Glow-in-the-dark Annuals – Mick Hugh


Glow-in-the-dark Annuals – Mick Hugh (Mick’s Neon Fog)

You were sitting outside the bar on the patio, picking petals from the daisies in the planter on the railing. I was seated at a separate table nearby, because you had asked me to find another seat. We weren’t speaking for the moment: the conversation had been high-tide with an undercurrent I was too stupid to avoid. I told the waiter I was buying your drinks, and had him fill the table with rum-and-cokes until finally he said Enough; my credit card had been declined. Last week we had left for a festival, driven an hour outside of town, just for you to decide you no longer wanted to go. I turned the radio loud to drown you out and you opened your door and I skidded to a stop on Route 70. You got out. And of course I turned around half-an-hour later and found you pouting in the dust the tractor-trailers kick up along the shoulder. We didn’t speak, but we weren’t angry. I had a difficult time being angry — we met when you were picking sunflowers in the park, and when I finally caught your eye you had irises as thin as mine. Your skin was as thin as mine, and it only took us a matter of minutes to shed our skin and expose the blood vessels that bubbled the beauty into our lives. The little pinches of flesh on your arms and the nape of your neck, soft as dawn and golden. You could sing like Janis Joplin and illustrate the poetry of the pouring rain, and when I reached inside of you I found home and the hillsides I’d dreamt of roaming as a kid. Your mother was a hippy, your father itinerant. We had everything in common in a box of mismatched shoes. And when I held your hand I had looked inside, and saw a little black star in a palm full of rising light. I admit, I was immensely drawn and intrigued. There was nothing for us in this timeline. I bought a trailer on the edge of the city because you were the first I could tell myself I loved. You let it last for four beautiful months. Yet I had seen the timeline. I had seen the fistfights and the holes in the wall and I wasn’t surprised to witness my fears come to life. But what I wanted more than ever was to crawl inside of you. There was a beauty there, and even deeper, something darker true. By summer you came and went as you pleased. Days gone to god knows where, cryptic text messages from the shadows of dawn. I ripped apart your nostalgic doll and left you no choice but to sleep in my car. Cry out your eyes and let me find the reason why I could ever be so stupid. Drink myself into a stupor, you drove me to it. Every night for a week listing names of my friends and every little thing you did with them.
But then again, I knew both of your parents were dead — still, I needed to see the blackened centers of the sunflowers.

[Mick Hugh is a writer/editor for Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Sudden Denouement Publishing.  He is the creator of Mick’s Neon Fog.]


The quality of this poem speaks for itself.

RamJet Poetry


I never stood up to this much…..

shivers of agony

only following the whispers

for I haven’t a clue, what to do


Poseidon said left, and Sud said right

So I turned toward the light

the hell I walked into was so beautiful

I cried scars into my cheeks

that remind me of all the times

I have lost

so roll the dice once more

and follow the rising sun

Vishnu will only help those who understand

that there is only the day and

the night

so come and caress my face

I am now blind so lead me

to my death

I know you mean well

but you cannot help yourself

baptize me in your success

I choke on my guilt

the sword I once bore finds a home

in my back, so I buckle, and unbuckle

the belt of shame

starlight, twilight my second sight is fright

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Intoxicating indeed.

Insights from "Inside"

my eyes

launch celestial rockets

from limpid labyrinthine pools

spark interest

blur your vision

my murmurs

Calliope elegiac symphonies

sway limbs rhythmic

tilt you off-kilter

my touch

feathered fingertip graze

flutters kaleidoscope of butterflies

incites your insides

to inebriated riot

my kiss

spiced violet blackberry

lingers on your tongue

leggy blushes

beyond the pale

in vino vertigo

savoring languorous sips

my skin

subsumes your senses


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“Gravity” from Rana Kelly’s Book Superstition from Sudden Denouement Publishing

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“Gravity” from Rana Kelly’s Book Superstition from Sudden Denouement Publishing


My Heart is an Island,
Safe away from society and succor
my Soul is the Sand. Tiny crushed pieces
of earth and skeletons.
Time and death and birth,
endless cycles of
creation and destruction
cushion for your bare feet.
Truly loved and known
Only by the Sea
Surrounding me
See, I am not adrift.
My roots run deep
Under Mariana
And pressured waters
That could crush
Skulls like soft bugs,
The weight that I bear
Hides my core.
It takes millions of all kinds of
Tiny and huge things
Before you can see just my sand
There is no patience
In highways, nor aeroplanes,
I’m here with time.
You may live on me, bury your toes,
Burn your skin,
Cool your fever in my shallows,
Laugh your weekends away
But you go home.
And here I am,
Alone. While my own heart
Pulls in
Pushes out
Intimate only with the far off moon.
And Universal Forces
That are foreign to me.
Do you think it beauty?
Do you think it balm?
I am trapped.
The waves rush in and ebb out
Bring me nothing but vastness
slow erosion.
God Knows
My Heart is an Island
My own currents
pull me apart
Drag me under
Drown me.
Enjoy your holiday.

Superstition is available from Amazon and is the first book from Sudden Denouement Publishing. Rana Kelly is the author of the novel Until Her Darkness Goes.

The Artist’s Touch – David Lohrey

Artists refuse to tell us why
what we do every day is drudgery,
but for them, joy. They love
what they do, they declare, but
they know we dig the same holes
with a sense of woe. We’re
dying but they thrive. What
we do is called work, but for
them it is more… it is
something entirely different.
It’s a kick and they are rewarded
for it. They sell the holes they dig.
They’re able to see in the dark.
They can go about barefooted or
drive a car without a license.
In their world a toilet is not
merely a throne; it’s a rack for
sombreros, a podium for speeches,
and, if not that, then an umbrella stand
for tomatoes.

But putting objects to use is not
the sole talent of artists. Anyone can do that.
No, their talent includes the ability
to wrest power. Their skill involves
class warfare. They’ve managed
near and far to disenchant the gentry,
to rob the ruling class of its glamour.
Everyone wants to be Picasso, not the Duke
of Devon. The planter class in Mississippi
has been displaced by Elvis. Nobody
thinks the Taylors, the McFaddens,
or Walker Percy’s family are anything special.
People want to meet the poet in his garret,
not the lord of the manor, however grand
his six thousand acres may be. Women
threw themselves at Dylan Thomas,
not at Nelson Rockefeller. Tiny Tim counts,
but not the Queen’s poorer cousins. Madonna
holds court, as did Andy Warhol. David Bowie
is imagined to have something to say, but not
the little old lady from Pasadena.

An entire class has been displaced by singer
song writers and horny painters. One thinks of Lucien
Freud and Francis Bacon with their paint brushes.
They have more in common with stable
boys than aristocrats, but are much more likely
to be called milord and greeted with applause
than some eccentric landowner with a six-car garage.
Artists did that, not the French Revolution,
and don’t you forget it. “Madame Bovary” lives.
Charles Bukowski appears in Sean Penn’s dreams.
Movie stars love his vomit. Even dreck has cachet.
Even the Chinese value Rothko. Hitler knew not to
bomb Paris. American pilots steered clear
of Kyoto. And it wasn’t to save gas.

This is why the world was shocked when the Americans
left the Baghdad Museum unguarded, not by the bombing
of civilians. In modern times, you can incinerate the people,
but one mustn’t abandon the Titian. J. Paul Getty
valued Fabergé Eggs, not herds of cattle. Art is life. Today,
Elvis’s shorts lie beneath protective glass guarded by the sheriff.
His landlord’s underwear was given to charity.
The same thing applies to Japan and Brazil:
stars are from the country, not the countryside. Get out
there and claim your hole. Put a circle around it
and name it. Modern art is about making something
from nothing. Artists are nobodies, not has-beens.
They belong to tomorrow.


[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. A book of his poetry, entitled “Machiavelli’s Backyard” will be released before 2018.]

New Book: Frenetic/No Contest Ekphrastics: Dustin Pickering and Red Focks


Frenetic/No Contest Ekphrastics by Dustin Pickering and Red Focks is a new collaboration between artist Red Focks and poet Dustin Pickering. “Along with image provided by Red Focks, each series contains a set of five ekphrastic poems in the form of triplets, a pantoum, quatrains, an alexandrine and a haiku.” The book is published by Alien Buddah Press.

Dustin Pickering is co-operator of Transcendent Zero Press, as well as being an editor for Sudden Denouement. He has written for many  different publication, publishes Harbinger Asylum, a literature journal. On a personal note, he is a friend and wonderful mentor.

Please check out their book, available through Goodreads.  It is a wonderful example of the synergy between art and poetry. Additionally, please check out Transcendent Zero Press.

Jasper Kerkau