Are You Fucking New Here?- A Weyward Sisters Collaboration

You dropped by today

dissected my verse

thoughtfully pointed out

all the ways I could

smooth out my edges

improve flow

to slide more gently past

your discerning eyes

you must be fucking new here

if you think

I was asking for it

not a fan of unsolicited advice

my “friend”

I like my truth

raw

bloody

with a hint of lemon for acidity

that stings going down

(Christine Ray)

Oh, hello,

I didn’t see you there

although I can already tell you like to stare,

as if it is your obligation

to females everywhere.

And everywhere you seem to be.

You’re the type who lingers in keyboards,

assaulting our letters

with ones you would never dare to speak.

You’re the type who visits galleries just to sigh,

point out the vulvas in the petals

and tut at a landscape you’ve never visited.

You’re the type who slumps way down in the theatre,

feigning sleep during her monologue

because it is ‘feminist and shit’, and yet

she’ll be the only one on your mind

when you reach down tonight.

Oh, how do I know this? 

Why, because you always come back for more.

For more of my letters, pretty letters,

your coeliac stomach cannot wait to reject.

(Kristiana Reed)

You stab me with a misplaced comma’s edge,

expect me to bleed ink, but I blossom gold

leaf, like pages of a holy tome, and your

lines of prose crackle in my burning gale.

I am more word than woman, you see

and I am truth, your haunting just ghost

of all those who said no, who pushed me

down stairs of paragraphs, but I got grit,

I grew wings of paper, from you I fly.

(Allie Nelson)

hey you there –

with the pursed lips

and furrowed brow

click-clacking

your studied

critical analysis

of these driblets

of my life’s blood.

you must be fucking new here

if you mistake

the penning

of my soul

upon the page

as a request

for literary critique.

this, here

is the juice of my carotid

scrawled with fingertips

as I apply

tourniquet and poultice.

your worded attempts

to package my agony

into neat and tidy

boxes

are ill-advised salt flakes

poured into my wounds.

(Aurora Phoenix)

Soft upon the scene

He entered

Mushy odorless rambling

Entailed:

“Darling, how are you faring?

Your words are dancing in my soul

Your star shines upon my dreams.”

Going after me

Feeling my every words’ step

With a presumptuous club

White and black penned music

That clawed silence to my ears:

“You are the brightest…

Fade away, you heartless beast!”

(Iulia Halatz)

i picked up my pen and out came all of me.
it poured and poured,
filling space with untrained words and anarchy,
sharpened love, feelings bent,
a keenness breathed without judgement,
ink balled with mercy
into something of me that might speak in truth.
but you sat and held your cup,
and watched it spill.
you put it in your cabinet
with a yellow note: ‘could do better.’
i would those curling lips
might taste the poison in the teacup
between your eyes;
that is where the horror really lies.

(Lois E. Linkens)

You must be new here, because tact and common decency seem lost on you. You see, it is not okay to call a woman by any other name than the one she has given — so don’t call me Baby and I won’t call you Tiny. It is not okay to insert yourself in my life and assume I need your sage advice — if I want to know, I will ask. Do not presume to know what I am thinking, or what my heart is trying to say — because you can be damn sure that if I wrote the words, I meant each and every one of them. I’m not perfect, and I never claimed to be, but I don’t need a lecture on semantics or grammar — I’ve had more than enough schooling and experience to know my own mind. But, if you really are new here, remember this one simple rule: if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
(Sarah Doughty)

You enter my house and

manhandle my verse. You

wonder why my

heart spurts crimson with

every heavy beat—

pressure me for information.

Why so mocking?

Why so angry?

Why the foul language? Bitch,

you must be fucking new here

if you expect an

explanation.

Cos I don’t answer stupid

questions.

Grow a brain, and

get a clue.

(Kindra M. Austin)

 

MY CITY IS GREY – An Impromptu Interview W/ Lois E. Linkens.

A few moons ago, a few glasses of wine decided that Lois needed a spotlight tossed onto her, and so this impromptu (and unprofessional, because I’m not a professional) interview was begun simply for appreciation. Enjoy learning more about her!


 

Q: I’ve been made aware that you’re in Europe somewhere—a marketplace for historical and/or haunted locations—do you have any experience with what you might’ve perceive as the supernatural?

A: I’m from England, specifically, which is obviously quite the destination for ghost hunters. However, while I have been to some places, which might be dubbed as haunted – such as Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds, and the Clink Prison in London – I wouldn’t say I go looking for the supernatural. In my mind, ghosts and demons are like bees; they’ll only harm you if you go interfering. Keep your distance – my mum told me that a friend of hers used to make frequent use of a Ouija board, and its negative influence impacted her life in quite awful ways.

I know I believe that there is something more out there. I have a fairly good historical awareness of the Bible and I do have a faith. I don’t think that the slightly scary side of the supernatural and the spiritual realm, which includes God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit necessarily, has to cancel each other out. Perhaps some of the ways in which people encounter ghosts and spirits are manifestations of the different forces at work. It’s a whole other exciting world that exists essentially over the top of ours, and I would never want to discredit the experiences of others, considering how painful it can be to have my own beliefs scorned at. My general approach to the supernatural is a good amount of caution, a pinch of skepticism, a little courage and an extremely open mind.

Q: Speaking of the manifestation of different forces, do you remember the first poem you ever wrote, and if so, what caused it to manifest? AND DO YOU HAVE IT, BECAUSE HELLO?

A: Yes, I do remember it! Well, I think this was one of the first poems I ever wrote, and I believe I was in the [age] range of 6 to 9 when I wrote it. It was for a school competition, and the winner won a wind-up torch so obviously I was all over that. It went like this:

‘i’m always forgetting,
especially today.
i’ll tell you about it –
what did i say?’

As you can see, I was a comic genius even at the tender age of 6. And I won the competition! Still have the torch knocking about somewhere. I actually still love that poem, because it’s so brief, yet it’s quite funny too. I don’t remember exactly where the inspiration came from, and I know I did enjoy writing poems at the time so there may have been many more like this, but this is the only one I can remember by heart.

I started writing poetry again around 2012, and I do have some early ones, which I could dig out, but I like to think that they are hidden away for the greater good.

Q: That poem’s very, very witty for a young child. It shows an early understanding of humor, which is humankind’s only redeeming quality, that, and the invention of zombie movies. If something similar to ‘Night of the Living Dead’, or ’The Walking Dead’ happened, do you have a plan? If so, what is it? Where will you hide, or, will you run instead of hide?

A: Oh goodness, my plan for zombie survival. See, I like to think I could fight them. I feel like I would be able to create some strength from somewhere if the situation was dire enough. But in reality, I imagine I would go to sea. My dad has a penchant for sailing, so I’d stick with him. I would take everything I could possibly manage and take to the waves. The thing is that when I’m faced with these sorts of questions, I can’t help mourning everything I would lose rather than creating a potential survival plan. I’m very much a look-to-the-future sort of person, and the thought of not being able to live out a decent life does really devastate me. This kind of thing, whether or not it’s possible, would eradicate vast amounts of individual futures and that breaks my heart. Maybe I’m naive, but I see humanity changing for the better in a lot of ways and we don’t have time for a zombie apocalypse to ruin our progress!

Q: I think of that, too. The individual lives. And how much harder I’d have to work in a world with less to do — shoot, run, hide – A horrible world without Google maps.

How did you come to be a member of Sudden Denouement? Also, without googling it, how have you personally been pronouncing “denouement”? I’ve recently discovered I was WAY off.

A: I feel that my own life right now takes enough navigating without having to fear for my life.

I believe that Jasper, who was running Secret First Draft and SD at the time, followed my blog when I had just begun posting poetry at Secret First Draft. I was looking to get some of my work published somewhere, and had reached out to a few blogs without much luck. I sent an email to Sudden Denouement, which I discovered through Secret First Draft, and within a few days Jasper got back to me saying that he enjoyed my work and wanted to have me involved! It was so much nicer to have a genuine, personal email from a real individual responding to my plea for recognition, rather than a bland old rejection email, which didn’t even have a person’s name at by the end. I felt welcome straight away. But yes, I know I’ve been pronouncing it wrong this whole time. I thought it was ‘de-noo-ment,’ with a hard ‘t’ on the end. I even studied French at A Level. It was only when I saw a video of Jasper talking about it that the penny dropped.

Q: I was pronouncing it deh-now-mint. I had to google it and find the YouTube video of the robotic voice saying ‘day-new-ma’

I know you’ve recently been published in the poetical anthology collection concerning mental health, called “SWEAR TO ME” but when can we expect our highly anticipated, Lois E. Linkens chapbook?

A: It was a real privilege to be included in ‘swear to me.’ I did not expect to have my work published so soon. I was entirely happy plugging away at my blog and keeping it at a very neutral, easy level. For that reason and because of university, I don’t imagine there will be a chapbook very close on the horizon, but it is definitely something I would like to do when the time is right. I’m still establishing myself as a writer both among the community and in my head, so I think I need some time to develop my thought processes and really write something that has intense depth and complexity. I have various ideas and projects on the go; one particular novel is bugging me like no mistake. Watch this space, I suppose!

Q: You wouldn’t consider just putting together all your work thus far, into a chapbook? And what’s the novel about, or are you superstitious like me and cant tell just yet?

A: Well, perhaps. But I feel that at the moment, a lot of my work is practice. If you go back and look at some of my really early poems on my blog, my style and clarity of writing has changed, I like to think, a great deal. There are only a few pieces I’ve written, which I really feel accomplish something that has depth and complexity to it. So a compilation of all my work would be a collection of quite shoddy poems written just for writing’s sake, from a 19-year-old up to the slightly more unhinged, yet more politically aware, voice of a 21-year-old trying to figure out what she wants to say.

At the moment, the novel is just a collection of iPhone notes and scrawled plans in my notebooks. Events I want to include, scenes and images, a few character profiles, etc. I know it is going to revolve around one central female character. She will be a bit like me, I suppose – someone trying to figure out what it means to be a woman in the 21st century, and trying to find legitimacy as an artist and integrity as a creative individual. I want to engage with some current events and that’s difficult. It involves a lot of research and at the moment, I don’t have that kind of time! So it is just buried in the back of my mind for the time being, and hopefully will come to light when I’m ready.

Q: [Last few questions!] What’s your process? What gets you in in the mood to write/how do you get in the mood?

And, if you had to marry any classic horror character (Dracula, Wolf-man, The Mummy, Frankenstein, Jason, Michael Myers, etc.) who would it be and whyyyy?

A: My process usually requires some spark of imagination, which might be something I’ve seen in a film or TV show, something I’ve read in another poem somewhere, a person on the street, a situation at the supermarket. As I say, my poetry used to be a great celebration of words and images and I’m beginning to refine that style. That means that I can’t just write about a thing I have seen. I need to say something significant about that thing. I need to explore why it mattered enough for me to write it down – not just, it was quite sweet or it was funny or it was shocking. I need to connect my poetry to my experiences in a way that has substance and intuition, rather than just excitement. At [university], it is harder to find time to ‘get in the mood’ to write. It tends to be just a way for me to have a break from all the other writing I’m doing – an expression of my other thoughts and other ideas that don’t come out in my academic work. I let my imagination and my thought process take the lead, I suppose. If something comes to mind, or something is bothering me, I will write about it. The writing makes time for me, rather than I make time for it.

I am so out of touch with classic horror that this is actually a pretty tough question. I’m going to twist it slightly and name a classic Gothic character – I would pick Daphne du Maurier’s Max de Winter. The murderous husband of the beautiful, manipulative Rebecca; when I read the novel for the first time, I was so intensely frustrated with Mrs. de Winter for not standing up to him or confronting him about his behavior and his secrecy, that I think I would like to try it myself. I’d like to try being married to the man who fell captive to Rebecca’s charms, and figure out what went wrong. Sorry if I cheated – classic horror isn’t really my thing!


Lois picked a classic gothic character, so to me her answer was substantially valid. REBECCA is a classic, and is even a favorite of Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Lois is a thoughtful, talented human being on this splashing rock we’re all spinning on in the airless blanket of the rocky road, dancing in the Milky Way like a pinpoint, searching for individual meaning in an infinitely cold universe. You should keep your eye on her.

– Samantha Lucero

For more information on Lois E. Linkens’ work, visit her blog [HERE]

Cat Nap

by Lois Linkens and Christine Ray

catnap

 

sleep stalks me, finds me an easy target

slinks in to drag me under, into the depths
where unknown dangers lurk in my unconscious
what murkiness lies behind my drooping lashes,
what shadows hide between each whistling breath?
what sharpness snuggles buried
among the feathers in my pillow,
what traps will soon ensnare
and dangle me, just feet from death?

they hook me, by the ankle
and suspend me from the tree of dreams,
around which serpents rattle, tigers prowl,
insects scuttle, poisonous, foul.
blood rushing to my head
cheeks flushed
heart thundering
as i dangle helpless

great cats bat their armored paws
at my flailing hair
like beggars round a campfire.
their claws pull and snag –
draw drops of blood
that quench night blooming jasmine
waiting below

i wake with a start. temples throb and pulse,
the bed is dry as my parched throat, blankets cold.
perhaps a girl
can be herself without the hair of fairytales.

 

 

Lois describes herself as a “confused english student,” though one quickly finds a polished, charming poet in her work. She has an elegant style that compliments her keen insight and whimsical sensibilities. It is a pleasure to present her work, and we ask you to take a second to look at more of her wonderful work, lois e.linkens

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.