The Path Goes Both Ways

by pbbr

A bird is singing on my windowsill this morning, sweet notes falling like ivory piano keys in a crosstown jazz bar. It’s autumn and he’s running late on his perennial southbound path. But he doesn’t sound hurried. Prancing back and forth on the windowsill, an avian entertainer chatting up the soft dewy dawn. I stand slowly, wincing at the surgery wounds in my belly, and reach for the shotgun.

The coffee pot is brewing on an automatic path. Savory beans roasting in their own juices, dripping, dripping. Chocolate warmth nestled in a cup,  auburn froth leveled at the top. Blended with raspberry crème. I take that first sip and my heart jumps in jagged arrhythmia.

The shower water is warm, stoking the embers of a tequila flame from the night before. The Mopar purrs in the driveway, guzzling the last few dimes from my pocket. Everything on its diametric path.

A blanket of fog lies on the highway. Spread out like a shroud, mother nature is proud. It reminds me of sticky teenage love and docks by the bay and Halloween adventures and Boy Scout campouts and the night my mother died. Damn it all to hell, she would say. God is love, she would say.

A belt to the thigh, a kiss to the cheek. It’s all the same to me.

All on its diametric path.

Good morning! the clerk says. A pockmarked face of scorn, eyeing to drag me down into the hole that he’s in. Would you like the meal or just the sandwich?

A rube is shining shoes in the lobby. Suave and pastoral, a mauve shirt that smells floral. A quaint memory of a time almost forgotten. He wears colorful kneehigh socks and suspenders and a toothy smile that decorates his face like a Christmas ornament. He nods and salutes, a crisp ritual. I heard he beat seven men to death in Vietnam.

There is a grating sound outside my office window. Jackhammer pounding, concrete snapping. Screech of metal on metal. The news is lamenting some bloodsoaked tragedy. A cascading exhaust wafts through the crack in the window and burns my nose. I sit back in my flea-bitten chair and smile.

These I can relate to.

All on its diametric path. It goes both ways, you know.

How To Suffer For Your Dreams – Mick Hugh


How To Suffer For Your Dreams by Mick Hugh (Mick’s Neon Fog)

The jungle floor undercut with gnarled twisting roots, ankle-snappers, watch your foot, through the verdant thick that’s only green with promise, and when the sun sets the dark is impassable – but there is no time to sleep, step by cautious step hands feeling along the jungle floor. Some days the sun’s high but the canopy’s a carpet, no light gets through, there is nothing above, no sky, and what you crawl through is a shadow swamp of muck; up mud hills, across ravines, through miles of hemlock you crawl. You have dengue, yellow fever, gangrenous extremities; day-long vomiting and dark shivers you sweat through for no reason you can find. But you continue to crawl, up on your legs, cut through the vines. This isn’t an illness you suffer, it is a circumstance of everyday, even when the body’s spent with dengue-sweat delirium, this is every day. It only stops if you stop.

The jungle breaks on a cliff of foresight – a thousand miles of impenetrable endless thick, and the horizon propping up the promised land on a mountain pedestal: your Eden at the top veiled by thick humid cloud, never seen, not yet touched, illustrated only by your obstinate dream. To crawl forward is now to climb down.

And all along the way have been the Exit Signs, posted to moss damp trees, stuck to rock faces, placed glowing in the deep crevasses formed by roots where you know you can climb in and find – annual vacations, financial security, suburban housing, carpeted floors, a family to love, clean cars (working cars), cures for your malignancies and melancholies and fantasies and obsessions; a big screen TV, watching Netflix from the couch comfort after a long day at the office desk giving you paychecks for stability and shelter and peace of mind.

The body hurts and the heart’s stuck in the hopelessness mire. You ignore this and you crawl. Wading through stagnant bog moving piece by piece the branches of overgrowth barbed-wired with thorns. The rains have come, covered in muck and shit that gets in the skin gashes and begins to infect, your sense of being sense of time – it has already been seven lonely years – mosquitoes molest your face, spiders feast on your back. Vines tangle for your neck, roots grab at your ankles, leeches bleed the stomach and parasites multiply in your genitals. And you are crawling.

You are crawling and your body is tearing into pieces. The mind is rejecting itself and the skin is suppurating from boils, gashes, abrasions, infections; melting away. To sweat all day and continue through the night, through the body aches-and-pains of a seven-year disease. You keep going because your skin and muscles will fall away, an exoskeleton you leave behind and feel refreshed – third fourth fifth wind this year- and the path behind you is littered with the selves you’ve shed, and you keep yourself from noticing how each skin is just a bit smaller than the previous, that you are in fact finite and running out of self and time. You keep yourself from noticing because it doesn’t matter: you will get there or you will (like a candle slowly extinguished in an opaque fog) fade into an obscure, meaningless death. It doesn’t matter.

you crawl on.

Mick Hugh (Mick’s Neon Fog)




Wanton – Olde Punk


Wanton by Olde Punk (RamJet Poetry)

Wanton abandon

One ton revolution

Kissing in our Sunday best

Fruitful excursions

I wanna be in your sun

Gaze like a gun

Shooting all the reckless boys

Giddy in their absolution

Crimes of passion in your name

Desire causing action that carries no shame

Green eyes burning in my direction

How I wish to dance in those flames

Serve me something that will please

Lick my soul and fold the crease

Mail me to outer space

Send me into your beliefs

I will wait in the crowd and slowly bleed

Softly appealing to your needs

Hide in the forest whispering hunger

My wanton abandon keyed up on speed

Flagrant and sloven


Poignant and abrupt

Bathe in the caldera

Of your heart

Find love in solitude

When we are apart

I will wait in the commotion

Crying due to my need for you

Wanton childe of abandon

Olde Punk RamJet Poetry


Contest Update – Introducing New Writers


We are pleased to announce the addition of two new writers to the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective.

Mick Hugh is the creator of Mick’s Neon Fog. We are deeply honored by his contribution. Mick is one of the best writers we have encountered on WordPress. It is our hope that others will take the time to find his work and discover the dark wonder that is contained in his words. He is a wordsmith of the highest order. I reached out to Mick after stumbling upon his work which can only be described as stunning.

Georgia Park’s website is Private Bad Thoughts. She has an infectious energy and a unique approach to poetry. She has a BA in creative writing, and by her admission “does funny, cute, dark, morbid, related poems, with or without an emphasis on travel.” Sudden Denouement is pleased with her contribution and believe deeply has a distinctive poetic voice.  She is a delightful person and believe her to be a wonderful addition.

Our door is open to those who feel that they share our passion for literature.

Contest Update:

We have already begun to get submissions, which are very promising. There are no prompts for this contest, and it is our hope that writers will submit work that is challenging to traditional form, though we are excited for all entries. The judging will be done by the writers of Sudden Denouement. We will narrow the field to three and post those before making a decision. The winner will be notified and a money order will be sent.

Send submissions to

Skinny People Shadows – Introducing Georgia Park


[Pictured: Georgia Park]

Skinny People Shadows by Georgia Park

We needed money to get the hell out of the heat and move on

from  Panama City,

the hostel’s communal fabric couches that smelled like feet

where the hippy guests united against the use of deodorant,

lounging in the combined stench of everyone that’s ever visited

listening to the sound of fruit flies buzzing in the kitchen


But there was only one bus out the next morning

cash up front

so we embarked on the scariest ATM walk ever

through Casco Viejo

against the clerk’s wishes

with equal parts desperation and reluctance


The ancient hunks of architecture were technically abandoned,

really filled with squatters

I thought we were hurrying down a lonely street,

until I heard someone beckoning through a broken window

a hoarse, whispered yell

“Vas aca!” followed by cackling laughter

the kind when nothing’s funny except faulty brain structure

The shadow of a misshapen cat suddenly lands before us,

skittering in a demented zig zag pattern,



The park that was so lively that day is empty

save a few scattered skinny people shadows,

who all turn to look in our direction and continue to watch us.

It feels like all conversation on the street stopped once we entered

but we are walking so fast it’s hard to tell


I feel conspicuous,

so obviously scared and outnumbered.

Everyone is watching. Should we slow down to look confident?

No. We are the only outsiders. They see tourists

Vulnerable no matter what.


My companion goes into the ATM booth

telling me to wait outside and guard it.

I do, all the while thinking

I can’t help us.

What will I do if something happens?

I see a hulking figure heading my way from a distance

and keep my eye on it

It turns out to be a woman and I’m relieved momentarily

like I would be in a more familiar part of the city

Until I realize here, that probably means nothing.

I stop breathing,

steel myself for something awful

not knowing what to do, how to prepare

I’m about to freeze and let it happen

I’m helpless


She speaks in English as she passes me-

She simply says “Be careful.”

At first I thank god she only passed

now I’m sorry to see her go.


We leave the ATM and everyone understands

we just got money

We rush back toward the hostel

 cursing the decision to ever leave it.

I don’t want to die yet, I’m not ready.


On the way back we are silent,

listening to more than one pair of footsteps behind us.

We speed up without speaking. They also speed up.

He tells me to run.

I do, forgetting everything else, forgetting why I even have to-

I had to forget so I could focus on how to run fast,

fast enough to outrun myself.

I don’t have time to look back, so I don’t know what’s chasing us.

I can’t visualize my monster, but I have a realization dawning inside me.


Heavy and nostalgic, aware my life may be slipping,

a sense of goodbye, at least to the life I knew

hoping for death, scared of something sicker.

Somewhere, I realize that I may never see my mom again.

All the while, I keep running.

I go quick in a whirring panic

until suddenly we reach our street

I don’t hear them

but I’m not sure of anything yet.


My ears are aware of my blood pumping through them.

I recognize the hostel door while I’m pushing it and respond with a smile,


I still don’t look back

I don’t want to know my monster.

It doesn’t matter.

We’re home safe, back at the putrid smelling home base-

Happiest above all,                                               to have made it.


Georgia Park (Sudden Denouement Literary Collective)

Private Bad Thoughts

Georgia Park Facebook

Georgia Park Twitter

[We are pleased to have Georgia Park as a  member of Sudden Denouement. Please take a moment and more of her work at Private Bad Thoughts.]

Divergent Literature Short-form Writing Contest – 100 dollars


Sudden Denouement Divergent Literature Short-form Writing Contest

Unpublished/Original work 

More than 50 words

Less than 500

Prize: 100 dollars

Time: thru 11/30/2016

Judges: Sudden Denouement

Send submissions:

There is no prompt or content, though the contest is for divergent literature. 

Top three posts will be published on Sudden Denouement and then a decision will be made on winner. 

Finalist will be contacted by Sudden Denouement.