A Stable Life

by Mick Hugh

For three years I’ve sat up in my tree,
in the shade of dreams,
and the roots have slowly
been drying up.

For three years catching wafts
of the vinegar and rotted fruits,
of our American Dream,
recessive trait of responsibility.

Who knew at the age of 22,
hot-blooded crotches
and itchy skin for sunshine,
that a Fortune 500 would be their Jubilee?

What pederast had it out at 18
to be a financial manager
at corporate Walgreens?

The treelimb you sit on breaks,
and the fall takes a few months.
Rat cages and sychophants
fed twice as much for listening.

The heroics of monotony.

Remember your days
reading textbooks at your desk,
group projects and algebraic thinking:
Little Davey you’ve been cultivated for this.

No need for you to sweat callouses and rough hands,
they’ve got another desk for you.
Pear-shaped where the body-fat masses on their seats,
little economic engines-that-could.

Genetically modified flowers
blossom without sunlight,
without color or stamens;
a horse without nuts
makes an easier ride.

Have a house,
have a kid,
be well-fed.
Pad your stable.

The American frontier
is a corral on Main Street,
Maple Street
and daydreams of Carnival Cruises.

Masturbate on lunch break,
a few white tears
in a bathroom stall.

Life lived,
life lost,
100 million limp-necked stiffs
have cordoned-off unnecessary risks.

Welcome to your stable, kid.



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

Cohen, Cave, and Joy Division Crash This Bar

by Nathan McCool


I gather up abandoned bottles kissed with

cherry lipstick and cigarette scents – bring them to my lips and eavesdrop on the white noise inside.

“Come on back in, one more time, for the encore of “The Butcher Boy”; come in for

the closed viewing of PSR B1919+21.”

And this is when the boredom of barrooms

comes alive.

Right at the moment I emit pulses

that tell the masses I am not part of them. I’m sending you a signal, you tiny, little world.

See me here spinning and burning in my own

mind. I hop on stage to sing you a melancholy ballad and follow it up with “Tower of Song”.

That’s where I am. Another hundred floors below Hank Williams

and screaming to tell you,

“It’s the loneliest down here.”


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.

Bubble Gum Under the Table-David Lohrey

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How many canes can one observe without finally exploding?

He walks with a cane and smells like a mouse.

He has food caked on his sleeves.

There are stains on his cuffs. He smells of urine and old socks.

His wife attacks him; she berates him.

The old man will die of emphysema.

My mother promised to leave. “Why would you go to his funeral?”

She didn’t want a priest or a minister, she wanted show girls and fireworks.

She wanted to humiliate him. She ended up disgracing herself.

She’s glad he’s dead. Glad he’s gone. “Hallelujah.”

 

He begs not be resuscitated, but she forgets.

He wants to die in peace, why not?

She is asked but is silent. The paramedics smash out his teeth

and jam a pipe down his throat. He lives for days.

He keeps a lock on the door of the den. He runs in there to hide.

She’d slap him in the face. She’d kick him. She’s a drunk.

She gulps a few glasses of white wine and wants to tell her tale.

It’s a story of abandonment, an empty nest. “Get out!”

She refuses to get his meds. She tells him to get them himself.

He can’t walk. He can’t drive. She is too busy: “I have a life, too!”

 

He is deaf but she accuses him of faking.

It is true that when we talk about money, his hearing comes back.

Suddenly, his hearing is perfect. When I mention money,

he understands the figures.

He smiles when he gets a bargain. Money talks.

When she complains, the batteries stop.

He can’t make them work. He turns them off.

He’s grown tired of listening.

Sixty-one years. That voice. The rage. The badgering. The nagging.

She wants him to wipe the shit off the toilet: “You clean it!”

 

Unhappiness is intolerable.

When does it turn to hate?

Why does it turn to hate?

 

She drinks white wine from a tumbler.

She calls her cousin in Kingston

and says she hopes he’ll soon die.

He is 67 but looks 80.

She wants some love before she dies.

She wants some male attention.

“I thought we were going out for dinner. I’ve been waiting.”

“You’re drunk. I can’t go out with you now.”

She can barely stand and stinks. She’s been drinking all day.

Booze makes her hate. It brings out the rage, the loathing.

 

She is ready to die to make a statement.

Oh, it boils over, like a chemical reaction: quick lime and water.

She overflows with self–hatred. It is volcanic.

My arrival sets the fuse. The hatred can’t be contained.

She belongs to the IRA. She is ready to die for a cause.

He sits on the floor in front of the heater giving instructions,

making judgements.

The body goes. He is cold.

When she says she has a friend who has offered to go down on her,

I take my cue. It is time. Where is the exit?


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.

Excerpt from Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective- all the beds are made/samantha lucero

when did you keep god under your tongue,
like
an uninvited pill
from that plastic nurse behind a wall,
masked
and reaching out to hand you an orange
mood
in a paper cup made in L.A.

for whom did your milky eyes blur,
or from whose unseen stare did the water
of your ribs buckle and hide
when you knew that worship was a mask we
wear,
that rituals and skin
give us a tendency to forgot how to say no?

i was born in a summer cage that sold
whispers to me
in body-sized trash bags, flung at donation
trucks where you wait and
where you drive up and pry a hole, pull out
unwanted secrets you can take home
and cherish as yours from other people’s
unglamorous lives; a boy scout’s book
on how to make a fire.
a girl scout’s book about how to cook on it.

my heart’s in a shot glass that says
‘i ❤ san francisco.’
on the floor by a fireplace
in his basement.

and i think that’s where i swallowed ‘god.’

Available at Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, Amazon Canada, Book Depository, and other major book retailers


[Sam does sixredseeds.]

Leaden Skies- Olde Punk/RamJet Poetry

Come

Come and lead

Me on

Past the sallow

With leaden eyes,

Leaden cheeks

And leaden mouths

Heaving leaden words

At our backs beneath

Leaden skies

Come, come and find me

Down in the gutter

With the elixir still heavy

On my ragged breath

Call me to the gathering

With your voice like

Tambourines, drowning

Out the drawing of midnight

And the ringing of bells, pulling

Me towards the grey spaces

Where the Ankou waits

My golem is coming closer

Dead eyes seeking to take mine

Come, come and guide me

To the places where your sun

Blinds the darkness I wear

My funeral shroud already in place

I clutch it selfishly, growling curses

I will resist you, as you know I must

For I dwell in the houses of sorrow

And she is a lustful creature, despair.

Still I pray for you when lucidity

Finds me.

To come

Come and lead me

Far away from here.

 

Image courtesy of Pinterest


Olde Punk is an editor of Sudden Denouement and the curator of Ramjet Poetry.  Hockey, food and punk rock junkie.  Total sci-fi/fantasy geek.  He writes, right?

1. – samantha lucero

a city map is sewn in the scalp;
+++looped in the goat-milk, or spit out,
tongued in silky blades of stomped
+++down grass.

i’m crowned with high-pitched fingers
+++clenched in fur.
in octaves only shades can bear, i simmer
+++in their holy cradles.
i become the roughened corner of a mouth
+++grinning at its own joke.

there, the receding home in ranch-style polaroid’s of a dirty blond stranger and my mother squinting in the sun; some home not mine or yours.

ventricles, which
+++in a woman’s left grows tiny,
and in a man’s more supple.
+++i keep alive by milking goats.

some like lifelines, some like ulcers
the city streets are braided in my hair.


Samantha Lucero writes at sixredseeds.

 

Gear – Rana Kelly

I wipe the blood

From my nose

And massage

The sore needle holes

Dive back in

To overdose.

There are no more faces

Like yours.

So I try to smear your photo

From my mind.

So that even while

You dig into my head

When I’m lying in bed,

I’ll be able to forget you

And sleep for a week.

Maybe.

You’ll be a secret I keep.

Pushing away.


 

[Rana Kelly was born and raised in the Deep South, and now resides in the Southwest.  Her poetry, personal essays, short fiction, and photography has been published in anthologies and literary magazines far and wide over the years, ]