Guest Writer: Able Elba

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[Photo: Able Elba]
Pulchritudinous Decline
Able Elba, 2018
 

And as the years fade,
fleshy encounters
with folds of listening and not being heard
creep up and frighten from behind walls and doors.
Pulchritudinous sags – crags – puckers –
a map of memories to cherish
and those I hope have the decency to stay behind
when I go.
[Writing began at fourteen, therapy after the loss of my father. Now, approaching thirty I extend a piece of my soul for the world to hold and do with what it likes. Seven years of art, music and writing education and here we are– further from the beginning with the penetrating recognition of how fast it has all gone by. Living is a burden and exquisite– all of which, I sieve through the arts. –Able Elba]
Her writings, art, and music can be found on her site: Able Elba

Introducing New SD Writer Ann Wuehler “His Taste

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HIS TASTE Ann Wuehler

Awash in clowns, I remember bits of him
in quiet fragments of the day.
How the stairwell hid us
and revealed our lust
to each other
like a good clean thing.
And his taste, his taste, his taste
and the slip of that skin, his skin
beneath the delighted surface
of each of my palms.
How I stumbled beside him
in the tired reaches
of early morning
without guilt or shame,
as we parted,
as we let go.
The tide smothers me
in clowns and mimes,
reminding me
I should bow my head
and pray to stern men
for forgiveness.
No thank you.
I am done asking
forgiveness
for what I
cannot regret.

Her work can be view at Ann Wuehler.

[A native Oregonian with ambitions and apparently a need to see more of the planet than a few feet beyond her back yard. I received my BA in Theatre from Eastern Oregon University and my MFA in Playwriting from the University of Nevada/Las Vegas. My Oregon Gothic was published in 2015 and my House on Clark Boulevard was published September of 2017. My newest novel, Aftermath, should be out, oh, soonish. I had an evening of plays this September with the Ilkley Playhouse in the UK. Bunny Slipper, a short story, was published in Whistle Pig this fall. The Moth and the Whale was published January 2019 in A Door is a Jar. My poem, My Feet Hurt, will be in The Rumpus. I am also co-writing a screenplay based on a short story from my Oregon Gothic, with the filmmaker who just finished filming a short feature of my play, Traces of Memory.]

Sudden Denouement Seeking Submissions for New Writers

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Sudden Denouement started a little over three years ago with a vision of creating a platform for divergent voices. We have grown tremendously and have been gifted with amazing talent from around the world. We are now soliciting submissions for new writers. If you are interested, please send a sample of your work, along with a short bio. We are interested in those who write poetry, short fiction, or any form that lends itself to the format.

If interested please send submissions to:

suddendenouement@gmail.com

 

Iulia Halatz – All roads lead to Rome

 

Ellen Rogers 2

All roads lead to Rome

All roads lead to Rome
and poetry
-Delmore Schwartz

All words lead to Love
And the poetry in the afterLove

I wish I wrote poems
For the dreamers of barren lands.
They do not go to Rome
They go to places
That cannot be.

Maybe love is a colorless, odorless
shapeless haze
We see through
with the eyes of
the bricked sky,
pathless oceans
walled shrubberies
streeted lunarian trails
breathing and tingling
scents
In the perfect nightmare
of flowers…
Vines reward our sun
with the sweetness
of grapes
wedded in perpetuity with
the linear shades of amber.

From the Good Place
Where joy is an illumination
To the Place that Cannot Be
They would have worn
The silver claw
of the Moon
above their heads
nightly
daily
musingly
vibrantly….
Art by Ellen Rogers.

Iulia Halatz

“Writing is an Iron Tale, must be tough and sincere to the core of human perception of pain as valor. I am the grumpy T-Rex who started writing out of pain, not because of a polished world. Writing out of love is painless and herbivore. As we sometimes taste blood, ours or others’. Nevertheless, some words are so expensive that we are better left with them unspoken or write them with the ink of a Ghost…” She is a teacher, small entrepreneur and cyclist.

 

 

Sudden Denouement Classic: Everything Wasn’t Enough – Jasper Kerkau

Laughter echoes down long hallways, gives way to arguments and eventually more giddy children’s laughter. Plastic toys are left in my restroom, socked feet bouncing on beds, falling down and I scream from the other room. There is silence that eventually erupts again with the delight and carefree abandon of childish glee. I bury my face in my hands at my desk, waiting, waiting, always waiting for everything to change, for the laughter to eventually stop, the shadows to take over, the long unwinding of a life built on endless toil–nothingness.

The sword of Damocles looms over me. My skull anticipates the shattering strike; blood and fragments of bones mixed in a concoction of death.  My fate sealed by icy hands. Alas, they have come to purge me of what is left; they have come for my children. They have come for my words; a blind witness, left with the bloody rags of silence, childless, suffering for the sins of my oppressors. Blood upon blood upon blood. They relish in feasting on my fear and devour my heart, desperately trying pull the fruit of my loins from my bosom. Am I vanquished?

Splayed on cold table, I am pulled apart slowly. My eyes affixed on the past, the mistakes left in closets among unmatched shoes and discarded summers. It all rolls off of me as the they slowly drain my life, whisked the children away, leave my words fatherless, left as an empty vessels that once held such promise. I could have been better. I could have been better. They smirk and guffaw, standing over me with forks and knives, waiting to dine on my soul, exposing their vicious appetites. Will everything be enough?

There is something inside me that is immune to their illicit desires. I hear the hymn of sacred souls, the chorus of magnificence sang from distant places, songs of hope and sorrow. Each voice carries its own unique message of personal salvation. I am not alone; they cannot destroy my sacred vision, the words sewn with the sinews of travail and perfect love into each verse. I am a writer and a father, with undying affection for my children; the words create divine tapestries which can never be wrested away from me. They will live long after I am gone.

I stand steadfast in the light, accompanied by the remnant chosen for the articulation of suffering, their special dispensation due to the ability to speak the secret language of the universe, their affliction decoded and turned into consecrated arias. The shadows will eventually flee, leaving me vindicated, left to tend to my words, nurture my children, guard them from the profane hands which seek to drag them into the dark places, strip them of their beauty and joy. There is nothing that can stand against truth, innocence, and pure love. I hear a voice in the darkness, fingers intertwined with my own: “I love you daddy.”


Jasper Kerkau is a founder of Sudden Denouement and editor and writer for The Writings of Jasper Kerkau.

Sudden Denouement Classics: star gazers – lois e. linkens

stargazers

we drove all day, and into the evening
and when it got too dark to drive,
we parked the van on the roadside
and opened up the back doors.
the moon looked over
the scattering of stars,
like a mother hen.
and in the sun’s absence
all barriers dropped.
our curtains fell,
and all we had on
dissolved into warm ecstasy.
the sky melted into pools of dusky grey,
gathering on the horizon
like water drops down a frosted window.
throwing the doors open
lifted the latch on us.
was it the shimmer of the moon
or the intrusive breeze?
was it the smell of the leftovers
in their tupperware box,
or the ache
from the hard leather seats?
something in the air
led us through the doors and out,
onto the grass to walk about.
you leant on the wooden fence,
and gazed
at the sequin studded ceiling.
the stars had come out that night,
extra bright,
as if they knew
i held you, pressed my face against
the heat of your back.
i tucked my arms around you
and held you.
as the night lay quiet,
your heart beat through me,
loud and strong.
a bass drum in a marching band.
you were more alive than me
more alive than anything.
your body breathed into mine and
took me somewhere
made for me,
where i would be the only guest.
we saw orion’s belt, and
you were proud of me
because i spotted it.
there were legends in the sky,
stories and survivals,
dreams and departures,
histories and hand-me-downs.
you knew their names,
you told me.
‘there is no number created
that could count the stars
and make me tired
of stargazing.’
do you remember when you said that?
you know, my darling –
God could fling infinite stars across the heavens
and still my gaze
would be fixed
on you.


Lois is a poet and student from England. She is studying the literature of the Romantics and hopes their values and innovations will filter through into her own work. She is working on longer projects at present, with a hope to publish poetry collections and novels in the years to come. She is a feminist, an nostalgic optimist, and a quiet voice in the shadows of Joanne Baillie and Charlotte Smith. It is a pleasure to present her work, and you can find more of it at  Lois E. Linkens.

Ripe – Jimmi Campkin

When I stand on her footprints my shoe engulfs them, but the memory swarms across me like low autumn shadows. Her goosebumps are Braille to me, without them I am blind. Without my fingertips dancing across her arms, and down her back, I am lost. I live for touch and scent. I cannot feel her bony shoulders anymore. I cannot smell the incense and cigarettes when we bathe in the sun. I long for long greasy hair, bad breath and sweat packed against the shoulder-blades.
I fell in love with her through violence, and I think she would’ve appreciated that. Grabbed by the lapels by a stranger to me, pressed against a wall, staring into eyes wired and unfocused by cocaine and disappointment, I was told; you have to do this….you’d be a fool not to. But I am a fool; always have been. And I always choose not to.
When I run my hands down the contours of her flesh, it is not foreign to me. I know every dimple, I know every crease and I know every fold even as my fingers explore unknown territories. That thrill; the new and the familiar, pulses through me even as all the blood rushes confused like commuters at a station closure between the mind that races and the witless organ that twitches and throbs. I long to lick those teeth, and I long to drown in those thoughts, and I long to be useless next to someone who can activate me.

Jimmi Campkin is a “Writer, photographer, creator of SANCTUARY. 16bit child, INFP with clinical nostalgia and red wine for blood.” You can enjoy more of his work at jimmi campkin.com.

Nuance of Damage – David Lohrey

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Nuance of Damage
I.
Hope is faster than light,
its speed beyond measure.
It’s alive, today, but what about
tomorrow? Easy come, easy…
I need something to build up
my courage.

One advantage is sleep, an endurance test:
a locomotive or a pillow. We learn to calculate
the commotion. Suck the straw, hang out, hit the hay.
Who’s to say? One cedes territory, one
establishes boundaries, one signs along
the dotted line. Some choose Southern exposure.

Gross indecencies stare us down. Our calm is our
rebellion. It’s the last frontier. Benumbed, confounded,
lost in space. We escape confinement like water, searching,
but what of our aversion to chaos? Our taste for the
tranquil. Must we be held in contempt for despising
aggression, our preference for the impassive?

It’s massive: jest. Or condescension. We cultivate superiority;
we celebrate death: theirs, hers, his. Inoculation. Innocence.
Quest. It’s a matter of combining ingredients, the right balance,
justice. Too much won’t do. There’s much too much parsley.
One less grain of sand. The handyman’s muscles are too big.
The phone keeps ringing. Where’s the drain?

There’s anguish in repetition. I prefer hilarity. The monks won’t go.
Offer them a martini. Thelonious learned to tread lightly
as one should. Deer in the headlights, grizzly bear, a flamingo: there.
Notoriety ruins everything. Ask the Princess. I like to stay in bed.
Back to basics. Sunny-side up. He refuses to remove his boxing gloves;
he grunts and the world stands still. Rebellion begins with rest.

II.

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.

III.

My guardian won’t let me out to play.
She told me to amuse myself in my room.
She doesn’t want me to get wet.
She’s afraid the neighbor’s dog might bite.
I have some games I can play all by myself.
My guardian is always worried.

It’s been raining now for several days.
The traffic’s slowed to almost a stand still.
The newscaster warns people to stay indoors.
The house is insured against flooding.
A boy last year drowned in the local river.
I was told to get up on the roof in an emergency.

It’s been 7 years since they outlawed music.
My guardian told me to stop humming.
Girls are advised to always dress in layers.
The marauders use giant nets and even carry bug spray.
The men look for frightened girls like me.
I was captured and sold to my guardian six years ago.

I always wear leotards and my bathing suit at the same time.
My guardian scarred my face so I wouldn’t look pretty.
You can hear the firing squads in the distance.
Girls must avoid detection at all costs.
I can pass for a boy from a distance.
My guardian trained me to fight with a sharp blade.

We’ve been living like this for as long as I can remember.
The police dress entirely in black now and cover their faces.
If pregnant, they line you up and shoot you.
There’s an escape route my guardian talks about through Alaska.
They threw my boyfriend off the bridge and into the water.
The toxic spray they use is so strong it induces labor.

I remember hearing my mother sing.
My guardian says I could pass for a boy.
They say we have a 20% chance of survival.

IV.
Shelter in place: this is the advice one needs.
After a life of turmoil and defeat,
it’s best to stay indoors. Hide. Place your head
between your knees. They’ve been telling
us this for years, but I never listened.
I was too busy trying to take over.

Genghis Khan with a phone I was called; now,
all I wish is to get along. I just want to be free.
Don’t involve me. I’d just as well not come, thanks.
I’m content to stay, lay back, kick it. Let the world go by,
along with the riff raff. My God, what a sight. My mother
was right not to let me play with the neighbors.

What happened to the innocence? We were kind, don’t let them
tell you otherwise. These are lies. We were true blue. And
sweet, I kid you not. We were John Wayne’s children. We were
Frankenstein’s playmates. We made cakes with our mothers.
We even ate mommy’s lipstick. We sipped grandma’s elderberry
wine, but I’ll tell you this, we never took the Lord’s name in vain.

We hated our gym teacher, but we never called him a motherfucker.
It never crossed our minds. I can remember the first day that word
was introduced to the American people, the very first day it was
used in public. We said golly, gosh or darn, not shit. We said we were
sorry and bent over to bare our bottoms. We took our punishment
like a man. We didn’t sue. We didn’t curse. We never pursed our lips.

Now we have to hide. The news reporter announced that all the world’s
troubles could be traced back to us, yes, that means, you and me. The
social justice warriors, once known as scavengers and marauders, are
on the hunt; they’ve been trained in name-calling, finger-pointing, and
manufacturing nerve gas. Our well-wishers have fled the country.
They’re living in Canada with the Eskimo. They kill seal and eat caribou.

We’ll have to keep the lights out. Our teacher has piled the chairs against
the door. She’s asked the gunman if he would please let us live. He said,
“Shut the fuck up.” He’s a nervous wreck. His eyes are glazed over and he
foams at the mouth. He called our dear teacher a stupid cunt. “Open up!”
He’s determined to kill us all. He wants to make the world a better place.
He’s fighting for justice. “We are the world now,” he says, “not you.”

Machiavelli’s Backyard is Available at Amazon.com, Amazon Canada, Amazon Europe, Book Depository and other major book retailers.
Paperback, 106 pages/Published September 1st 2017 by Sudden Denouement Publishing
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.com. He is also the author of Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing

Discover Sunday: Inhale/Willie Watt

Blood on the bedroom leaves.
Forest in every direction—juniper, oak, willow.
Autumn.

I haven’t been writing many
poems lately.

You’ve overcome so many corpse-strewn battlefields.
But I’m worried it’ll be my accidental shining reality that becomes the sword through your armor.

Writing seriously now, I guess. Prose. Careful edits. Peer reviews.
No time for natural gifts
or
free association.

Contrary to popular belief, I’m not opposed to happy endings.
Squinting, I can see one in your eyelashes—at least a bittersweet metamodern fadeout.

These have been my best works yet.
But will it be enough?
Have I set the target too perilously high?

I’d do anything to break your cycle of self-torment.
Well, almost anything.
I couldn’t compromise myself even if I wanted to.
Not anymore.
Too much is set in motion.

THC & Caffeine & Nicotine & Alcohol & Adderall.
I can write on anything.
It doesn’t matter anymore.
I’m becoming as good as I thought I could be, and its as real as it is unreal—as satisfying as it is shocking.

I know you love me.
You don’t use the word. Afraid of frightening me off, I guess.
Instead, you say, “you scare me.”
I wonder if you know that I’ve decrypted your code?—would you just out and say it if you knew that I knew?

I’ve become realistic as the golden days approach.
Ironic.
The more I understand my unrealistic greatness, the less I daydream impossibilities.
The long-shots have become not just possible, but probable.

I want to make it work. I mean it. Really.
I just hope we can keep ourselves in the process.
I know I will, for my part.
Can you do the same?
I like to think so.
Not sure, though. If I’m honest.

Ink on paper. Digital transcription.
So many hundreds of thousands of words.
I’ve got to be nearing that ten-thousandth hour.

Don’t panic.
Inhale.
We’ll get where we’re going.
One way or another.


Willie Watt is a student, short story writer, and poet from Houston Texas. In his work he strives to capture the many contradictions and as-yet-unwritten phenomena of life in the twenty-first century. Currently an English major at the University of Texas at Austin, he plans to attend a graduate program in creative writing before going on to teach, write, and lecture professionally.”