Wonderstance – Basilike Pappa

Winter in radio frequencies

his mad orchestra

the pale state of heaven

Sluggish days / cemeteries  

for pencils – broken  

Are you upset? Walk often

Until communication returns

sleep wake attack escape

social shadowplay

Feed yourself:

the kitchen knife

gleam of the underworld

Windows are reflection / also inspection

But if I fly through them – broken

(as long as they’re not open)

Anathema to insect screens:

instead of sticky tape,

with nails to the frames are attached


Afterlife does nothing on a whim –

follows protocols

Resurrect somebody or make a replica – do it fast

When I repair myself

in the green and gallant spring

when birds do sing

the pine-wood grows alive with wings

face rentals suffer much

my scarves

my boots

my coats

my gloves

will go through

a mild case

of wonderstance


Borrowed Lines

In the green and gallant spring: In the Green and Gallant Spring by Robert Louis Stevenson

When birds do sing: It was a lover and his lass by William Shakespeare

The pine-wood grows alive with wings: Spring in the South by Henry Van Dyke

Basilike Pappa is a bookmonger and a wordcubine. She believes that in poetry an image must montage the mind with false cognates, and that god is sun on a copper coffee pot. Her prose has appeared in Life & Art Magazine, Intrinsick and Timeless Tales, and her poetry in Rat’s Ass Review, Surreal Poetics, Bones – Journal for Contemporary Haiku and in Nicholas Gagnier’s anthology All the Lonely People. Most of the time she can be found reading near a window in Greece. You can see more of her work on her blog Silent Hour.


by Basilike Pappa

It said sleep / the voice said / slide into / me / like a fish / in water the voice said / dreamless / I’ll catch you / just sleep it said / you’re tired and / it’s time to / sleep.

Like this / it said / the voice said / close your eyes / slide / let go / see? it said / like this / come to me / easy / you’re tired / just sleep.

That time / it said / remember? / that time in the sea / the water closed over / so close to the shore / but that current / that sneaky tricky current / it said let go / the voice said / like fish / you’re tired / sleep / easy like this / don’t blink.

And you thought  / why not / easy / the water quiet / like a sheet / it said now sleep / and the world will wash you by / stay still / finish it / go down / deep / a stone in water / so easy like this / like sleep / heavy dreamless / sink.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow / it said like this / no more of this / just sink / slide / sleep / for a moment it was easy / to let it all go by / bead after bead after bead / meaningless string / remember? it said / you don’t but I / remember how wide-eyed / you escaped me.

Close your eyes it said / that time that street / remember? the voice said / it was me / slip of your feet / in the rage of its machines / don’t blink / stand still / and the world will crush you by / like a wave / like a current / in a sneaky tricky sea / don’t cheat / now sleep.

And I’ll catch you / said the voice / why not believe in me / it said tired / don’t think / slide / dreamless deep / ready? sink! / for a moment you were ready / but you cheated / backwards step / you caught yourself / quick / no sleep / through my arms you slipped.

It said sleep / the voice said silk / let go / and the night will pass you by / why not / easy / and I swear it’s not me / now and forever deep / just my twin / not me not me / not the voice in the sea.

Why not believe in me / in my arms / I’m my twin / like this: see? / easy / close your eyes / come to me / don’t think / sleep / never pushed you in the street / try me / the voice said silk.

To the voice I said like fish / through your arms I’ll slip like this / voice current / hair seaweed / I am wide-eyed / you’re no sleep / no end of cheat / to the voice I said don’t speak.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow / I said I like this / yes! more of this! / be quiet now / like a sheet / I don’t know what it means / but I know how it feels / sun on skin / daisy fields / sitting idle by a stream.

Quick / I blink / backwards step / I catch myself / you can sing your lullaby / all you want but never me / never in your dreamless water / I slide / I slip / easy: see? like this / there are parties I can’t miss / if I’m late don’t wait / eat.

Always sweet / a sheet of silk / but your singing goes six feet / under daisy fields I think / so don’t

speak / don’t sing / quit / here’s my finger / ready? Sit!

Basilike Pappa lives in Greece. She likes her coffee black, her walls painted green and blue, her books old or new. She despises yellow curtains and red tape. She can’t live without chocolate, flowers and her dog. Places she can be found are: kitchen, office, living room. If she’s not at home, I don’t know where she is. You can find Basilike up late with a notebook in the Silent Hour.

Photography by Jimmi Campkin (jimmi campkin.com)

Meet Sudden Denouement Collective Member Basilike Pappa

IMG_Basilike Pappa

The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.

What name do you write under?

Under my own, which is actually Vassiliki. Its transliteration into English destroys it, so now it’s Basilike. Doesn’t sound exactly right, but looks better. Pronounced Ba-SEE-lee-kee, by the way.

In what part of the world do you live?  Tell us about it.

For the past five years I’ve been living in Trikala, in central Greece. Having moved here from Athens, I sometimes want to stab the quiet flow of life in the back; other times I feel there is nothing like sitting under the shadow of plane trees next to the river Letheus.

Most people here move by bicycle. I must be the only person in town who doesn’t know how to ride one.

If you were here and wanted to see Greece’s history in five buildings, I’d take you to the Asclepion and the Roman baths, the Byzantine fortress and the mosque of Osman Shah. For some bad, unimaginative late 20th century architecture, I could show you any building in the center.

Bad news: this is not a seaside town and the summers here are blazing.

Good news: the mountains are near if you like the forest. I do.

Please tell us about yourself.  

Some words and some people’s voices have flavors. This happens mostly in Greek. The word skopós, for example, tastes like wafer when it means ‘purpose,’ but has no taste at all when it means ‘guard.’

Katey Sagal’s voice is peanut butter. She makes me want to grab a jar and eat it to the end.

I love saving old furniture from the streets and giving them a second chance. My bedside table is such an abandoned piece. I’ve painted it black and orange – its former bedroom wouldn’t recognize it.

The historical time I find most intriguing is the Middle Ages. Even though I know that if I lived then, I wouldn’t stand a chance.

Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t like Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Twice I tried to read it, twice I felt as if they sentenced me to twenty years of boredom.

I’d love to live forever in a Michel Cheval painting.

If you have a blog or website, please provide the name and the link.

My blog is Silent Hour

When did you begin your blog/website, and what motivated you start it?

I started my blog in 2017, after publishing some poems and stories on online magazines. I was happy that the editors liked my work, but I had no way of knowing how many people read it and what they thought of it. The blog gave me the chance to see if anyone cares about what I write.

What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging on your site?

My inspiration comes from a book I read, a song I heard, a painting I saw; from a single line that comes to mind and waits there for its perfect match to turn up; and from personal experiences.

The writer friends I’ve made through my blog are also an inspiration. Their work is both a reading pleasure and a writing lesson.

When did you join the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective?

May 2018.

Why/how did you join Sudden Denouement?

Sudden Denouement had captured my attention from the beginning of my blogging life. It featured some amazing talents. I got to know some of them better and write with them. When I was officially asked to join, I felt very honored.

What does Divergent Literature mean to you?

Divergent is the literature that cooks with idiosyncratic salt and unorthodox spice, to produce dishes of anomalous virtue. Not a big fan of conventional vegetables, it only serves them as amuse-bouches accompanied with bottles of quicksilver.

SD Founder Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language’. What is it?

You know, when you are traveling by car with friends, and there is no need for music to be on, no one feels they should speak, and you can all enjoy the ride within a warm silence? That sounds like the secret language, I think.

What are your literary influences?

I wish I had the twisted imagination of Edgar Allan Poe, the dark humor of Fay Weldon, the surrealism of Achille Campanile, the cleverness of Daniel Handler, the skill of Zoe Heller, the wit of Oscar Wilde, the sensuality of M. Karagatsis.

Has any of your work been published in print?  (books, literary magazines, etc.) How did that happen?

I haven’t published anything myself. My poems Melinda’s Long Scarf Syndrome, Ulula and Marriage a la Mode are in the printed winter 2017 issue of Rat’s Ass Review.

Do you have writing goals?  What are they?

To go on writing. And  to complete a collection of fairytale and myth re-tellings.

Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites?  Please share a few links.

How Demons Get their Wings

Melinda’s Long Scarf Syndrome


What else would you like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?


I’m never going to author words that sound like music in a bag

or grammar stones wrapped in newsletters.

I’ll cover me in paper leaves, lull me gently, ink my wires

and either I’ll become a microcosm of re-imagined senses

or, I swear, I’ll turn into a perfectly tuned clock.