Literary Property

by David Lohrey


One doesn’t think of poets as money managers.

It must be nice to see one’s work issued by the government.

You have to give her credit for it, she made an industry

out of having had a hard time of it, even if today she lunches

with the likes of Oprah and Jessica Mitford.

Had there been enough good parts, she could have 

made a fine actress. She would have made a powerful Josie 

Hogan, you know, from that play by Eugene O’Neill, or that

haunting wife of Macbeth, or, better yet, Hamlet’s dear mother.

Instead, she became a bestselling poet.

Something about her reminds me of a circus, a tented

carnival with a snake-man called Scaly and a three-breasted

lady. Step right up and hear her tale of unparalleled woe.

Avoid the door on the right, or you might get her confused

with the tattooed midget in yellow tights and his aqua tunic.

Tell the tale of your miserable past: how

you were beaten and mistreated, and how

you experienced unwanted advances. Why not

explain once again what it was like to have to eat

barbecued bologna on Christmas morning?

Now there’s human suffering.

The royalties mount beyond anyone’s count.

Rake it in while it lasts. There’s the 5-bedroom townhouse

in a fashionable part of Harlem, the mansion down

in swampy Carolina, a wee property along the Hudson

and, rumor has it, a pied-á-terre in a posh section of Paris.

The newest new book is just coming out in a new

waterproof edition. The text, it is said, glows in the dark,

so it can be read underwater, or you can get one that floats.

It is scheduled to appear later this month in coordination

with her new show, Big Woe, the new Broadway Musical.

Have your say, as they say, but be sure to count your earnings.

Some might say it is too much to dare. When you wear earrings 

and things from Tiffany’s, it gets harder and harder to ask for 

sympathy. You might wind up like some of your devoted readers,

much too rich to notice a little girl in need of affection.


David Lohrey’s plays have been produced in Switzerland, Croatia, and Lithuania. In the US, his poems can be found at the RavensPerch, New Orleans Review, Nice Cage, and The Drunken Llama. Internationally, his work appears in journals located in the UK, the Netherlands, India, Malawi, and Hungary. His fiction can be seen at Dodging the Rain, Terror House Magazine, and Literally Stories. David’s collection of poetry, MACHIAVELLI’S BACKYARD, was published by Sudden Denouement Publishers. He lives in Tokyo. You can read more of his writing at Writing, Musing, Poetry

Static

by Nitin Lalit Murali

I called my father today and told him that his death

will give me closure.

“Why don’t you jump off the balcony

while I’m talking to you? You’ll do us all a favor,”

I said, seething with rage.

Echoes of abuse never become whispers;

the past lies mangled like the hind leg of a deer

in the mouth of a lion,

the future is as cut up as paper put through

the shredder,

a voice in the dark

that’s as sharp as a blade screams, “Injustice!”

But does that give me a right to become the very man

I detested growing up?

A tormented, tortured, theatrical fool,

a disgruntled, discontented, disgusting do-nothing,

an uneasy, unstable, unsettled madman.

I wish there was more to life than

looking at my shattered reflection,

I wish there was more than drowning

in a green abyss of self-loathing and hate,

I wish there was someone who’ll love me

unconditionally and help me purge the

anger out.

But I’ve realized that this arid valley of dry bones

is the only place I’ll ever know.


Nitin Lalit Murali is a poet, flash fiction writer and essayist from Bangalore, India. He also enjoys reading literature of different genres and listening to jazz and neo-classical music. He started writing seven years ago and art has consumed him over the years. He blogs regularly at Fighting the Dying Light

Interzone

by Jimmi Campkin

I remember she once told me; the funny thing about endings is that they never happen.  By the time you reach it, you’re already past it. Likewise we can never experience tomorrow, it is always just out of arms reach.  She was always saying stuff like this; it sounded profound but then she once told me that only men die, women just sleep until it is time to wake up.  I was having a panic attack at the time and this apocalyptic vision of women emerging out of a cemetery did nothing to help.  

I hurl another rock into a jet black ocean.  She’s running late but I have a comfortable spot, several small stones and pebbles, three pathetic little flowers clinging onto the pier and a few thousand miles of uninterrupted empty horizon to stare into.  

I dangle my feet over the edge and feel a vertiginous swelling in the pit of my stomach, up my esophagus.  I feel top-heavy as though I might topple forwards, and I’m aware of my shoes being loose on my feet. The stones of the pier sink into the silt below and I think I am sliding forwards so I grab hold of the ground either side of me and cling on.  Below me the water laps, disinterested in one more fragile little soul. No birds in the sky today, just heavy bloated clouds fighting through a film of brown pollution.

When I stare at the sea for too long I see faces in the waves.  Often they protest or cry out, so many drowned sailors and regretful suicides, but sometimes I see a beatific face beaming out, inflected by the rays of an underwater sun, a soul at peace with itself and its journey.  When the wind whips across from the frozen North the faces sink away for the white horses to gallop and crash, falling over each other and throwing their jockeys into the ether.

She tells me often that my eyes are like the sea; still and grey or furious and white.  She cups my hands, blows warm air into my palms and kisses my forehead. In those moments I forget that I have ever felt cold in my life.  When they arrive I run to the storms to watch the sea clawing at the land, allowing huge waves to crash over the defenses soaking me, and I feel the warm furnace beating inside my ribs evaporating the water from my body and leaving a film of salt.  In those moments I am untouchable, unsinkable, invincible.

I throw another rock and I see faces scrambling to devour it like so many hungry fish.  The ground feels steady now and I am brave enough to rest my hands in my lap, to kick my legs freely knowing that I won’t lose my shoes.  To my left I can hear the crunch of a pair of sneakers approaching. A pair of legs appears in my peripheral vision and a familiar hand tousles my hair and strokes the back of my neck.  

Crouching onto her haunches she asks me; what are you thinking about?  

Nothing, I lie.  


Writer, photographer and creator of SANCTUARY. https://jimmicampkin.com/

“I put my heart and my soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process” – Vincent van Gogh

Jimmi Campkin

Doping in shadow

by Oldepunk

doping in shadow

is it love or just thirst

I’m feral, impotent

turn, turn, turning

I am a quark

I am nothing until

counted

all the feels, like Lana,

so wretchedly exquisite.

razor-bladed surroundings, blank

faces pass so fast they blur

into Van Gogh ukiyo-e

hey you, still life

scrape away this Vernier scale

leave mass alone to ponder

weight, levitate

expensive conversations

feed the souls of our lonely

bottom feeding in retro

too young to know better

too old to care

bite into that scripture

mad dog driving

rushing home to….screen

divert, deviate, masturbate

unchained, infringed

so many fences

out of dollaz

but take no quarter(1 of 4)

doping in shadow

when you get this down, push

no matter the cost

is it hate or just hunger

you are unbroken, potent

let us begin

to explore(abhoreadore?)…..love or hate

thirst or hunger

in the end, we will

know.

introduce me to your

particular kind of damage

I like to hurt.

let’s do it in the light.

you can carve

your scars onto me

so you don’t feel all alone


An old punk trying to make sense of what I see and hear and think and feel. Words pulled from the ether. Introverted agoraphobic explorer.  Hockey and food junkie(snob).

Editor, Contributor and supporter of Sudden Denouement, a literary collective.

image courtesy of Pinterest

Lost and Found

by David Lohrey

I am not interested in any poem that begins,

“I found myself.”

I found myself in a den of thieves.

I found myself a Hershey bar.

I found myself some leftover apple pie.

I found a dead mouse in the kitchen.

I found myself in bed with my mother.

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

I’d be sleeping on a feather bed.

Forget it. I am not about finding myself.

I’m lost.

I am lost to this world.

I am lost to myself.

I am lost somewhere between 5th and York.

I am lost in my sorrows.

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

I’d be sleeping on a feather bed.

I hate all lies and the liars who tell them.

I am a self-hating Jew.

I hate what we’ve become.

I hate my neighbors for coming and going.

I hate my wife for leaving.

I hate the Department of Energy.

I hate my Adam’s Apple.

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

I’d be sleeping on a feather bed.

You can say that again.

You can put that down to luck.

You can go to hell.

You can give me $3 worth on Pump #6.

You can put that where the sun don’t shine.

You can shut your mouth.

You can give me a kiss.

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

If I had listened to what mama said,

I’d be sleeping on a feather bed.

Won’t I ever see you again?

Won’t you please be quiet?

Won’t you be applying to Princeton?

Won’t your parents find out?

Won’t you live to regret it?

Won’t you please get down from there?

Why?

Why not?

Because all my cares be taken away.



David Lohrey’s plays have been produced in Switzerland, Croatia, and Lithuania. In the US, his poems can be found at the RavensPerch, New Orleans Review, Nice Cage, and The Drunken Llama. Internationally, his work appears in journals located in the UK, the Netherlands, India, Malawi, and Hungary. His fiction can be seen at Dodging the Rain, Terror House Magazine, and Literally Stories. David’s collection of poetry, MACHIAVELLI’S BACKYARD, was published by Sudden Denouement Publishers. He lives in Tokyo. You can read more of his writing at Writing, Musing, Poetry

Amoebas, Locusts, Fog

by Jonathan O’Farrell

How can I describe this left hemispheric madness?

Well try this,

first came delicate filigree amoeba,

followed by blue green algae?

But less blue, more green

with a hint of burnt umber?

It remained so for sometime.

I hoped to bode it farewell.

I bade my time, waited.

As per usual you wake up one morning and it’s,

it’s gone! Oh, what was that?

But no, it came at me again,

bloodged, bludgeoned itself into my conciousness;

thicker, inkier and then locusts

as if from afar,

covering from horizon to horizon,

up and down,

above and below.

Locusts, swarms of them

doing what swallows do,

only not so prettily.

They stir up in their wake indeterminate fog

and it banks and it swirls

and it impinges.

And so I rest upon my one, good, in inverted commas,

right eye and it works harder

and I work harder,

maintaining slices of routine.

Maintaining fronts,

amidst all those banks of fog.

Morningtide, I pray, eveningtide, I pray.

I think for now, that’s all I can do

and hope, the good hope.

Listen to spoken word reading of this poem

“I guess you might describe me as a semi-nomad, at the moment . . . and in the moment, I might change. I am transitioning into a creative life, blogging, photography and, significantly, the publication of my first two photographically illustrated poetry anthologies, this year.”

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Wonderstance – Basilike Pappa

Winter in radio frequencies

his mad orchestra

the pale state of heaven

Sluggish days / cemeteries  

for pencils – broken  

Are you upset? Walk often

Until communication returns

sleep wake attack escape

social shadowplay

Feed yourself:

the kitchen knife

gleam of the underworld

Windows are reflection / also inspection

But if I fly through them – broken

(as long as they’re not open)

Anathema to insect screens:

instead of sticky tape,

with nails to the frames are attached

See?

Afterlife does nothing on a whim –

follows protocols

Resurrect somebody or make a replica – do it fast

When I repair myself

in the green and gallant spring

when birds do sing

the pine-wood grows alive with wings

face rentals suffer much

my scarves

my boots

my coats

my gloves

will go through

a mild case

of wonderstance

 


Borrowed Lines

In the green and gallant spring: In the Green and Gallant Spring by Robert Louis Stevenson

When birds do sing: It was a lover and his lass by William Shakespeare

The pine-wood grows alive with wings: Spring in the South by Henry Van Dyke


Basilike Pappa is a bookmonger and a wordcubine. She believes that in poetry an image must montage the mind with false cognates, and that god is sun on a copper coffee pot. Her prose has appeared in Life & Art Magazine, Intrinsick and Timeless Tales, and her poetry in Rat’s Ass Review, Surreal Poetics, Bones – Journal for Contemporary Haiku and in Nicholas Gagnier’s anthology All the Lonely People. Most of the time she can be found reading near a window in Greece. You can see more of her work on her blog Silent Hour.

The noise of this brain

By Devika Mathur

And so I crumble in my own jaw line

Leaking from the iris,

A stoned mahogany stuck

Beneath the frivolous sky,

I lie like a pond, open and scarred,

Rummaging through your eyes,

To seek something that belongs to my lip.

I fail.

I fail the second day as well.

My mind talks pills and potions

A volatile adamant touch of burps.

A ripple lost and secured.

My mind is insane, forever.



Devika Mathur, a poetess from India is a published poetess and is a lover of everything dark and surreal. Her work has been previously published in Sudden Denouement, Visual Verse, Dying dahlia review, two drops of ink, Madswirl, The rye whiskey review among various others. Find more of her musings at https://myvaliantsoulsblog.wordpress.com

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.


 

GI Distress

By Kindra M. Austin

definitely you.

Don’t be stoopid. It’s not me—

1.

Shush, now.

I know

break-ups are rough. Tough like

Rawhide.

Ever watch a dog chew on processed cow skin?

That shit’s indigestible; causes intestinal

swelling and diarrhea, etcetera.

Funny,

some relationships are (un)just

oversized break-ups in-waiting,

glazed with meat flavoring for optimal taste.

2.

I used to lounge with you

outside in the summer dark.

Under the stars,

we’d swig bottles of Miller Lite

and inhale Marlboro tobacco;

two Alphas trying

to cancel each other out.

3.

Shush.

That’s a goddamned lie.

I

never had int’rest

in your use-less

competition.

Now you howl by yourself,

wondering

who will clean up your vomit.

It’s not me—

definitely you.  


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.