Sonata: Excerpt from Eric Syrdal’s Pantheon

She has seen evidence
of the beast
everywhere around her
Through the streets
of the city
it leaves its evidence
on the grey landscape

Scorch marks on the concrete
broken scales on the playgrounds
teeth shattered and discarded
in the gutter
shades of green and brown
but often clear like ice

She hears its wings
scraping on the sides
of their tenement
at night
While everyone but she
is sleeping

She’s heard its low growl
The heavy air of its presence
in the hallway
right outside her door

Pure of heart…

Her blood formed a natural
resistance to the beast

When the pressure of
the outside world bowed in
on her
The air would thicken enough
that she could hear its voice
speaking to her in rich whispers

But her life was solid and
secure behind the ramparts
she had spent the dearest
years of her existence building

And so…
she would go…
from gatehouse to field
from field to gatehouse
day in
day out
collecting her wages
from the lord of the land
Paying her tithe
to king and country

Feeding mouths which cannot feed themselves
saving the scraps for herself
Dining alone in the kitchen
When the rest of the world is in repose
fat and groggy on a full belly

Retiring herself to a lump-filled mattress
only when the hearts and breaths
of those around her
beat the slow rhythm of slumber

It is then,
In this time where dreams hang
just out of reach

That the dragon speaks

A thin crack
no bigger than a length of
brown hair
from her head
will let it filter in

The voice…
like salted butter
on warm bread
aged and beautiful
like a rich wine
from ancient Greece

What harm could be done?

let it inside
let it crawl around the floor
under the kitchen table
around the chair
sleep on the window sill

It steals a small, reptilian kiss
from her lips
like a playful suitor…

Watching TV at 3am
Away from home and the hearts that need her
In the moments between heartbeats

When the world takes its accusing eyes off of her

A flicker of a forked tongue
and
a trickle of fire
down the throat

Serpentuously sliding itself
around her heart
purring there
until morning

Leaving no trace

Gentlemanly stealing away
before dawn
taking with it, the guest key
sweetly provided
and leaving in its place
a lovely note of:

“fond wishes and thank you for a lovely evening”

Flowery signature
punctuated with a long stem rose

And so it comes to pass
that the dragon and the damsel
purchase a delicate peace
and defer payment to a
nondescript weekday of the far future

Pantheon is coming soon from Sudden Denouement Publishing


Eric Syrdal is a poet/author.  He’s an avid gamer and Sci-Fi enthusiast. He enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy literature and spends a great deal of his writing time focused in those genres.  He is a romantic, at heart. His work usually contains elements of the supernatural and fantastic along with potent female voices and archetypes.

He is from New Orleans, Louisiana, where he lives with wife and two children.  You can read more Eric’s writing at My Sword and ShieldWhisper and The Roar and can follow him on his Facebook Author Page

Meet Sudden Denouement Collective Member Anthony Gorman

The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.
What name do you write under?
I write under the name “Grumpy” Gorman. When I was in my teens, I wanted to write dark-tinged children’s poems under that pseudonym in homage to Mother Goose. Writing took a back-seat following a severely challenging mental health episode, and when I re-courted the craft, it was almost in reverse – I was writing tarred adult poems, with the familiar skip and ring of a kiddy write
In what part of the world do you live?
I live in Ottawa, Canada – a scenic city with a rich mix of cultures, but still quite conservative and stoic as a whole
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in a loving, well-intentioned home that was inhabited with the beast that is mental illness. It kind of dictated the pace and direction of the family dynamic, often resulting in the throb and unpredictability of mood and behaviour. I followed by dropping high school altogether due to schoolyard violence and bullying. Later, I re-connected with post-secondary education in a Social Work capacity and spent approximately fifteen years in and out of crisis work and working with individuals living with concurrent disorders. My lived experience provided me the credibility and compassion needed to engage the ‘perceived’ unable to engage “resilients” in a helpful manner. Much of my writing is my own processing of vicarious and lived experience trauma. Some compositions are autobiographical, yet many involve my inhabiting the perspective of someone I’ve had the honour of working alongside. It’s messy, but cathartic. I am a divorced father to two wonderful children who bring ceaseless smiles in the limited time I see them. I currently work part-time as an Educational Assistant in the local school board, primarily with children with alleged and diagnosed behavioural challenges. The students know me as Mr. Gorman, “Grumpy” swapped in place of, of course. I am passionate about word manipulation, visual art, music and all things sensual. I feel deep and dig deeper.
Where do you publish your work?
Hands In the Garden – Short Poems for Short Attention Spans
When did you begin your blog and what motivated you start it?
A kindred friend introduced me to her WordPress blog about 5 years ago. We embarked on a short-lived collaborative project that involved discussion and examination of our senses and descriptions of their encounters with different world stimuli. I eventually started my own poetry and art site based on my suggested but rejected name for a band with my school-aged friends.
What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging?
As an individual who has limited social connections in my everyday life beyond the superficial and work-related, I have been able to connect with others who understand the value of the imaginative and oft affected spirit. I continue to blog because it keeps my mind creatively engaged and helps purge the clutter of the creaking brain.
How did you find your way to Sudden Denouement?
Shamefully, I was ignorant to Sudden Denouement’s existence before having connected unknowingly with one of it’s writers and editors. I had seen the name in passing and had always valued the poetry that had accompanied the name, but was that it was a collective that was so appreciative of diversity of strength/breath and nature of the beautiful, and harsh debris scattered throughout. It helps, even if modestly, a rather ghastly wound in our general societal acceptance and acknowledgement of the impacts of experienced and vicarious traumas.
What does “Divergent Literature” mean to you?
I would liken my visual interpretation of divergent to that of a several-headed serpent attempting to strike in seven directions at once. That, or a muddled mind being prodded by different emotions simultaneously, often grating at each other or in complementary friction of one another. Difference, outside the norm thinking, writing free of the guilt, shame and judgment. Raw expression, met with compassion, ideally.
Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language.’ What is it?
The secret language, simply put, is the complex, cathartic and tragic feelings, emotions, experiences externalized in tangibles, cradled in the empathy of the understanding. Kind of like getting out the gross, and having others identify and appreciate the messiness of the purge.
Tell us about your literary influences.
I am not particularly well-read and haven’t been exposed to an extremely diverse or obscure breadth of literature but I have always enjoyed the writing of Shel, Silverstein, Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss and other imaginative bat-crap bizarre stuff. In fact, I enjoy a children’s novels for their limitless abilities to unhinge the expected and do so with saucer-eyed innocence. I swim in the biting snark of Oscar Wilde, and appreciate widely-lauded poetry of Plath, Hemmingway, Dickinson, Eliot. That being said, there are many modern poets I have discovered accidentally online who’ve had huge influence on my writing including the compositions of Robert Okaji, Braeden Michaels, Lou Rasmus, Jeanne of Borderline Crossing, Nan Mykel, Mark Tulin, Ankit Thapa, Erroneouschoices, Rory Mattier, several of the authors featured on this site and many other fairly unknown and unappreciated writers that I have shamefully yet unintentionally unmentioned here.
Has any of your work been published in print? How did that happen?
I have had poetry featured on The Vita Brevis, The Alien Poetry site
What are your writing goals?
My goals are to keep writing, developing, learning, clawing deeper and potentially delving into children’s novels and a gratuitous and silly autobiography that might take shape in the form of a silly graphic novel as per the suggestion of a fellow online writer.
Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites?
Blunt Force
Refuge
Lupid
4:58
What else would like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?
I want to share that my illness and experiences are rich in shame, but ripe in recovery and fight and that I feel extremely grateful to have landed myself among such a fine group of talented individuals. I’ve found my people.

Coming July 2018- ‘A Sparrow Stirs its Wings’ by Rachel Finch

Sudden Denouement Publishing is thrilled to announce the upcoming release of Rachel Finch’s book of poetry ‘A Sparrow Stirs its Wings.” Rachel is the powerhouse behind the Bruised But Not Broken community on Facebook, which provides support and healing for trauma survivors. She is also a Contributing Writer for Blood Into Ink and founder of Bruised But Not Broken on WordPress. She is a symbol of hope throughout the world and we are honored to see her vision come to life.

Meet Sudden Denouement Collective Member Nicole Lyons

The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.

What name do you write under?
Nicole Lyons

In what part of the world do you live?
Beautiful British Columbia, Canada. I live where one must dress for all four seasons in one day.

Tell us about yourself.
I have the heart of an angel and the mouth of a drunken sailor. I am loyal to a fault and I always bet on the underdog. I dislike crowds and most people in general, and if it wasn’t for fear of depriving my daughters, I’d move us to a cabin in the woods near a secluded little lake to live out the rest of my days.

Where do you publish your work?
The Lithium Chronicles

When did you begin your blog and what motivated you start it?
A few years ago now, I can’t recall exactly when. I had been writing for some online magazines and mental health websites and decided to start my own and name it after my FB page I had started years before. I had finally accepted my diagnosis of bipolar disorder after many years of denial and I started to chronicle my journey on and off of meds and the bumpy road to stability. Sometimes I still wonder if I’ll ever reach that place.

What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging?
My head is a terrible, and sometimes a wonderful, place to be stuck in and I find writing not only helps me escape but also helps a few people who like to read my work.

How did you find your way to Sudden Denouement?
I stumbled onto the site and read Jasper and Sam and was blown away and had an overwhelming urge to submit, so I did.

What does “Divergent Literature” mean to you?
It’s fearless, it’s raw, and it’s honest. It’s nothing like everything you’ve always been told to read, and it’s everything any writers worth their salt will strive to nail down and pen for themselves. If art was a school and genres and mediums were the students, divergent literature would be the kids that come from all walks of life, all classes of society, all races and religions, that have little to nothing in common but the one burning thing that finds them all in detention together on a Saturday morning.

Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language.’ What is it?
If I told you that it wouldn’t be a secret anymore. If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand.

Tell us about your literary influences.
Bukowski, Sexton, Plath, Leonard Cohen, Gordon Downie

Has any of your work been published in print?  How did that happen?
My second book of poetry, I am a World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl was published by Jasper and Sudden Denouement Publishing.

What are your writing goals?
To not stop

Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites?
Drawing a blank

What else would like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?
It’s in the acknowledgments of my book 😉

Meet Sudden Denouement Collective Member Nicholas Gagnier

The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.

What name do you write under?
Most of the time, my own. Past blogs have taken on a moniker that is not my own, but every book I have published bears my name and not the project it’s associated with.

In what part of the world do you live?
I live in Canada, in the national capital, Ottawa. My parents met working the Prime Minister’s office in the late 70s. It’s pretty quiet here, unlike our neighbours Toronto and Montreal. Very much a political town, full of old buildings and the Parliament can be seen from every direction when downtown.

Tell us about yourself.
I am a writer. I feel like I can say because there are almost physical withdrawals to going a day without writing or creating something. I started writing poetry when I was eleven. To be honest, it was never part of my plan to be a poet, but my father was gone a lot and I was left with his monster of a third wife who emotionally manipulated every second of my day. Writing became my form of control in a hostile environment, and poetry was so easy, it just evolved from there.

Where do you publish your work?
FVR Publishing

When did you begin your blog and what motivated you start it?
When I was 22, my friend took her life and ever since, not only have my own mental health issues become more prominent, but I promised to honour her somehow. After completing my first novel in 2011, I started thinking about blogging. All the poetry on my hard drive, some stretching back years, wasn’t exactly my first attempt at a blog, but the reactions were swift and positive, and it’s something I spent the last six years honing. I feel truly blessed for having had the experience, which has opened so many amazing doors and introduced me to some wonderful people.

What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging?
Honestly, I just love writing. I have struggled with some facets of it over the years, but even at my most financially or mentally precarious, I feel so blessed to have the compulsion to create. Not everything comes out the way you’d hope, but that only makes your best work stand out more.

When and how did you find your way to Sudden Denouement?
Very recently, in fact. I’m the new kid here. For me, joining SD is the outcome of cultivating relationships with some amazing people. I believe the earliest exchange between one of its writers and I was with Kindra on my blog. Others followed my blog, and I followed them back. I found Nicole on Facebook while looking through poetry pages, and her work spoke (and still does!) volumes to me. I remember meeting Christine through my mental health book, Swear to Me, although I’m sure we had exchanges before that. It took awhile to connect everyone to Sudden Denouement, but I could not turn down the chance to work with so many of my favourite modern poets.

What does “Divergent Literature” mean to you?
Well, to diverge is to separate, and I take that to mean we stand apart from the mainstream, carving out our own niche in the literary world. I have nothing but respect for for those who do the things they’ve always been done, but I was never good with conventional means, so I’m happy with that definition.

Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language.’ What is it?
I don’t yet know Jasper well enough to deduce much from this statement, honestly.

Tell us about your literary influences.
Stephen King was my first huge literary influence- my mom gave me a copy of Cujo when I was 9. Once the nightmares subsided, I went on to read most of his work up until the mid-2000s. Chuck Palahnuik is another huge one. I used to read a lot more before my kid was born. I should correct that. I used to read more than Dr. Seuss before my kid. I’m happy because she’s now learning how to read, and hopefully I can show her there’s a lot more than picture books. My dad once gave me a copy of the Two Towers without having read Fellowship of the Ring, so needless to say, I hope to do a better job teaching her than he did with me.

Has any of your work been published in print?  How did that happen?
I have published three full collections of poetry- GROUND ZERO, SWEAR TO ME and the FVR Collection. There have been five smaller chapbooks, ten to twelve poems each, that focused on subjects ranging from economic disparity to Donald Trump. Those are some of my favourites.

I have completed two full novels in my lifetime. The first one was a mess and the second is in eternal limbo. I will publish my third, which is about half finished, sometime next year, using all the experience I’ve gathered publishing poetry.

What are your writing goals?
I used to write because I thought I was a great writer, but I have been humbled the last five years. Part of that was my own mental health deteriorating, another was seeing the sheer breadth of talent I had to compete with. At my lowest moment, I had this epiphany, that all my secrets had to come out, including my struggles with my sexuality and depression. I had to stop pretending to be what I wanted to be and be what I am, or it would kill me. To make this a bit more succinct, the goals are momentary now. I don’t need to be the world’s best writer, just one I like myself.

Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites?
There’s no easy to answer to this, as I am my own worst critic. Everything in the FVR Collection comprises the poems I keep closest, the ones I would want my daughter and family to see after I’m gone. At the risk of diverging from the pack, I will leave this quote instead, from my poem “AlterKnitUniVerse”:

Skies under
the influence of
a cooler shade of day;
a pair of new
moons serve to
ascertain this
 
isn’t a world created
for me but
the one I endlessly
handcrafted,
destroyed
and adapted,
 
and I let
its rapids
carry me
 
throughout.

What else would like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?
You are more than the sum of your struggles. That is the message my poetry has sought to leave. That is the message it will continue to cultivate, while I work alongside some of the world’s best writers to help SD thrive.

 

Thank you.

 

Meet Sudden Denouement Collective Member Samantha Lucero

The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.

What name do you write under?
My poetry and short stories are under Samantha Lucero.

In what part of the world do you live?
Super cowboy USA Hot Dog Rocket Ship Number One.

Tell us about yourself. 
According to BuzzFeeds, “What Batman villain are you?” quiz I’m the Joker. Some people just wanna watch the world burn.

 Where do you publish your work?
six red seeds

When did you begin your blog and what motivated you start it?
Few years ago after hoarding short stories, half-finished novels, poems, screenplays, graphic novels, dead bodies, teeth, cat skulls, I decided to create a centralized location to dump it all. Believing that it would function more as a private sanctum and a way to encourage beginning writing again (who would read it, anyway?) I began occasionally posting on my blog and received a favorable reaction. My time has become scarcer since it served its function and continues to, but I mostly chiefly work on novels now, and post a piece of poetry here and there. I guess that means I should make a ‘website’ instead.

What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging?
I don’t update often. I am not a blogger. I spend my writing time not with updating or maintaining my blog, but rather in a word document editing or writing. I’m a storyteller that’s got poetry as my side chick. When I write a poem or a piece of prose, I usually just post it onto my blog, because what’s the use of piling them up in some reliquary in a GDocs folder like a literary graveyard? That’s what my novels and stories are for. 😉

How did you find your way to Sudden Denouement?
Jasper found the poems of mine that were rejected by the Paris Review and he implored me to join the collective with his soothsay and Texas tea.

What does “Divergent Literature” mean to you?
Don’t do what the person in front of you is doing.

Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language.’ What is it?
The secret language was actually a conversation between Jasper and I in emails. It is that moment when reading a piece that you realize that the person (even if cryptically) is speaking to your own inner world, in your own language, in their own words. It is true literary poetry, not commercial poetry, at it’s finest, so much so, that it is similar to witnessing somebody reach the perfect note while singing or listening to a moving climax in a symphony. It’s when you know they know. And not everyone does. It leads into the term part of the tribe.

Tell us about your literary influences.
Gothic, Southern gothic, horror, dystopia. . .

Has any of your work been published in print?  How did that happen?
I’ve had a southern gothic and a horror short story, and one piece in a poetry book dedicated entirely to Salem published. I’ve also self-published a poetry book (that’s getting a cover makeover). I may have more published soon. I also have a novel in the editing process, which will be sent out to agents afterward, and yet another novel being written currently. How’d it happen? Well, I sat down and wrote some shit and then I sent that shit in, and some people wanted it in their shit.

What are your writing goals? 
“There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write?” – Rilke

Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites?
La Tristesse Durera Toujour
2.

What else would like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?
I live in my head, if you wanna know something, molon labe.

Regarding SD, what a place I’ve encountered so many wonderful people and writers.