And the Winners of the March Madness Divergent Literature Contest are. . .

The editors of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Secret First Draft are thrilled to announce  the winners of the March Madness Divergent Literature Contest

1st Place: Conflagration/Nathan McCool  Newest Member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Inaugural Members of the Secret First Draft Literary Collective:

Second Place: Ligeia, under dimmed lights/Oloriel

Third Place: Marching in Madness & March Madness/1Wise-Woman

Fourth Place: The Magic Quilt/Zelda Reville

We are honored to welcome our new collective members and were thrilled with the quality of the writing submitted.  We hope that you enjoyed reading them as much as we did.

 

March Madness Honorable Mention: The Ides/Phil Benton

Come with me

to forest’s nascent yawning

alit in spark of ide’s promise

join those of like voice

the song of Salii

slough the sheathe of wintertide

dance with flaming spear

pierce the beggar’s rotted flesh

feast in grove of Selene

under buxom blush of lavish moon

Take my hand

shake free your whorled locks

taste the claret hue of tender dawn

run free as dire wolf

bare fang to suckling scapegoat

tear the flesh of lesser being

howl to the quaking heavens

the sacred song of Attis

free at last of winter’s tusk

ripe with fruitful seed


I’ve managed to escape the corporate world, rid myself of excess belongings, travel the country extensively in my old Winnebago, and find a new home on a beautiful barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. I define myself as: a free spirit, a writer, a philosophical anarchist, a poet; a lover of nature, a lover of art, a protector of animals, as well as a devoted friend and partner.  I blog at Think About It (candid views from the endless highway)

March Madness Honorable Mention: I Know it’s Not Me/Christina Strigas

Depending on the light of the day

streaming in from my window,

I am insecure or full of doubt.

If it is Fall, right around the time

of my birthday, September nineteenth,

I come alive. I smell hope in the grass.

I feel the love in the universe; how the

leaves alone fill up my emptiness,

the sunsets turn everything gold,

the walks with my dog complete me.

Sometimes, my dog is the only one

who knows what I need. He reads me

better than any man ever could.

 

How silly, you think. Why dont you ever

talk to me the way you talk to the dog?

 

I keep it locked up in my fancy notebooks,

my indie music, my art acquisitions,

my loyal lover. Nobody knows it’s me,

I fool everyone with dark eye-shadow

and midnight poetry rants. I can even fool

myself about the seasons and how they

strum out my life. I know it’s not me.

It’s trouble that follows me in your name.

I am worrying about all the time on my

hands. I am worrying about the stains

on my shirt that do not come off.

I am worrying that my children are

leaving me so soon. I am not ready

to let go of anyone. I have to breathe

deep and open my arms wide to

lesbians, gays, acrobats, lovers,

husbands, wives, and put up the chains

to mean girls, and men that want to

eat up my inspiration with charm.

I know it’s all you.

I finally get it.

It took me forty-eight years

but I figured it out.

It is never too late

to love yourself.


Christina Strigas blogs at You can’t break up with a soul mate

March Madness Top Ten: Voices/Aurora Phoenix

infused of the cosmos

she is their voices

 

tenacious and talon-tongued

she is the whistling warning

under the hawk’s taxi

down the runway

winging aloft fervently

 

sage and perspicacious

she is the measured note

owl’s hoot of knowledge

dropping stoned oceans

coursing wise and steadily

 

throaty and ardent

she is the tentacled heart-beat

pull of salmon sunrise

poach of breath and agony

lights ephemerality

 

unobtrusive and undeniable

she is the creeping whisper

muted march of myrtle

rhythmic pound of tides

circling inexorably

 

hard-shelled and vanished

she is the forested sigh

slide of ancient snail

solipsistic journey

far beyond infinity

 

she paints the sky

with their voices lost

splicing self with dignity

inhaling smoke and mirrors

of madness and reality

 

The Editors Top Ten

Ligeia, under dimmed lights/Oloriel

A Moment of Dying/Kindra Austin

The Magic Quilt/Zelda Reville

Marching in Madness & March Madness/1Wise-Woman

Conflagration/Nathan McCool

My Own Ghost House and Dog & All/S Francis

Which Way is Out?/Annette Rey

A question of balance, perhaps/Timea Deinhardt

Voices/Aurora Phoenix


I spent over 2 decades as a clinical psychologist, as well as mother and partner. My world was decimated when I was suddenly incarcerated 2 and a half years ago. My writing was born in that caged existence – not a choice but a soul-saving necessity.  My blog is Insights from “Inside”

 

March Madness Top Ten: A question of balance, perhaps/Timea Deinhardt

who can claim to be liberated

if afraid of designs in pale rose on oxblood —

heady perfume and powder

of delicate strands of pearls

wisps of long-brushed hair?

Of course this is just the guess

of a lone crane

short on pin feathers

but I suspect the truly liberated

are those whose head is not screwed on

one way – who occasionally dare

the rear-view mirror

without a smile or sneer.

who just might eternally prefer lingerie

to underwear.

The Editors Top Ten

Ligeia, under dimmed lights/Oloriel

A Moment of Dying/Kindra Austin

The Magic Quilt/Zelda Reville

Marching in Madness & March Madness/1Wise-Woman

Conflagration/Nathan McCool

My Own Ghost House and Dog & All/S Francis

Which Way is Out?/Annette Rey

A question of balance, perhaps/Timea Deinhardt


Timea Deinhardt has lived by her pen all her life, under a variety of bylines and pseudonyms. She is currently in France where she devotes herself to poetry, fiction and a hybrid she sometimes calls nanoprozetry. No pets, just an abiding fondness for Lapsang Souchong.

She blogs at

DEINHARDTBLOG

DEINHARDTPOEMS

and The Alan Poems

March Madness Top Ten: Which Way is Out?/Annette Rey

Unfriendly voices crowd my head and I hear words in whispers and from hollow wells. Oddly, some seem scholarly. Mozart died in 1921. Van Gogh’s ear. Suicide. Sterilized strangers pull me from this familiarity and probe me and tie my straining arms across my chest, suffocating me. I spit as I struggle to breathe and they tie a mask to my face. They say I’m marching to madness and spitting is not allowed. I’m only spitting to breathe.

 

Who are these pale vectors? I don’t recognize them. Exposed, chipped pipes stand up and across gray, pitted walls. This thing they call a bed is made of bars, like the ones on the dark-glassed window where flies have died on the sill. They are the lucky ones, I think. They can’t spit and be bound. They are drying up. But, they are free. They can’t move, but neither can I. Not much.

 

I kick – and cry – and spit in my mask. My face gets stiff with dried spittle cracking my lips. Do flies have lips? In a wave, I see students sitting in desks before me. I hear my voice orating to them. Their faces begin to melt. The voices start.

 

The pitted walls again are before me. The dead flies begin to speak. Bzzz. Bzzz-bzzzz. Bzz. I agree with them.

 

Scraping sounds approach. The sterile devils force me onto a cart. Deafening screeches from the cart’s wheels assault the surrounding atoms as the cart pierces another doorway. Something metal presses on my temples beside my bulging, darting eyes as I scan emotionless faces. A mood has descended. Their arms move.

 

I hear a scream beyond the wall, a spine-rattling crescendo that abruptly drops into a chasm. My spine just settles in when my brain is hit with lightning that explodes my eyes in their sockets and clamps my jaws shut. My teeth crack. My entire body tenses and lifts from the cart, and slams against it – again, again, again. A shriek like the one I heard minutes before escapes my cracked lips as I collapse one last time, sweating, sick, spent. I can’t object.

 

Clouds float. Misty waves pass by. I wake slowly. I’m numb, drained. My arms are free. The mask is gone.

 

The cadaver creators say I’m better.

 

I’m only beaten – dried up – like the flies.

The Editors Top Ten

Ligeia, under dimmed lights/Oloriel

A Moment of Dying/Kindra Austin

The Magic Quilt/Zelda Reville

Marching in Madness & March Madness/1Wise-Woman

Conflagration/Nathan McCool

My Own Ghost House and Dog & All/S Francis


I have been president of a writer’s group, and published in various anthologies and online. My passion is to create writing that intrigues, entertains, and educates the inquiring reader. I especially want to assist other writers to see the English language as a virtual living entity they can use to enhance the lives of others. I blog at Life Nuggets and Writer’s Block No More

 

March Madness Top Ten: Conflagration/Nathan McCool

From among rampikes where I study ancient things,

I think I could reach up with my ponderosa arms and

pull down all the gods. I could bring them

here to earth, but people would only know them as

madness…

Know them in that same way that the

general population will always know

beauty and brilliance.

I’m society, some things are outside of it;

and gazes are always turned to those things

like the barrel of a gun. Scoffs are shot from

perfect, lipstick painted mouths like bullets.

But to be perfect is to have never burned.

Things that have not endured burning cannot

give light. And in the absence of light,

no one ever sees anything.

What I’m saying is, each person can set themselves afire in some way and endure –

can be stars speckled against darkness.

To be or not to be is a question of suicide,

but I ask, “To march in bright, radiant, conflagrant madness…or to simply spectate

in dull content?”

The thing to really remember is:

If you are to spectate, it is only because

more enkindled “mad” things allow it.

 

The Editors Top Ten

Ligeia, under dimmed lights/Oloriel

A Moment of Dying/Kindra Austin

The Magic Quilt/Zelda Reville

Marching in Madness & March Madness/1Wise-Woman

Conflagration/Nathan McCool


A biography? What would I tell you? That I am a drunk miserable sod that writes and plays music and wanders nomadically? That I try fruitlessly to scatter around whatever goodness is in me in hopes that maybe someone else wouldn’t feel as miserable as I do? That I’m just some dumb, angry man that cares too much despite wishing I truly didn’t give a damn?

Do you really think that would matter? Anything I could tell you would just be what I think and feel about myself. Is that really who anyone is?

The point I’m making is that it doesn’t matter what I tell you. Anything anyone needs to know about anyone else doesn’t come from some shit they say about themselves. What people are and the way that they choose to exist as a conscious human is what a biography should say, but those things are actions and reactions and the outward representations of what is inside someone. You can’t tell that in words.

You can find Nathan on Instagram at God of Dregs