Dustin Pickering “You Have Left the World”

origin
I quake, grief clasping my eyes shut
with the pride of a lion,
my chest sinks into confused silence,
and I can only look at your cold body
before me. You were hidden in tears
and years of golden simplicity
kept you from speaking.
Your heart was the needle you drove
into your flesh, and time was a warrior
who battened her eyes. Strange days
have brought a lifeless faith.
I look for the song of my angel:
she is broken, her harp unstrung.

Now, my tenderness is the queerest lie
and my poem only speaks to one heart:
the heart of decadence.
You witnessed my silence from a dark reserve
in the trilogies of time.
I ache, cold river of splendor,
and am enchanted by grief and rage.
You have left the world
with me in it.

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Aakriti Kuntal “A Conversation with Death”

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A Conversation with Death

What has skipped
this levitating chest?

The bone hangs like a mantle in midair

You come and collect
the smell of sleep from my mouth,
my anesthetized mouth

You come
over and over

You come,
rowing across white seas

You come and rest in my mouth
The lovely sound of crows conversing

Nobody understands this,
Nobody understands this love,
this endless devotion of yours

But you come,
you come anyway,
You come and lick the whiff of my floating mouth
You eat and glow inside it

You glow, you glow
Together we hook the sky
and play with it in our laps

Together, we make the earth
swim between our lazy feet

Together, we growl
and pounce

Nobody understands this,
this affection of yours

for me
You, from beyond life,
from the rim of death

You, that only travel in lightyears,
Come for me

I,
feeble bone resting on time’s ailing forehead

Bio: Aakriti Kuntal, aged 26, is a poet and writer from Gurugram, India. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in Selcouth Station, RASPUTIN: A Poetry Thread, The Hindu, Madras Courier, Blue Nib, and Visual Verse among others. She was awarded the Reuel International Prize 2017 for poetry and was a finalist for the RL Poetry Award 2018.

Upon This Hill – Christine E. Ray

upon this hill 2

From Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective, available on Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes & Noble online, and other major online book retailers

the pages of
the calendar
remain unchanged
old
outdated
too much effort
required
to remove it
from the wall
I no longer wear
a watch upon my
pale wrist
no need to measure
minutes
hours
by the passing
of a hand
before my face
hourglass sand
trickles grain by grain from
fractured glass bulb
onto the copper table
I write my name
upon the surface
a eulogy
time has gained
a boneless quality
become a black sea
I no longer swim in
a twilight land
where stunted sunflowers
dwarf versions
of their former selves
strain on anxious stalks
reach for stingy rays
of an indifferent sun
their petiolate leaves
grab hungrily
at my bare feet
calves
anchor me in place
I stand frozen
for an eternity
before I sink slowly
silently
into cool loam
my pockets
lined with pain
stuffed with
memory shards
fragments of dreams
the fragrance
of crushed rosemary
lemon balm
weigh me down
I am so tired
so very tired
it is so lovely here
I surrender
to the stillness
the peace
this moment offers
and I. . .
let go
my blood will
water these flowers
the calcium of my bones
will nourish this soil
tender new shoots
will wrap around the
trellis of my ribs
new life will
flourish here
butterflies
luna moths
adorn this burial mound


You can find Christine lurking about Brave and Reckless and Indie Blu(e) Publishing.  She is the author of Composition of a Woman and The Myths of Girlhood.

Coyote – Mitch Green

coyote black and white.png
The turnpike of west bowed to the city shimmer. An escort icon in ornamental estrangement contested the chivalry of desire. A whisper in a windless wood bellowed aloud to the deaf. Parking breaks bleeding the asphalt. The yellow strip chalked in brick red exhaust. A body adorned the open blank mileage of night – belly and breast down to our virgin eye. The opening cast of exposure decomposing the edible noir of suspicion. A sobbing wail claws at the silent twinkling nothing. A bent in bumper, fragmented shrapnel of glass and ribbon. Point south the rearview, and you see the cacti and coyotes roosting along edgy dunes sprouted to cast shadows. We wait out the buzzards, the hawks and wolves that are known to creep salaciously in cold blood. The lonesome fear reels inside like icy daggers, as the fantasizing man rolls the 140 pound dead weight idol into a sleeping bag.

Landscape scenic shot of the car and the bagged body, hauled stressfully. This is a slow and awkward struggle. The red hue blotching the lot – seizing natural color. Body in trunk, the frantic man, fumbles behind the wheel and chugs the murderous hunk from the scene. Residue of red sweats to black.

The cacti, the coyotes, the buzzards, and hawks all dash and bolt far from the wheels of this death machine. Into the eons, out beyond the pale who flops soundly with each jolt, rocking knots into the trunk. Like a meteor through the galaxy, the sputtering machine caught a set of red and blue sirens breaking sight behind. The vomit induced toxicity knuckled him to the gut, and he could hardly breathe. The hit and run captive homicide was slowly decaying inside polyester.

Hindsight dread deepened root around his spine, spearing bolts of electric wire to rattle bone. Quaking and immobile, the rubber rolling ankles trudged close. White knuckled, and shrink wrapped – plaid plagued soul of guilt. Hysterical hangover of helix vision, burning sight. The electrodes of the mindscape have abandoned all sake of morality. In troves the internal war upon self now underwater to smother. The clicking tongues spoke in a language not known to common dialogue. Deaf disposition now a suspicious entity on the side of highway 95 in the pith of night with a body in back.

A thump popped like tin, and the trunk creaked open. Alive, she’s alive. If skin could crawl, his anatomical dearest would be on auction. Scuffing dirt and gravel, he bolted to the back, flinging open the dinged trunk door. There wadded in the black human sized napkin of camping gear was the pink and red stillness of the breathless.

The longer he hovered the more he fantasized. The longer he fantasized, the more he became an adolescent boy again, reflecting on the first time he had seen an unclothed girl. The printed papers, the digital previews on 50” screens, the brothel on 5th street, and his routine call girls in shoddy motel rooms off of route 76. Appalled by the touch of his hand on her lukewarm cheek. But even more disgusted by the inhumanity he found within himself; he knew not the man he had become.


Mitch Green founded Rad Press Publishing in September of 2016. He is an avid artist in visual design and literature. Published in various literary journals and magazines: The Literary Yard. The Penmen Review. Vimfire Magazine – Mitch aims to seize the narrow line between all artistic mediums.

A few of his known poetic titles are: “Flesh Phoenix” “Monsters” “The Wolves Howled”.

Offering his hand in graphic direction – his book design portfolio can be found here.
Follow Mitch and Rad Press Publishing on Instagram.

Funeral Trumpets-Kindra Austin

With each jug of spirits
I ingest,
my organs’ mourning
does crescendo; and premature
funeral trumpets
bleat in stereo, stricken on the sidelines of
my mind.

Every time I get sober,
someone else
dyes
black
my hair.

From Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective, available on Amazon


Kindra M. Austin is a very sweary indie author and editor from mid-Michigan (you can find her books here). She’s also the co-founder of Blank Paper Press, a founding member of Indie Blu(e) Publishing, founder of publishing imprint, One for Sorrow, and a writer/managing editor at Blood into Ink, and Whisper and the Roar. Austin cut her poetry teeth in April, 2016, and joined the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective in 2017. You can find more of her foul mouth at poems and paragraphs.

Sudden Denouement Classic: Gag Reflex- S. K. Nicholas

Triptych personality and a taste for the beaten and crushed. Favoured positions. Preferred imagery including a crushed butterfly placed so sweetly on her navel- the one that swims with my seed. Specks of blood on the bed sheets from our collision- the one I try denying but keeps happening anyway. In lipstick upon the wall, I scrawl my desires in lowercase. I spell out what I mean to say which always seems to escape me when she’s gagging on my fumes. I’m a good guy at heart, but a single droplet puts me in a rage like you wouldn’t believe. Shards of glass and portals. Lonely roads and stories gathering dust, but there will come a day when everything makes sense. There will be a moment when the end is not the end and an exit is not an exit but a door to a river where resides the girl who started it all. I go in and out- I pass through on the off chance she’s around. Lights and nipples and stretch marks. Torn lingerie and tourniquets. Vampires, lovers, killers. A painter, a writer. There exists celluloid imagery of my actions. There are photos of body parts and vials full of hair which fuels the fantasy more and more. There was once a golden light but it was snatched away and now I take from others because my future was taken from me. Souls and slaves. The ties that bind. Scenes missing until she’s wrapped in a blanket because this world doesn’t care and although my hands are cruel I do it because I care and no one cares as much as me. She is mother and enemy. She offers salvation and torment but the more I do it the less I can tell which is which. Flowers pressed in a book. Numbed fingers from two bottles of wine as she shaves her pubic hair at my request. She is not her own woman, she is my girl. The girl by the river who visits me after I pass out in the early hours of the morning halfway up the stairs. She flickers in the eyes of those who get too close. She dances in the mirror and kisses my neck when the right scent ignites what’s left of me. That cherub heart, it’s been gone for years and no matter what I do, and no matter how many times I try bringing her back, it won’t beat again.


S.K. Nicholas is the creator of My Red Abyss.comas well as author of two novels A Journal for Damned Lovers Vol 1, 2 & 3 (available on Amazon). 

Sudden Denouement Classics: To Quote Walt Whitman- Mick Hugh

whitman

Are there pastorals in a pixel?
I’ve heard it said so.
That a perfect moment holds life’s memories…
yet the playback waits for death.

No better than the world
in a meek man’s hands:
show me the roses growing naturally in the graveyard,
or a romance with a wick for the years.

We can get high enough
if we run the old Buick
with the garage door shut.

We can get high
walking the Lincoln Tunnel,
or gasping for breath
from a Newark overpass.

A thousand office faces
find their dreams in computer screens,
still glowing when the day shuts its lights.
Wither the aortic valve,
just from a lack of use.

Lazy eyeballs,
cataracts,
myopic Coke-bottle glasses.
The smoke-stacks in a Cezanne.
Mesothelioma
in the gold mines of a wedding ring –
are we done yet?

Febrile seizures on a death-bed
awaken his famous past:
canyons in the skin
that ran the red of roses.

He’d take his books for walks
till his legs got lost,
down by the waterfront,
down Washington Street.

The clamor of half-built high-rises,
soot of the tent towns
under the highways:
the fast clacking of sharp shoes on the sidewalks,
a briefcase to withstand the bullets.

Strange creatures that lurked down the streets,
mange and tendon and quiet whisper.
The dog with chopped ears
pawed the Plexiglass shell,
and whimpered,
as the clerks and the lawyers brisked past.

A daisy grew in a pavement crack.
A daisy grew and the seasons churned
on a playback twice as fast.
Stop.

Stuck at a stop in the traffic-thronged street was a truck,
hauling concrete to the next empty lot, being filled.
The driver could barely be heard:
the hum of idling traffic,
the overpasses rumbling above;

beneath the sounds of airplane thrust
and the debates of World News Tonight,
the truck driver,
red faced,
barely heard,
shouting out,
“I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass!”


Mick Hugh is a writer for Sudden Denouement, and the groundskeeper at Mick’s Neon Fog.


 

Sudden Denouement Classics: Daffodils-Olde Punk

Daffodil

The smell of rotting agendas always waft in your wake.  I’ve grown accustomed to your sand storm daffodils.  It’s not what you once were, but what you could be that still intrigues me.  Potential, potentially terminal, with velocity.  Sniper taking aim, the looks you throw with abandon.  I lie still sometimes and pretend I can hear the screaming in your eyes.  I would have given it all for you, you know.  I do not think it would have mattered to you.  You are the song Reptile by The Church.  I can see you sauntering and stalking in the sun by the beach every time I hear that song.  Which is often, ’cause I like to pick at open wounds.  The bloody mouth of puckering pink skin attempting to heal is such a turn on and a visceral reminder of your violence, my violet-skinned lecher.  Your Krispy Kreme coochy-coos hardening my arteries.  And then, slow syrupy suicidal sex. Something in me went dormant when you left.  I vaguely remember why, but it’s fuzzy like flash backs from a blackout or a bad trip.  Which I only had once or twice, but that was more than enough to keep from doing it again.  I would for you though, if you wanted to.  Crashing around in the forest at dusk under deep November skies and yelling fuck-all to the universe.  You were always the spark that started Devil’s Night.  A goddess of Bacchus’ loins.  There was nothing I would not have done for you.  I died when you left.  The husk remains, with the frozen portraits of your jack o’lantern smile burned into my retinas.  My skin still shudders with the traces of your touch.  My gypsy witch, evil love cursing the hearts around you like a speedball on fentanyl on meth that is the last run of the roller coaster and heart is pounding and I will be with you soon and my veins are flame and my heart is a jackhammer and I will be in you soon and I will kill you soon and soon I am coming for you my beautiful malady with the melody of death on my lips… and a fistful of sand storm daffodils.

 

image courtesy of Pinterest and Awkward Family Photos

WRONG TWIN’S LULLABY

by Basilike Pappa

It said sleep / the voice said / slide into / me / like a fish / in water the voice said / dreamless / I’ll catch you / just sleep it said / you’re tired and / it’s time to / sleep.

Like this / it said / the voice said / close your eyes / slide / let go / see? it said / like this / come to me / easy / you’re tired / just sleep.

That time / it said / remember? / that time in the sea / the water closed over / so close to the shore / but that current / that sneaky tricky current / it said let go / the voice said / like fish / you’re tired / sleep / easy like this / don’t blink.

And you thought  / why not / easy / the water quiet / like a sheet / it said now sleep / and the world will wash you by / stay still / finish it / go down / deep / a stone in water / so easy like this / like sleep / heavy dreamless / sink.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow / it said like this / no more of this / just sink / slide / sleep / for a moment it was easy / to let it all go by / bead after bead after bead / meaningless string / remember? it said / you don’t but I / remember how wide-eyed / you escaped me.

Close your eyes it said / that time that street / remember? the voice said / it was me / slip of your feet / in the rage of its machines / don’t blink / stand still / and the world will crush you by / like a wave / like a current / in a sneaky tricky sea / don’t cheat / now sleep.

And I’ll catch you / said the voice / why not believe in me / it said tired / don’t think / slide / dreamless deep / ready? sink! / for a moment you were ready / but you cheated / backwards step / you caught yourself / quick / no sleep / through my arms you slipped.

It said sleep / the voice said silk / let go / and the night will pass you by / why not / easy / and I swear it’s not me / now and forever deep / just my twin / not me not me / not the voice in the sea.

Why not believe in me / in my arms / I’m my twin / like this: see? / easy / close your eyes / come to me / don’t think / sleep / never pushed you in the street / try me / the voice said silk.

To the voice I said like fish / through your arms I’ll slip like this / voice current / hair seaweed / I am wide-eyed / you’re no sleep / no end of cheat / to the voice I said don’t speak.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow / I said I like this / yes! more of this! / be quiet now / like a sheet / I don’t know what it means / but I know how it feels / sun on skin / daisy fields / sitting idle by a stream.

Quick / I blink / backwards step / I catch myself / you can sing your lullaby / all you want but never me / never in your dreamless water / I slide / I slip / easy: see? like this / there are parties I can’t miss / if I’m late don’t wait / eat.

Always sweet / a sheet of silk / but your singing goes six feet / under daisy fields I think / so don’t

speak / don’t sing / quit / here’s my finger / ready? Sit!



Basilike Pappa lives in Greece. She likes her coffee black, her walls painted green and blue, her books old or new. She despises yellow curtains and red tape. She can’t live without chocolate, flowers and her dog. Places she can be found are: kitchen, office, living room. If she’s not at home, I don’t know where she is. You can find Basilike up late with a notebook in the Silent Hour.

Photography by Jimmi Campkin (jimmi campkin.com)

Gallifrey Is Gone

by Nathan McCool

gallifrey

My home is at the heart of nomadic wandering.

If you were to understand

this kind of isolation, you too would

have to be the lone survivor of

ancient desolation.

All the wars now are fought endlessly

among my triple brain stems.

These wars that will take all my love.

These wars that time and dimension

cannot escape.

These wars that will leave me alone –

the last thing walking in the shadows.

My dearest friends, my greatest loves…

You know me. But you can not know

what is in me. That I see everything

at all times;

even at the ruination of the world

and the resurrection of my body.

How the beating of my two hearts

elapses in the lacuna where dual suns shine;

echoing with all the death in my wake that could

engulf all of time and space.

For all my love and good acts,

there is perhaps an even

greater vulnerability.

Because I’ve seen it all.

And I can tell you that I am alone.

Gallifrey is gone.

 


 Nathan McCool is a member of Blood Into Ink and the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective. You can find the haint, dusk, and sizzling of his concrete snares on his blog, Mist of Melancholia.