The Upcoming Reunion- Georgia Park

My father was my date to the abortion clinic

he can be my date again to this family reunion

instead of my cousin and i both bringing our boyfriends

(hers is more impressive and will invite unhealthy comparisons)

and both our puppies

(hers is younger and will attract more attention)

and everyone asking, “Who will be the first to get married?”


No, I’ll just go with my father, and drink.

I’ll drink to my beautiful cousin

and all of her accomplishments.


And when I say, “Oh, I won’t have a wedding”

what i mean is, neither my cousin

or my aunties will be invited.


But I’ll go to hers, and relish it

Hell, if she has a champagne fountain

I’ll even take the initiative

to get everyone skinny dipping in it


because when i talk

everybody shuts up and listens

i always get these parties

to the level of police involvement


while she sits making facebook posts

hash tagged “blessed”

with her boyfriend, her puppy, and her,

decked out in a halter top dress

Georgia Park is the creator of Private Bad Thoughts, curator of Whisper and the Roar a feminist literary collective, and a writer for Sudden Denouement. She is a wonderful poet with an enormous heart. We can’t imagine this journey without her. Please check out more of her wonderful work.

Poetry: Buy, Sell, or Hold – David Lohrey

Poetry: Buy, Sell, or Hold?

I sent my new poem to an old friend who replied:
“I know nothing of poetry.”
Another said about the same. “I don’t read the stuff.
Sorry.” It got me to thinking.

Had I sent in a stock tip, they would have rewarded me.
I might have received a bottle of Chablis, maybe even a good one,
had I sent in trading data on Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange.
Who would have said, “I’m not into making money.”?

But one comes to learn an awful truth about one’s friends.
Not just their indifference; that’s painful enough.
No. It’s that for them poetry is something akin to masturbation.
They don’t want to hear about it. It’s an embarrassment.

My friends are always buying or selling. If I had produced a tomato,
I’d have been advised to set up a stand on the sidewalk.
The price of tomatoes is high, asparagus even higher,
but poetry is nearly worthless; like trying to sell one’s teeth.

Poetry is not a commodity. My friends are merchants.
It’s a shameful action, like going to Confession.
Can you sell your sins? How much do one’s dreams weigh?
Nobody wants to watch a friend display himself.

It’s not that poetry is disgusting. But it may be shameful.
It’s seen as a waste of time: not an adult activity, not a good investment,
something more akin to gathering pine cones or pressing leaves in an album,
i.e., kid stuff, or a hobby for little old ladies.

I feel like a cat taking a bloody mouse to her master.
As I drop my poem at my friend’s feet, she gives it a glance
and sneers: “What’s that for? It’s not very pleasant.
Your job is to please me. Go play in the garden.”

That’s the response of my once best friend. She sees herself as an artist
or at least claims to be artistic. She wouldn’t treat a painting the way she scorns poetry.
But then again you can own an oil. You can hang it.
Even better you can resell it.

Stocks and paintings are good investments, like real estate.
Cars and furniture lose value, more like a poem.
They’re best when new, but with art, the worth is in its place,
they say. It’s not just beauty; it’s location, location, location.

Poetry is a dying art, especially when the artistic disown it.
They’d rather have crème brûlée or pear mousse with walnuts.
It’s not only prettier but something sweet. Poetry is no treat, and poets
are a nuisance. They have the absurd idea that what they do has value.


[David Lohrey is the author of Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing. He is also an editor for Sudden Denouement and a mentor for me personally – Jasper Kerkau]

Blank Verse – David Lohrey

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Blank Verse – David Lohrey

I’m asked to ignore too much…look the other way.
In fact, I should call my poems empty poems.
“Never-mind poetry,” that’d be a better name.
I’ll write poems about nothing. Poems that say
absolutely nothing but say it well. I’ll write poetry
that resemble Rothko’s paintings of voids, great hollow,
pulsating works of art, undulating existential blobs
from the bottom of the heart, written down but just
as easily forgotten.

Poems celebrating everything that’s good and wholesome,
that’ll be my racket. Easter eggs before they’re broken,
poems about Elvis as a matador printed on black velvet, with
HOME SWEET HOME embroidered in sequins and little
plastic pearls, with hymns to the Almighty. They’ll be called blank
verse and can be served with dessert toppings like apple sauce,
chocolate or maple syrup. Those would be apt subjects for a howdy-doody
poet like me. We’ll call them frozen yoghurt poems and serve them on a stick.

Today’s editors dictate the content of poetry. They remind poets
that anything found to be inappropriate will not be tolerated.
They are little Ivy League Gorkys. I’d be happy to write what
they want but only in exchange for a dacha on the outskirts of Moscow.

These sensitive souls demand a poetry that doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
These self-satisfied prudes are backed by their attorneys. “Mustn’t give offense.”
Poetry is to be edited like church letters in the 1940s. They’d change the title
of Ginsberg’s “Howl” to something like, “Help Me!” Hallmark America.

By the time I’m finished editing out everything offensive, I’ll be left with
4 or 5 safe words: the, yet, then, too, and but. All the rest relegates me
to Facebook. Everyone is offended by my rubbish as every decent
human being in 1957 would have reviled Charles Bukowski’s poetry,
or T. S. Eliot’s, Henry Miller’s and surely Jack Kerouac’s, too.
The New Yorker did so and refused to publish them.

The internet editors now take it upon themselves to enforce common decency.
So off we go, back to the genteel tradition, back to placing covers on piano legs,
back to saying nothing that gives offence, back to the times when dreams
meant nothing, back before Freud, when a pickle was just a cucumber in brine.
And for what? The defense of Christendom? Not at all. No! So we can be nice.
And all this on the advice of corporate lawyers and the guys who make cereal.

The purpose of poetry after all is to make others feel good. This was cooked up
by some madman, a recent graduate of the school of insanity. Be sure that the fat
feel good about being fat, that blacks have black power, and the disabled are made
to feel they can do whatever the next man can even if they live in an iron lung.

I’d prefer to go back to the mimeograph machine, or back as far as the quill.
Forget internet courtesy and creative writing school notions of politeness.
Twenty more years of this and we’ll be back to where we were in the 1900s
when Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein left the country. Back then the boobs in charge
were mainly little old ladies holding a Bible in one hand and a pistol in the other.
Now the magistrates of decency have MFAs from graduate
writing programs with certificates in censorship signed by the Governor.
They can have it.

[David Lohrey is the author of Machiavelli’s Backyard from Sudden Denouement Publishing. He is also an editor for Sudden Denouement and a mentor for me personally – Jasper Kerkau]

Blame the Hurrycane (excerpt 17, “The Vacuum”)

by pbbr

July 27, 1989

His trailer was crammed in a single lot at the Speckled Trout Mobile Home Park, only a stone’s throw from the channel. The smell of burnt rubber and dead fish hung in the air. Over the pines, the cranes of Barbour’s Cut Terminal banged stacks of cargo crates onto mammoth vessels. Drayton carried his lunch pail through the lightless courtyard and waved at a group of plant workers. They were hunched around a smelly oil drum fire like sentries at some backwoods leper colony.

You got a stog? yelled one, a fatcheeked welder everyone called Ogre. He wore a thin ponytail and a ball cap over his bald dome.

I only got one, Drayton said.

Well that’s good. I can only smoke one at a time. Ogre took it and lit it off the fire. I get paid Friday, he said, and held out a bottle of Mad Dog.

Nah, I gotta run, Drayton said.

Sit down and holler awhile, said Dusty. He was a lanky welder with a lazy eye, dressed in ragged overalls speckled with burn holes. Drayton could never tell which eye to look at so he just looked at the ground.

Ain’t no use bein in no hurry, Ogre said.

I got dinner waitin on me.

Just for awhile.

Drayton sighed. He plopped down on a log and grabbed the bottle.

You heard about ol Shane, Dusty said.

I don’t believe so.

Got his pecker stuck in a vacuum.

Judas Priest, Ogre said. What’d he have it jammed in there for?

He was checking it for mites, what the hell you think he had it in there for.

Always figured Shane for a pud puller.

Act like you ain’t never done it, Dusty said.

Not in no goddam hoover I ain’t.

Quit interruptin me, Dusty said.

I’m sorry. I am. Just go ahead.

Like I was saying. Old Shane you recall spends lot of time over there at Grandma Viv’s place.

Always thought there was something strange tween the two of em. Carryin on with an old broad like that.

Here you go again, Dusty said.

I’m sorry.

Anyway, he was over at her trailer the other night, and they was watching game shows and she was making him supper. He’d been slaving away puttin roofs on houses all day and needed a good meal, by god. She made some of those meatballs in tomato gravy like she does.

Hot damn, Ogre said, licking his lips.

Well she told him go in there and take a shower so’s he wouldn’t be stinkin up her couch from all his sweat. Told him she got hot water and all. Towels are right there in the linen closet. So ol Shane, he heads to rinse off but as he’s walkin through her bedroom he can’t help but notice she has one of them new vacuums by her closet. One of them fancy upright ones with the big cylinder in the middle and all them fancy attachments in a little case.

Madison could use one of those, Drayton said, wincing at the sulfuric wine. She’s getting tired of sweeping that dirty carpet.

Any-way, Dusty said, waving the smoke from his eyes. Shane always had it in his head one of them vacuums would make for a fine little companion, if you know what I mean. But he ain’t never seen a real one. So he peeks back down the hallway and Grandma Viv’s sittin there on the couch, the TV blarin about big money and no whammies and shit. And then he sneaks back in the room and wheels that vacuum in the bathroom and strips down nekkid. Flips the switch and climbs in that steamin shower with the hose in his hand.

Which hose, Ogre laughed, and winked at Drayton.

I wish you would just shut up, Dusty barked.

Go on with your perverted ass story, Ogre said.

Well Shane didn’t waste any time. He turns his back to the shower head and feels that blazin water on his neck and just jams that son of a bitch right on his little pecker. And Whoop! That tube just gobbled up his whole crotch and by god stretched everything but the jimmies to the max.

Great toads of fire, Ogre said.

Yup. Wouldn’t let go, neither.

He couldn’t get it off?

Hell no that suction was too strong. Shane never figured on account of how much power that vacuum has. Like I told you, it was a highdollar one.

What’d he do? Ogre cried, his fat cheeks red as strawberries.

He screamed like a ninny, what the hell you think he did? Fell over backwards and banged his head on the tub. Blood starts spurtin everwhere and he’s layin there in the bottom of the shower, screaming like hell jumped up, beating his fists about the walls, shrieking for some relief. And ol Grandma Viv, boy she comes around the corner, hollerin about What’d ye do Shane, what’d ye do, and she sees him layin there in the tub with that vacuum cleaner hose sucked up on his beans and franks, eyes wide as bug eyes, screamin Get this damn thing off me Grandma it’s plumb gonna eat me alive.

God in his mercy, Ogre said.

I knowed it. Well Viv she flips the switch off and that machine just slowly grinds to a halt. Shane pops the hose off and he ain’t even embarrassed about it cause it was such a relief by god. But he ain’t got long to enjoy it cause Viv come around the corner, waving a umbrella above her head, screamin Get out of my trailer you redneck pervert, and she starts beatin him about his head and shoulders, so Shane jumps out of that tub and runs back down the hallway and busts out her front door, running for his very life. He made it about halfway through the courtyard fore the blood loss caught up with him. He stopped, did a little twirl like one of them ballerinas, and fell over plumb backwards.

Stone cold dead, Ogre said.

Hell no he wasn’t dead. Just knocked out is all. But when the sheriff’s department showed up they couldn’t tell one way or the other. There he lay, on his back in the middle of the courtyard, covered in blood, his purple pecker standin at full attention, all swole up like a boiled orange.

I bet he don’t get no more lovin from a vacuum cleaner, Ogre said.

Well it was a hell of a ride to the city jail, I can tell you that.

I gotta run, Drayton said, standing up.

Hell you just got here, Dusty said.

Writing Happy



In my next life I want to write happy, funny stories of weekends that went off without a hitch, photos of back-slapping with funny hats and exotic drinks. I will have a happy, quirky blog chronicling my life of leisure and success. I can’t write those stories, it isn’t my life, and if it were, I wouldn’t be able to write about it. My writing comes from dark places of hunger and pain. I find words peaking out of restroom in the middle of the night, face pressed against the cold, glossy door. Gasping for air, fearful of shadows. There are no words to be captured in neatly set tables, left-overs and urbane exchanges dumped in the trash; my words are born of starvation. I sat in front of the computer for ten years in my martial home, patting my protruding belly, waiting for something profound to say. Nothing. Blinking cursor on blank document. It is pain that drives me, wakes me up in the middle of the night, sending me under the bed with pen and paper to scribble out secret passages detailing stinging fear and loss. I waited on inspiration for a decade in a happy house, and it always managed to sneak out the side door gracefully, leaving disappearing footprints. With each new notch I find in my belt, I find out more about myself. I discover illicit secrets and explosions of ecstatic emotion that give way to words falling out of mind, through fingers, into the world.

Jasper Kerkau