Aakriti Kuntal “A Conversation with Death”

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A Conversation with Death

What has skipped
this levitating chest?

The bone hangs like a mantle in midair

You come and collect
the smell of sleep from my mouth,
my anesthetized mouth

You come
over and over

You come,
rowing across white seas

You come and rest in my mouth
The lovely sound of crows conversing

Nobody understands this,
Nobody understands this love,
this endless devotion of yours

But you come,
you come anyway,
You come and lick the whiff of my floating mouth
You eat and glow inside it

You glow, you glow
Together we hook the sky
and play with it in our laps

Together, we make the earth
swim between our lazy feet

Together, we growl
and pounce

Nobody understands this,
this affection of yours

for me
You, from beyond life,
from the rim of death

You, that only travel in lightyears,
Come for me

I,
feeble bone resting on time’s ailing forehead

Bio: Aakriti Kuntal, aged 26, is a poet and writer from Gurugram, India. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in Selcouth Station, RASPUTIN: A Poetry Thread, The Hindu, Madras Courier, Blue Nib, and Visual Verse among others. She was awarded the Reuel International Prize 2017 for poetry and was a finalist for the RL Poetry Award 2018.

Guest Writer e.a toles “Insomnia of an Altar Boy’s Wedding Night”

Insomnia of an Altar Boy’s Wedding Night

first you learn to parse yourself out.a second of your time can be weighed
in lack of sleep, in a tiresomenesswhich reverberate throughout the day.
my body is thin when I wake,my skin is a flimsy veil
only apt at keeping the obvioushidden, it is well suited for wedding
gowns, for covering dining room
tables.
there are some while have learnedto live on crumbs of a life,
on the bits and pieces left overby those who present themselves
as well meaning, who have mastered the art of reflecting others. you see,
people wish to be clean, eventhose who dine on rusted tins
and sentimental resentments cravethe acceptance which comes
with perceived purity.
each of these nails is preservedfor my coffin, I have little use
for hardened finger tips or crosses,
for protected nubs.
paper cuts happen to the bestof us, even when we swear only
to read custom nuptial vows, pleasof security, of hopeful longevity.
in the end, we value sleep becausewe needn’t remember our dreamsif we do not wish. if only life
were so liminal, so full of the wethorniness of spring, of maddening blooms,
of lust presented without the caveat of human decency.

His writing can be found at crippledengines.wordpress.com

Guest Writer: Kara D. Spain (Three Poems)

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 Home

Stifling summer~ people bored,
and fed up with truth telling;
time to move on to greener fields
or back to the comfort of home
where my talents be best put to use,
aside from the pain of music

Funny, music should bear love,
yet some of it stings to the marrow;
How can love and hate be bound as one?
Let poetry sing to me, cheers,
and bring laughter to a frown!
I’ll speak to myself in rhymes,
like morse code to a lonely mind
that seeks a tiny corner of the universe
to call home

Stifled

Gagged; violent
Lips, stitched closed by laws~
humans bound
A pill to soothe the thinking mind,
to block the pain of childhood
divine healing or just stuffed away
behind a blockade of stoic cries?
Nothing to feel..nothing to hide,
until the bomb of emotion explodes
into a thousand raining bullets upon society

Sliver of Night

It only takes a drop or two;
a dab of silver and gray
to highlight the sky,
and my mind is illuminated with poetic lines

A curtain, a blanket, No!
Only a sliver of night
and I am made fully alive
by the sounds of a howling moon

I pray for highlighted clouds
to make the rhymes aloud,
then lull me to sleep, the sleep
of midnight’s eternity

 

[Previously published poet, Kara D. Spain, now spends the majority of her time manning the ship of Harken Poetry Publication, dedicated to the Romantic style poets who just can’t seem to blend in with the modern scene. She enjoys writing about nature and the human condition.You can find her poetry on her blog Harken Poetry) and on Amazon under Kara D. Spain or her former pen name Dara Reidyr.]

Vicki Wilson : I envy them their herd”

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[Photo: Fellini’s La Dolce Vita]

I envy them their herd

Worn thin
Like fabric rubbed between anxious fingers
For a lifetime
If that lifetime was thirty-seven years
Of purple prose and uneasy decisions
Uneasy… an absence of ease…
Never a word more righteous
More just
For a circumstance
In this lifetime of flitting
Against language like a bug against a bulb
Tink, tink, tink
Steeping myself so deeply in consonant
And in vowel
That they bleed from fingers and tongue
In a incessant babble of babble
Trying to square the throne
I stand behind…

Uneasy… decisions
Made with an absence of ease
Of preservation
A mason jar mind of restless fireflies
Devouring one another
In liquid fire and lightning
That arcs
And cracks
And splits
Across the flat earth they see
And the depths they sail upon
Staring at their own reflection
As though the world
Colouring it with white lies
That I catch on their sleeve
As they fall from their gaping maw
Like salivation, like false salvation
And they wonder why I question
Everything.
Why I wonder… wander… wonder
About everything.
And everyone.

Why…

Decisions are
Uneasy… absent of ease
And I envy them.
Gods how I envy them.
The muted colours they imbibe
The sugar water at which they sup
As though ambrosia
While I starve for honey
And thirst for rainbows
That fall from the sky just out of reach
I envy them
The well worn paths
And hand-me-down shoes
The comfort of the collar and the yoke
While I shoulder a tired bindle
And brace for the wild
Compass, pen and bare feet
Stained
With a lifetime of uneasy decisions
And I envy them
I envy them their herd.

© Vicki Wilson

[Vicki is an amateur poet, a published author and haphazard artist. Drawn to the darker side of whimsy, she strives to impart a sense of beauty to those moments in life when we forget to look for it. Vicki has recently published a children’s book under the banner of dragonflypublishing. You can find her there writing her next one: https://www.facebook.com/dragonflypublishing.au Or instagram at dragonflypublishing.]

Rediscovering Georgia Park: Private Bad Thoughts

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[Photo: Georgia Park]

The Sudden Denouement community, and many others from around the world, have been charmed with the brutal honesty and unique poetic vision of Georgia Park. If you have not read Georgia Park’s poetry, please take a moment and look at her website Private Bad Thoughts. She takes us all on the journey through her life, into her mind as she weaves through the daily struggles and triumphs, which she articulates in a manner that is simplistic and deeply emotional. Her writing is as simple as it is complex. In a landscape of cliches and poetic uniformity, Georgia Park is truly original.

Her writing can be found at Private Bad Thoughts.

Jasper Kerkau Interview with Dustin Pickering (Transcendent Zero Press)

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When Rich and I decided to move Sudden Denouement into the world of publishing, we were most fortunate to have the brilliant light that is Dustin Pickering to lean on. He is editor/co-founder of Transcendent Zero Press, along with Z.M. Wise, a distinct and powerful voice as well. Thankfully, Dustin gave of himself freely and has been instrumental in our evolution. We are grateful to have been given the opportunity to publish his forthcoming collection of poetry. I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Dustin and ask him some questions about his process and his poetry. Anyone who is not familiar with Transcendent Zero, or his journal Harbinger Asylum should take some time to acquaint themselves.

Jasper Kerkau: You are a writer who has utilized numerous forms over the years, how important do you feel it is for poets to challenge themselves in this manner?

Dustin Pickering: As far as form is concerned, one thing I learned is that form engages the writer more than free verse. You strain your phrases to fit syllabic demands or rhyme scheme, so you are forced to think outside of an empty box. Form is structure and structure often intonates meaning better than no form—in fact, a lack of form is inherently a form itself. Nothing exists in a vacuum. Writers should be free to experiment in a variety of approaches and work with what suits them best, yet I would recommend learning form for the same reason a musician would learn music theory. It is not terribly hard, and it enlarges your toolkit.

JK: Sudden Denouement is publishing your forthcoming collection of poetry, tell us a little about it and what you want readers to take away from it.

DP: Grey Soliloquy is the story of a performer who has been victimized by an obsessed fan. He accuses her of taking his words and using them in her songs. Her beauty and charm as a woman is called into question. One thing I try to engage with in this story is the way women are objectified and victimized by society at large. I explore, as a man, a woman’s psyche. This is a controversial approach to this question—it may be called “womanfacing” if there is a term. In this series of short poems, the performer speaks her side of the story after learning her fan committed suicide. She feels guilty, yet questions this guilt and is angry. I even delve into what I consider the hidden elements of attraction and romance between men and women, seeing it as a primitive animalistic pursuit. That animalistic quality is part of the original spark of attraction and the seeking of an Other. Jordan Peterson remarks that red is a powerful attraction color because it is the color of fruit, and engages our eyes more sensually. So I embrace lust as a kind of primordial dusk buried within our unconscious. Perhaps a genetic song seeking harmony. In these poems, the performer has a secret relationship with the fan in question—it is not a real, physical relationship, but a bond that brings them together in a kind of courtship of disaster. Her mixed emotions betray her sense of failing to fully understand her situation; she identifies with the obsession. I wanted this emotional complex to reflect reality, not a moral judgment. To be clear, I condemn acts of aggression and any act which limits or violates a person’s own will. The collection does not intend to persuade or cast stones as much as reflect a psychic struggle within someone whose situation creates moral ambiguity within them. Readers will decide if this attempt is successful.

JK: What is Transcendent Zero Press and how has it impacted you as a writer?

DP: Transcendent Zero Press began as a punk band. It was named after a word in the dictionary combined with the Smashing Pumpkins hit “Zero”. Later, I developed it into a concept after realizing the depth it could convey. It is a concept that reflects the non-being of God as an agent of creation. Non-being persuades, not initiates force. It exists, and as an existent it formulates possibility. Zero is the realm of nothingness and is neither a positive nor negative association. Transcendent is a realm of surpassing the ordinary, striving beyond the Self. Yet it does not reach into an Other, it goes above. Zero is an act of stabilizing polarities by observation, attaining a state astride quantum uncertainty. Transcendent Zero is a paradox, a conceptual interlude to the realm of Being. It became the name of my publishing company in 2010. As a publisher, I have networked with countless poets and writers, learning more and more from them in the process. I have learned what a labor of love it is to create a book. Writing is only the beginning.

JK: How would you characterize your poetry, and what writers had the biggest influence on your poetry?

DP: My poetry is a challenge to whatever the status quo seeks to impose on others. Right now there is political correctness and its obscure morality. There is Trumpism and its absurdity. There is postmodernism. Post-truth is the refuge of those who deem themselves infallible, yet remain contemptuous. It’s a by-product of an age that lacks definition and purpose. This reaches across all aisles. Poetry is a social force, but that does not mean it is political in nature. It should not support an agenda, but rather serve as commentary. As commentary, it illuminates ideas and seeks the godhood of things. As such, it is balm for the troubled minds and can heal trauma. It strives for unity through analogies. A poem is a unified body that embraces the similarities between disparate elements. It makes the world whole again. It is prophecy. Richard Wilbur, who I spoke with over the phone before he passed away, wrote a poem called “Advice to a Prophet” which I take to heart. In it, he casts the visionary as one who affirms not denies, not increases skepticism but provides direction. Poetry is the grandeur of small things. It is one’s navigation to the divine. Through poetry, I seek to upset things and tip the balance while providing refuge. Poetry is the voice of Jesus himself, as revolutionary and seeker of the divine. Writers who influenced me vary. Some are not officially writers, just beings with a presence in the world that inspires me. There is Jesus Christ whose parables and sayings are not only poetry, but philosophy disguised. In fact, scholar Willis Barnstone composed a book of “poems” out of Jesus’ parables. The Kabalistic writers and mystics with their thoughts have provided me with wisdom and joy for years. St. John of the Cross inspires resilience. Plato’s allegories are suggestive in their merits. Musicians such as John Lydon, Jesse Michaels, and Rik L. Rik inspire me with their fearlessness. I’m a punk rocker at heart. Among poets, there are Plath, Lorca, Lorde, Blake, Shakespeare, Neruda, Frank O’Hara, Dante, Gluck, Rothenberg, Levertov, and Joyce. Among contemporaries, I recently read Safiya Sinclair’s book Cannibal which is a great work. I also like Kiriti Sengupta’s approach to literature. The Earthen Flute and Rituals are beautiful works. I appreciate paradoxical personalities and subtle thinkers. The Beats had jazz. The Pre-Raphaelites had opera. My poetry is primarily punk rock meets Plato. Blasphemy meets the edge of noon.

JK: As a writer and a publisher, what advice would you give writers in terms of getting their work published?

DP: Publishing is a gritty experience. You will be rejected, sometimes harshly. Be prepared. Submit to journals you believe are aesthetically similar to your own style or have your tastes. Don’t mimic except in your early phases. A poet I know, Robin Wyatt Dunn, an educated provocateur, has a writing approach that I cannot define as anything but anti-lyrical. It does not fit into anyone else’s box. That’s the writer you must be. The Nobel Prize for Literature, I read recently, is awarded to a writer who makes the marginal into the usual. To do this, you must be willing to face misunderstanding, fear, hate, and take appreciation in stride. Don’t develop an ego, yet don’t get discouraged. Be your own. Become a mystic in the proper sense. The Sufis have a word for a mystic who seeks divine favor by humiliating himself. In short, be your own and have attitude. You will have to work for that. Nothing is free, not even the Muse’s favor.

Transcendent Zero Press

Guest Writer: Colin James “THE CONTESTANTS…”

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THE CONTESTANTS DESPITE ALREADY HAVING BEEN CAUTIONED STILL DISPLAY AN IMPERVIOUS CONSPICUOUSNESS

                                    The slide is particularly greasy
                                    hard to stay on never mind score.
                                    Long robotic arms torture,
                                    blinding and tearing great chunks
                                    of flesh and hair, debilitating.
                                    Masses of bodies lay at the bottom
                                    until a siren announces a pause,
                                    then the playing field is cleaned
                                    hosed down with impotent salt water.
                                    Those that are cognizant affect
                                    a worse demeanor than is.
                                    They gain an advantage, stall
                                    walk slower back to the steps
                                    perhaps grab a conspicuous limb
                                    already bloody and precipitant.
                                    Can’t get the grass rug down quick
                                    enough for them, without that
                                    improvisational need for showmanship.
Bio:
Colin James was born in the north of England near Chester. He spent
most of his youth in Massachusetts before moving back to England
and working as a Postman for The Royal Mail, then as a Trackman
for British Rail. He met his American wife, Jane, in Chester and
they currently reside in Western Massachusetts. He is a great admirer
of the Scottish landscape painter, John Mackenzie.

 

Henna Johansdotter “Nebula”

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In my world
the woman is deathless
stellar gazes
delayed by
a thousand light years
don’t forget
to feed your god
swallow your testimony
and
zip up your confidence
tuck in these words
safely underneath Adam’s rib:
no you’re not
in love with me anymore,
but I still am
and when the light
of this destruction
reaches you
we may have been dead
for a millennium

[Please follow Henna on Twitter @HjdPoetry. Her poetry can also be found at HjdPoetry.]

Henna Johansdotter, the goth girl next-door. Aspiring author. Monstrophile. Horror enthusiast. She writes to cope with mental illness and everyday experiences.