Am I Still Here?/Jasper Kerkau & Nicole Lyons

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Emaciated by tortured flowers,
Bored expressions of expired emotions.
Stinging, charred words
dangling in thick air,
poisoned by expectation
Withered and violated
by meaningless conversation
he speaks softly,
vapid illusions
she lingers,
listens,
slowly decaying—
death beckons

I am still
here, pacing
through doorways
under a fluorescent sun.
My battle
cries flat,
pulled to hang
grotesquely
from cracked lips
plied into
an accommodating smile.
I am still
here, existing
behind shadows
inside a false twilight.
Or perhaps
I have eclipsed.
I am still.
Am I still here?

They don’t see me
swallowing knives as
they dance and laugh,
popping balloons while
I ingest their poison,
burning with acidic words
stinging the back of my throat,
I smile and nod to the world
look past the back-slapping
and soft kisses,
I disappear while they dine
on superficial conversation,
slivers of gold mixed with
trivial condiments smeared
over their delicacies.
The belching laughter hides
my diseased thinking,
the self-loathing that is divided
unequally.
They don’t see me
in the weak hours, meandering
down hallways with funny hats,
withering in their jovial retorts,
longing for someone to share
my portion, to starve themselves
on the nothingness I stab with dull
knives
They don’t see me dying, emotionally
decayed, fumbling in the dark places,
longing for an understanding embrace, but
there is only nothing, bitter nothingness.

Nothingness greets me
with twisted smiles
and happy laughter,
pouring from a mouth gagging
on the truth, and I feel again.
I feel the cold chill of terror
and death coming,
to raise the hair
on the back of my neck
as if I was a cat,
arching before
an offensive growl,
low to the ground.
I will spring and fall
into this abyss,
dance circles around
nothing, sway naked
with death, down
the scuffed floors of these halls,
writhing to the beat
of the screams they buried
in my head.
And I will arch my back
and throw my head
high
enough to drop
this slick sickness
from within and leave it
in the bones of this place,
of their place,
and it will ring,
through the walls
out and in
to the pockets
of every soothsayer
and handshaker that has fed
off the fat
of my back.


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

Nicole Lyons is creator of The Lithium Chronicles, as well as being an editor and writer for Sudden Denouement. As always, we are honored by her presence.

Deaf – Howl Davies

I came back for the silence,
for the roots that were reclaimed
after being torn out the earth
a dozen times, it’s a lonely place,
but that’s all I really look for,
the slack jaw greeting of the mute,
the sense of nothing to hide
like a glass house filled with ghosts,
the kind that don’t frighten me,
there’s a tone deaf dial tone
humming next to my first marital bed
from the last time I was here,
and I keep it close,
for now,
blind to the haram
of undisclosed queries,
away from those constantly
trying to know one another,
but no one knows anyone,
ever,
that’s just life.
I’m better here,
in this oasis I’ve built
for myself, with the shrine
on my fathers deathbed
which I still don’t touch,
I’m breaking the silence
with a kick at the door,
or the drop of a glass,
just to ensure I haven’t gone deaf.

 


[Howl Davies is the ringleader at The Sounds Inside.]

NightBringer

By Oldepunk

Nightbringer

At the Altar of Life

granite and obsidian

carved into all that is, was, or will be

are the letters, in silver

of my existence

I am the nightbringer

I am shadow, and dust

lost dreams and broken homes

dark rooms and rust

I appear as you do

but the curse I bear

Oh, the sorrow

you will come to know

Anachronistic

life leech

vampire

draining sustenance

all of you are candles

But I am a pyre

You will love me, feed me

support me

carry me home

Call me friend, brother, sister, lover

Wife or Husband

we strive to live as you

We wish to taste love

As you do, to commit freely

The curse

And oh, the sorrow

How I wish to give

But all I can do is

Borrow

And Take

The lies, the drugs, the sex

The gambling and gin

The doctors, the lawyers, the authorities

The institutions that came and went

All to quiet this

raging conflagration within

You can never understand

your love you give and you give

Over and over

more and more

With the fears and the memories

of what has come before

The Wasteland in my mind

haunts dense and deadly

the war with ghosts

that no one can see

This chain of horror

that clenches my throat

Of use to none

I will scorch and burn

Everything I see

I try to show you how to burn

Just like me

I am the nightbringer

And I can only grant you

my tragedy

Oh, the sorrow…

You have come to know

The hard truth you see

the only way to save yourself,

The only way to love me

Is by letting me go

And you know who I am

I know that you see

Mark these words dear

before you burn

Just Like Me

 

O.P.

 

Transcending-Max Meunier/Dissociative Void

we dream

to die

in this ring

of death

breathing in

our own entropy

like drunken druids

sinking past

the florid infirm

as floor

turns to fig leaf

and celestite settles

no more

shall we fret


Max states: “I write about the things going on in my life. I am a feminist, humanist, cat loving musician bound by whimsy and the incessant analysis of hyper-vigilant observations.  I am obsessed with words and rhythmically woven wordplay.” We are honored to have him as a member of our tribe.  He writes at Max Meunier Dissocative Void

Meeting again in another life when we are both cats – Howl Davies

Perhaps we will meet again,
in another life,
perhaps we will come back as cats,
with nine more times to try,
pretending inevitabilities aren’t so,
that the complexities of
circumstance are merely
hexes and crystal-skull
reluctances that we can circumvent,
something that the little omniscient
man in the sky can’t always
keep an eye on, and if we can’t
do that, we’ll take his eyes
right out of the sockets,
display them on the mantle,
adorned with laurel leaves
and glow-in-the-dark
animal bones,
a prize to show how we never
needed to compromise,
nor be more wise,
that we simply needed to
be ruthless,
and take prisoners
only for ourselves.

 


[Howl Davies can be heard over at The Sounds Inside.]

Shoreline – Howl Davies

We stand like stones
beside the throes of the ocean,
beneath the gaze of
the holiest of crows
floating above the bones
and wreckage of those lost
at sea, you let your
pride swell and you sank with
an anchor at your feet,
cursing the moon
to let the water just recede,
pleading with every angry
memory,
to allow yourself to
swim out in decline,
the commotion of being
born of immaculate design,
you stand alone inside the mountain,
shouting that you want to call god
on a burner
to hide your trail,
to scorn him, to convince yourself
that you aren’t yearning for something
more, learning that there’s
no one there
to stop the drone. What are you
holding to? Solitude
asks nothing of us, and you
shouldn’t be ashamed. Scared,
maybe, but bring that to the
light and up it goes in flames,
four hours wandering
the skin of the sea,
the shoreline adores
you,
and your subtle step.


[Howl Davies is the creator of The Sounds Inside.]

Sinking-Sarah Doughty/Heartstring Eulogies

I’m drowning in an infinite ocean, salted by my tears. Trapped in this dark world, illuminated only by the moon’s soft glow, I cry, and I beg for an end to my suffering. For salvation. A reprieve. But the tide keeps pulling me away. No matter how hard I kick, or thrash in those crashing waters, I gain no purchase. With the last of my strength, I pull my head above the surface and gulp a desperate breath into my burning lungs, breathing out words in a whisper even I can’t hear, “Save me.” And then those darkened waters pull me under for the last time.


Sarah Doughty is the wordsmith behind her website, Heartstring Eulogies, author of The Silence Between Moonbeams, her poetry chapbook, and the acclaimed Earthen Witch universe, a collection of novels and novellas, all offered for free (https://thesarahdoughty.wordpress.com/useful-links/). To learn more about Sarah and her books, check out her website (http://thesarahdoughty.wordpress.com/about) and Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13753138.Sarah_Doughty).