Virility – Mick Hugh

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Virility

At night there is a silence gently broken by the moaning of the walls: Vast landscapes and skylines and pink insulation. At daybreak comes the screaming, the kid still in need of weening, a breakfast still in need of eating: toast for the road. Sit at a desk. Sit at a desk. Sit at a desk. Did you know that daffodils grow wild in the woods? Stare long enough while driving and you will see. A cultural project to beautify these streets: Days pass in the blandness of inner eyelids. At night in the quiet and your fantasies shrouded in dark, cut sharp by the quick panic of a deadline missed at work. The soft pillow: you couldn’t care less. Couldn’t care less for rose-colored lips. Couldn’t care less for well-padded paychecks. Couldn’t care less about a liver-rot death.

Your heart is the size of your fist. Learn how to throw it.

Mick’s Neon Fog

Mick Hugh is a writer for Sudden Denouement, and the groundskeeper at Mick’s Neon Fog.

Meet Sudden Denouement Collective Member Mick Hugh

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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 Mick Hugh. It’s more a homophone than an actual psuedonym, but I’m stuck working straight-tie jobs for a living and need some anonymity. I already have a hard enough time explaining background-check anomalies.

In what part of the world do you live?  Tell us about it.

An hour west of New York City. From here, 30min west you’re in Appalachia, pitch-black forested hills at night, and 30min east you’re in the gray urban sprawl of howling Essex County. This is an interesting region; though boring, being so inbetween the extremes. Pick-up trucks picking up day-laborers and BMWs driving to corporate parks.

Please tell us about yourself.  

I started writing seriously in college. Spent a summer on an empty campus wandering around writing a novel, dropped out, moved to a different city with a friend, hitchhiked around, then was homeless, wandered back home, fell in love, moved to another city, worked odd-jobs, finished my degree (journalism); am raising a son, working full-time, and dragging my ass out of bed early AM to write in the dark morning’s quiet.

If you have a blog or website, please provide the name and the link.

MicksNeonFog.com

When did you begin your blog/website, and what motivated you start it?

Mick’s Neon Fog is my fourth or fifth blog. I had a journal-blog in college, then a blog about hitchhiking and “urban-camping”, then some other ones, then finally landed a form that fit well. And so stuck with it. They’re poems without stanzas, which might seem lazy, but they’re too cathartic to pay attention to line breaks. That’s my motivation – the blog’s a release valve.

What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging on your site?

The dim hope of someday writing for a living. I can’t think of anything more freeing than not having to take orders from people, and being able to sit and think and write (and of course hitchhiking to book-signings). Though, the blog’s been half-full, on a good week. I started farming poems (actual, stanza’d poems) out to magazines, to see if they’ll turn a penny or an eye. That, and I started a novel again, finally.

When did you join the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective?

November of 2016. I thought Jasper was pulling my leg when he first emailed me.

Why/how did you join Sudden Denouement?

A few weeks after starting Mick’s Neon Fog I got an email from Jasper. I thought he was full of shit. Someone wanted me as a contributor? I was floored. The whole SD community is an excellent thing to be part of. It’s the frontier of literature for the digital age. I joined because that excites the shit out of me.

What does “Divergent Literature” mean to you?

Weirdos who scribble weird poems in weird little dark rooms, valuing messy, raw honesty over the picket-fence poetics that somehow garner national acclaim.

SD Founder Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language’. What is it?

Metaphors. That’s the secret language of every artist. If we leave everything to definitions and boundaries, there’s no freedom. A good metaphor suggests something clear without defining it, sullying it. SD writers, like every good writer, want freedom from something, or everything. As to our specific SD secret language, there’s clearly a lot of overlap in what we’re each trying to break away from.

What are your literary influences?

I’ve a stupid breadth of literary interests. Top of the list for influences, Sylvia Plath and DF Wallace.

Has any of your work been published in print?  (books, literary magazines, etc.) How did that happen?

I came across Vagabonds: Anthology of the Mad Ones shortly after bumming around the country. So I wrote a prose-poem about friends taking turns driving with their eyes shut down the highway. That was my first published piece. Then, a short story in Digging Through the Fat (I think that was it), then just SD. I just sent out a crop of poems (yes, with actual stanzas), so hopefully I can add to the list, soon.

Do you have writing goals?  What are they?

I want to write for a living. I don’t want to take orders from people, and I don’t want to give people orders. I want a quiet farm house in PA close enough that I can bum around Philly as I please. And I’d like a Master’s in English. I think it’d be rad to be an English professor smelling of beer and tweed, scribbling madly in the mornings before yelling about Proust to a bunch of stunned Freshmen.

Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites?  Please share a few links.

My favorites are the last 3 poems I’ve finished. I sent them out for money, and so haven’t published them elsewhere. The last few pieces are a big notch of improvement.

What else would like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?

It’s write or die. It’s life on our own terms or it’s a slow death on our knees. Society determines success by how many people we stand on, and unless the few of us can blaze a road out of this human cluster-fuck, we’re all doomed. Writing is radical. The best writing is a great metaphor that bursts our boundaries. And that’s the only thing that’ll save anyone, bursting out of these dishonest boundaries. I feel like I should end with something hopeful, but I’m really not in the mood. Write on, SD!

 

The Glass Castle In A Vase (or perhaps Franklin or Einstein or Gauguin or your local sub-bridge bum)- Mick Hugh

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The Glass Castle In A Vase (or perhaps Franklin or Einstein or Gauguin or your local sub-bridge bum)

I find myself in one place: it’s too intuitive to be real. A man of stature and possibility beaming a light that shines no farther than the wall. Certainty is absurd said Voltaire. Yet I am certain I have four limbs and a set of ribs and a cock between my legs. I am certain I have a career, if I think long-term enough, and I am certain to have good graces of God if I keep my posture up. The calendar marks the days in the blank way of its empty boxes sliding by. It is now October: in a month the insects will be frozen dead. And next June I’ll find myself still building bones for a fortune they call a pension. From my office walls working for a pension. Life is great when your last 10 years are finally free. What a predicament to find yourself in. Children starving, wife crying, the mold creeps up the walls. Do or die comes wrapped like crepes harder to swallow as the years burn on. Morality sits like an empty vase too fragile to disturb lest it break. And what breaks isn’t the spirit it’s the table it sits on beside the door in the tall foyer. What breaks isn’t golden it’s a god damn disease, it’s the glitter and glamor and 8000 pixels on the precious TV. What scurries are the rats in the walls; and what throbs ain’t your cock if haven’t your balls. And every day I sit still in my gray-decored room is another the world passes always darker in gloom – For the sun doesn’t shine if a face doesn’t feel the energy warming its skin. What a madness to find yourself in. How after a stress-fest at work beneath surveillance lights I am punching a steering wheel in traffic. What hurts it’s just golden glimmers. What bleeds doesn’t matter. And by the end of the drive to sit in a parking lot while the local station gets the Led out: the pitter-patter of Bonham’s drums and the freedom I held dear. Just to find myself in every place, to know that it’s all there.

(Do children still make good wandering beggars?)
(I don’t know.)
(Have you ever kept ferrets as pets?)
(I have not.)
(Okay. Because those you can leash and teach tricks for
tips. I was
wondering if children were the same.)
(You seem to’ve lost your mind.)
(I have not.)
(But you’ve lost your cock.)
(Hey – who’s asking the questions, here?)


 

[Mick Hugh is a writer/editor for Sudden Denouement, and the groundskeeper at Mick’s Neon Fog.]

Nathan McCool – Response to Mick Hugh’s Proper Disturbia:

I’m just gonna puke it up. All the worthless
words. The studies that didn’t mean
a fuckin thing. All the ways I was
taught to think. The shitty, remedial
lessons I learned in school
that were so pointless.

“Let’s focus on some boring writing that
says nothing, isn’t worth a damn, and most importantly… was given high praise by people
all conditioned to clamor to the classics
and the worlds of happy endings.”

My A.P. English literature
teacher was always so determined to
analyze what every poem meant.
But only in line with what the textbooks
told her it meant.
Things in my stomach still turn to rot when
I have to breathe in the words of people like that.

Our tiny little advanced placement class,
(Mostly just people who could offer
advanced payments for their A’s)
we were supposed to write our own poem
to be analyzed. A poem that fit some bullshit
rhyme scheme that I didn’t give a shit about.
But I did it anyway, cause I’m a sucker for
making a point.

And at the last minute I wrote a poem
titled “Prayer That Nothing Spills Out”.
And after the clichés and happy endings
and sad attempts to rhyme “good” with “God”, that teacher read my poem out
loud to the whole class.

And they all got to figure it out.
Take their turns at firing off assumptions about
what I really meant. Until it was determined
I wrote about all my internalized emotions
and the hopes that I never showed anyone
how much I suffer.

And when I was asked to explain my poems intent,
I told them. I proved my point about their
shit method of assuming what someone
is trying to say. And then I laughed uncontrollably
until I puked on the floor and walked out.

Because “Prayer That Nothing Spills Out”
was about anal.

 


 

[Nathan McCool is the dark lord over on Instagram at God Of Dregs.]

Glow-in-the-dark Annuals – Mick Hugh

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Glow-in-the-dark Annuals – Mick Hugh (Mick’s Neon Fog)

You were sitting outside the bar on the patio, picking petals from the daisies in the planter on the railing. I was seated at a separate table nearby, because you had asked me to find another seat. We weren’t speaking for the moment: the conversation had been high-tide with an undercurrent I was too stupid to avoid. I told the waiter I was buying your drinks, and had him fill the table with rum-and-cokes until finally he said Enough; my credit card had been declined. Last week we had left for a festival, driven an hour outside of town, just for you to decide you no longer wanted to go. I turned the radio loud to drown you out and you opened your door and I skidded to a stop on Route 70. You got out. And of course I turned around half-an-hour later and found you pouting in the dust the tractor-trailers kick up along the shoulder. We didn’t speak, but we weren’t angry. I had a difficult time being angry — we met when you were picking sunflowers in the park, and when I finally caught your eye you had irises as thin as mine. Your skin was as thin as mine, and it only took us a matter of minutes to shed our skin and expose the blood vessels that bubbled the beauty into our lives. The little pinches of flesh on your arms and the nape of your neck, soft as dawn and golden. You could sing like Janis Joplin and illustrate the poetry of the pouring rain, and when I reached inside of you I found home and the hillsides I’d dreamt of roaming as a kid. Your mother was a hippy, your father itinerant. We had everything in common in a box of mismatched shoes. And when I held your hand I had looked inside, and saw a little black star in a palm full of rising light. I admit, I was immensely drawn and intrigued. There was nothing for us in this timeline. I bought a trailer on the edge of the city because you were the first I could tell myself I loved. You let it last for four beautiful months. Yet I had seen the timeline. I had seen the fistfights and the holes in the wall and I wasn’t surprised to witness my fears come to life. But what I wanted more than ever was to crawl inside of you. There was a beauty there, and even deeper, something darker true. By summer you came and went as you pleased. Days gone to god knows where, cryptic text messages from the shadows of dawn. I ripped apart your nostalgic doll and left you no choice but to sleep in my car. Cry out your eyes and let me find the reason why I could ever be so stupid. Drink myself into a stupor, you drove me to it. Every night for a week listing names of my friends and every little thing you did with them.
But then again, I knew both of your parents were dead — still, I needed to see the blackened centers of the sunflowers.

[Mick Hugh is a writer/editor for Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Sudden Denouement Publishing.  He is the creator of Mick’s Neon Fog.]

Rebuild A Heart-valve – Mick Hugh

The rain had beaten holes in our backs and it was my idea to come here. 2,000 miles from home. You owned a Mazda and I owned a dream, and together we had $40 and no place to sleep. So we did what we always did best. We scrounged, rags and happiness up and down the sidewalk. New friends, old acquaintances, same familiar taste for bum wine. No mattress but a pile of blankets on an old neighbor’s floor but the walls were hard and hid our dirty fucking well. Drunk on rooftops, drunk in alleys, drunk in bars, drrrrrrunk in the library ‘cus it opened at 7 just after the sun and had couches in the stacks to hide our bum lovin’ selves. Towers shined downtown. Neons shined crosstown near the arena. Eyes shined tits shined cocks shined. Dreams hid behind clouds. Nose bled. Knuckles bled in drywall. Hunger struck well. Fever came to days flush red with sun baking without a drop on the promenade. Dry-out, please just dry-out. Uptown sprints to catch delivery trucks, clandestine missions lifting cases of cans. Rowdy downtown. Rowdy uptown. Rowdy ‘cross the college campus getting sex out of wild freshmen. You were talking ‘bout New Jersey and the hills you grew up in. You moved our blankets to the far side of the floor. Leave me stranded, will you, just lock the god damn door? Sail off in your pretty cloud ship, leave the wasteland far behind. You had the keys and the gas and the paycheck I couldn’t steal, a heart I couldn’t hear. I’ll guide you to the alley and watch you beg for bread. Hike up those legs and shut the god damn door. Shut the door and let me wander and close your eyes till I get back. Let me see it from a distance.

I’ll come back sane.


[Mick is a writer/editor for Sudden Denouement, as well as being creator of Mick’s Neon Fog. He has been published in various publications, most recently in Junto Magazine.]

 

Mick Hugh “Casket on the Fulcrum” Junto Magazine

 

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One of my favorite writer’s Mick Hugh, also a writer/editor for Sudden Denouement, recently had a short story published in Junto Magazine. The title of the short story is “Casket on the Fulcrum.” It is indicative of the kind of work we have come to expect from Mick Hugh. I would hope our writers and readers would take a second and read Mick’s story. I am often overwhelmed by the writing of Mick Hugh. His potential is limitless. Please check out his site Mick’s Neon Fog.

 

Walking Away from the Dying Dog – Mick Hugh

Walking Away from The Dying Dog – Mick Hugh (Mick’s Neon Fog)

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 A silence rings hollow in the bell-tower each afternoon. I can hear it ringing truthfully from my den where I’ve established, a little nest where I can come and forget that only corpses sit in the pews. Only corpses sit in the pews, and any statistic will beget that as many as 10,000 pederasts are currently dealing forgiveness. And the Hindus will gang rape you. And the Muslims tunnel under rubble plotting the end of the West. And the Evangelicals could rebuild Aleppo with their treasure stuffed in political war-chests. Mind you I am the most desperate type.

        My car I haven’t started in nearly a week, and my kitchen is just about out of anything to eat but for the oil in the drip-pan beneath my sink. My phone is on vibrate stuffed beneath my mattress and sometimes I hear it hum: I know the voices on the other end – my boss or my mother or a friend from whom I reneged some important thing – will quietly ask if I’m okay, where have I been? am I coming to work today? I haven’t spoken a word since maybe December 1st….

         I accidentally let myself slip into the crevasse between the back and bottom couch cushions, and was a little sick how neutrally fetal it felt. I stayed there a while to ruminate – Again around noon I decided to masturbate, and didn’t see a reason to clean the couch cushions.

If I drink enough and keep the TV loud enough my head fills with blood and I usually come alive enough to play some music on Pandora.

        I will waste here patiently for a reason to go outside,

        For a reason to swallow the shame when facing another human being,

        Or a reason to get by with the inveterate pain of just trying to survive.

Only corpses sit in the pews:

        And with this in mind, even if you can manage to spend your days at the bottom of the Trevi Fountain collecting your precious pennies, you’ve already abandoned the statues above and now there is nothing left to the muck your mother thrust you into, and, clawing at nothing, you can find, that there is nothing left to color this meaningless void.

[Mick Hugh (Mick’s Neon Fog) is an inspired writer. Having him be a part of Sudden Denouement is one of the things I am most proud of. The second I read Mick Hugh’s writing I was stunned. He continues to astound us all with his irreverent genius. Please take a minute and walk around in his fog.]

Proper Disturbia – Mick Hugh

Endstation Sehnsucht / Streetcar Named Desire, A

Proper Disturbia by Mick Hugh (Mick’s Neon Fog)

I’ve again picked the wrong major, ten minutes into the second class I can already tell that – this isn’t the scene for me. Black cashmere, Eddie Bauer plaids; retro Doc Martens, soft spoken emotions: your poetry better enunciate pulpy vulnerabilities. The Professor has asked me to share my thoughts and my diaphragm spasms a smile. I am trying not to laugh. Because what I’ve written down is absurd and too honest to be expected, my thoughts here transcribed for our homework assignment. My thoughts on Tennessee Williams’, A Streetcar Named Desire. The room is silent and serious in its all-ears respect of my turn to speak. I am having a hard time not laughing. I compose myself. I begin to read.

“A Streetcar revolves around the personal absurdities of three individuals forced to live in close quarters. The main protagonist, Blanche, is [silent laugh] definitely a lunatic.” I bite my tongue, deep breath quivering stifled laughter. They are expecting something serious, intellectual, insightful [inward laugh]. I sigh and compose myself, begin again.

“The reason we find this drama an authentic representation of human life [pause to suppress laughter] each character is defined by contradictions,” which reminds me of the absurdity at the bottom of the page [face twists to hold in laughter]. BIG BOLD phrases towards the bottom of the page. Breathe, clear my head, begin again.

“The entire drama is founded on the dichotomies of social stratification, intra-personal relationships, and psychological,” [laughter, uncontrollable childish laughter shaking my body]. I am screaming, roaring red-faced boisterous laughter. I am being stared at, glared at, all the more to laugh at the unexpectedness and disapproval of this laughter I’ve kept bottled.

“I’m sorry [laughter, tears-on-my-face laughter]. I’m sorry I can’t [indomitable laughter]. I can’t help it!” Why so serious? Hahaha! Hahaha!

“Mr. – ” starts the professor. “If you have to excuse yourself – ”

I collect my books and notebooks into a pile on my desk, peals of laughter coming to a rest: I feel now almost blissful from being caught in this cataract of unyielding laughter. I think – they have no idea what I find so funny and this laughing so flies in the face of expected decorum that it’s –

Tremors in my diaphragm I begin to laugh again. My head bangs back, bright clouds of laughter to the ceiling frame a word bubble: “He blew his head off! [laughter like bursts of flak] Her husband! She was this [laughter] precious Southern Belle [laughter] inadvertently [laughter] she inadvertently made him [laughter] blow his fucking head off!” [laughterlaughterlaughterlaughter].

I am no longer taking English 106.

Mick’s Neon Fog