Best Man-Lois Linkens

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Pink tie

A long satin tongue.

Soft black hair,

Nutbrown shoes

And brown skin.

August sun

Is glitter

In the beer,

Like flies across a golden lake,

Bugs in amber.

The bouquet

Fell flat,

A red yellow green corpse

Of us,

And then there was nothing

But your eyes

And my crooked feet

And Bowie

Floats on coloured lights

And all I feel is you.


Lois is a poet and student from England. She is studying the literature of the Romantics and hopes their values and innovations will filter through into her own work. She is working on longer projects at present, with a hope to publish poetry collections and novels in the years to come. She is a feminist, an nostalgic optimist, and a quiet voice in the shadows of Joanne Baillie and Charlotte Smith. It is a pleasure to present her work, and you can find more of it at Lois E. Linkens.

Ibuprofen- Nicholas Gagnier/FVR Publishing

You were twenty-three when we met, rebel of unrefined rhetoric.

I was twenty-six, what a perfect age to be. Idealism wasn’t dead and I could still make you love me for all these ideas which had yet to erode the fantasy.

You were twenty-five when I proposed, wearing plainclothes in a parking lot, where I once asked you for a smoke and hoped you’d nod, but didn’t expect such conversation.

I was twenty-eight and a fortnight when I asked your father, the warmest that relationship ever got.

Because we bonded over daughters,
I tried to be what I was not.

Imagined family and futures,
not this animosity, but then,

there were fewer signs.

Epiphanies haunt me in kind; there is no more normal than there ever was strange, and beautiful things begin the way they eventually wane; as products of their time.

Inevitability has a shelf life, yet this expiry is mine.

So I’ll lie to myself that this glass of whiskey helps, and true, it might alleviate this madness ’til the bottle’s empty or first light tomorrow, but this sorrow weighs upon my tongue like ibuprofen.

Some part of me is broken and I’ll use its shards to borrow years ’til I go bankrupt on self-doubt and counting pills, trying to find the magic in waking up without you.

It’s the falling asleep that kills me.


Nicholas Gagnier is a Canadian writer and poet, and the creator of Free Verse Revolution. He has published several poetry books, as well as a novella releasing this July. Nicholas supports and engages in conversations around mental health and social welfare, preferring strong literary voices and self-expression to traditional narrative and poetry. He lives in Ottawa with his young daughter, where he runs FVR Publishing and works on a million projects at once.

Excerpt from Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective- Say Yes/S.K. Nicholas

Nose on nose on a balcony that overlooks a disused garage that swims with rats and pornos and junk. Black eyeliner, black tights. Red lips and a ponytail that swings like a pendulum. The smell of your hair and the feel of you pushing yourself against my groin in those hours that escape us upon waking. We sleep outside to be closer to the stars and because when we make love and taste God you want him to see you as a soul and not just a body. Pyjamas not skirts. Flirtation not chitchat. Tigers, dragons. Sushi bars and wet lips. Dimples and your smile and the absence of you when you’re not around and you’re never around but I have my words and my words will become you and that’s just how it is. The evenings are beer and wine and the warmth of your breath against my neck in the back of a taxi and then your arm around my waist in some bar with paintings on the wall I could paint with my dick. Nearly falling off your chair, you snort with laughter and bite my ear. What’s the worst thing about getting old? My hair going curly. The second worst thing? The knowledge that my mind and body are two different things and that the older I get the more conflict there will be between the two. Arguments. Frustration. To sleep. Would you sleep with me? Would you let me take off your socks and massage your feet while we sit in silence too drunk to do anything other than picture ourselves as different people? I hope so. Tears that stain the pillow. The beginning, the end. A writer, a fool. A hand around your throat. A doorway that could be a vortex that could be a portal that could be an opening to something those we have known our entire lives have never come close to. Do you remember when we were strangers? Can you recall the time you caught me staring at your mouth in the canteen at work not long after you first started? You asked me if I was okay, but I was lost in the future that danced upon your lips and although I didn’t want to be crude, I knew already what was to follow and it caused me to become lightheaded. Two hearts. One mind. That night we were under the stars and I wrote GN-z11 on your arm with a pen and urged you to get it tattooed- you never knew what it meant and I never told you. Well this is the place we shall go after we die and there we shall be free. Free to love without the presence of prying eyes. Type it into Wikipedia, and tell me you’ll say yes.

Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective is available at Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, Amazon Canada, Book Depository, and other major book retailers


S.K. Nicholas  is the creator of Myredabyss.com, as well as author of two novels A Journal for Damned Lovers Vol 1 & 2. Both of these books are available Amazon.  Additionally, Nicholas is a member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective.

Nicole Lyons Book Review of Composition of a Woman by Christine Ray

I was thrilled when the brilliant Christine Ray of Brave and Reckless asked me to read and review an advanced copy of her debut collection, ‘Composition of a Woman’, and let me tell you guys, you are going to want to mark your calendars for its July 31st release date! This book is fire, unbridled, out of control, glorious fire!

Composition Of A Woman - Christine E Ray - CS.indd

Cover Design by Mitch Green


Christine Ray’s debut collection ‘Composition of a Woman’ is an extraordinary glimpse into the essence of what it takes to make, and sometimes simultaneously break, a woman as strikingly powerful as she is beautiful.

Christine Ray brilliantly split ‘Composition’ into five thoughtful sections that work together beautifully to deliver the maximum impact of each poem while taking the reader deeper into a stunning journey of the mind, the body, the very soul of this person. In Composition, Christine Ray reveals so much of what we try to hide, and she does so while dancing between ruthlessly beautiful and heartbreakingly painful.

While Ray’s work is often merciless in its unapologetic, in-your-face delivery

the mean girls smelled
like cruelty mixed with uncertainty
disdain peppered with insecurity
ravenous hunger and envy
(What Little Girls Are Made Of)

it is never short of exquisite

she brings black roses
and moonlight
fireflies like stars in her sky
bare feet caress the dewy ground
night blooming jasmine
reaching up to brush her opal skin
(Black Roses and Moonlight)

nor is it ever lacking in white-hot power

I will travel the ancient ways
clothed only in my dark tresses
my alabaster skin
don a crown of rose and poppy
their scent filling the air
I will take back this night
shape its darkness with my hands
make it blaze with stars and moonlight
create a road for my daughters and sisters
to follow home
(Lilith)

Christine Ray holds nothing back when she writes about the pain of depression and a failing body. She is raw and unashamed when she speaks to sexuality and the way society still reeks of misogyny and the absence of humanity. But at her very best she is empowering, speaking to the brave and reckless women who she lovingly refers to as sisters.

‘Composition’ is a beautiful book that takes the time to acknowledge that while some of the weight we carry through life may not be ours to carry, sometimes carrying it is just as important as knowing when to let it all go.

Find more of Christine’s work, and the work of those she champions at:

Whisper and the Roar
Blood Into Ink
Sudden Denouement
Indie Blu(e)

Sudden Denouement Publishing has definitely picked another winner with Christine Ray!


Nicole Lyons is a force of nature disguised as a writer, a social activist, a voice for the downtrodden, and a powerful poet with a delicate touch. She is a best selling published author, poet, and also a consulting editor for Sudden Denouement.

Excerpt from Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective: A picture of our torn up praise- Aakriti Kuntal

a picture of

Image and writing By Aakriti Kuntal

Your absence is a theater. I grow disproportionate in it.
The winding and unwinding of curtains.
Warm air circulating through my face.
I imagine your body is no more a landscape.
That now it’s a home. A home with
movements and sounds and occupants.
Your arms stretching your lover’s slender body
into a lunar eclipse,
tirelessly eroding my feeble song. My tiny insignificant memory.
There’s been no word from you. Not even a sound.
It is as if your mouth transformed into a black hole
and took the rest of you too.
And I,
only I walk inside it.
Retracing my steps to see if I can
find any palpitating remains of us.
Anything, anything at all
that would explain
these patterned nights, these long long pauses in daylight.
How life has blatantly refused to comply anymore .
And how it has floated to some corner
of the nether sphere
where the sole thought of you is celebrated in adamant silence.
Where even you would now be barred from entering.
Where only I sit
with our sick wobbly songs sprawled all over my lap.
My lucid legs dancing to the tune of your voice.
Widening into a continuous void.
All stars, all planets sucked in.
And I, I all alone,
All alone by myself baby
thinking about us.
Thinking of this throbbing universe of
endless possibilities where we could just not be.

Available at Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, Amazon Canada, Book Depository, and other major book retailers


Aakriti Kuntal is a 25-year-old emerging poetess from the country of veritable colors and stratified rainbows, India. A Network Engineer by profession she has been writing for over a year now. She enjoys nature, music, all things geeky and all things art.  Aakriti writes for the Writings of Aakriti Kuntal, and her work has been published in 1947 Literary Journal, Duane’s PoeTree blog, Visual Verse and Indian Periodical among others.


 

Candice Louisa Daquin Reviews Composition of a Woman by Christine E. Ray

Poet Christine Ray’s first printed collection of poetry, Composition of a Woman (Sudden Denouement Press, 2018) is a striking, fearless foray into the psyche of womanhood, both highly relatable and intensely personal for female readers and achingly candid and fascinating for male.

Ray has already struck her mark as a writer of substance with her blog, Brave & Reckless and her involvement in the literary collective Sudden Denouement, but the bringing together of a cherished portion of her work on the subject of the feminine experience, is a special treat, enabling us to appreciate her breadth of understanding and the humor and tragedy behind the female.

From the very first poem, in her trademark fashion, Ray describes modern womanhood thus; “there is an unknown thief/black-clad/masked vigilante/stealing into my nights”  (The Body Politic). In many ways this is a canvas upon which she has illustrated pockets of life in such ways  “I am afraid/of disintegration” “I am routinely pricked with pins” (Vibrational Sensory Loss) most of us have felt this way in today’s world because of chronic illness and/or stress or loss of identity and voicing those emotions is both necessary and difficult, something Ray excels at.

Additionally this is the language of love gained and lost, thwarted and found, destroyed and remembered in a fantastical landscape. “symmetrical patterns/ captured briefly in the mirror/ before the spin of the wheel/ pulled us apart / leaving our jewel tone edges / aching from separation.” (Kaleidoscope) In this, the book has a lovely balance between literal and metaphysical suffering as well as being a testimony of a woman’s walk through life, and her ability to survive the un-survivable.

Ray’s distinctiveness comes from her inability to turn away from truth, her proffered confessional, and the blunt, often beautifully crafted mélange of accents, emotions and voices that spill from her depths.  “I have been waking / in one of two states / words pulling at me/ rousing me/ demanding.” (Brilliant Madness) . Her voice is one many of us have heard at night, and been pulled toward, before holding onto a fragment come morning, she is at once, impossible to quantify and disarmingly real, her charm is in the rendering of a universal experience of life.  “there is a point / where the pain starts / radiates out/ in a geometric/ arc / compresses / folds / reconfigures me / like an open fan.” (Accordion Folds).

The purpose of poetry is surely to form impressions of emotions hard to give words to. The poet is a painter of lives, the reader finds themselves in those shades and it is that recognized quill and truism that draws us to the poetic form, so immediate and unadulterated beyond the confines of prose. “how many empty shapes/ have been etched on my soul / like shadow / like negatives of photographs / from those who have been torn away.” (Loss is an Ocean). Therefore when a poet can become the photo album for a life time or a gender, they have successfully translated our unsaid experience, which is what Composition of a Woman does uncannily well. “I arise something new / wipe the blood from my mouth / spread fledgling wings / and with the lift of the north wind / I claim the night sky / mine.” (Raven).

Christine Ray is woman poet of today’s arrhythmic heartbeat, her transformation from within to without is best described in her poem Becoming a Poet, conveying how; “she was always struck by the juxtaposition / of her physical body / negotiating / close suburbs, …. while her heart and mind / wandered in the isolated wilderness / while errant words and wisps of dreams / and drops of feelings like rich, red blood / continued to seep out of her.” For so long, woman’s voices were repressed, by others, by themselves, by the system. Poets like Ray are the new generation, they’re not keeping quiet, they’re dragging by the neck all that hasn’t been said, all that is labeled shameful, and opening the cage doors. After all, freedom is found in truth.

Composition of a Woman will be released by Sudden Denouement Publishing on Tuesday, July 31st.  It will be available on Amazon.com, Amazon Canada, Amazon Europe and other major retailers.


Daquin’s own life, traveling from her native France, via England, Canada and finally the US, has brought a myriad of experiences that others have often been able to tap into via her writing. A collection of lives really, and with this, she tries to weave greater meaning through poetry and touch those who experience similar questions, doubts, and hopes. Surely this is what writing attempts in its very human form?

Daquin’s themes include feminism in its complex, everyday form, and the experience of being a woman, a gay woman, a bi-racial woman, a bi-cultural woman and finally, a Jewish woman of Egyptian extraction (Mizrahi) and how this sits with the world’s current revolt between the dominant faiths.

You can read more of her writing at The Feathered Sleep.

Daughter of a Dog- Basilike Pappa

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You call me cinnamon, red apple, myrrh.

 

I only call you by your name.

 

And then you grasp tighter. You bite harder. You work faster than neurotransmitters, adrenal glands, caudate nucleus. You go deeper than all the waters in the world.

 

You call me sunlighter, voltage, song.

 

I call upon you, prefrontal cortex almighty: deliver me from chemical deception; for my veins are the pathways he travels, and my heart opens its chambers to receive him; and even though I claim to be a departure, I keep coming back as an electric negative night after night after night.

 

Abrupt tempo change. Hardcore drumming. Mouth feeding, drinking, spitting, touching. Full-volume assault.

 

Horizon cracks a scarlet stare and we in hymenean delirium, sinking a blade into time. Forever bound to this dark epoch dressed as youth, we are candles burning every grain of the past, every claim the future may have on us. Wreaths of breath around our minds, the secret fever blossoms silence on our lips. As I lie in your arms, universe becomes a pseudonym for home.

 

You call me love.

 

But love is a head-hunter – harder than catching a bird, or building a ladder to the moon.

 

So I only call you by your name.

 

And then you call me a daughter of a dog.


Basilike Pappa lives in Greece. She likes her coffee black, her walls painted green and blue, her books old or new. She despises yellow curtains and red tape. She can’t live without chocolate, flowers and her dog. Places she can be found are: kitchen, office, living room. If she’s not at home, I don’t know where she is. You can find Basilike up late with a notebook in the Silent Hour.