Sudden Denouement Black & White Photography Contest


[Photo: Able Eble]

Sudden Denouement has since its inception been interested in the synergy between imagery and the written word. We have been diligent in our commitment to maintain a specific aesthetic that compliments the strange world of words we inhabit. In the spirit of our commitment, we are launching a black and white/monochrome/sepia photography contest. This contest is a celebration of the medium, but also a means to showcase artists who share a passion for black and white photography.


1st Prize: 50 dollars and a link provided on front page of our site, as well as a full write-up on the work of the artist.

2nd Prize: 25 dollars and a link provided on site, as well as presentation of the work, along with appropriate links.

3rd Prize: A post on the work of the artist, as well as a temporary link on the site.

We only ask that the work is black and white/monochrome/sepia. The judges will be the editors of Sudden Denouement and SD writers Able Eble and Jonathon O’Farrell.

We ask that each artist limit their submissions to five.

Contest open to everyone.

Send submissions to

Deadline: 6/19/2019

The Fallacy of Mankind – Patrick Hart

Through my nose,
I took everything I could
To make the ache
In my head stop

There were yellow whales
And pipers wearing polka dots
Pretending to be God
The devil held a sword
Like the archangel he was
And threatened the weather

Isn’t it something
When the thunder of a father
Is challenged by the tide of a son;
Yet free will bought mankind the moon?

I challenged traditional thought
By letting the animals in my stomach out
Vampires in white cloth told me my penance
Led to something called a blood clot
And every voice in the room
Sanctioned by love
Was suddenly divided
By their bindings to strength
Or necessity

I learned
That color matters
And that humanity classified everything
Including the intangibles
So we could create crowns
For crowded rooms

But when we simplified faith
We lost his name
And now his face only shows
In the most Ungodly Place(s)

Give me happiness or death
But dammit, let love rest



[Like most of us, Patrick draws most of his inspiration from his history. Through his writing, he seeks to dredge bodies from the dark pools of his mind, as much as he desires to describe and define what life is.

Patrick Hart is a transplanted South Georgian writer who originally hails from Hampton Roads Virginia. He currently serves in the United States Air Force, as an air traffic controller.

If he had to use one word to describe himself, it would be cerebral.]

Find more of Patrick’s work on Instagram and grab a copy of his stunning debut collection War Paint, published by RadPress Publishing

i checked myself

i checked

i have checked myself and seen that i am nothing; 
the bones of poets gone and done 
lay beneath the hills. 
i put on my boots and took my shovel, 
for to disturb them 
would be a lesser crime than to ignore.

i checked myself 
and saw that i was nothing; 
i looked for art 
and saw it slither into bank accounts in dead of night, 
while the dewy brows of poverty’s poets 
tremble in their plight. 

i checked myself
and let myself stand up.
stand up, i said –
stand up, writers! 
stand up for complexity, confusion and colour. 
take your pennies and forget the pied pipers, 
they have led naught but rats.

i saw the riches over realness, 
splendour over solidarity… 
i cried upon my pillow. 
my people, my people!
when the muses so return, tell them why you wrote!

we not one of us free falls –
i checked myself…
something always had me.


[ Lois describes herself as a “confused english student,” though one quickly finds a polished, charming poet in her work. She has an elegant style that compliments her keen insight and whimsical sensibilities. It is a pleasure to present her work, and you can find more of it at Lois E. Linkins.]

Nom De Guerre – Collaboration of A. G. Diedericks & Aurora Phoenix


in art
I come alive
when I put my pen down
it’s all uncharted territory
obfuscated scriptures
obstruct my script
with indecisions
and honed inhibitions
I vomit
unintelligible words
ineligible to decipher
paralysis in my analysis
a jargon
too far gone
from consciousness
I thrive
in poetic nooks
inhaling the sustenance
of literary lore
I shrivel
when my fingers
relinquish their perch
click-clack pecking the keys
I lose my footing
skid and wander
meandering Neanderthal
grunting monosyllabic
monotonous monotone
bungled from gnarled
arthritic fingertips
aching hips
collide coccyx
insensate sensibilities
in a house of congress
homo sapiens
barred from sapience
I am a refugee
seeking refuge
in the allure
of a nom de guerre


A.G. Diedericks is a cinephile in the midst of being gentrified into a bibliophile.. Colonized by mediocrity; He moonlights as a clandestine writer. You’ll find him in a dark alley over at the cuckoo’s nest; where he often lays to rest in Cape Town, SA. ]


[Aurora Phoenix: I spent over 2 decades as a clinical psychologist, prior to the decimation of my world when I was suddenly incarcerated 2 and a half years ago. My writing was born in that caged existence – not a choice but a soul-saving necessity.  I write as Aurora Phoenix at Insights from “Inside”]

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




Tumble Weed Blues – David Lohrey

There can be bebop and billowing skirts,
hot pastrami and cold beer, but only if
we’re good.

That’s the catch. We’re weighed down by doubt.
Can all this wonder be had for free? It’s
time to take stock.

All the pretty horses can’t put humpty dumpty
together again. It’s partly a matter of will
power, sure.

It’s mostly a matter of power, pure and simple.
And the will is half-hearted. There’s no
zeal. There’s no roll.

Ketchup, but no mustard. There are eggs, but
Benedict died last June of a stroke. Whoever
said we could have it all, lied.

The billowing skirts were not the first to go, but
the girls get tired of playing. They’ve
been recruited by the army.

Now women carry guns. Our next loss is jazz.
Without the blues, there’s no rhythm. The
country’s lost its beat.

Everyone is out of step. The problem
is not the booze. It’s the money. We’re all
too rich for our own good. We’re unhappy.

Louis Armstrong was elated. Count Basie, giddy.
Think back. You remember. Jazz was rollicking: horns
toot-tooting, the pianist on his feet, the drums exploding.

We’re all miserable. Fattened up for slaughter. Now
we wait for the other shoe to drop, as the centipede
crawls toward the exit.

We know it’s just a matter of time. It can’t go on like this forever.
We’ve become too refined, far too delicate, too fat for
good music.

Anyway…no one has the oomph. It’s all petered out.
We’re out of gas. There’s an energy shortage,
you know.

For the most part, pictures will be enough, for a while,
like those of farmers. Nobody wants to get his hands dirty,
digging in flower beds, plowing, changing diapers.

No one wants to turn potatoes, feed the pigs or geld the stallions.
What is there to celebrate if there are no children?
That’s the question.

If there’s no harvest, what’s the point of drinking? And
now they say there’s no purpose in planting flowers.
The suburbs are obsolete, no pleasure in squirrels.

No need for dogs to bark. No need for evening walks. No
need for games of catch. Eliminate the lawns, they decree,
which are nothing more than symbols of Farmer Brown.

There’ll be nothing to remember, not even the sound of crying babies.
Family life is finished. Dirty floors, mother’s milk, chicken pox
are all a thing of the past.

Now the smell of grass must go. It’s no longer the Age of Aquarius;
it’s the age of exhaustion. We’re entering America’s very own
Cultural Revolution. At the end of the day, they’ll be hell to pay.

It’s the age of recrimination. People stand around pointing fingers,
as the time French women were made to pay for bedding
enemy soldiers. They were driven through the streets, naked.

It’s an age of exculpation. We all want to wash our hands of it.
The only music left is what we demand to see others face.
Otherwise we want silence.

[David Lohrey is the Shadow Lord of brain-seizing, heart-piercing poetry, and a medium for the ether words. He 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 is currently writing a memoir of his years living on the Persian Gulf. Also, he’s freakin’ awesome.]

Continue reading

On Muses-Candice Louisa Daquin/The Feathered Sleep

Muse you are an unwanted thing

coming as moth must be drawn unwillingly

for whom of us longs to be captured by the light

denying us rest?

for in the grey of our self-imposed exile

we know no disturbance

our affection is metered and paid for each day

by a short stack of coins all bronze and safe

securing our space in certain harbor

as little boats will never attempt

glorious journeys

but of course there are those unbidden times

like a storm out of the West devours best intent

cutting down our resistance

stark against your person

if you didn’t do anything but exist

it would still hurt

like beauty can make a man cry

unconsciously we dream of ideals

moving in hymn with that part of us

that can be held to the light and fractured

you know my song

before I know my own


I see the distance between

a quiet sleep touching you in earnest

and anything real

as colorless as soot belies attempt to rise above

normalcy and quench our longing for

a girl who breaks us into pieces with one movement

unknowing, as free as a child who has grown beautiful

over summer time

unawares of herself

she will always be this way and I didn’t know until I felt

in the pit of my stomach that fizz and fall

down into a place of ache

something as sweet as pain

the desire unrelenting and yet

impossible before it is formed

like a best intention

left like her dress on the floor

as I lift it over her thin arms and watch

the bow she makes with herself

and the reddening of her cheeks when

I demonstrate not all we know we know

surprising even those

who think themselves immune

to oddities and marbles strewn

lifting her into me and beyond where

my tongue and her murmurs hold each other

my eyes close when I see her

beneath me like a sea

nipples pressing insistently against my fingers

and all that she thought

was right

and wrong

for this moment

it doesn’t really count

we are beyond ourselves

her feather weight and my discovered ardor

making champions of hesitation

acrobats in abseiling the curves of her

I would please myself in the pleasure of

her surprised movement, writhing as she danced

inside my mouth clawing in pleasure

every part of her as delicate

as the flower I saw reminding me

how she would surely taste

a nectar within honey within amber within light

and stars

reflecting on her sloping shadows

lifting her up into myself we bind our

legs and arms and hips into fused pulse

no it is not a contest I seek to win

she is always going to love others

as they will always seek to touch her

but for that one moment as I let the sun heat my face

in thought

she is mine for this second and I reach out

and she comes

into my arms willing

dissolving and hungry

like red sand rises with

encroaching storm I hear her

cry in my ear a cascading joy

something breaks free

and she knows then

the loveliness of her

reflecting within me

Candice Louisa Daquin is from Sephardi descent and immigrated to the USA where she lives in the American South West. She’s written many poetry reviews, her own work has been published in magazines and she has her fifth book of poetry coming out thru Finishing Line Press. Candice loves modern dance, reads voraciously, walks in the countryside and loves supporting fellow poets in their quest for true creative expression, above all she honors the rare human traits of loyalty, truth and mercy and supports the destigmatization of mental illness.

let’s be strangers in new orleans – samantha lucero

next-day sore, fabled romance memories we’ll never have again hang themselves over the morgue of my shoulders. they sling there on the murderess hews of my collarbones like a noose. over the rubble of me like a shapeless dress, they cling. my sadness is a one-size fits all.

there’s a bad mystery of stitched up, prayer-words smothered & held hostage underneath the humid crucifix game of your nails. maybe we could be in love. your calloused hand, my beating throat. memories are ghosts that can physically embrace me; embrace us.

like  dirt-sweat in a ghost-tour day of that hot mouth street in New Orleans, where the grinning specter-folks wanna stay like pasted gaslight posts in booze-colored hurricane beads. where there’s oiled-up candles in the balmy night lining decatur & quivering tarot cards in a sweaty palm telling me i’m meant for greatness. hail the votives for a virgin or a saint-chief, & watch palpitations at every pop-up table. my black boots on powdered sugar all over the concrete long after sleep should’ve gently tapped, hold the the dust of cemetery reflections & the 24/7 menu of the cafe du monde.

meet me for smoke, insomnia, primordial love.

you don’t need the blonde smiling photograph of her burned onto the back of your eyelids when things go wrong for us.

i don’t need the memory of him sewn to my back like a corset scar, like an unhealed secret.

we can make our own memories now. let’s erase them.

let’s erase it all & grow old

in the sweet, warm arms of new orleans where desperate, spilling souls belong. 

[Samantha Lucero is an unseelie that has a nursery of shadows at sixredseeds.]