Contest Finalist 3: On Becoming a Writer – Christine Ray


On Becoming a Writer – Christine Ray Brave and Reckless Blog

Sometimes, adopting the names ‘writer’ and ‘poet’
Led her to encounters with the most amazing minds
Connecting her with a larger community

At other times she thought that ‘writer’ and ‘poet’
Were the loneliest names she had ever called herself
Waking up every morning
To unzip her chest, her gut
And bare her truths to the world
Because like others of her kind
She was complex, messy, containing
Multiple truths, not a singular one

Sometimes she felt like she was writing
To a small group of intimate friends
At others times,
She felt like she was calling out her truths
Into an empty desert landscape
Without even a coyote or armadillo
To hear her words before they fell away
Forlorn and unread
Unheard and unacknowledged
Rendering the writer, the poet herself
Invisible, diminished somehow

She was always struck by the juxtaposition
Of her physical body negotiating
Close suburbs,
Crowded subways and jostling city sidewalks
On the way to her day job
While her heart and mind
Wandered in the isolated wilderness
While errant words and wisps of dreams
And drops of feelings like rich, red blood
Continued to seep out of her
Brave and Reckless Blog


Contest Finalist 2: Splatter – Aakriti Kuntal


Splatter – Aakriti Kuntal

When the ink parts

between my tresses

I unfold like a streak of leather

and disappear into the horizon

A crimson casualty

of lifeless days

In my town

the weather is a dense blue

rivulets and arches, alleyways and purple boundaries

a liquid state

of all matter

a fluidity, a lisp, a demonstration

I have been weeding out

the pellets of time

time after time

they have grown scaly fingers and clumsy feet

You ask me

Where is the ‘ache’ ?

I throb, a spinning compass



I am Orion

I am Virgo

I am Polaris and Sirius

stretching and leaping

across time and its variety

the combustible zones of space

I have a mouth of flames

an insurgency of sores, the vacancies of unanswered questions

Time after Time

I pluck my tendons

twist and crack, break and wield

throw it all away

Am I diseased ?

Do I seem irregular to you ?

with my blurriness and putrid hues

Do I deviate from your slumber of stagnant happiness ?

for you continuously ask

Where is the ‘ache’ ?

I stay quiet

pastel white lips, creases of suspended chlorine

embroidered waves of a wallowing blue

the willows and the currents

burgundy and bourbon

I stay quiet

for how must I say

that I am the ache

I am the ache now

I am coarse and viscous

and I spill

Oh, how I spill

I spill like velveteen red blobs

splatter, splatter

I’m not afraid

I have no sex,

I have no religion, no color, no form

no mind, no interpretation, no perspective

I am sparse and dangling and damaged

and true

Oh, so true

for only the truth can sting, sting and penetrate

and carve circles on your chest

and cubes

and snakes

and split you

and chop you

yet leave you calcified

remotely resembling the contours of a human female



These Days – Georgia Park


These Days – Georgia Park (Private Bad Thoughts, Whisper and the Roar)

I could recount a thousand times
my heart blackened
before it went red again-
when he told me
what happened to him,
when she didn’t
say anything,
when my head
busted open,
When I
stopped speaking-
but you know,
these days, it’s easier
to look at paintings
and write poetry
than to remember
and did you know
I stopped sleeping
and that people say
nice things to me,
show me good things
and do you know
I just
     keep leaving
[Georgia Park is a poet! She is writes for Private Bad Thoughts, Whisper and the Roar, and Sudden Denouement. Whisper and the Roar is literary collective that Park created to provide a voice for feminist poets. Please take a look at her work and contact her for submissions.]

Contest Finalist 1: Suburban Suicide – Erin Crocker


Suburban Suicide – Erin Crocker  (Author Erin Crocker)

Custom Homes from the Low 600’s

     The Monday after I committed suicide, clouds formed over the plastic McMansion he’d promised me before slipping three-quarter karat cyanide on my left hand. Weighted drops of rain thrust their gelled bodies out gray figures like shit the day after a person over-indulges his or herself on a party-sized bag of Doritos.
My corpse, lost, within a forest of highlighted reverse bobs sitting behind leather steering wheels inside black Escalades, complaining how the forty-dollar bottle of ‘Damn Gina’ just stained the side of their ten-dollar iced-caramel-macchiato-choco-latte-Frappuccino—extra skinny, and ruined a selfie.
Blood slid down our AstroTurf lawns, syrup on Sunday morning pancakes, or paychecks from a nine-to-five-but-we-found-ourselves-going-in-at-seven-and-coming-home-at-ten-and-who-cares-if-a-glance-or-two-or-seven-is-exchanged-between-him-and-his-secretary type job, and suffocated us like Spanx.
We needed the money for a closetful of Louis Vuitton, because one should always keep a closetful of Louis Vuitton if she (or he) is attempting to impress fabricated friends to score an invitation to bunko night. Our laughs, GMO free as we dieted on sushi and engaged in photoshopped conversation about The Bachelor, or goldfish. The barrel of the gun cold as I poured a glass of Pinot and pulled the trigger.


Free Falling Angel




Another slow silent sigh creeps across our

eyes and reminds us of the lives

we used to lead

I remember fearing the failing leaders

as we dogs nipped at their heels

hoping for little salvations

and it’s a crazy kinda hatred

that burns in my mind

the kind that makes you cry

when you pull the trigger

alas, against the ghosts of your hopes,

the shared dreams of a moonless night,

and the heartfelt meanderings on a dawnless day

We pay our prices

Our idols expect their tributes

For tribulation is what we all most desire

when our lives are on fire

So step softly in the valley

temptation is stalking you

like a doe in the wood

unseen but felt beyond

the slow blue horizon

There is no distinction between right and wrong here

it is merely the perceptions of the strong

taking hold

do not let fly your gasp of innocence

the angels know you better than that

Iconoclastic nuances permeate your conversation

reality building walls in a fantasy

Some may walk in shadow

others tread in light

We have praised the dying prophets who

whisper promises cloaked in blasphemy

I can fear for myself no more

as I no longer fear you either

quiet, quiet now…

everything will not be alright


Just Deserts – Nicole Lyons

Just Deserts – Nicole Lyons (The Lithium Chronicles)

If only you would vanish
and stay
hidden away in some desolate place,
buried and long forgotten,
I wouldn’t feel this need
to escape
my own mind
and the memories that lurk within.
They enthrall me
in the sickest way,
these thoughts upon memories
born out of the torment
you fed me.
And sometimes the taste of them,
the regret,
surges back into my mouth,
thick like honey,
to stick to my tongue.
And I would be lying
if I told you
that I didn’t think
about going back
for a second helping

[Nicole Lyons writes for The Lithium Chronicles, as well as being a contributor editor and writer for Sudden Denouement. Her poetry is smart, emotional, and an inspiration to many. She is a friend, a collaborator, and a caring human being who is very giving of herself and her time. I am honored to have begun to get know her and present her work on this forum. Thank you Nicole for everything you do. Jasper Kerkau]