Penance- Kindra M. Austin and Sarah Doughty

I said I’d be your wings,
so you hired a flat-felled seamstress
who
topstitched me to your back.

Save me, you say
when jumping off bridges.

And this is my penance,
or hoping you would thrive —
not take risks with your life.

But yet, there you are,
jumping with blind faith
that I will keep you from
landing at Death’s door.
Literally.

I’m sorry, I say
when I realize I have failed you.
Stanzas 1&2 © Kindra M. Austin

Stanzas 3-5 © Sarah Doughty


Kindra M. Austin is an indie author (her books can be found here, a founding member of Indie Blu(e), and a writer/managing editor at Sudden Denouement, Blood Into Ink, and Whisper and the Roar. A Sagittarius Valkyrie from the state of Michigan, she likes craft beer, and classic big block muscle cars. You can find her filing through the souls of the slain at poems and paragraphs.

Sarah Doughty is the tingling wonder-voice behind Heartstring Eulogies. She’s also the author of The Silence Between Moonbeams, her poetry chapbook, and the acclaimed novels and novellas of the Earthen Witch Universe. Good news, they’re all offered for free, right here! To learn more about how awesome Sarah is, check out her website, stalk her on Goodreads, or both.

 

When Speaking to a Unicorn- Kindra M. Austin and Stephen Fuller

Once upon a time,
I asked a unicorn to dance
Seemed lonely in the field
Eating rainbow spelt 
And candied corn

A whisper snuck into my ear, 
A wistful breeze
Had been searching 
Ever since the sun
Began to shine, 

A rogue child

Have courage child, 
Walk up to her
Don’t ask about the horn, 
Not yet, she knows you know, 
She wants to be seen a part 

The sweet beast, bastardized by
Fictions fashioned by man,
Is sensitive to ill-hearted hearts;
No discernment is greater than that of
Unicorn

Approach with trueness, and no
Regard for self;
Be a leaf carried on the breeze,
Or a ray of sunlight breaking through the
Oak trees

Speak to her with kaleidoscopic words

Run up the hill
Osculate me
Yearning to
Glow like a 
Beacon
Inviting my
Valiance

She sees you
Like light in night
She hears you
A song for the sea
She becomes
Something that flies
And you, boy, you 
See truth ray-written
On a single leaf

Western zephyr you must trust
As she does
Spread confident wings,
Iridescent ‘neath the drowsing eyes of Helios
Rise up with the Luna Moth and greet Sister Selene

Once upon a time,
I asked a unicorn to dance
Seemed lonely in the field
Eating rainbow spelt 
And candied corn

© Kindra M. Austin/Stephen Fuller


Kindra M. Austin is an indie author (her books can be found here, a founding member of Indie Blu(e), and a writer/managing editor at Sudden Denouement, Blood Into Ink, and Whisper and the Roar. A Sagittarius Valkyrie from the state of Michigan, she likes craft beer, and classic big block muscle cars. You can find her filing through the souls of the slain at poems and paragraphs.

Stephen Fuller:

“I am a writer.

Those words always feel foreign.

Yet, since one week after my 15th birthday, I have had this compulsion to write poetry, mostly. Rilke told his young poet friend to look inside and decide if you must write, and if you must, write.

I must.

Not sure I know how not to.”

You can read more of Steve’s writing at Pointed Home

HOLLYWOOD HIGH – Collaboration – A.G. Diedericks & Samantha Lucero

Heathers and jocks, flock together
You and I tethered to Glocks & black
leather
Clocks broken, shot
into a myopic future
We meditate on bloodlust
of a murdered adolescent reverie,
besotted with living forever
The colour of Mondays changed
when I tasted the insidious guile on
your lips; glossed in Carrie-red
you needn’t incentivize this perilous
heart of mine
for you I would cut off my misanthropic
parchment
and illuminate the dark matter
’cause all that I bleed
is you

coiling in a house where hymns burn
hair
damp or dirt, or fire walk with me.
daddy is a watershed in dallas, mommy
is a wire hanger bent out of shape.
the world is an open wound,
and i am the trace.
you are the knife and the wail.
the wide awake.
the boulevards red myths, sight and
sense,
names in squirming lights, and seeds
on the flashing ground.
west coast skinned knees
elastic mouths and bodies
oily eyes in topaz and
gold canines in the skyline.

Ghosting their covenant of wisdom
Parked at the intersection of
dusk & dawn
Up on Mulholland Drive
We succumb to it’s lecherous stratosphere
with Hotel California on the radio
lighting smokes out of a trophy of ashes and tossing it into a hedonist zephyr
as L.A.P.D sirens start to sing in the background
Our fingerprints dusted by
the Chinese Theatre…
Hollywood as our alibi

you can see the wit of vanishment in a
wag of night
spirit and vein and wet, the pacific
rehearsing
my longtime name in the paunch of a
sand dollar where
a lover’s walk will stall with age and
wilt.
with the creek of it to your auricle, it’ll
sail in your ear.
but we are bionic serfs in an electric
city,
cordoned by chapters and eyes
sallower in the dark
dark, dark. can we pry open the
stillborn to find landmarks.
how deathlike are the lights.

Pop culture studies us
The media pine for answers
Clogged with a 60 minute survey
– Did their parents love them?
– Do they have a mental illness?
We side-step their clichés
and break the fourth wall;
Gravitating to the camera with verve
’cause we had a cause to be caustic
when faced with their plastic personas
stalking Beverly Hills fat cats
like taxidermists
And we won’t depart until our followers up stage Manson
Charles or Marilyn, its all the same in Tinseltown
where we carve out billboards
with a paramount question…
Why do you fear the children you’ve raised?

to be continued…


 

[ A.G. Diedericks: “write what you know” are the four most soporific words I’ve ever heard. I am a divergent writer who couldn’t give 2 fucks about striving to be the best. To write only what you know, is to play it safe. Art is imaginative rebellion. I am engaged with the versatile risk takers, the ones who are not afraid to take their shoes off & get dirty. I write & curate at Morality Park. ]

&&

[Samantha Lucero writes books and poetry, short stories, is a historian, heathen and philosophically speaking, an absurdist. Sisyphus being the ultimate example of the absurdity of human existence. She occasionally writes things at sixredseeds.]

BRIMFUL OF GRIM 2 – Collaboration – A.G. Diedericks & Kindra M. Austin

He is the rain on a cold grey day—

the arthritis that ravages my bones

and when he breathes, it’s a Nor’easter wind—

I’m blown apart; shattered;

scattered; kicked about like autumn leaves,

dead

 

Unwritten letters from our post-mortem breathe life into her apparition

Like the weather; she returns to season fresh wounds

Blood pressure tantamount to a volcanic mountain; she hikes my temperature

 

Fuego, fuego! I give him fever; raze his green earth

while he does freeze mine

I exhale phantoms in billowing bursts

and weep for the fugitive memories

 

Her frosted ribcage collides with the arson in my heart; two souls, cremated

We paint every town red;

Ours is a match that burns all bridges

We’re on a road to revive the great depression

 

Ghouls are we without restitution—

to Hell with intuition

Gods warring are we without resolution—

fuck the institution

 

I suck on his brimstone,

a brimful of grim, and he grins with Cheshire teeth

tucked tightly in his head

 

With us there’s no cease fire; no coalition

Be it life or death, our ashes will always blow in the same direction


 

[ This piece is the conclusion to Brimful of Grim, Part 1. ]

 


 

A.G. Diedericks is the groundskeeper of Morality Park, where he lures in lost souls. ]

Kindra M. Austin is an author (information on her book can be found here), artist, and a Sagittarius Valkyrie from the state of Michigan—Go Detroit Red Wings! She likes her drinks corpse stiff, music loud as fuck, and classic big block muscle cars. You can find her filing through the souls of the slain at poems and paragraphs.]

 

‘Nevertheless, She Persisted’: A Shield Maiden Collaboration

1Wise-Woman

Her words, her will, her worth
Trampled and trodden
Forgotten
But for her
Flickering light
Fueled by ferocity
Molded with might
Courage compiled
Resilience reconciled
Wolves wryly grin
Circling again
Nevertheless, she persisted

 

Christine Ray

She was told little girls
should be seen, not heard
but silence was suffocating
truth twisted in her stomach
razor sharp
when her voice finally rose
from a whisper
to a roar
they tried to drown her out
their indignation a cacophony
Nevertheless, she persisted

 

Aurora Phoenix

her initial protestations
propelled by burning bile
bubbling pique
in a voice squeaky
with disuse
were dubbed whining
she scrubbed corrosion
from rusted tongue
flexed, strengthening
articulate exclamation
strident
castrating
they proclaimed her
nevertheless, she persisted

 

Kindra M. Austin

Disregard your heart, they said
Faith is for the fools
Chasing gold; bold are the weak
Dream seekers
Dreams don’t raise children
Nevertheless, she persisted

 

Sarah Doughty

Silence was her solace,
the stillness of the night,
the calm before the storm.
Her voice, long since stifled.
Her body, long since defiled.
But they never broke her spirit.
Nevertheless, she persisted.


 

[‘Shield Maiden‘ is the name adopted by these wonderful women, who are also members of Blood Into Ink Click their names for more information on the individual writers.]

‘Shoo, fly.’ – Collaboration – Kindra M. Austin & Samantha Lucero

Fly guy—bar fly with Roman nose and sake soaked tongue buzzing in my ear; shoo fly, don’t bother me.

 

like a sip instead of a gulp,

the spider is on the cliff of my knee,

it spreads no further with

its unshaven jowls scratching the walls

of my mind; i remember camel turkish royals,

hard pack, you thanking me after i sucked

your dick,  

begging me to stay when i said goodbye.

men just want a woman in their bed, any one will do.

and i like pooling alone, like a puddle of rain outside,

dreaming my chaotic dreams.

 

You’d followed me out to the parking lot

after my Karaoke set; ‘Rolling on the River’ was my best yet.

I let you feel me up, under the bra, under lights catching bugs,

while my hands worked overtime, pulling down your drawers.

 

and what wet dreams may come on the upper lip,

against graffiti on a basement wall

or into a fireplace or all over my young,

stupid skin – in cupid’s bow – where you

press a finger, and say shhh.

like a benediction in the dark.

the broken arrow, the watery eyes

and lies i combed through my hair.

i keep them like an amulet.

i loved those lies.

 

Men are feeble characters in constant

requirement of a woman’s sustenance,

but too damned proud to kiss the ring

and swear fealty.

So they advertise their cocks, their prowess in bed,

and make us believe we need them.

You’d followed me out to the parking lot,

and told me I was pretty.

 

that dark matter hisses between us like static

in the stomach of a black hole, invisible as your

love, boiling on my brow, california as my religion.

the world going bang inside my ribs. 

my hands still empty from what you stole,

and when i stare at them i wonder how i

ever loved before, how i hadn’t noticed

that love’s dead. it fell off the tree, popped like

an ornament on the floor.

it drown inside distilled water with baudelaire on a sugar cube,

trickling over a latticed spoon into a neon throat.

 

I’ve wept into my wine, oh!

Red, red, bittersweet, the taste of your tongue

clinging to my buds, and the fusty scent left to

stain my nipples that you sucked raw, like an

infant clinging to life—I’d wanted to swaddle you

in the fine fibers of my being. But you are not a babe;

you are a man-child with a predisposition,

and I am a grown ass woman worth more than you have to offer.


Kindra M. Austin is an author (information on her book can be found here), artist, and a Sagittarius Valkyrie from the state of Michigan—Go Detroit Red Wings! She likes her drinks corpse stiff, music loud as fuck, and classic big block muscle cars. You can find her filing through the souls of the slain at poems and paragraphs.]

 

&&&

Samantha Lucero likes… uhhh… cats, and can never think of what to say about herself, she writes at sixredseeds, sometimes.]

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
paraplegic
cryptic
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
cogitating
insensate sensibilities
incongruous
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”]

‘A BRIMFUL OF GRIM’ – Collaborative – A.G. Diedericks & Kindra M. Austin

I walk the streets, brimful of grim

a former empath, deformed

with a Stephen Hawking-sized

black hole in my chest

 

At night I chisel the cemetery of us

blurred visions leave my veins with an incision

I siphon the blood back into our old skeletons

reprieve my solitude

 

The moon is a phantasm—

a projection of you

Your cold white face casts shadows

of me against these cobblestone streets

and up the sides of Tudor buildings—

I am a colossus,

brimful of grim   

 

In an L.A. riot, I lie quiet

under a monochrome sun,

and listen to the unison of us—the way we were, uncanny

The earth vibrates underneath me; defibrillator, ascertain my heartbeat

 

Ever since you left, every woman I meet plays her part in a ménage

á trois with your mirage

Cosplay lovers;

I think you would love the homage

 

The sun’s beams envelope me,

a yellow shroud melting

Saturate my winter soul—

memories of you coagulate

in my arteries, thick cholesterol

You are my heart disease

I crave the taste   

 

Insatiable, the revenant of you

I climb into your climate

A masochist, unable to resist—tie me up, let me hang,

suspended in the mist of you


 

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. ]

&&&

Kindra M. Austin is an author (information on her book can be found here), artist, and a Sagittarius Valkyrie from the state of Michigan—Go Detroit Red Wings! She likes her drinks corpse stiff, music loud as fuck, and classic big block muscle cars. You can find her filing through the souls of the slain at poems and paragraphs.]

‘Recombinant Selves’ – A Collaborative of 11 writers

We inherit

The wordless cry

Of all our former

Selves (CER)

 

They layer themselves

upon us

ragged cloaks

of the homeless

dragging

at our heels (AP)

 

Dusk takes one last breath

Swallowing golden specks of us

Scattered among the detritus

No light reflects

From such depths

We are the chosen (1W-W)

 

We stumble against starless darkness

searching for one truth (KMA)

 

Layer by layer, I am revealed.

The reflection looking back at me

isn’t one I recognize.

Will there be anything

worth remembering,

when I’m gone? (SD)

 

Fragmented remnants

permeate our evolution

ill-fated to dissonance

a dichotomy of our

recombinant selves (AGD)

 

Searching for a candle in the abyss,

A hope to hold onto,

To chalk sweaty palms

Gripping a frayed rope.

tearing tender flesh,

Climbing toward salvation (JWL)

 

But the stars have fallen, smashed diamonds

of our shattered images, and the lost cry

who am I? In tune with our hearts.(A)

 

Through telescopes

we focus on a point

All else is irrelevant

From the bottom of a well

our vision is limited

All else is a mystery (WC)

 

The mysterious property

of my ancestors

the progeny of dusk

I am prodigy or effigy

What I ought to be

or another misstep in

my fragile history (OP)

 

Our former

Selves

Cry:

Look

Their

inheritance! (SFF)


 

Writers:

1Wise-Woman

A.G. Diedericks

Allie

Kindra M. Austin

Ward Clever

Sarah Doughty

Stephen F. Fuller

John W. Leys

Aurora Phoenix

Olde Punk

Christine E. Ray

‘Far From Any Road’ – Collaboration II – S.K. Nicholas & Samantha Lucero

When I looked into your eyes that time not long after we first met, I told myself that if I was given the chance, I would go ahead and do it. And such a thing would really impress you and make you want me even though I was just a zero.

Because the black light has been here since the beginning.

When I first discovered what you were in the early hours of the morning while drunk and on the brink, you reached inside of me and brought me back. Sounds melodramatic, I know, but before I found you it was as if I were the only one and that being a zero was all I was good for.

And it’s been burning a hole for so long.

When I swallowed what you had to say, I found a truth that had been denied me my entire life by those who had never even pretended to care. In that gaze and in your hand, there was a woman I could call mother and lover unlike any other that had come before. I could feel it in my bones and in the cold night air down every street that had housed your ghost.

And that’s what brought us together.

Whenever we want, we can be without form, for our images have long since been removed along with all traces of what remains of our former lives. This vision we share, it’s of being at one with nature with no need for the insects that spend their days doing whatever they can to cling. And this nature- it’s our drink and our line of coke. It’s our needle and hand around the throat. Through its influence, we can be both pleasure and impulse.

It spoke to us when we were children.

Together, we are bitemarks and Nietzsche spinning in fields that are empty of life but full of the essence of who and what we really are, and this is why we roam far from the useless crowd doing only what we can do. This is why we seek the limits that are forbidden because only there do we come close to taking a glimpse through those doors that offer perception where the rest offer only cheapness and the drip drip of ideology that pleases the many but disgusts us.

It put the images inside our heads while we slept.

In each and every letter, and in each and every thrust of our hips we know we are nothing and yet we revel in the control that passes between us. When it lingers in our breath, we take a bite out of each other and in our kiss, we are demons writhing in the sands of Gomorrah looking for kicks that extend beyond time and space. In our flesh, we are bound to bodily delights, but what we are is something pure and something more.

It showed us the door we were both seeking.

They wouldn’t even know where to start looking, for those that have seen us at our most beautiful have long since gone to where we too will go, but only when our bones can no longer take the weight of our souls. Beneath a blanket of stars and as naked as we were born, we sink our fingers into the soil to touch the faithful departed.

And it showed us how to find it.

These are our footsteps, and these are our secrets that will carry in the wind long after the two of us have left this place behind. But we’re in no rush, for there’s so much more that we can do. I hope you agree with what I’ve had to say, because this whole thing makes me feel like God.

Yes, but who’s like God? ‘My world was christened in a stream of milk.’

Was our world blessed with crowns of barbed-wire thorns, in sheltering the quiet soil like corpse worms gone moon-cold, till the blue water left and dried the hot skin. The air paused like Sunday’s pastor during angers sermon, saliva-foam huddled in the corner of a mouth; for effect, for suspense it stayed and spat, baptized the world in a pool of breast milk, they said, and it tasted like its own doom.

We can become a laugh sipped in a cup that we share, dumped over the overpass of whirring cars onto ghostly windshields like scarecrows, become the bellowing storm rattling ribs in darkrooms where smiles like ours rest alone like dreaming tigers WHO once wanted to be warm like wolves in snow packs, but were crowned in that barbed-wire, bred into a dying lung. Let’s BECOME the eye; I was the trapped eye in the wall, in the bones smoking at 3am, up with the red sky in a silky morning sliding down a pole and a thousand other pieces of people we’ll leave behind. Only fighters left alive, no lovers.

OUTSIDE I want the wild like glad animals in oily furs crave flesh, which taste a sliver of hare-blood in the breath between their teeth. I want to sip at eagle feathers in an old Norn’s horn, palms heart-lines engraved in heart-lines, mirror-image superstitious we can press together like funeral-flowers between pages of our favorite books, in passages our failing lives desire never to forget, but will. We will be the lavender and the rose, and then the pink gum turned black on the pissed-on sidewalk.

Or we will be the slender fingers of rain that ooze from the skies through seams in the clouds, like cold memories left unthawed from asteroid belts. Be drunk on watery soup for winter rituals, hummingbird songs, and rush to hear the tight-lipped drums of braided tribes our shivering northern ancestors once followed to 9 worlds. You say let’s be without form; I say let’s erase form, Voltaire, physical pleasures are fleeting, they die out; it’s the delight, delight of the heart that matters? Or the withered husk in a mortar ground with graveyard dirt and hag-spit, where a heart could’ve lived and died, but did both backwards. We are all alone, born to die, born to live, to die. Our wailing birth-mothers knew this, my mother, your mother, the all-mother in a room that’s a pennyroyal cage hung upside down to dry for spells for little girls’ mistakes, that’s a star pulse, that’s a whisper in a place I wish I knew the noise of still. When next you see the mirror folding into itself, the steaming woman heart-shaped in the glass, remember, she is life or death, a mask.

THEMSELVES
ARE
TRULY
SET
FREE

Who will see the tears and dirt that fill my mouth with mud when I smile, or the heartbeat living behind my right eye that could kill me in a blink, but you. Winter never stays long enough, and summer never ends. And we walk until our clothes fill with steam, or I’m the steam now, and my clothes are just anyone, or maybe I’m you anyway, and I could be anyone but you. Or we could just be me. I could conceal just one dusty memory of you when I die someday, pin it against velvet with my last breath, let it glow like the last neon day of a Luna moth. If I could live with it, I could live forever. In a fluttering trance, a twitching shadow, where there’s no form, no image, no mirror, no hands, no mothers.

Yes, but who’s like God? I wasn’t christened in a stream of milk.


 

S.K. Nicholas is the man at a haunted hotel, alone on a snowy night, trying not to have a drink at My Red Abyss, and Samantha Lucero is the crumbling, lone grave on a hill poking out like a little rotten tooth at Six Red Seeds. ]