Dana Glover “The Beach Cottage”

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The teak wood is warped by the humid pressure of sadness distilled. The floors creak with the weight of my footsteps, steps that travel in circles through the memories that won’t be still. The curtains flutter in the ocean breeze, tattered tissue paper stained with questions I won’t ask. The windows are caked with streaks of salt, tainted with the taste of my tears. I can’t see the beach, only the remnants of a sand castle we built and abandoned in our youth. I hear the waves beyond, roaring, demanding vengeance for my absence, for my blatant escape from the years I could have spent with you.

The only furniture is the bed we once shared. Sheets outline only one body. Back then we were. One, that is. We were two instruments that gave rise only to one melody. We dreamed in unison. You provided the sound. I splashed in the color. I squeeze my eyes shut. My hands over my ears. I tremble under the suspense of the nightmare that won’t end. But there is nothing to staunch the scream that rips from my throat as I cannot remember the way you looked. I can no longer place your voice. Only that touch that made me prance like an ecstatic puppet, brought to life with bits and pieces of your broken soul.

I fling myself upon that damned bed, praying not for a lifeboat but for an anchor to drown me in you. It took me years to comprehend the sacrifice, your choice to be my friend. As you struggled to breathe, as your heart crashed against splintered ribs, I cursed you. I railed against your audacity to leave me stuck in an ill-constructed world without you. I wasn’t strong. I only feigned courage to make you smile. And you dared to call my bluff.

But Fate was not done with me, was she? I had a debt to pay for being so selfish, for taking what you offered without due consideration of the cost to you. She left me your body, lips that I could still kiss. Hair that still tempted my will to touch that which I would not claim completely. Hands that had skimmed over my body with desire, but restrained with innocence. And your eyes, the amber that I sipped like Heaven’s nectar. But Fate was cruel. Your lips would never again speak my name. Your hair would knot with apathy for me. Your hands would infuse me with a coldness reserved only for strangers. And your eyes that had once stolen my every secret, now raged at me like a wild animal unjustly caged.

In one soul, the skeins of my past, present and future were woven. And in one tick of fickle time, I was completely unraveled by a laughable destiny. But I had to punish myself, pour poison in a wound that refused to heal. My son bears your name, although not your seed. Your name tumbles from my mouth dozens of times each day, although you will never respond to my senseless echo. My words spill with the blood of our bond. Stories and poems and crumpled notes build an altar to a man that I would never have a chance to know.

I stand again in the middle of this house that regret built. I have a choice to make. Do I keep you encased in a shack of pity and disgrace? Or do I begin to reconstruct this cottage in disarray, without the skeletal remains of us? I know your answer. It is etched upon my heart, written in your masculine lines of grace. I stare at the reflection in the murky, filthy window. I raise my fist and shatter the ghostly face.

Her writings

Bio: Writer, reader, photographer. I am no mystery. I worry too much. Sleep too little. I argue too loudly. I praise profusely. I use ink to shed my tears. I am fearless unless left alone to talk to myself. Professionally unpublished but I welcome constructive critique.

 

ESP (Esprambles):”The black hole soul”

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[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.]

Black & White Photography Contest Finalist Nitin Lalit Murali

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Nitin Lalit Murali is a poet, flash fiction writer and essayist from Bangalore, India. He also enjoys reading literature of different genres and listening to jazz and neo-classical music. He started writing seven years ago and art has consumed him over the years. He blogs regularly at Fighting the Dying Light

The Invention of Arson David Lohrey

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The Invention of Arson

Who started the fires? Many are drawn to the flames – men and women
in equal number. They clamber to get closer. They take off work to travel:
the flames climbing higher, engulfing, filling the skies. The smoke gets in
everything; there are ashes in the houses, on the carpets. Many stand still
and hold out their tongues. They tear off their clothing. They crave the heat. They’re excited by the smell of ruin. They’re delirious.

The fires mean trouble. The people can’t tell the difference
between fireworks and flames. They welcome the fires with tribal dances.
The women bare their breasts. It excites the men. The logs in the fireplace
have rolled into the living room but the people are too drunk to push them back. They’re laughing. They’re excited that something’s finally happening.
They’re so bored the thought of burning the house down makes them giddy.

The gals want their backsides smacked. The men get close
enough to the flames to singe their body hair. The women shriek.
The parents no longer watch the children. Many die running into the flames. The parents shrug. What’s the difference? The children carry fiery
logs about and throw them into the cars. They take hot sticks and poke
out each other’s eyes.

The parents don’t know what to do, but declare with a sense of urgency
there is nothing to be done. It’s all beyond them; it’s fate.
They move closer to the fires. They’ve burned all their clothes.
They have nothing on. They push the children away and commence
to fornicate in the ashes. The men relieve themselves on the hot coals.
Many children catch fire.

They move back to the caves when the fires burn down. They remove
the paintings from their frames to use the wood as kindling.
The museums are ransacked. Libraries are emptied. They desperately
raid the theatres for wood from the stage floors. In short order,
there’s nothing left. The fires die out. The men and women crouch
in their earthen holes and cry.

Some brave women venture out but quickly regret it.
Most hide themselves deep within. Much if not all is lost.
The fires burn out. When there was fire and music,
nudity seemed sexy, but now the women are cold.
They feel ugly like insects. The men don’t caress them;
they kick them. The sexes are not equal.

 

[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.]