Lost Voice – Christine Ray

siren’s golden voice
once dropped confident syllables
into air
as naturally as breathing
now stifled in constricted throat
that struggles to swallow
six-sided anxiety
hot, sour bile

college ruled notebooks
once full
of manic scribblings
compulsively captured in black ink
before inspiration could swirl down the floor drain
collect dust
sigh from disuse

pen now held in death grip
fingers have lost their grace
their nerve
fertile mind now an empty room
where silence rings
torturous tinnitus

blindfolded by fear
weight pressing down on shoulders
by the weight of giant
unseen inquisitor’s voice barks
Have you reached the bottom of yourself
are you so shallow
so barren?!
Or is truth so deeply hidden
that you must dive inside
hand to elbow buried into slippery entails
to reach it?

surgical implements laid out
with precision on a stainless tray
slide into view
no hesitation picking up sharp scalpel
with shaking fingers
a writer’s way is
always to bleed


[Christine Ray writes for Brave and Reckless and is a member of Sudden Denouement.  She is also curator at Blood Into Ink and barista at Go Dog Go Cafe.  She is an aspiring badass.]

I Survived the Storm – Jasper Kerkau

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I Survived the Storm – Jasper Kerkau

I survived the storm. Watched everything explode and evaporate in the slow waters of time, billowing out of the dirty earth, inching up sidewalks, devouring curbs, and quiet lives. It all goes away so quickly, the boring conversations, the Sunday afternoons, and fried chicken, the little lives of misery, heaped into the darkness, left silent in dusty rooms, soaked and miserable. Civility and comfort are all so fleeting. I shed the rain, the moon, the failures and regrets, bury heart and words under the pillow. I give them their leisure, and I take a million crosses and deformed shrines, puked up the unnatural pleasures and, alas, have all the pain.
I survived the storm. Molding my stars, peeling off the television and cycles of vomit and bile filtering through every fiber of my being. It is theirs; it is not mine. I will run in circles for eternity, eat fire, and resign myself to the arms of a beautiful girl with a big heart. I stuff mediocrity and resentment in empty potato chip bags and give back to the earth, hoping it will be recycled the next time around. A one-thousand-year event. A speck in time. A sneeze and cough on the big toe of forever. I will eat the water out of hand, starve no more. Drive away dark clouds and find the golden rainbows in my heart. Everything will be okay this time. The sun will come out, and it will all go away.

[Jasper Kerkau is co-creator, editor, and writer for Sudden Denouement, as well as the creator of The Writings of Jasper Kerkau.]

Diorama-Max Meunier/Dissociative Void

i stepped into a diorama

walking through pellucid clouds

 

the air was tight

sky was shallow

voices, still, in static freefall

 

the light of day was overshadowed

jilted, lumbering eclipses

 

an atmosphere so stifling

 

like starfish lost in the sahara

 

fear had strung the leash that tethered me

to the abandoned mine

 

overhead were expectations

looming like the unseen eye

 

quietly, i moved below

like fetid water seeping

from a broken fridge at midnight

 

had i drawn their consciousness

my words would have become subverted

 

so it was, my tongue did stay

 

never would such thoughts again

beset my addled mind

returning to the ocean and the sand whence i arose

 

for i could not recall my name

 

every eve as death awaited

 

watching from a borrowed window

 

perched upon the impasse

 

of the broken wing of time


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

Atavistic Vital Signs-Mick Hugh/Mick’s Neon Fog

There’s a whole city downtown we’ve been meaning to check out. It sounds cool. Bars, clubs, art galleries, several eras of architecture set in stone and glass. It seems exciting, to think of the lives bustling up and down elevators, and in and out of boutiques. Eating $100 plates of steak and whatever that dessert is they use a blowtorch for. There’s entire sub-cultures there, lost kids reading poetry and obscure guitarists at open-mic nights. I’ve heard about dub-step and the venues they pack four nights a week. There’s a popular jazz club open till 6am. And an all-night diner where the drunks and the burned with the glazed-over faces sit half-asleep waiting for something greasy to eat, and then just looking at their plates before leaving. We could be living down there with cafes right across the street, walk over in the mornings or the afternoon late at night to meet some stranger who reads Camus as much as I do. We could run ourselves up and down city blocks every weekend and never see the same thing twice. We could run those same blocks any Tuesday night and have just as much fun seeing those same things we’ll never see twice because light never touches anything in quite the same way — that’s just physics. We can meet all our new friends on any street corner any time and visit apartments till we find molly to buy. We can stay up late till long after the sun’s rise and just talk, just talk. Lay in the grass in the park and just talk and just know what the other is feeling and thinking and stand up at the same time without a word between us and decide to try the diner for breakfast. We can stroll the waterfront and sit beneath the 5th Street bridge to watch the people run by and eventually fall asleep at a friend’s near Goodale. We can fuck like we used to when life felt eternal and death was a distant age that scared the shit out of us. We can dance at the festivals again. We can leave the city behind every summer and watch the hunters take down mallards till we hear the far-off ocean call our name, and we go and find a new friend to give us a ride. We can be scared again. We can be scared to death that life will pass us by.


[Mick Hugh is the creator of Mick’s Neon Fog. And an all-around bad ass.]