Sliced – Aurora Phoenix

Slash

you took my shame and sliced it
lengthwise and lethal
with a viscous crunch through
the sheltered skin of a hothouse tomato.

no hesitation marks here

you cleaved me not crosswise
in that superficial scarring that screams
here I am, a suffering seeded gash
staining citric your surround.

you slashed my history

left me gasping for a tourniquet
or oblivion’s sweet relief
while the blood of shame in my eyes
obscured my vision for an eternity.

you want it that way

as it keeps me neatly in my place
that place where I may not
disrupt ill-balanced status quo
or wreak maladroit mayhem

with the power in your head.

the dripping blood of an act engaged in
is pulsing exsanguination here
four score and gore on the floor
daring you to do better.

am I to be judged

by the stertorous impulse
of my worst nightmare
or the cucumber constancy
of my day to day?

I am relegated

a crumpled and ill-used relic
ne’er dusted in the cobwebbed corner

until I decide
that I AM human
and deserving of continued respect


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.”

Polonius – Lois E. Linkens

Polonius

This burnished arras, the fibre’s thick
Like short red grass. I know t’other face
With heavy gold and Denmark’s seal.
Those bleats of pain are crass
Behind so fine a pile.

A shadowy place, a maskéd face.

The fibre’s thick. I see a powd’ry moon,
I see a flying bird. A crouching beast,
A quiet man, fellows lost in the grasses
As they rise, blood ropes t’wards the skies.
I see them glint.


Lois is a poet and student from England. She is studying the literature of the Romantics and hopes their values and innovations will filter through into her own work. She is working on longer projects at present, with a hope to publish poetry collections and novels in the years to come. She is a feminist, an nostalgic optimist, and a quiet voice in the shadows of Joanne Baillie and Charlotte Smith. It is a pleasure to present her work, and you can find more of it at Lois E. Linkens.

Morning Mist – Iulia Halatz

Grace-M.-Ballentine-Morning-Mist-1948
The mist that
covers my heart
is thick
numbing mornings
and evenings
with the sagacity
of a cubist artifact.

It comes in layers
clinging with fetid fingers
on to the gargoyles
of the old mansion
our love has become.

No surprise from
any shadow
No brush
with velveteen
vulnerable
acts of tenderness.

Dragons and starlings
seem nearer
in the dancey mists

Love is uncovered
in a smile
at first light…
Is that enough?


“Writing is an Iron Tale, must be tough and sincere to the core of human perception of pain as valor. I am the grumpy T-Rex who started writing out of pain, not because of a polished world. Writing out of love is painless and herbivore. As we sometimes taste blood, ours or others’. Nevertheless, some words are so expensive that we are better left with them unspoken or write them with the ink of a Ghost…” She is a teacher, small entrepreneur and cyclist.

Update on the Sudden Denouement Short Story Contest

 

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We have had a lot of inquiries about the Sudden Denouement Short Story Contest.  We received 129 submissions to the contest from all over the globe and the editors recently completed their first round of judging, choosing the top 24 stories.  We are currently finishing a second round of judging and will begin publishing our favorites on the site as early as next week.  We hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

For All the Pretty Boys I’ve Loved – Kindra M. Austin

For all the pretty boys 2

In consequence of
grand
transgressions,
bodies bob in
putrid
tinted
water.

I captained fastest motor boats
that ran on sweat and
seminal fluids.

I did not burn down
bridges,
rather,
I set fire
to marital mattresses;
then
we all
choked on
ashes.

Yes, I captained
fastest motor
boats that ran on sweat and
seminal
fluids—
tapped the bodies,
tossed ‘em back,
collected more
to feed my whore
heart.

I’m sorry for
all the pretty boys
I’ve loved
and left in
my epic wake.


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.

Anatomy of a heartbreak – Henna Johansdotter

Picture1

[February]: He’s left you a wishbone on your pillow. You’re not sure what to do with it so you stick it between your ribs, feeling the sharp end shift with every move, scraping against the aorta. You hold your breath while sleeping and do not stir as the dreams pass by like headlights, colliding into the mist.

[May]: You pull out your teeth as not to hurt him anymore. He says your silence is ugly and suggests you keep your mouth open.

[August]: He draws surgical lines on your body.
“See? This is where I wish you loved me.”
Outside the operating theater you panic and run, not looking behind as he calls you back. The hallways are roaring. This is not your home.

[October]: The rains come and you’re picking up the pieces, trail of breadcrumbs leading you into desertion.

[December]: Your reflection glows back at you from the pond, clearer than ever without him peering over your shoulder. The wishbone flutters within you like a compass needle, pointing out your path. You find your own way of being lost.


Henna Johansdotter,  the goth girl next-door. Aspiring author. Monstrophile. Horror enthusiast. She writes to cope with mental illness and everyday experiences. Find her at H.JD writes

Red Tides – Christine E. Ray

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blue and white capsules
ingested daily
devour my melancholy, baby
always ravenous
unsatisfied
they strip protective coating
off vulnerable neurons
leaving them raw
excitable
the faintest whisper
or intimation
that I fail to please
am not enough
makes irritation rise a
red tide
up my spinal column
forcing fluid rage
into hollows
ossification has crudely
carved into each
vertebrae
stiff-backed
bristling
lupine claws extend
gruff growl grows
low in my throat
and I am prepared
in that heartbeat
to shred tender flesh-
yours or mine-
clean to the bone


You can find Christine lurking about Brave and Reckless and Indie Blu(e) Publishing.  She is the author of Composition of a Woman and The Myths of Girlhood.

Tea and Turbulence – Aurora Phoenix

Tea and temperance

was that mercury you dolloped
by the teaspoon brimming
into the cup of my tempest teeming?

I have sipped on a brew
Weltschmerz steeped in introversion
while trouble boils and toils double
in churning unplumbed depths.

did you misapprehend my clime
striding presumptuous as you did
through the dead of my hurricane’s eye?

you skew the heated misconstrue
as my oft-bitten tongue scalds
on steaming leaves of fate infusion.

teapot not, though short and spouty
I whistle through cycles of cyclonic vision
salting the trail of your sluggish bluster

look out, quicksilver!
I’m on your tail


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.”

Sudden Denouement Welcomes New Collective Member Nitin Lalit Murali – Us

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We’ve been through the same routine, you and I:
me, coming home in a prescription haze with slurry speech
and a numbing nonchalance,
and you, broken and infuriated
to see me ‘waste my life away.’
But what’s there to ‘waste away?’
Hasn’t life heaped piles and piles of sorrow on us
like arachnids poured on a Fear Factor contestant,
lying in a tub?
You yell. You scream, ‘I’m leaving you!
I’m not going through this again!’
and in that moment of semi-consciousness
when my mind only whispers – the thoughts circling my mind
like the breeze from a slowly moving ceiling fan –
I barely nod, and that agitates and burdens you more.
Soon, you aim arrows of curses at my core,
hoping they’ll pierce my callousness,
make me admit that I’m a promise-breaking hypocrite
who crosses his heart
before plummeting into an abyss
so dank and deep where speech
fumbles and becomes a string of neologisms,
and sudden blindness possesses
like the abrupt fading-to-black ending of The Sopranos.
But what you don’t see are
the moments I spend with myself,
leaning against the bathroom wall,
cigarette in mouth,
tears streaming down
because of the guilt
that unsettles, unnerves and unmans.
But that’s no excuse.
That’s no justification for the man I’ve become
after seeing a perpetual Autumn
with the sights, sounds, and smells of decay.
I looked for Spring
or even a Winter that will urge me to find warmth,
but sorrow clandestinely woke me one morning
using mind control,
making me a zombie on his leash,
made to go, ‘Woof!’ when he commanded.
The only way out was to poison myself.
To escape, and so, I did,
imbibing pill after pill,
taking a page out of
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Moshfegi
and flushing our marriage down the toilet.
Sorrow didn’t mind because he knew
he still retained control
and I’d only constructed an illusion of escape.
But I’ll reiterate that
there’s no excuse for the pain I’ve caused you,
there’s no justification for the hurt,
there’s no remedy to who we’ve become,
and since, I’ve always been a coward,
there’s no final act on my part that will paradoxically
offer you catharsis and anti-catharsis,
so, leave now,
and don’t look back in grief, anger or angst.

Nitin Lalit Murali is a poet, flash fiction writer and essayist from Bangalore, India. He also enjoys reading literature of different genres and listening to jazz and neo-classical music. He started writing seven years ago and art has consumed him over the years. He blogs regularly at Fighting the Dying Light

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.