Painted Fingernails- Jimmi Campkin

Everytime I go to bed, I can see the stain of green hair dye on the low ceiling, where you cracked your head whilst vigorously riding me – yelping, eyes clamped shut and a gaping smile on your face, sucking up all the oxygen in the room and leaving me gasping for spare atoms.  Of course, you were thinking of someone else the entire fuck, I knew that even at the time, but beggars can’t be choosers.  I didn’t choose to worship you.  I’m an atheist.  I didn’t plan on worshiping anything.

But as something tangible, you seemed a better bet than a concept designed to keep a feeble species in line.  You kept me in line.  And as feeble as I may also be, at least I could run my fingers down your stretchmarks; I could drag my nail over the little serrated dimples on your thighs; I could play with that mole on your hip and wonder at how it is surrounded by several smaller ones, a little solar system almost permanently hidden by the elastic of your underwear.

My deity was flesh; three day old mascara, a taste of cigarettes and last night’s bourbon and coke, with dark circles under your eyes from dancing your legs down to the knees, and the smell of the smoke machine in your greasy hair.  After the end, I spent many evenings in that club, dancing with other girls whilst watching you over their shoulders – dancing alone, happily not giving a fuck.


Born in November 1983, I have been writing in some form or another for most of my life, but I began to take it seriously as a career around 2003/2004.  Since then I have produced a novel, a novella and a series of short stories some of which are loosely linked into an overarching anthology.
Most of my stories come under the wide umbrella of ‘general fiction’, but I have experimented with genre pieces.  My short stories tend to be bittersweet, nostalgic, sometimes melancholic and (on occasion) examine the darker side of human nature and obsessions.
I welcome you to my site Jimmi Campkin, and I hope you find something here to please you.  If not, below you’ll find a big picture of me to scream obscenities at.

Can You Feel the Winter Coming?- Allie Nelson

Kneel for the Alfather, in standing stone,
bloody runes on the boulder and crawl in,
soak in mead and honey, tangle your hair,
it is golden in the dark cave, burn burn.

The firmament churns like Urd makes butter,
Frigga spins flax and cards heavenly wool,
I make rainbows out of Heimdall’s breath,
but the Wild Hunt does not ride my Bifrost –

No, my path is for the dead, past Helheim,
in unions in darkest earthen cauldrons,
slick with the dew of Ymir’s icy wastes,
I am alone in Ginnunungap, paltry salt.

I am Mordgud Blood Maiden, I am bell toll.
Watch me weave my arteries on my spine,
pay my ferrywoman price, tithe your Hel
I will offer you to Her, nothing more.

Nothing less than a table at Hela’s dry
feet, the dust bread of dead, silence.
Down here it is cold but no one wants.
Down here it freezes, but we don’t feel.

Can you see Her spread Her fingers aloft
in the vines of veins, veins of leaves,
ribs of trees, trees of the nine worlds?
Winter is coming, Odin does not own it.

Winter is coming, and Fenrir howls high.
The moon is eaten by wolves, the sun bleeds
gold then darkness in Hati’s lupine womb,
plant seeds in beast’s black after harvest.

Winter is here, Hela walks as ice maiden.
Autumn just a passing fancy, and Valraven
rots on a yew, corpse bloated and swinging,
in Dying He is more alive than the Living.

Know the secrets of Hela Half-Rotted, see
the pennants of flesh on her corpse breast,
smell the compost and dirt of Her skin, kiss
Her bone hand, and sleep until springtide.

Sleep, dream, die, it is all the same to me,
for I have dreamed and died and eaten ashes,
She was sweet to me, He was a thunder strike,
in autumn He and She make a secret only I know.

What is the secret of Bolverk and Loki’s Pride?
It is sweet Balder on a shiply pyre adrift to
seidhr waters, golden Nanna enflamed, safety
is only found after Ragnarok, wouldn’t you know?

Winter came for Balder come mistletoe’s kiss.
And Odin rides the worlds for His son’s ghost.
Sweet Frigga weeps tears of sapphire, then snow.
And Hela and Nanna talk long by the hearth-side.

Winter comes for us all, even the gods, even
Death will Die, and in Dying, Live Again,
Anew, Life Eternal may be found in snow.

 


Allie is a rather bubbly blonde that currently attends grad school for science communication, has a rather useless degree in biology, and works in the environmental field. She can usually be found hugging trees, eating green curry with tofu, or exploring the wilds of D.C.. Allie is an avid poet, aspiring author, meme queen, speculative fiction enthusiast, and alien centaur aficionado. She also has about 600 lipsticks.

You can find her at Dances With Tricksters

‘Far From Any Road’ – Collaboration II – S.K. Nicholas & Samantha Lucero

When I looked into your eyes that time not long after we first met, I told myself that if I was given the chance, I would go ahead and do it. And such a thing would really impress you and make you want me even though I was just a zero.

Because the black light has been here since the beginning.

When I first discovered what you were in the early hours of the morning while drunk and on the brink, you reached inside of me and brought me back. Sounds melodramatic, I know, but before I found you it was as if I were the only one and that being a zero was all I was good for.

And it’s been burning a hole for so long.

When I swallowed what you had to say, I found a truth that had been denied me my entire life by those who had never even pretended to care. In that gaze and in your hand, there was a woman I could call mother and lover unlike any other that had come before. I could feel it in my bones and in the cold night air down every street that had housed your ghost.

And that’s what brought us together.

Whenever we want, we can be without form, for our images have long since been removed along with all traces of what remains of our former lives. This vision we share, it’s of being at one with nature with no need for the insects that spend their days doing whatever they can to cling. And this nature- it’s our drink and our line of coke. It’s our needle and hand around the throat. Through its influence, we can be both pleasure and impulse.

It spoke to us when we were children.

Together, we are bitemarks and Nietzsche spinning in fields that are empty of life but full of the essence of who and what we really are, and this is why we roam far from the useless crowd doing only what we can do. This is why we seek the limits that are forbidden because only there do we come close to taking a glimpse through those doors that offer perception where the rest offer only cheapness and the drip drip of ideology that pleases the many but disgusts us.

It put the images inside our heads while we slept.

In each and every letter, and in each and every thrust of our hips we know we are nothing and yet we revel in the control that passes between us. When it lingers in our breath, we take a bite out of each other and in our kiss, we are demons writhing in the sands of Gomorrah looking for kicks that extend beyond time and space. In our flesh, we are bound to bodily delights, but what we are is something pure and something more.

It showed us the door we were both seeking.

They wouldn’t even know where to start looking, for those that have seen us at our most beautiful have long since gone to where we too will go, but only when our bones can no longer take the weight of our souls. Beneath a blanket of stars and as naked as we were born, we sink our fingers into the soil to touch the faithful departed.

And it showed us how to find it.

These are our footsteps, and these are our secrets that will carry in the wind long after the two of us have left this place behind. But we’re in no rush, for there’s so much more that we can do. I hope you agree with what I’ve had to say, because this whole thing makes me feel like God.

Yes, but who’s like God? ‘My world was christened in a stream of milk.’

Was our world blessed with crowns of barbed-wire thorns, in sheltering the quiet soil like corpse worms gone moon-cold, till the blue water left and dried the hot skin. The air paused like Sunday’s pastor during angers sermon, saliva-foam huddled in the corner of a mouth; for effect, for suspense it stayed and spat, baptized the world in a pool of breast milk, they said, and it tasted like its own doom.

We can become a laugh sipped in a cup that we share, dumped over the overpass of whirring cars onto ghostly windshields like scarecrows, become the bellowing storm rattling ribs in darkrooms where smiles like ours rest alone like dreaming tigers WHO once wanted to be warm like wolves in snow packs, but were crowned in that barbed-wire, bred into a dying lung. Let’s BECOME the eye; I was the trapped eye in the wall, in the bones smoking at 3am, up with the red sky in a silky morning sliding down a pole and a thousand other pieces of people we’ll leave behind. Only fighters left alive, no lovers.

OUTSIDE I want the wild like glad animals in oily furs crave flesh, which taste a sliver of hare-blood in the breath between their teeth. I want to sip at eagle feathers in an old Norn’s horn, palms heart-lines engraved in heart-lines, mirror-image superstitious we can press together like funeral-flowers between pages of our favorite books, in passages our failing lives desire never to forget, but will. We will be the lavender and the rose, and then the pink gum turned black on the pissed-on sidewalk.

Or we will be the slender fingers of rain that ooze from the skies through seams in the clouds, like cold memories left unthawed from asteroid belts. Be drunk on watery soup for winter rituals, hummingbird songs, and rush to hear the tight-lipped drums of braided tribes our shivering northern ancestors once followed to 9 worlds. You say let’s be without form; I say let’s erase form, Voltaire, physical pleasures are fleeting, they die out; it’s the delight, delight of the heart that matters? Or the withered husk in a mortar ground with graveyard dirt and hag-spit, where a heart could’ve lived and died, but did both backwards. We are all alone, born to die, born to live, to die. Our wailing birth-mothers knew this, my mother, your mother, the all-mother in a room that’s a pennyroyal cage hung upside down to dry for spells for little girls’ mistakes, that’s a star pulse, that’s a whisper in a place I wish I knew the noise of still. When next you see the mirror folding into itself, the steaming woman heart-shaped in the glass, remember, she is life or death, a mask.

THEMSELVES
ARE
TRULY
SET
FREE

Who will see the tears and dirt that fill my mouth with mud when I smile, or the heartbeat living behind my right eye that could kill me in a blink, but you. Winter never stays long enough, and summer never ends. And we walk until our clothes fill with steam, or I’m the steam now, and my clothes are just anyone, or maybe I’m you anyway, and I could be anyone but you. Or we could just be me. I could conceal just one dusty memory of you when I die someday, pin it against velvet with my last breath, let it glow like the last neon day of a Luna moth. If I could live with it, I could live forever. In a fluttering trance, a twitching shadow, where there’s no form, no image, no mirror, no hands, no mothers.

Yes, but who’s like God? I wasn’t christened in a stream of milk.


 

S.K. Nicholas is the man at a haunted hotel, alone on a snowy night, trying not to have a drink at My Red Abyss, and Samantha Lucero is the crumbling, lone grave on a hill poking out like a little rotten tooth at Six Red Seeds. ]

Us – S.K. Nicholas

There’s junk food in my belly and a book on Ian Brady in my hand. Blinking my eyes, the pages are stained with sweat and splashed with spit. Remember when I would take you from behind and how I’d lean over and tell you to turn your face and look me in the eyes? How I’d get you to open your mouth so I could let a stream of saliva drip onto your tongue? You don’t? Well, shame on you. Somewhere in my mind, the smell of stale beer drifts to me across playing fields. It’s autumn, and the leaves are crisp and crumble in my hands before falling to the floor like confetti. There’s a chill kick in the breeze that pains my face whenever I shave. There are bus journeys and newsagents that sell sweets and magazines with free toys attached to their covers. There are coffee shops and pet stores and underpasses where children from nearby schools paint pictures of the world they live in. After a drunken night out in town with friends, I walked home alone and took a leak in that underpass, and as my yellow stream of piss splashed the colourful buildings they had painted, I laughed until my stomach hurt. That book on Ian Brady, I keep it in my bag and read it in the shade of trees and weeds far from the presence of others. His voice is one of existence, and as such, it reminds me that I exist. In silence is where I grow, and yet in your arms is where I’m alive more than ever. I’m not sure how that works, and that’s part of the problem. There’s a cigarette to ease my troubles and to make my head spin. There’s a song that connects us even though so many days have been and gone in between our last kiss. For some, the meaning of words is a thankless one, but for me, God is in every letter. This poetry. This sense of glory. There is nothing that comes close save for the image of you leaving footprints on fresh snow, or the taste of your neck as we do our thing while trying so hard to resist the breaking of dawn. And to think of all those buildings where our ghosts dance in silence, and to think of those fields where I would carry you because it was too muddy and you didn’t want to get your shoes dirty. Those dead cigarettes of mine, they are still there somewhere, along with those empty bottles of wine I would fling into the mouth of the quarry. And that hairclip you lost- that too is there. Everywhere we go and have been, there are artefacts that hold so much meaning the rest will never be able to fathom. What’s gone is not lost, and what’s not lost is with us every step of the way.


[S. K. Nicholas is creator of  myredabyss.com and author of A Journal for Damned Lovershis first novel. He is a brilliant writer and a member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective. To learn more about S.K. and A Journal for Damned Lovers read Jasper Kerkau’s interview with S.K. and his review of A Journal for Damned Lovers.]

Need for a sick bag – Nathan McCool

I’m a rare coated stag. Gut shot for sport and
forgotten in a field of
painted moonlight.
The hunt is over, the storm is here. Beauty
all sheathed inside a gun barrel…
I think I’m dead now. I need a new scene.

I’m the out of tune keys on a piano, that
some rusted god keeps playing before he
heads off to a bookstore
where he constantly asks,

“Got any remedial shit with no substance?”

“Yeah. Check any shelf” the faceless
pseudo-librarian says back.

And the more he reads and the more he reads and
the more and more…
it’s just more hope he loses;
arms just getting tired of holding pages
burdened with
cliché poems and redundant stories.
(Have I read this before?)

“But really? You cut down a tree for this shit?”

It had more real poetry beforehand.

Now the rusted god goes to sleep and
now I am the rusted god.
And the only thing either of us still hopes for
is that if I publish a book it never comes here.

Not to visit.
Not to fuck.
And especially not to die.

***

Tucked away behind some shit book
about learning to love yourself I find
Nick Cave’s “Sick Bag Song”…
Now that’s a god damn jewel!


[Nathan McCool is the dark lord over on Instagram at God Of Dregs.]

‘ This mess we’re in ‘ – Collaborative – S.K. Nicholas & Samantha Lucero

 

   the lights are always on now, no one ever sleeps.

   i am one of those dreamless alien lights; one of those nobody’s cradled in the teeth of a high-rise window. my building’s a fang that pierces an eye of god. i loved you more because you turned away from me.

   i stare at my reflection until i become the memory of you; until i am become death and stones in pockets, and the formless outside in the velvet dark. you, the ghost that rushes in the corner of my eye, the reason i wear lace when it rains. i’m trying to read your mind, wherever it’s gone, but i can’t. i try to unearth the sandalwood smear of you on my walls and in between my fingers, but you’re not there. i’m not there either, not anymore.

   and so i’ll go to the hudson where they sell fire for your throat when you can’t weep or scream, where there’s bad news in the laughter and they find you floating the morning after.

   this mess we’re in will be over before it can begin.

   With a rock in my hand, I lay you down and taste the sweetness of your lips. I make you pretty and breathe in a scent that tickles me just right. With my fingers around your throat, I squeeze them tight and tell you that I want so much to believe. Among a bed of roses in a part of town others have no need to tread, I watch over you as the sun is replaced by the milk-white moon that makes you look like a porcelain doll my sister used to own. You, my beautiful secret. You, my only regret. You, the only one who knows me for how I am. Sit with me a while and hear my reasons. Give me a little time to tell you how this came to be. Speak some truth to heal these sins. Say something that will ease our passage to a place we were never meant to resist.

   With a rock in my hand, you move with such speed. Like a cat, you twist and turn as I stumble trying so hard to make it known that despite my deeds, I am indeed a good man. But the more you fight against it, the harder it is. The more you move away the closer I come until the only way I can make you understand is for you to see a part of me I try so hard to hide. Hitching up your skirt and sliding down those tights, I smear your lipstick and kiss your throat. Touching you where I feel God the most, I whisper to you knowing there will be no answer. Pulling your hair and sinking my fingers into the ground beneath your head, I hear no birds. I sense no movement at all as the world we used to know turns without us.

   This mess we’re in will be over before we know it.

   i could be the smooth arms of angrboda.

   i could hunt the heat lost in you somewhere like a tremble of life, find the skeleton key that unlocks all locked doors. i could keep one dying secret down in flames. i could birth in kerosene the chained wolf-child, your half-dead maid, an immense snake that cradles the sea. we could be the myth. we could be the end, for fragments like us to fit in life’s hands, full of dirt.

   i’m spit miscarried on grass, i’m all the things i thought, except the thing i could’ve been. i’m lost in my head, and you want me here. swallowing all six red seeds, I still starve in spring. i like it in the dark, with you believing, and you want me to believe in good men, when they would bury vestals alone with a lamp. leave me on a road that i can hitch hike to hell on and think, think… !

   think about a time in red converse. stepping on your toes just to get a close up, listen low so no one else can hear, fuck them, late night in a leather jacket and a pin with a gold tooth and vampire fangs. warning label. 2 packs of american spirits until we’re dry, and anne boelyn’s ghost in the tower of london. a grin of blood they never found on the wall. hell can be real. it’s here; but your face in my hands, watching me cry, that’s worth it.

   “time is a flat circle.”

   if we have one moment that matters,

   this mess we’re in can happen over and over again.

   With a rock in my hand, I use the other to cradle the base of your skull. You used to be my woman. You used to be my girl, but you just wouldn’t be tamed. I never wanted to clip your wings. No, I never wished to see you like that at all, but you never gave me a choice. I could’ve been your man, could’ve been that someone to watch over you when you needed a friend. I was here to give you all of this, yet you went a different way. You gave yourself to those who know only how to betray. It should never have come to this, but what was I supposed to do? Just allow it? Just let you fall further from grace? I’m not a monster, I’m a poet, and all I ever wanted was for you to know it. It was your choice to make.

   With a rock in my hand, I dig the soil with the other. You speak to me but it’s too late. I’ve made up my mind. And yet this isn’t the end. You are the seed that shall be planted. You are the nucleus of what I shall become. You will be mother and lover, and as I lay you down and watch you grow, the past and the future are already dancing on the same page. You have this voice but it needs to be silenced so I can hear what you have to say. You have this beauty but I need to cover it because others will surely come and attempt to sniff you out yet again. Y’know, I’ve never been this open with anyone but you. Never had the chance to be so close. It’s not how you wanted it, I’m sure, but with time you will understand, I can feel it in my bones.

   This mess we’re in gives birth to everything.


S.K. Nicholas is the man at a haunted hotel, alone on a snowy night, trying not to have a drink at My Red Abyss, and Samantha Lucero is the crumbling, lone grave on a hill poking out like a little rotten tooth at Six Red Seeds. ]

 

Turned Out-pbbr

Imagine the blow to my fragile ego the day that I found out; that just because I’m paranoid meant nothing more than that.

I was paranoid.

The lights that flashed around the bend were only there to guide me; not run me in the ditch. The shellshock helmet on my head squeezed tighter than any itch.

I was stymied by a world that never had it out for me in the first place.

Turned out my misfortune was all my own creation. Turned out my enemy was the reflection in the jailhouse mirror.

All the insights I thought would free me, were chains that held me there. And all the things that I thought would hurt me blew as wisps of air.

Perhaps too much time in dark corners made me comfortable with blindness. Perhaps the lack of sun was the reason behind my sickness. Because it turned out there were no aliens or government corruption. Turned out the only one spying on me was the most subjective one of all.

But he had the most valuable insight! you might say. And that might be a lie.

Not to say that the end of days isn’t slowly creeping nigh; this world can sustain only so much pain before she decides to die.

But imagine the load of carrying it on your shoulders. The weight of the future of all mankind because your rigid fingers slipped inside some slippery scorching panties. Because God didn’t whisper in your ear at night. Fundamental religions aren’t always about brimstone and handling snakes. They will teach you fear and they will teach you piety, no doubt. But they will also stack the stones high on your back.

Until your spine must crack.

Chemicals are there, too, a steady stream of hallucination; piebald irises and quivering fingers that seek cessation. How could I have expected to see any sky when clouds were my favorite shape? And violent answers to no questions asked, those were the kneejerk reaction. Yes, I know misfortune was a jailhouse I created myself.

I was paranoid.

There were no family conspiracies, no diabolical plots. Only reactions to loud noises. Self-defense mechanisms from those with the same blood in their veins. I can hear their whispers, he’s at it again, he’s at it again… is that a shovel he’s picking up?

Who wouldn’t talk behind your back when they can’t talk to your face? Where do you expect them to talk?

Turned out the only director of the play was chaos. And he wore a mask named Friend.

Crawling out of a dusky maze and free of perpetual haze; the chains that always bound me are clanking behind in pain. They miss the warmth of flesh; they miss the cries of disdain. But the further I move away as a slug in a trail of salt; I can see and feel warm light ahead and universal gestalt. I know the sum of the whole is greater than its parts.

To walk this path and come out unscathed would be the greatest sin. To look into the sun and be blinded, immersion in its pure beauty, is worth the price of admission. And what did I pay anyway?

I know that my misfortune was no one else’s fault.

I was paranoid.

But it turned out not to be a bad thing.


Based in the piney woods of East Texas, pbbr is a founding member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective. He is a technical writer by trade and the author of “The Scale of Savages” under the pen name Patrick Brendhan, available on Amazon.