Dustin Pickering, an inspiration and a friend. He is an SD contributor and a publisher with Transcendent Zero Press. We will be publishing his next collection in the fall.
Back from the seminar with ringing in my ears. Today,
a special session in learning to be offended. The teacher
is an empowered victim, an obese libertarian who spends
her afternoons at the Palm Springs hotel pool in a lace bikini.
In her youth, one hears, she sued the San Francisco Ballet.
She won a space in a spring production playing the part of a fat swan.
In college she took the chancellor to court to gain admission to the men’s
locker room. She made the men shower in their jockey straps.
Now she has diabetes and wheezes when she climbs stairs. She
has taken up as a topic The Smiling Face of Whiteness. She made us
buy her book and a set of tapes read by a transsexual prisoner at Folsom
whose claim to fame is that she once sucked off Johnny Cash.
Whiteness, she contends, is a kind of one-dimensional way of being
in the world. This, no doubt, contrasts with the multi-dimensional Eskimo.
I felt instantaneously resentful, in contrast to her position that whites
endlessly forgive their own transgressions. I forgive nothing.
Curricula emphasize terms like Pythagorean theorem and pi. It’s as
discouraging, she points out, as being too fat to model. Schools
perpetuate a perception that mathematics was largely developed by Greeks
and other Europeans. She asks us to consider the proposition that 2+2 = 5.
Aspiring math teachers of color must learn to develop a sense of “political
conocimiento,” which means answers from whites are always wrong. She
quotes from a Vanderbilt University professor who writes that the field
of mathematics is a “white and heteronormatively masculinized space.”
“Things cannot be known objectively; they must be known subjectively.”
There are no right or wrong answers. Don’t accept your white teacher’s
corrections. When he says you’re in error, look him in the eye and tell him
that is just his opinion. (If his eyes twinkle, sue him for sexual harassment.)
Only when whiteness ends, can forgiveness begin. So many minorities
“have experienced microaggressions from participating in math classrooms.…”
We are tired, she insists, of being judged by whether we can reason abstractly.
White thinking leads to white ways of being. Now repeat: 2 +2 = 5.
[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.]
Trapeze Artist of the Moon
“You are in the dark because you are trying too much” – Aldous Huxley
Olden song whispers
in my ear
Able to echo
over the dark milieu
Faint copy of the prudish light
carved in black and blue curlicue
the smallness of the evening
The grafter of the moon
loves as if
Love is green silk,
of slow springs
The whole world
sings in a lily-of-the-valley
Whose tongue is numbed
by the language of the night…
Spoken beauty is never true
It is the paleness of a memory
in the protection
of the saffron mornings
Aided by ghosts,
cinders of fear
While we walk
The silvery evening
is an intensity
and an immensity.
You live as if
life is a dance
We’d live as if
life is a kiss
from flickering flames
and festering wishes.
cover the shoots
of your dreams
We are the masters
of two small islands:
One of carton trees
and hollowed plastic flowers
where the moon lives.
In her eyes
the thawing vernal lights
“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.
Working out logistical issues with our judges. We will be featuring works by our judges next week while working to get the contest results finalized. Thank you for your patience.
Once upon a time
Along a path I wandered
As a fallen leaf does wander
Lain upon a stream
… as though dancing
… as though careless
… as though young
Wherein dark woods I stumbled
Ensnared by fallow spindle
Which bade me kneel my sacred ground
And I bent my back upon the point
Until impaled… and unbeknownst
Cursed with waking sleep
Stitched shut within a shroud
Despite the mirror and the mist
And fifty shades of greys
Bleeding into grey
Like some tawdry love story
If tawdry is worn and caked with grime
And the love story… benign
In glass funnels
With the perpetuity
Of a spinning wheel
Each turn bought with youth, all but spent
Until you kissed me
Full on the mouth.
Like a slap.
© Vicki Wilson
I am an amateur poet, published author and professional technical analyst… all of these things mean I basically solve puzzles for a living, and to keep from dying. I know this because I died once. Metaphorically. Six years of a slow death by industrialised decision making. In the end I was so numb to living I ceased to exist. But burn-out has a silver lining, you wake up and all you have left is steel and the rich black of sticky charcoal to make your mark. I am still learning how to hold a pen, how to form words into a living thing, but my scratchings are mine, they are made with the corpse of who I was. I offer them as evidence I exist.
I have recently published a children’s book – written and illustrated by myself – under the banner of dragonflypublishing. You can find me there writing my next one: https://www.facebook.com/dragonflypublishing.au.
[Sudden Denouement is proud to announce that ESP (Esprambles) is now a member of the Sudden Denouement Collective. He is a powerful, unique voice and we are honored to call him one of our own.]
The black hole soul
Every sound, every act, every scene
is drowned by a sigh that still echoes
long after the hearts have broken,
the ones you left in the vacuous ruins,
lost like the howl of the proverbial wolf
that never existed except for its curious moon.
It sounds like the laughter you often hear
one without a purpose or a reason,
defying everything you stand for and believe in,
shaking the tree of your life that somehow stands,
but you keep searching for its missing roots.
A spring breeze tries to carry the autumn leaves,
those dead leaves take flight but settle around,
like undying memories haunting your busy days
and every time you close your eyes for a respite.
The stars you see are familiar
as you remember how they say
that the dead become stars,
but you know it is love, friendships, dreams
and such beautiful things in your life
that you gave up aspiring for stardom
which haunt you in your dark sky of conscience.
Unlike the dead and the buried,
the stars will die once they burn up
the last remnants of their story,
as every atom of your past gets fused,
releasing energy that fights gravity
of your implosive thoughts
and brings sanity to your subconscious.
The light beams that keep you awake
in the moonless, cloudless and sleepless nights
seem faint because you have gone distant
and probably are the vestiges of the once
bright and brilliant feelings, elated emotions
which are dying or already dead
for even light travels at a speed slower than
your ruminations and reconstructed sights
in these restless but fateful nights.
But you keep living with the knowledge
of an imminent death, vying for immortality,
you wish that everything that is you,
and that defines you, will once become a star
in the unending night and emit a light
that will hopefully meet the beams
sent by your past and resonate
before plunging into the spectacular black hole
that is the universe condensed in your ubiquitous soul.
[ESP’s writing can be found on Esprambles.]
yes hello it's a pleasure I'd say except
look where we are
and how the fuck did I get here
guess that speaks to the reason why I
you too huh
same old story why tell it
differs largely just in names dates other such
uninteresting particulars it's
an impact and oh yeah oh fuck yeah it's
happening here we go it's another
ethanol-fueled escapade a jet ride to
oblivion hard landing read: a crash
see you don't get to survive when you
strike at five hundred and thirty five
miles per hour so bail bail bail
before the hard stop before the zero
what's the co-pay on a parachute
a question I didn't ask when I saw the
ground racing up at me
oh shit I went and did it again
no more job no more girl just this
bottle and me
fickle companions we are
and onward goes the story
excruciatingly boring if I'm being honest
each chapter same as the last
copy paste change the date
do it again
do it again
what a waste it feels
to spend more words
well then why not say goodbye
fond farewell to all the good times
the not good ones too
the printed labels promising proof
but none to be found there
or anywhere else for that matter
but the words
fuck the words
if this all means they'll never
come like that again then
I hope they never do
they'd be a small small price to pay
for so much.
There is a place I can dwell, removed from silent gore of emotional life tied to humid residue of lost summers. From failure springs the renewing waters of new worlds laid out–removed of the impurities of dysfunction, bad relationships, tarnished pasts, regressed lives spoiled under the hot sun. A celebration of life! Turning from folly, the endless cycle of death and resurrection, the desire for absolution from a human problem: Lost in people, feeling tied to desire for healthy relationships, nuclear domestic dynamics. It is all so fleeting!
There is a place I can dwell, upright, given to spontaneous laughter, at peace with the balance of universal order, finding a person in the mirror I can live with. Slowly the last forces come in from remote villages, shoulders slumped, spirits broken, bones shattered; the light from their eyes extinguished by the long battle. Longing for the peaceful, tender embrace of…
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When one is in the grips of a fever dream, one often finds it is difficult to gain their bearings. Up is down. Right is left. Things of that nature. The whole selections of situations has deteriorated to complete and utter bat-shit. Waking is a lonesome, hateful task. Many of us are not capable of shaking off the magic dustman’s boon. Instead, we are locked in the dream. Eyes shut tight against reality. We see shadows of a life outside of our own and nothing more. For years, we are sweating balls and pussies in our beds, trying to make sense of these insane amalgamations and visions that plague us, fighting before our ever moving eyes. Locked in many forms nightmares.
Here we have the man who wakes up forty years into his life: did I do that yesterday? Christ what is today? How many meetings did I have? I didn’t…
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