Introducing New SD Writer: Abigail J. Brown “Ancient Tales”

Waterhouse, John William, 1849-1917; A Mermaid

[Artwork: John William Waterhouse]

Ancient Tales

Alluring red hair,

Said to be stained

With the blood of 10’000 men.

My bare breast

Drenched in pearls and shells.

Glistening, clean skin

Only to temp them more.

The curves of their wives on land,

And the tail of a goddess.

Scales blinding

In the warm golden sun.

A song is sung as they sail near,

To calm the waves

And draw them here.

To catch me

Before I pull them in

Would only mean immortality.

As they come closer,

With one touch of my pruned fingers,

On their soft cheeks.

They attempt to steal a kiss,

Sinking my nails deep.

Pulling them over

Temptress of the sea.

[Abigail Brown is a lover of creative ways of to express the “self.” She seeks to find ways to tell a story and eliciting feeling through her work. She is a a mother by day and a poet by night. She is a member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective.]

The Invention of Arson David Lohrey

fuller

The Invention of Arson

Who started the fires? Many are drawn to the flames – men and women
in equal number. They clamber to get closer. They take off work to travel:
the flames climbing higher, engulfing, filling the skies. The smoke gets in
everything; there are ashes in the houses, on the carpets. Many stand still
and hold out their tongues. They tear off their clothing. They crave the heat. They’re excited by the smell of ruin. They’re delirious.

The fires mean trouble. The people can’t tell the difference
between fireworks and flames. They welcome the fires with tribal dances.
The women bare their breasts. It excites the men. The logs in the fireplace
have rolled into the living room but the people are too drunk to push them back. They’re laughing. They’re excited that something’s finally happening.
They’re so bored the thought of burning the house down makes them giddy.

The gals want their backsides smacked. The men get close
enough to the flames to singe their body hair. The women shriek.
The parents no longer watch the children. Many die running into the flames. The parents shrug. What’s the difference? The children carry fiery
logs about and throw them into the cars. They take hot sticks and poke
out each other’s eyes.

The parents don’t know what to do, but declare with a sense of urgency
there is nothing to be done. It’s all beyond them; it’s fate.
They move closer to the fires. They’ve burned all their clothes.
They have nothing on. They push the children away and commence
to fornicate in the ashes. The men relieve themselves on the hot coals.
Many children catch fire.

They move back to the caves when the fires burn down. They remove
the paintings from their frames to use the wood as kindling.
The museums are ransacked. Libraries are emptied. They desperately
raid the theatres for wood from the stage floors. In short order,
there’s nothing left. The fires die out. The men and women crouch
in their earthen holes and cry.

Some brave women venture out but quickly regret it.
Most hide themselves deep within. Much if not all is lost.
The fires burn out. When there was fire and music,
nudity seemed sexy, but now the women are cold.
They feel ugly like insects. The men don’t caress them;
they kick them. The sexes are not equal.

 

[David Lohrey is from Memphis, where he grew up, and now lives in Tokyo, where he teaches and writes for local travel magazines. He graduated from UC Berkeley and then moved to LA where he lived for over 20 years.
Internationally, his poetry can be found in Otoliths, Stony Thursday Anthology, Sentinel Quarterly, and Tuck Magazine. In the US, recent poems have appeared in Poetry Circle, FRiGG, Obsidian, and Apogee Journal. His fiction can be read in Crack the Spine, Dodging the Rain, and Literally Stories.
David’s The Other Is Oneself, a study of 20th-century literature, was published in 2016, while his first collection of poetry, Machiavelli’s Backyard, was released in September 2017. He is a member of the Sudden Denouement Collective.]

 

Our Dissolving Omnibus (Pages to Pulp)- N. Ian McCarthy

Had they, at that time, yet mined the rock salt from
the rich, wide ducts of your fugitive tears? In that far
afternoon, you sat curled around the rim of your ringed
fast food cup, dragging its lame hockey puck with its

tepid three inches of black ocean across the mournful,
textured tabletop—assembled with man-age mortar to
linger, disconsolate and amputated, five hundred years
past the white, mute February of the last human bone.

Where, then, to deposit the porous clay figures of our
talks? We spoke keen rondels, shaped to pry apart the
floor planks of passion and the pathology of degenerative
arthritic knee joints. In the vacant, beige tote that

is a dawn without thumbs, hunger gnaws, and similes,
out which French doors exit all the stories? And when
the unwinded flute of your face cannoned out the big
picture window, over the dishwater lake, sinking deep

into the yielding groin of a low wave, I am humming
(internally) the cremated melody of an old sea shanty
whose gold hoop has never pierced my left earlobe.
I have tied no sturdy knots in hemp rope. My father

was not he who swung the sloping Irish foothill of a hot
sledge at Ford axles like orange glowworms, capped in
a Dutch oven’s steel sinus until the egg timer cave-in of
his trestled arteries. I knew none of those spilled pink

sea monkeys who diffused their reshuffled molecules
into the smoldering blue of the Coral Sea. I only prune
the spear tips of your limpid eyes as butterfly pins. I am
a dag of cardboard—a box marked for uncoupled shoes.

 

Image courtesy of Getty.


N. Ian McCarthy lives in the southern United States, where he writes poetry and brief prose. His works have appeared on cocktail napkins and in bifold restaurant placemats since the early 2000s. He believes in the principle of essential human worth and in the incomparable value of stories and experiences; he hopes that by attempting to understand better, we attempt to be better. He’s been fascinated by outer space since boyhood, though he has an irrational fear of gas giants. He maintains a small blog at Mad Bongo Maze.

Tumble Weed Blues – David Lohrey

There can be bebop and billowing skirts,
hot pastrami and cold beer, but only if
we’re good.

That’s the catch. We’re weighed down by doubt.
Can all this wonder be had for free? It’s
time to take stock.

All the pretty horses can’t put humpty dumpty
together again. It’s partly a matter of will
power, sure.

It’s mostly a matter of power, pure and simple.
And the will is half-hearted. There’s no
zeal. There’s no roll.

Ketchup, but no mustard. There are eggs, but
Benedict died last June of a stroke. Whoever
said we could have it all, lied.

The billowing skirts were not the first to go, but
the girls get tired of playing. They’ve
been recruited by the army.

Now women carry guns. Our next loss is jazz.
Without the blues, there’s no rhythm. The
country’s lost its beat.

Everyone is out of step. The problem
is not the booze. It’s the money. We’re all
too rich for our own good. We’re unhappy.

Louis Armstrong was elated. Count Basie, giddy.
Think back. You remember. Jazz was rollicking: horns
toot-tooting, the pianist on his feet, the drums exploding.

We’re all miserable. Fattened up for slaughter. Now
we wait for the other shoe to drop, as the centipede
crawls toward the exit.

We know it’s just a matter of time. It can’t go on like this forever.
We’ve become too refined, far too delicate, too fat for
good music.

Anyway…no one has the oomph. It’s all petered out.
We’re out of gas. There’s an energy shortage,
you know.

For the most part, pictures will be enough, for a while,
like those of farmers. Nobody wants to get his hands dirty,
digging in flower beds, plowing, changing diapers.

No one wants to turn potatoes, feed the pigs or geld the stallions.
What is there to celebrate if there are no children?
That’s the question.

If there’s no harvest, what’s the point of drinking? And
now they say there’s no purpose in planting flowers.
The suburbs are obsolete, no pleasure in squirrels.

No need for dogs to bark. No need for evening walks. No
need for games of catch. Eliminate the lawns, they decree,
which are nothing more than symbols of Farmer Brown.

There’ll be nothing to remember, not even the sound of crying babies.
Family life is finished. Dirty floors, mother’s milk, chicken pox
are all a thing of the past.

Now the smell of grass must go. It’s no longer the Age of Aquarius;
it’s the age of exhaustion. We’re entering America’s very own
Cultural Revolution. At the end of the day, they’ll be hell to pay.

It’s the age of recrimination. People stand around pointing fingers,
as the time French women were made to pay for bedding
enemy soldiers. They were driven through the streets, naked.

It’s an age of exculpation. We all want to wash our hands of it.
The only music left is what we demand to see others face.
Otherwise we want silence.


[David Lohrey is the Shadow Lord of brain-seizing, heart-piercing poetry, and a medium for the ether words. He 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 is currently writing a memoir of his years living on the Persian Gulf. Also, he’s freakin’ awesome.]


Continue reading

Oscar Wilde Is Back/David Lohrey

At all costs, be nice.

Your job is to make people feel good.

You’re a defender of the status quo.

You agree with Stalin:

everyone should be happy.

The first to stop smiling gets the axe.

The first to stop clapping, disappears.

What’s all this doom and gloom?

The Democrats are the party of good cheer.

The Republicans represent darkness.

Oscar Wilde – were he alive – would be

easy to place; he never had anything nice to say.

We know what he represented. We

don’t need to read his stories.

His books don’t deserve reprinting.

Take them out of circulation. I’ve got it:

let’s distribute the works of a dedicated progressive

instead: Obama’s memoirs along with the yellow pages.

We’ll make them mandatory reading, like

Slaughter-House Five for incoming freshmen.

We’ll not only not read Oscar Wilde, we’ll

arrest those who try to keep him in print.

We’ll listen in on their conversations. We’ll

have anyone who looks unhappy picked up,

anyone who’s not delighted, arrested. Progressives

are happy. We’ll make sadness against the law,

beginning with Mr. Wilde, who was a notorious complainer.

He demanded a dialogue when we know

happy people prefer to talk to themselves.

Saul Bellow said that: an unbroken record,

an incantation of jolly thoughts, a forced smile,

or even a perpetual dance fits democracy best.

Wilde dared to ask for open

discussion. He wanted the young

to think and debate; he spoke

like a Sophist; every student of Plato knows there’s

only one truth. Our professors know a thing or two,

beginning with the desire to see Wilde banned.

Let’s drive him off. Hell, we’ll

put him in prison, once we

deprive him of a living. The

editors at Simon & Schuster should

be picked up, too. At least they deserve

to be boycotted and picketed – driven out of business,

for daring to give freedom a greenlight, for

giving that faggot an open mic.

He says he’d be happier in prison anyway, so let’s do

him the favor. We’ll make dialogue against the law,

not just a forbidden custom, like masturbation. We’ll censor

discordant voices. We’ll start with that loudmouth from England.

We’ll get him off television and run reruns of Downton

Abbey for Anglophiles, something wholesome about

heterosexual families, not a vile-mouthed homo spouting trash,

like his hatred of conformity and political correctness.

Who the fuck does this guy think he is?


[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 is currently writing a memoir of his years living on the Persian Gulf. Also, he’s freakin’ awesome.]

a shriveled love note in the barrel of an empty gun – samantha lucero

the man i loved who never knew
was tall like most men girls love & never tell
he was  t h e  unreachable one in missing scenes of my other life — one i could’ve had, but couldn’t, & now i can’t at all —
he was that untouched  n a m e  i never murmured aloud
a strangled sonnet that i would recite to a chasm in each yearning lover’s prison-grey heart,  wet-eyed with a desert-tongue and a diamond gun,
because you’re holding the smeared organ
the holy medal in my scalded dreams, where no one can hear what i whisper into my own nebulous mind,
so i scream in my head when i see you,
even in this inner-woven world where i can confess
to the fake piece of you that isn’t really there,

i don’t, i wouldn’t dare.


[Samantha Lucero writes stuff sometimes at sixredseeds.]

Oscar Wilde Is Back/David Lohrey

At all costs, be nice.

Your job is to make people feel good.

You’re a defender of the status quo.

You agree with Stalin:

everyone should be happy.

The first to stop smiling gets the axe.

The first to stop clapping, disappears.

What’s all this doom and gloom?

The Democrats are the party of good cheer.

The Republicans represent darkness.

Oscar Wilde – were he alive – would be

easy to place; he never had anything nice to say.

 

We know what he represented. We

don’t need to read his stories.

His books don’t deserve reprinting.

Take them out of circulation. I’ve got it:

let’s distribute the works of a dedicated progressive

instead: Obama’s memoirs along with the yellow pages.

We’ll make them mandatory reading, like

Slaughter-House Five for incoming freshmen.

We’ll not only not read Oscar Wilde, we’ll

arrest those who try to keep him in print.

We’ll listen in on their conversations. We’ll

have anyone who looks unhappy picked up,

anyone who’s not delighted, arrested. Progressives

are happy. We’ll make sadness against the law,

beginning with Mr. Wilde, who was a notorious complainer.

He demanded a dialogue when we know

happy people prefer to talk to themselves.

Saul Bellow said that: an unbroken record,

an incantation of jolly thoughts, a forced smile,

or even a perpetual dance fits democracy best.

 

Wilde dared to ask for open

discussion. He wanted the young

to think and debate; he spoke

like a Sophist; every student of Plato knows there’s

only one truth. Our professors know a thing or two,

beginning with the desire to see Wilde banned.

Let’s drive him off. Hell, we’ll

put him in prison, once we

deprive him of a living. The

editors at Simon & Schuster should

be picked up, too. At least they deserve

to be boycotted and picketed – driven out of business,

for daring to give freedom a greenlight, for

giving that faggot an open mic.

 

He says he’d be happier in prison anyway, so let’s do

him the favor. We’ll make dialogue against the law,

not just a forbidden custom, like masturbation. We’ll censor

discordant voices. We’ll start with that loudmouth from England.

We’ll get him off television and run reruns of Downton

Abbey for Anglophiles, something wholesome about

heterosexual families, not a vile-mouthed homo spouting trash,

like his hatred of conformity and political correctness.

Who the fuck does this guy think he is?


[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 is currently writing a memoir of his years living on the Persian Gulf. Also, he’s freakin’ awesome.]

The Weyward Sisters: Hand in Hand – A Collaboration from the Women of Sudden Denouement

Stand, a nighean.
Call the moon.
Bring your Wolves
With you.
Let down the flames of your hair.
The Great War
Has come again.
 – Rana Kelly

In the end there will be fire and ash
But to us it will be like the Fourth of July
What could be more powerful than women
Standing together in solidarity
We’re taking a page out of Lilith’s book
The one you never read
We will not lie on the bottom
We will stand side by side.
Hannah Wagner

skål,
Thrills the Viking Whisper ice –
splinters of the north wind
Of the high noon blood of sister-raiders slain
The shield-maidens dine
Tonight, too.
Samantha Lucero

It is well within the fires
of burning words
and stolen wombs, ravaged,
we have birthed a beast.
Swaddled in the souls
of her mothers of fire
and maidens of ice,
she has been touched
with the wisdom of crones blazing,
and she will cast
her shadow upon the ashes
of their bones.
Nicole Lyons

hail the harlot
and crown the courtesan,
for she has seen seduction’s beast
and let it swallow her.
let her tread its veins like footpaths
and sleep upon its heart.
Lois E. Linkens 

We stand shoulder to shoulder with our sisters
Warrior women all
We draw down the moon and hold her as our shield
Our pens will be our swords
We will no longer be silenced
Hear the chorus of our voices
We shall ROAR!
Christine Ray


Nighean is Scottish Gaelic for “lass.”

Lilith is considered to be Adams first wife who would not lie beneath him in bed. She wanted to be his equal.

Shield maidens were Vikings who fought alongside the men in battle.

Weyward Sisters are a reference from the witches in Macbeth.