. Our calm is our
rebellion. It’s the last frontier. Benumbed, confounded,
lost in space. We escape confinement like water, searching,
but what of our aversion to chaos? Our taste for the
tranquil. Must we be held in contempt for despising
aggression, our preference for the impassive?

It’s massive: jest. Or condescension. We cultivate superiority;
we celebrate death: theirs, hers, his. Inoculation. Innocence.
Quest. It’s a matter of combining ingredients, the right balance,
justice. Too much won’t do. There’s much too much parsley.
One less grain of sand. The handyman’s muscles are too big.
The phone keeps ringing. Where’s the drain?

There’s anguish in repetition. I prefer hilarity. The monks won’t go.
Offer them a martini. Thelonious learned to tread lightly
as one should. Deer in the headlights, grizzly bear, a flamingo: there.
Notoriety ruins everything. Ask the Princess. I like to stay in bed.
Back to basics. Sunny-side up. He refuses to remove his boxing gloves;
he grunts and the world stands still. Rebellion begins with rest.

II.

Who started the fires? Many are drawn to the flames – men and women
in equal number. They clamber to get closer. They take off work to travel:
the flames climbing higher, engulfing, filling the skies. The smoke gets in
everything; there are ashes in the houses, on the carpets. Many stand still
and hold out their tongues. They tear off their clothing. They crave the heat.
They’re excited by the smell of ruin. They’re delirious.

The fires mean trouble. The people can’t tell the difference
between fireworks and flames. They welcome the fires with tribal dances.
The women bare their breasts. It excites the men. The logs in the fireplace
have rolled into the living room but the people are too drunk to push them back.
They’re laughing. They’re excited that something’s finally happening.
They’re so bored the thought of burning the house down makes them giddy.

The gals want their backsides smacked. The men get close
enough to the flames to singe their body hair. The women shriek.
The parents no longer watch the children. Many die running into the flames.
The parents shrug. What’s the difference? The children carry fiery
logs about and throw them into the cars. They take hot sticks and poke
out each other’s eyes.

The parents don’t know what to do, but declare with a sense of urgency
there is nothing to be done. It’s all beyond them; it’s fate.
They move closer to the fires. They’ve burned all their clothes.
They have nothing on. They push the children away and commence
to fornicate in the ashes. The men relieve themselves on the hot coals.
Many children catch fire.

They move back to the caves when the fires burn down. They remove
the paintings from their frames to use the wood as kindling.
The museums are ransacked. Libraries are emptied. They desperately
raid the theatres for wood from the stage floors. In short order,
there’s nothing left. The fires die out. The men and women crouch
in their earthen holes and cry.

Some brave women venture out but quickly regret it.
Most hide themselves deep within. Much if not all is lost.
The fires burn out. When there was fire and music,
nudity seemed sexy, but now the women are cold.
They feel ugly like insects. The men don’t caress them;
they kick them. The sexes are not equal.

III.

My guardian won’t let me out to play.
She told me to amuse myself in my room.
She doesn’t want me to get wet.
She’s afraid the neighbor’s dog might bite.
I have some games I can play all by myself.
My guardian is always worried.

It’s been raining now for several days.
The traffic’s slowed to almost a stand still.
The newscaster warns people to stay indoors.
The house is insured against flooding.
A boy last year drowned in the local river.
I was told to get up on the roof in an emergency.

It’s been 7 years since they outlawed music.
My guardian told me to stop humming.
Girls are advised to always dress in layers.
The marauders use giant nets and even carry bug spray.
The men look for frightened girls like me.
I was captured and sold to my guardian six years ago.

I always wear leotards and my bathing suit at the same time.
My guardian scarred my face so I wouldn’t look pretty.
You can hear the firing squads in the distance.
Girls must avoid detection at all costs.
I can pass for a boy from a distance.
My guardian trained me to fight with a sharp blade.

We’ve been living like this for as long as I can remember.
The police dress entirely in black now and cover their faces.
If pregnant, they line you up and shoot you.
There’s an escape route my guardian talks about through Alaska.
They threw my boyfriend off the bridge and into the water.
The toxic spray they use is so strong it induces labor.

I remember hearing my mother sing.
My guardian says I could pass for a boy.
They say we have a 20% chance of survival.

IV.
Shelter in place: this is the advice one needs.
After a life of turmoil and defeat,
it’s best to stay indoors. Hide. Place your head
between your knees. They’ve been telling
us this for years, but I never listened.
I was too busy trying to take over.

Genghis Khan with a phone I was called; now,
all I wish is to get along. I just want to be free.
Don’t involve me. I’d just as well not come, thanks.
I’m content to stay, lay back, kick it. Let the world go by,
along with the riff raff. My God, what a sight. My mother
was right not to let me play with the neighbors.

What happened to the innocence? We were kind, don’t let them
tell you otherwise. These are lies. We were true blue. And
sweet, I kid you not. We were John Wayne’s children. We were
Frankenstein’s playmates. We made cakes with our mothers.
We even ate mommy’s lipstick. We sipped grandma’s elderberry
wine, but I’ll tell you this, we never took the Lord’s name in vain.

We hated our gym teacher, but we never called him a motherfucker.
It never crossed our minds. I can remember the first day that word
was introduced to the American people, the very first day it was
used in public. We said golly, gosh or darn, not shit. We said we were
sorry and bent over to bare our bottoms. We took our punishment
like a man. We didn’t sue. We didn’t curse. We never pursed our lips.

Now we have to hide. The news reporter announced that all the world’s
troubles could be traced back to us, yes, that means, you and me. The
social justice warriors, once known as scavengers and marauders, are
on the hunt; they’ve been trained in name-calling, finger-pointing, and
manufacturing nerve gas. Our well-wishers have fled the country.
They’re living in Canada with the Eskimo. They kill seal and eat caribou.

We’ll have to keep the lights out. Our teacher has piled the chairs against
the door. She’s asked the gunman if he would please let us live. He said,
“Shut the fuck up.” He’s a nervous wreck. His eyes are glazed over and he
foams at the mouth. He called our dear teacher a stupid cunt. “Open up!”
He’s determined to kill us all. He wants to make the world a better place.
He’s fighting for justice. “We are the world now,” he says, “not you.”

Machiavelli’s Backyard is Available at Amazon.com, Amazon Canada, Amazon Europe, Book Depository and other major book retailers.
Paperback, 106 pages/Published September 1st 2017 by Sudden Denouement Publishing
David Lohrey was born on the Hudson River but grew up on the Mississippi in Memphis. He currently teaches in Tokyo. He has reviewed books for The Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register, has been a member of the Dramatists Guild in New York, and he is currently writing a memoir of his years living on the Persian Gulf. His latest book, The Other Is Oneself: Postcolonial Identity in a Century of War: 20th Century African and American Writers Respond to Survival and Genocide, is available on Amazon.com. He is also the author of Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing

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

Hel Hath No Fury- Aurora Phoenix

woman-with-arms-crossed-and-cigarette

 

you must mistake my small stature

indicative of diminutive status

ripe to be buffaloed

as you bully through the china shop

eyes wide and nostrils flaring

        you must have missed the titanium

infused within my bones

does 5 foot 2 well-mannered

invite your burly boots

to stomp upon my spine

where bigger men than you

know better than to tread?

        do you expect subservience

because you stand over me in rais-ed voice?

 

in my diction and demeanor

you read my due indoctrination

in that default response

for women with decorum

“play nice”, “don’t rock the boat”

    I will not go down singing pretty

on your mis-captained ship

you are disinclined to dissuasion

if push came to shove

you could bulldoze right over

my buck forty frame

leave me black and blue

    I eschew backroom brawling

of the brutish persuasion

 

you underestimate my mettle

forged in fiercest battle

the regal blood of Hel

cauterized my wounds

flows fiery from my fingertips

 

with forceful argumentation of logical articulation

I knock your tower of babel down

I have read the writing on your walls

and it’s all smoke-etched mirrors

 


 

Aurora Phoenix is a wordsmithing oxymoron. Staid suburbanite cloaks a badass warrior wielding weapon grade phrases. Read more of her confabulations at Insights from “Inside.”

Like a Storm – Sarah Doughty

 

“And I wanted to believe in fate —

I wanted to believe in us.”

 

You said there was no such thing as beginnings and endings. Nothing came into existence or disappeared like a puff of smoke. Matter changed shape, becoming something new — never beginning, never ending. Always changing and evolving. Like ice to water. Water into vapor. Vapor into rain. You said the same thing about us. You and I didn’t become we. Somehow, we always were. I thought it was romantic. That you could think fate brought us together.

And I wanted to believe in fate — I wanted to believe in us. I did. But then everything changed. Just like you said. How could we have been destined — as if we were always one — if we could be pulled apart so soon? Was it some cosmic lesson we both needed to learn? Or was it just you? Playing me for a fool. We were like a storm, you and I. Blowing in from the sea and ravaging the coastline before fizzling out into nothing. It may still be an evolution of change, but if that’s not a beginning and ending, then I don’t know what is.

 

[Sarah Doughty is the tingling wonder-voice behind Heartstring Eulogies. She’s also the author of The Silence Between Moonbeams, her poetry chapbook, and the acclaimed novels and novellas of the Earthen Witch Universe. Good news, they’re all offered for free, right here! To learn more about how awesome Sarah is, check out her website, stalk her on Goodreads, or both.]

Support Nicole Lyons/SD Publishing with CBC Poetry Books List

50s_girl_and_juke_box

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is celebrating Poetry Month by creating “the ultimate list of must-read Canadian poetry books.” Everyone take a moment and share their support of Nicole Lyon’s I Am A World of Uncertainties Disguised As A Girl, published by Sudden Denouement Publishing.  Nicole is a tireless warrior who has inspired people all over the world with the quiet economy of words that often turns into a roar, devouring the human condition while articulating the beautify and sadness that lingers in the shadows. Her book is a masterwork. It belongs on any list involving “best of” Canadian poetry. The purpose of the collective is to promote each other. Please take a minute and support Nicole.

CBC Ultimate list of must-read Canadian poetry books

 

 

Guest Blog: Roadside Rabbits–Emmy New

aaa
From Roswell to Albuquerque
I counted 53 roadside rabbits
in one hour.

They stared at the moon
from the outside of the highway
craning their necks towards the sky.

Light lit their dust
as they inched away from the cars
but their eyes did not leave the night.
Hunching behind cacti they counted constellations
like lamps torn away from the sun.

They did not suffer the street fright
from headlights
nor hear the road kill requiems
lulling colonies to comfort
in crossing over.

In Baytown, Texas
there’s a dirt devilin’
at the state line
an oozing layer
of burnt up turpentine.

Thick mist
from an oil town night light,
a flicker of a refinery candle,
spilled into the sky

There are dead animals in Houston
that are not the black spot mirages
we see in the distance
but crushed bone of something once been.

They could not be seen
past the fog
no lamps into the tires
nor streetlight unto their paths
carcasses blow away like tumbleweed
into ash.

[Emmy New, also known as EmmaLee Newman, is a 21 year-old Dog Mom with a Chicken Nugget dependency. She hopes to become a Poetry Professor with starving artist as her fall back. She is the President of Dirty Bay Poetry, a pending 501c3 non-profit, in her hometown Baytown, Texas.]
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Vagabond – Mitch Green

With an omen in an
open dress, I am stranded
south of home with her
grey weight now purple;
flushed elusive.

You can see it,
in the whites of her eyes.
The propaganda bowl,
colorless and vain;
a vagabond carved out
of frame.

Cursing curses
with reading wrists,
she is now the
maker of noise.

Aloud and allowed.

 

{Mitch Green founded Rad Press Publishing in September of 2016. He is an avid artist in visual design and literature. Published in various literary journals and magazines: The Literary Yard. The Penmen Review. Vimfire Magazine – Mitch aims to seize the narrow line between all artistic mediums.

A few of his known poetic titles are: “Flesh Phoenix” “Monsters” “The Wolves Howled”.

Offering his hand in graphic direction – his book design portfolio can be found here.

Follow Mitch and Rad Press Publishing on Instagram.}