Raven – Christine Ray


It starts as tightness
across bare shoulder blades
becomes an itch
I can’t quite reach
stretch my spine sinuous
vertebrae by vertebrae
long for a shot of whiskey
or three
liquid gold disinhibition I can blame
for the reckless choice
I am about to make
I finally let go
tightly coiled control
gasp with relief
as I finally unleash the darkness
onyx feathers rip
sharp and true through the flesh of my back
talons shoot from fingertips
bones burned hollow
by demon fire dwelling in my belly
exquisite pain of rebirth
brings me briefly to my knees
I arise something new
wipe the blood from my mouth
spread fledging wings
and with the lift of the north wind
I claim the night sky

[ Welcome back, Christine Ray! When not running around pretending she is Wonder Woman, Christine Ray can be found writing for Brave and Reckless. You can also find her at Blood Into Ink, Whisper and the Roar, and Go Dog Go Cafe. ]

Congratulations to Brave and Reckless’ Christine Ray

We are pleased to announce that Christine Ray’s blog, Brave and Reckless, has been chosen to be part of WordPress Discover. For those who are not aware, WordPress Discover is a selection of the best blogs on WordPress. It is a tremendous honor and well-deserved. The opportunity opens Christine’s wonderful writing to a whole new audience, soon others will be aware of what we have known all along: Christine is one of the most inspirational writers on WordPress. We are honored by her leadership and her friendship. The moment that I first encountered her powerful, poetic voice, I knew I was beholden to something special. We are elated that her voice will soon be heard by many more people. On behalf of Olde Punk, Samantha Lucero, SRP, Nicole Lyons, Georgia Park, and the rest of Sudden Denouement , we would like to congratulate Christine. I would like to say that Christine has touched my life, like she has touched the lives of so many. Destiny has cold hands, but sometimes the universe gets things right. In this case,  the planets lined up exactly as they should have. For those who are not familiar with her work, please take a minute to discover the wonderful mind of Christine Ray, our friend and our leader. We love you Christine.



Jasper Kerkau, Founder Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Careless Whisper Lois E. Linkens/Christine Ray

I am late

to the designated place

excuses ready, half-truths at hand

you are oh-so-lovely in shell pink

your soft lips offered

I kiss your cheek instead

unable to meet your guileless eyes


the bar is dark, 

dimly lit by bare lightbulbs in glass jars,

hanging by copper wires

from the ceiling. 

the smell of warm beer


and musky aftershave 

forces its way into every nook.


it is loud and crowded tonight

my nerves jangle

I scan the crowd half hoping she is here

half hoping she is not

this place is a favorite

you have seen her here yourself


waiters float between tables

like human candles

black and white ghosts 

in a castle of money 

and make-believe.

there are big men at the tables

decorated by pretty girls

in jewels and lace.


A friend of a friend of a friend

I ran into her when you were away

innocent, just a shared drink, a laugh

not so innocent the second time

or the third. . .


clouds of smoke 


making me drowsy.

I pinch myself, hard.

my skin shimmers in the fogged light,

shadowed corners suddenly

illuminated in yellow,

pink and blue.


I nod subtly

in acknowledgement

to the witnesses of my past crimes

their lips sealed

engaged in their own dark dealings


above the murmur of the guests,

a song begins to play.

right on cue,

your cold hand brushes mine.


I spot her across the room

she is cool as a cucumber

low-cut dress, crimson lips

her look reminds me

that not so long ago I left her bed

her hair tousled, lips bruised, lying

languid amongst silk sheets


the room twinkles as the girls rise

dark shapes moving 

through the mist 

towards the checkerboard clearing

tired, your touch wearies me.

something is different tonight,

you are different. 

shy, perhaps nervous –

you do not hold me as you did before.

there are familiar faces

gliding past us

as we dance.


I am hot and cold,

sweating and chilled

heartbeat hammering


turquoise dresses,

crystals and purple satin,

ruffles and curls,

mirrored shoes

and crisp shirts.


I love you, sweet girl, truly

but she is my addiction, an obsession

I hate myself

for wishing I was still in her bed


people stand, silhouetted 

around us

like circus-goers.


I do not realize at first

that she and her friends

mimic our trajectory to the dance floor

I try to focus on you, not them


a waiter trips, glass tinkling 

as it smashes 

like stars 

on the wooden floor.

an old man lights his cigar 

from a match

between the teeth 

of a girl in green.

the air feels cold and unfriendly, 

the steps unfamiliar.


I am distracted, torn

the pounding of the blood

in my ears drowning out the beat

of the music


we have danced a thousand times

but this night 

feels like the first again, I think.

you move before me

yet you are not with me,

you swirl in a place unknown to me


I struggle to maintain

my composure

her friends keep looking at us, at me

turning back to her, they whisper

their laughter cuts through the din

their knowing looks sear me


I watch your eyes –

as you catch mine 

you stumble.

you fall against me,

forcing me back against a table edge,

scores of pain leaping down my spine.


moment of truth

you see the betrayal in my eyes

my feet fail, I fall further

cause you more pain


feet stagger

chairs clatter

lights flicker 

hot tears

i wipe my stinging eyes

and through the dirty light

a slither of gold snaps out of sight 

guilty feet 


and you do not come back for me


I have never seen so clearly

how flawed and faithless I am


suddenly there is nothing left

but goodbye


This tribute to George Michael is the first collaborative poem written by Sudden Denouement Literary Collective’s Lois E. Linkens and Christine Ray of Brave and Reckless.  Hopefully it will not be the last.




Wolves – Christine Ray

Wolves – Christine Ray (Brave and Reckless Blog)

It had been many years

Since the wolves

Had come and

Circled the house

Howling at her door

Their voices insistent

Their teeth sharp

Their musk pungent

Their coats winter thick and matted

She was not surprised

At their return

It was, after all,

The Full Wolf Moon


She shivered in the house

Wrapping herself

In a worn blanket

Trying to block out

The mournful, insistent sound

Her heart beating fast

She never knew if they were

Demanding retribution

Come to tear out her throat

Or inviting her to shrug off the last

Vestiges of her humanity

And run wild with the pack

Naked through the snowy night

Christine Ray

[Christine was the winner of the Sudden Denouement Divergent Writing Contest. She is the creator of the Brave and Reckless Blog. I have gotten to know her over the past few months and can say she personifies the spirit of  Sudden Denouement. I am honored to have her among our ranks. Take a second to look at her bio and read more of her wonderful work.]

Brave and Reckless Blog