Nuance of Damage – David Lohrey

MV5BYjU1MDBlNTEtNDQyZi00NDQ0LWI4YjEtMGViZjNjY2FhODM3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDI3OTIzOA@@._V1_
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

Excerpt from Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective- Dream catcher never understood the bus schedule/Mick Hugh

The library has been converted into classrooms for fifth-year students. Shelves emptied and rearranged to fit rows of desks, projector screens, faculty offices and the Office of Student Retention. My exam is running late to complete. I am tapping fingers on the desktop nervously rapping away. My feet twitch uncomfortably. I scribble out essays and vague answers to questions I can only half-read. I don’t have the time. I don’t have the time and this afternoon you’re boarding a bus for a move to LA. It’s your mistake; you’re my mistake: I let you mistake me. I’m coming with you. I should. I spring from my desk and let the stapled papers fly apart through the air at the professor’s head. The race is on skip the elevator and dash the stairs, leave the books behind at the counter I’ll come back for them later if they really mean that much to me. I burst out the doors and check the time on my phone – bright fresh sun, and the aluminum numbness creeping deeper in my lower gut; I know I’m going to be late. I hustle across campus and halfway there double-back the other way; in my haste I made the mistake of trying to cut through the campus construction. But all I find in the other direction are new dormitories and expansions under construction for the new Department of Student Retention and I cannot find the god damned parking lot where it used to be.

Out of breath sucking wind through the sweat and jello’d legs, the aluminum numbness has crept up and blossomed into wilting fireworks of frustration and shame – standing alone on the curb sucking wind, just in time to see the bus trail away. Just a moment too late.

Dream catcher, forever just a moment too late.

I’ve awoken at a desk. Lifeless fluorescent lighting and drool puddled by the keyboard. The office is a warm fuzz of processors and clacking keyboards. Assignments due before the evening commute home, and three hours wasted in a sleep-haze fading out and in, out and in – lonely headlights passing through fog of an empty exurban town. I am standing at dusk at the bus stop with an aluminum numbness curdling my gut. I don’t know the time. But I don’t know the time. There was something I missed, and it still runs unleashed from my grip, ten years now past my prime. I don’t know if the bus is late or if I missed its final run for the day. I may not be home tonight. I may not ever be home again

in time to pay our taxes, or to consolidate our student debt.

Or to find a house to live in,

to keep us off the street.

In time to see the kids grow up,

or in time to grow old with you,

I can’t come home again. Ten years of shame and pain puts no hope to death by stone. Alone, and ripped at the heart, I will sit on this bus stop bench and wait for the late-night bus ride back to the dreams that could’ve been.

Available at Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, Amazon Canada, Book Depository, and other major book retailers


[Mick Hugh is the creator of Mick’s Neon Fog. And an all-around bad ass.]

Day-Walkers and Night Terrors-Kindra M. Austin

You won’t appreciate the night until it rips you awake late in the afternoon; until it forces you to stare down the cold yellow sun. Then you’ll know the day-walking ghosts—the ones who fraternize amongst parkland rose beds, unaware that their garden tea has aged one hundred plus years. These specters who sport ring-around-the-collar or cut-outs in their chests smile stupid at one another while the drink they swallow whizzes down between their legs like healthy streams of urine. At first you might think that ignorance isn’t so bad; but as the sun begins to descend, necks will bow and chests will weep anew in recognition of reality. Lamenting will stir the twilight, and whisk the sky into black—you’ll recognize the increasing heavy, and at the height of the Witching Hour, you will fathom the pain of a ghoul.

You will finally understand your own kind.


Kindra M. Austin is an indie author (her books can be found here), a founding member of Indie Blu(e), and a writer/managing editor at Sudden Denouement, Blood Into Ink, and Whisper and the Roar. A Sagittarius Valkyrie from the state of Michigan, she likes craft beer, and classic big block muscle cars. You can find her filing through the souls of the slain at poems and paragraphs

Fluff- S.K. Nicholas/A Journal for Damned Lovers

Beware the moon, boy. Beware her swollen belly too as she stumbles into the room demanding the last of your Jaffa Cakes. Even if you really love someone, you should never give them the last of your Jaffa Cakes. It’s just one of those things you never do, right? As she hobbles around in a temper while you stuff the last of the cakes into your grubby mouth, she tells you to massage her feet, of which you then duly oblige. She moans and groans and purrs like a cat, but the second you unzip yourself and rub your cock against her pinkies, she calls you a pervert and turns her back with a huff and a puff. Building herself a nest, she quickly glares at you then buries her body deep into the bedsheets. The sheets haven’t been washed in weeks. Every time you try, she begs you not to. She says the scent of your smelly bodies is too much of a good thing to just wash away. After a while, she emerges from her nest looking all flustered and promptly removes her top. She’s got fluff in her belly button. You try flicking it out but she gets upset and pretends to cry. Pouring two glasses of wine, she downs hers in one swift gulp then curls into a ball singing one of her songs as you sit by her side doing your best to write a handful of lines that will no doubt become progressively worse with each mouthful of Chardonnay you knock back. The next morning they’ll all be scrapped, but for now, as the blue moon keeps watch through the window, you do your best to tap into the secret vision while letting her know you want to merge. You keep touching her. Keep reaching through the folds of the duvet grabbing her bits telling her how much you want to fill her up. She calls you a beast and a filthy swine, and yet when you retreat, she comes out and nuzzles herself against your leg while batting her eyelashes like she don’t know what she doing but she knows alright. Shedding the rest of her layers, she spreads herself and pushes your fingers deep inside and then she makes you kiss her wet bits and as you’re struggling to breathe, she raises her face to the ceiling and laughs as your own face turns as red as a tomato. Guess it serves you right for not giving her the last of your Jaffa Cakes. You should always give the one you love the last of your Jaffa Cakes. It’s just common sense.


S.K. Nicholas is the creator of Myredabyss.comas well as author of two novels A Journal for Damned Lovers Vol 1 & 2. Both of these books are available on AmazonAdditionally, Nicholas is a member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective.

untitled- Daffni Gingerich

On the edge of the room his hands tighten around my neck. That is when I have so much to say. Finding words is a fragile thing for me. And when my eyes cross everything flits away along with my energy. I am silence. Death taunting him for just a sip of his…. The race. The cow on her side swollen still milking. Drained with history. With talks of saving the world. I feel my eyes twitch behind the lids. I see the men I’ve danced into the bedroom for proof. For proof of my existence. I exist I exist I EXIST. Then I don’t. Not anymore. Not lifefull or lifeless. Silenced. Floating. Not suffering/just quiet. And when they apply the straps to hold me down my heart pounds speak speak speakValium- 10mg administered at 2:45am by TJspeak speak speakValium- 10mg administered at 3am by TJ Restraints applied- Patient sleeping. Asleep again. Quiet again. But silenced for the last time.


Daffni Gingerich says simply that she “is a writer.” You can read more of her mesmerizing prose at Daffniblog.

Faucets To West – Nicole Lyons

I am not a good woman.
I am sons upon light years,
daughters making hard love
with blue moons and every
wish on every fallen star
cast forth through double-panes
on lonely Friday nights
like the ones you swore you would
never relive again.
I am not a good woman.
I tuck my dreams in at night now,
behind balconies not yet barred
until our youngest heart decides
she is not yet a good woman
and scales the walls we have built
to keep her in and safe, and completely
ignorant and pure.
I am not a good woman.
But I am here still, hiding
in the bushes on the corner of our
1/4 acre dream lot,
the dream yard
of the dream home
we have signed our souls away for.
I am not a good woman.
And every time I turn faucets west
and soak the morning in glory
I am met with caws and crass reminders
that no matter how much water
I pour upon this place,
there is a fire smouldering in the ditch
and though I am not a good woman,
I would watch, unliving and unloved,
and I would lay it all down and weep
my tears will never be enough
to ever see our name
on a green sign, that marks our home.

Nicole Lyons is a force of nature disguised as a writer, a social activist, a voice for the downtrodden, and a powerful poet with a delicate touch. She is a best selling published author, poet, and also a consulting editor for Sudden Denouement.